Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Saturday 1 December 2012

Campion country

Today is the feast day of St Edmund Campion, who was martyred on this day at Tyburn in 1581 along with St Ralph Sherwin and St Alexander Bryant. I posted about St Edmund last year in St Edmund Campion.

Although he was both born in London, in 1540, and died there, it is the area around Oxford which holds many of the most important associations with Campion and with his ministry in 1580-81.

A member of St John's College and then as an Anglican deacon, chosen to deliver one of the addresses of welcome to Queen Elizabeth I on her visit  to the city and university in 1566, he was eventually to return to the area. At Stonor near Henley he had printed his Decem Rationes - probably written at Mount St John in the North Riding of Yorkshire earlier in 1581 - and, with typical panache, left copies of the tract in the pews of St Mary ther Virgin for the commencement service of that summer and was speaking to Oxford students when he was persuaded, fatefully, to return to Lyford Grange in Berkshire that July. His subsequent capture at Lyford was followed by his public parading as a captive to London through Abingdon.

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