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.

Friday, 29 October 2021

Roman statues from Stoke Mandeville church

and An Anglo Saxon church revealed about the excavation of the site of the old church of St Mary at Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire, abandoned in the nineteenth century, which is taking place in advance of the appalling HS2 project. 

The latest discoveries do make this a remarkable site as they are evidence that it had previously had a Roman mausoleum. The finds include the stone portrait busts of a man and a woman and the head of a child who had been commemorated within it.

The Mail Onlne website also has a report of the discovery, and has more details of other finds and of the interpretation of the site. It can be seen at Roman statues found under site of a Norman church in Stoke Mandeville

One can see that this site, this excavation, will become a classic example to be cited in books and lectures on church archaeology and on the  origins and evolution of the English parish church. It is relatively rare for an historic church site to be comprehensively excavated in this wsy as the church and churchyard are usually still in use. The abandonment of the church, at some distance from the village - and there must be a story in why the church was at a remove - has meant that such a project could be undertaken. The destructive nature of HS2 has now led to the site being investigated. The discoveries make one wonder what lies inaccessible beneath other ancient churches.

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