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.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Boethius in the Borders

Recently I came across on the Internet the work of Dr Kylie Murray on the reception of Boethius’ The Consolation of Philosophy in Scotland. Hitherto this had been thought to have happened during the fifteenth century following Chaucer’s translation of the text into English. Dr Murray however makes a very impressive case for assigning a Glasgow University Hunter manuscript of 1120-40 to Kelso Abbey and to the cultural milieu of King David I. The manuscript contains beautiful illustrations - the oldest secular drawings from Scotland and related to the well-known illuminated initial with King David I and his grandson King Malcolm IV. Originally it was bound with a copy of Cicero’s De Amicitia and Martianus Capella's The Marriage of Mercury and Philology or Satyricon, very much indicative of educational use. Kelso as a monastic foundation appears to have enjoyed very considerable influence in the diffusion of intellectual and artistic norms in not only the twelfth century but afterwards.

An illustrated article by Dr Murray for the British Academy can be seen here. She has a longer article about her research in Medievalia et Humanistica which can be read at Medievalia et Humanistica, No. 41. There is an introduction to the history and architecture of this particularly significant monastery at Kelso Abbey.

One personal benefit of seeing this research was to make me actually read The Consolation of Philosophy right through - which suggests the educational programme of the early twelfth century monks of Kelso still works today.

1 comment:

Zephyrinus said...

Thank you, "Once I Was A Clever Boy", for
a riveting Post on The Borders and the Abbeys
contained, therein.