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.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Newman arrives in Oxford

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.

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