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.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Damage to Offa's Dyke

In recent days there have been reports of serious damage to a section of Offa's Dyke, which have involved the levelling of the embankment and the filling of the ditch, on a site towards its northern end.

Due to its nature the Dyke is liable to damage and erosion, and its care and preservation should be a priority with local communities as well as those formally charged with its care like CADW.

In my view the damaged section in this instance should be reinstated, and those responsible should be pursued with the full rigour of the law. Unfortunately that does not happen in far too many cases of this sort, and vandalism is accepted or tolerated by authorities who should mete out real punishments for such offences. Ignorance is no excuse, and should not be accepted as one. Who in that area has not heard of Offa's Dyke? A spell in prison might give time for the offenders to read some books on Anglio-Saxon history - and if they can't read, time to learn how.

There is an introduction to this monument to the ability of the eighth century Mercian monarchy to organise and demarcate its western frontier here.

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