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.
Allow me to be your guide... and discover the history of Oxford with an Oxford historian.
I offer a wide range of guided walks around the city and university. These can be a general introduction to the history and architecture or looking at specific themes and subjects.
I am a Catholic and a historian based in Oxford, where I am a member of Oriel College. My research, for a long delayed D.Phil., is a study of Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln in the second decade of the fifteenth century. I also work as a freelance tutor in History and as an independent tour guide.
I was received into the Church in 2005 and am a Brother of the External Oratory of St Philip Neri at the Oxford Oratory.
The statutes of Merton College Oxford, which date from the foundation of the College in 1264, require some of the Fellows to regularly inspect the estates with which it is endowed. As these were scattered across the country and extended as far as Northumberland this required a not inconsiderable amount of travel, which was reimbursed by the College. The record of these payments survive in the Merton archives and are cited in the first volume of the excellent History of the University of Oxford together with route maps of the journeys undertaken. They were also utilised for an article by G.H. Martin in The Journal of Transport History in 1976 entitled ‘Road Travel in the Middle Ages; Some Journeys by the Warden and Fellows of Merton College, Oxford, 1313-1470’ and a digest of that has now appeared online at medievalists.net which can be seen at
The details they reveal about fourteenth and fifteenth century travel are a useful insight into the minutiae of life on the road in those two centuries. If in some ways they record a very different world they also reveal aspects we can still easily relate to - calling upon relatives and friends en route, shopping for provisions along the way and coping with a broken down horse, as opposed to a car in today’s world.