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, 18 June 2015


Today is the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo. Yesterday witnessed celebrations on the site of the battle, with the Prince of Wales unveiling a memorial to the British troops, symbolised by the closing of the gates at the farm at Hougoument, which Wellington believed crucial to his victory at the "damn close run thing." Amongst those present were the present Duke of Wellington, who is married to Prussian princess, a Bonapartist prince and the currrent Prince Blücher. There meeting and mutual handshake was one of several ideal photo opportunities the day afforded.

Today there was a service of commemoration at St Paul's Cathedral in London. Amongst those in the congregation was the Special Correspondent - he has a remarkable knack of getting to such events - who tells me it was a fine service.

Not surprisigly prominent in the commemorations has been the present Duke of Wellington, who only inherited the title at the end of last year. A little while ago the Daily Telegraph had an interview with him, which can be read here.

The victory at Waterloo inaugurated almost a century of relative European peace - there were  not a few localised conflicts of the first and second order betweemn 1815 and 1914 - and the re-establishment of a stable international order. Looking back the subsequent century makes for depressing viewing - I do envy those who lived in the nineteenth century in this as in so many other respects.

No comments: