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.
It was in late June 1817, two centuries ago, that John Henry Newman arrived at Trinity College in Oxford. He was 16 and had been admitted the previous year and given a reading list to prepare him for his studies as an undergraduate.
He arrived just as most of the University departed for the Long Vacation - which seems strange to modern generations accustomed to the rigorous demands of University and College schedules.
Newman's early experiences and impressions in Oxford are well set out in Joyce Sugg John Henry Newman: Snapdragon in the Wall, an engaging account of his life, first published in 1965 as an introduction for teenagers, but which has stood the test of time and is now published by Gracewing.
Like any other teenager he could have little idea of what life would hold for him, but he certainly could have had no idea or expectation of what indeed was to follow. The studious violin-playing Evangelical was to follow the kindly light on a journey that was surely beyond the wildest imagination in 1817.