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 afternoon I went to the May Devotion in honour of Our Lady at SS Gregory and Augustine here in Oxford.
In recent years I have aimed to attend this occasion, and usually managed to get there, and it has normally been blessed, as it was today, by fine weather. The afternoon begins at an altar set up in the grounds with prayetrs before astatue of Our Lady which is then carried in procession out and along part of Woodstock Road and into the church for prayers. We were all provided with roses to carry and then offer before the statue of our Lady of Fatima which is above the Lady altar in the church. Ss Gregory and Augustine was decorated with spring flowers and with garlands strtching from the baldechino to the side walls for the occasion ( and the visit of the Archbishop for the parish Mass in the morning ). The style that is used there for floral arrangements aims for a 'country' look to blend with the Art-Nouveau/Art-Deco style of the church, which dates from 1912. The effect was very pretty, and we added to the flowers as we offered the blooms we were all carrying for vases on the Lady altar.
After more prayers and an act of dedication to the Virgin we concluded with quintessentially English refreshments of tea and cake out in the open air.
A happy and holy afternoon that was very traditional and very English.