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.
Allow me to be your guide... and discover the history of Oxford with an Oxford historian.
I offer a wide range of guided walks around the city and university. These can be a general introduction to the history and architecture or looking at specific themes and subjects.
I am a Catholic and a historian based in Oxford, where I am a member of Oriel College. My research, for a long delayed D.Phil., is a study of Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln in the second decade of the fifteenth century. I also work as a freelance tutor in History and as an independent tour guide.
I was received into the Church in 2005 and am a Brother of the External Oratory of St Philip Neri at the Oxford Oratory.
This week the liturgical calendar has been quite busy with saints days and I thought I would provide links to previous posts which touch on the lives of some of them.
Monday was the feast day of both St Fabian and of St Sebastian, depictions of both of whom I posted about in 2011 in St Fabian and St Sebastian.
Tuesday was the important feast of St Agnes, and that evening we had an interesting reflection from Fr Jerome at the meeting of the Brothers of the Oratory on the liturgical significance of her feast - she has proper antiphons for the Offices in both the Tridentine Breviary and the moderrn Divine Office, and it is the feast on which the lambs whose wool will be used for this year's pallia are blessed in Rome - and on the unique Christian concern for virginity and the consecrated lives of women as Sisters or enclosed Nuns. This is an ancient part of the Church's life, being clearly established by the time of St Antony in the later third century. Indeed it can be traced directly to the Virgin Mary's response to the Archangel at the Annunciation. The concept of St Agnes or other young women preferring the life of a spouse of Christ was incomprehensible to the Jews and the Romans, and indeed to much of the modern world, yet it has inspired much selfless and holy work over the centuries.
Yesterday was the feast day of the Oxford born Jesuit lay brother and constructor of priest holes St Nicholas Owen, who died after torture in the Tower of London in March 1606. My previous posts about him can be read at St Nicholas Owen from 2011 or in a slightly revised form at St Nicholas Owen from 2012.
Today is the feast
of St Francis de Sales, erstwhile Oratorian, and later Bishop of Geneva.
My account of my visit last July to his shrine church in Annecy and
other places in the city connected with him can be read at Over the hills to Annecy and back.