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.

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

St Andrew and his churches

Today is the feast of St Andrew.

Fr Hunwicke recently posted about the feast in S Andrew is Imminent. But I am puzzled.

In it he draws attention to the fact that it was on this day that during the Rising of the North in 1569 that the insurgents restored the Catholic Mass in Durham Cathedral. This may, or may not, be coincidental but fifteen years earlier in 1554 England and Ireland had been reconciled to the Church by Cardinal Pole as Papal Legate at the request of Queen Mary and King Philip at a ceremony in Whitehall Palace. The day was appointed to be kept as an anniversary in perpetuity.

Evidence as to the popularity of St Andrew in the past is mentioned by Fr Hunwicke, although how extensive it was in medieval England is a matter about which I am not too sure. It can certainly be seen in the fact that he is the patron of two medieval English cathedrals, at Rochester and Wells. He is also the patron of the priory (“Abbey”) at Hexham and co-patron with SS Peter and Paul of the abbey and now cathedral at Peterborough. All of these are Anglo-Saxon in origin and Hexham at that period was also a cathedral. The fact that he was the brother of St Peter, given the strong English devotion to the Prince of the Apostles in the wake of St Gregory’s mission May account fir this.

In the post-Conquest era probably the most important foundation in his honour was the Cluniac Northampton priory dedicated to him. Nothing appears to remain above ground of this house but there is a short history from Wikipedia at St Andrew's Priory, Northampton and a detailed one from the VCH Northamptonshire at Houses of Cluniac monks: The priory of St Andrew, NorthamptonThis is well documented and brings out clearly the difficulties faced by Cluniac priories before denization - in this instance in 1405. Due to its central location at Northampton the house regularly, if not habitually, hosted the regular councils of English Benedictine monks in the later medieval period.

As to medieval parish churches - cities such as London with three medieval foundations that were rebuilt by Wren - St Andrew by the Wardrobe, described by Wikipedia at St Andrew-by-the-WardrobeSt Andrew Holborn, covered by Wikipedia at St Andrew Holborn (church and by Britain Express at St Andrew's Holborn Church, London, History & Visiting | Historic London Guide; the Guild Vicar is the Bishop of Fulham, Jonathan Baker, whom I knew when he was Principal of Pusey House, and thirdly St Andrew Undershaft, which is described by Look up London at Why is This Church Called St Andrew Undershaft?

Norwich has a very handsome church from the turn of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, which is described by Wikipedia at St Andrew's Church, Norwich and by Norfolk Churches here

In York there are the remains of a church dedicated to St Andrew which was closed in the 1560s consolidation of the city parishes whic reduced them by half. There are also the remains of a medieval parish church under his patronage in Worcester.

Three northern parish churches under the patronage of St Andrew that are of particular interest to me. 

Greystoke in Cumberland is a substantial late medieval parish church that was made collegiate in 1382 by the then Lord Greystoke and which is notable for its surviving late medieval stained glass. It, and its notable features are described in Greystoke, Cumbria by Wikipedia, in Greystoke St Andrew's Church by Visit Cumbria and by Explore Churches in Greystoke St Andrew
The surviving stained glass is described and shown in Greystoke Church Stained-Glassin Greystoke, St. Andrew's Church: and in Panel of the Month.

Greystoke is a fine example of a late medieval pious chantry benefaction by a local aristocrat that, being away from what we might think of as the mainstream of national life illustrates how integrated such foundations were into the life of late medieval society.

Slaidburn church in the Forest of Bowland, although apparently largely rebuilt after his time, was the first church to which the future Bishop Richard Fleming was  presented and which he held In the year 1403-4, before moving on to more lucrative pastures. His appointment does nicely illustrate how the system could work in the favour of someone like “my” Bishop. The church is notable fir its early seventeenth century woodwork. Wikipedia has a short description at Slaidburn

Bolton on Dearne church in the southern West Riding is a wonderful Anglo-Saxon survival. What makes that entertaining as well is to visit it with a copy of the appropriate Pevsner Buildings of England. I assume this is unchanged in the latest revision but the main entry by the great man dismissed the church very quickly as over-restored in a few words, barely lines. However an asterisk points the reader in the second and subsequent editions to the appendix, where the true architectural significance of St Andrew’s Bolton-on-Dearne is brought out.

Wikipedia has a short account with a photograph at Church of St Andrew the Apostle, Bolton upon Dearne and it is also covered by Explore Churches at Bolton on Dearne St AndrewWhat these do not mention is that being in the “Barnsley Biretta belt” the church has a strong Anglo-Catholic tradition which adds considerably to its charm and appeal.

I posted a somewhat similar post to this on this day in 2011 which can be seen at Devotion to St Andrew in medieval England

St Andrew Pray for us

No comments: