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.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Feast of St Paulinus of York

Today is the feast day of St Paulinus, the founder of the see of York in 627 and subsequently Bishop of Rochester, who died on this day in 644.


St Paulinus

An early fifteenth century figure in the north choir clerestory of York Minster


I have posted about him and his mission in Northumbria in St Paulinus of York, St Chad at York and St Paulinus at Dewsbury.

There is a good account of his life, which refers to recent historical criticism of the sources, here.

In the centuries after his death, and despite his career - and indeed his appearance - being recorded by St Bede in his Ecclesiastical History he appears to have slipped in popular memory, and there appears little evidence of a local cultus, other than the tradition of his baptising at Dewsbury, and the lovely glass panel in York Minster of which I reproduce a detail. Later generations appear to have venerated St Wilfrid with numerous church dedications and depictions in the Minster at York far more than the first founder of the See. Both can, of course, be seen as founders not merely of the Church in the north but of a specifically Roman connection.

At York the later cult of St William came to predominate, though it probably never had the same popular appeal as that of St Wilfrid. That of St Paulinus became localised at his later see of Rochester, and wider devotion to him appears to be a more recent phenomenon, arising in the nineteenth century. 

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