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, 25 September 2014

The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire RIP

The announcement of the death yesterday of the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire at the age of 94 has attracted considerable attention in the media, with both the Daily Telegraph and the Times having a classic photograph of her on their front pages.

The obituary from the Daily Telegraph can be read here.

The death of the last of the Mitford sisters does certainly mark a point in social and national history, and in the case of the Cavendish family a marker in their own long and distinguished history.

On my only visit to Chatsworth I undertood that I had just missed seeing Her Grace serving in the gift shop. It is clear that it was very much to her that the restoration and preservation of Chatsworth was due.

I did on a couple of occasions here in Oxford at church meet a first cousin once removed of the Mitford sisters - the family home was at Swinbrook near Burford - and the lady had their distinctive striking looks and manner, combined with great charm.

I recall reading an interview in the Daily Telegraph with Duchess Deborah in which she, as a woman who was always busy doing things, concluede by saying that what worried her about death was the phrase "Rest eternal grant unto them." That was not her way. Rest was not her thing. May she find the appropriate way of life eternal.

Friday addendum: Charles Moore has a tribute in the Daily Telegraph to the Duchess at The 'Last Duchess' who was at home in the modern world

There is an article telated to that one in the same edition by Judith Woods about the Mitfords and their possible modern equivalents in The Mitfords and the Kardashians: class vs trash  and  Brian Masters' tribute to her in the Telegraph can be read at The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire I knew

Extracts from some of Duchess Deborah's pieces for the Sunday Telegraph can be read at The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire: a Mitford writes

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