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, 20 December 2020

Roman and Medieval Spitalfields

I came across a report on the MailOnline website about excavations in London’s Spitalfield district which have revealed significant insights into both the history of the area under Roman rule and its history in the high to later Middle Ages.

For Roman Londinium the area was a cemetery with at least one high-status burial from the period 350-410. This was of a woman born in Europe who had been clothed in purple Chinese silk, shot through with gold thread, and a strip of woollen fabric again dyed purple with an expensive mollusc extract - a reminder of the trading and cultural networks that bound the Empire together.

Centuries later the Hospital of St Mary Spital was founded in 1197, and was to give its name to Spitalfields, was built on the site. The report has a plan which shows the scale of the foundation, a reminder in that case of the scale of provision for the infirm in medieval London.

The illustrated article about these discoveries can be seen at Secrets of the Spitalfields Roman Woman revealed

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