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.

Monday, 25 January 2021

The death of Bishop Fleming at Sleaford Castle

Today is the 590th anniversary of the death of “my” Bishop Richard Fleming of Lincoln. 

He died, as his Register records, at about two hours after noon on this day in 1430-31, having apparently suffered a stroke which deprived him of the power of speech. This last fact was of some wry amusement to the Lollards. In his career he had been a noted preacher and as Bishop of Lincoln a strong opponent of their heresies.

Sleaford Castle was one of the widely distributed possessions of the see of Lincoln and dated from the episcopate of Bishop Alexander ‘the Magnificent’ in the earlier twelfth century. Situated on level ground on the edge of the Fens it utilised the waters of the River Slea to fill a complex of defensive moats. It was still habitable in the mid-sixteenth century but then appears to have rapidly disappeared. The history of the castle is described in Sleaford Castle from Wikipedia.

A reconstruction of Sleaford Castle
View from the south west

Image: Sleaford Museum

Aerial view of Sleaford Castle location.jpg

Sleaford Castle today
Aerial view from the south west

Image: Wikipedia 

In recent years there has been renewed interest in the town in making more of the surviving remains of the castle, including possible archaeological work - the site is apparently still uninvestigated. It is to be hoped that something tangible will result from these initiatives when more normal conditions return.

No comments: