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, 18 March 2021

Valor Ecclesiasticus on the ground

When preparing my previous post I came across a very useful site James Alexander Cameron of Stained Glass Attitudes. He started this as a project in lockdown which links the returns of Valor Ecclesiasticus of 1534-5 - the first new valuation of the English Church since 1291 - to the physical remains of the monastic sites on the ground, and uses plans and reconstruction to summon up ideas of what was there and what has been lost. He plans to continue the project and hoped to get the Valor online as a resource for researchers. Like him I am surprised that that has not happened already through something like British History Online.

The first post in his series, looking at the twenty richest monastic houses in 1534 and with some very visual interesting material, can be seen at MonasteryQuest™ Pt 1: the twenty richest houses at the dissolution

For comparison purposes I think it is a pity he chose to omit the four cathedral priories of Canterbury, Durham, Winchester and Worcester, and I do not agree with him about the modern cathedral extension at St Edmundsbury. Those however are minor points. The site is a useful index, an interesting indicator of the wealth of some particular communities, and a shocking reminder of what was destroyed in so many cases.

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