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.

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Our Lady of the Mount King’s Lynn

On the penultimate day of the spiritual pilgrimage to medieval English Marian shrines we reach the chapel of Our Lady of the Mount at King’s Lynn. Unlike many places on this virtual journey the chapel still stands, and like the Bridge chapel at Wakefield or the Slipper Chapel at Walsingham is an almost unique surviving example of a type of building that would have graced the towns and roadsides of pre-Reformation England. As the websites which follow show this is a remarkably complex structure for such a small building, indicative of the spiritual and ecclesial complexities of the era that created it.

The websites are all illustrated and give both historical and architectural information about the chapel, built in 1483-5, and extended upwards in 1506. Its main purpose seems to have been for pilgrims from the continent arriving or departing King’s Lynn on the journey to or from Walsingham.

The Historic England webpage about it can be seen at Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount, The Walks, Kings Lynn, Norfolk

Britain Express also features it at Red Mount Chapel, King's Lynn | Norfolk Heritage Guide

The Norfolk Churches website has a piece which can be seen at Norfolk Churches.

The King’s Lynn Friends of ‘The Walks’ have an account with a chronology of the chapel’s history at Red Mount Chapel | Friends of 'The Walks'.

There s a useful note about the building on Flickr which can be seen at Chapel of Our Lady on the Mount Kings Lynn Norfolk.

King’s Lynn was a major port and trading town with a rich array of medieval churches. Although she lived upwards of a century earlier there is a fascinating insight into the lively spirituality of a King’s Lynn housewife and into the world she occupied there in the town and on her travels in England and abroad in The Book of Margery Kempe. There are translations of this remarkable fifteenth century narrative into modern English available from both Oxford’s World’s Classics and from Penguin, plus a sizeable array of interpretive works. Like the Chapel on the Mount her autobiography is a unique survival for its period, and both open our horizons into the past.

Our Lady of the Mount King’s Lynn, pray for us

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