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.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Further thoughts on Black Rod and the Door of the House of Commons

Since I posted the link to the History of Parliament site and its post about the history of the closing and subsequent opening of the door of the House of Commons when Black Rod approaches as the Sovereign’s messenger at the State Opening of Parliament I have given the matter a little further reflection. 

The article draws a parallel with the recognition of the self-government of the City of London when the Heralds have to request, and are fmgeanted, permission to enter that jurisdiction at Temple Bar to proclaim a new monarch or a peace treaty. Another parallel may well be the custom in most Anglican cathedrals, but not, as I understand it, traditionally at Canterbury, for the new diocesan to knock with their crosier on the west door to require admission to be enthroned. At this recognition of the autonomy of the Dean and Chapter the doors are thrown open and the Bishop enters and proceeds to symbolically take possession of his see and its cathedral church.
A further analogy is the traditional Catholic practice on Palm Sunday of the processional cross being employed to knock on the principal door of the church to demand admission for the Palm procession. 

Neither of these are about excluding anyone so much as in the case of the enthronement recognising sel-government and in the instance of Palm Sunday the authority of Christ over Jerusalem and the Tenple.

Palm Sunday 

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