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.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

750th Anniversary Mass at Merton

Yesterday evening I attended a Solemn Mass celebrated by the
Archbishop of Birmingham, The Most Rev. Bernard Longley, in 
the chapel of Merton College to mark the 750th anniversary of 
the foundation in 1264 of the College - more properly termed 
The House or College of Scholars of Merton in the University 
of Oxford.


                         King Edward I and Bishop Merton
                    Fifteenth century statues from the gatehouse of Merton
                 built by Warden Thomas Rudbourne circa 1417

Merton College

Merton Chapel

Image: tripadvisor.co.uk

The Chapel, the choir of which was completed by 1294, is one of 
greatest buildings in Oxford - and arguably the greatest. I cannot 
exactly say why, but it just is. It retains much of its original late
thirteenth or early fourteenth century glazing, and the open space
necessary for the proper celebration of the Sarum liturgy and offices.

Merton College Chapel, Oxford

Wide-angle view of the chapel

Image; Theo Jacobs on photo.net  

The Mass was concelebrated at aforward altar, which I regret
given the very fine high altar the chapel possesses. In his sermon
the  rchbishop made reference to the first Mass celebratedin the 
Chapel since the Reformation, which was in 1967, and to the
continuous tradition of reciting the psalter in the chapel since 
the foundation of the college.

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