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.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Rededication of England as the Dowry of Mary

"This is your Dowry, O Holy Virgin, therefore, do thou rule in it."  King Richard II in 1382

At noon today in their respective cathedral churches the English Bishops formally rededicated the realm as the Dowry of Mary. This solemnly renewed the original formal donation by King Richard II in 1382, fulfilling a vow he had apparently made the previous June when the Peasants Revolt of 1381 was at its height.

Parishes up and down country joined in, even if not as they and the organisers had planned. I tuned in to the livestream from the Bournemouth Oratory - never mind that neither the Oratory nor the Church of the Sacred Heart, but Bournemouth itself did not exist in 1382. Late afternoon I watched Benediction from Bournemouth which included the reading of a highly pertinent passage from Newman’s great "Second Spring" sermon of 1852.

"The contemplation of the great mystery of the Incarnation has drawn all Christian nations to venerate her from whom came the first beginnings of our redemption. But we English, being the servants of her special inheritance and her own dowry, as we are commonly called, ought to surpass others in the fervour of our praises and devotions"

Thomas Arundel, Archbishop of Canterbury writing early to his suffragens in 1400.

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