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 29 June 2023

St Peter and St Paul

Today is the Feast of St Peter and St Paul.

SS Peter and Paul, with SS John the Evangelist and Zeno.
The left panel of the polyptych of San Zeno painted in 1457-60 by Andrea Mantegna (c.1431-1506)

Image: New Liturgical Movement 

Tradition assets that both were martyred on this day, and both by their death in Rome sanctified the Church there, a charism that was to help create the Papacy.

A nearly contemporaneous work by Carlo Crivelli (1430/5-c.1494) painted for a church in Fermo and that is now in the National Gallery in London, is illustrated and analysed in a post from 2020 from the Dominican Chaplaincy of St Albert at Edinburgh University and it can be seen at 
Crivelli's Saints Peter and PaulI must say in the two images it includes of St Peter by Crivelli the Prince of the Apostles looks distinctly grumpy.

Historic customs associated with the joint feast are outline in a post from Tradition in Action at Celebrating the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul by Rachel L. Lozowski

Although both are celebrated today I think it fair to say that St Peter tends to be the more prominent in the perception of the faithful. This doubtless a consequence of the Vicariate of Christ exercised by the Pope, and the more immediate association of St Peter with Rome. This is all summarised by the vesting of the great bronze statue of St Peter in the Vatican basilica on this day.

st peter vatican

St. Peter statue in the Vatican Basilica 
in solemn Papal vestments

Image: Tradition in Action

Now all we need is a living Pope vested like that.

Wednesday 28 June 2023

The Church and Rite of Lyon

Today is the feast of St Ireneus, one of the most influential of the early Fathers of the Church, and now declared a Doctor of the Church, and Bishop of Lyon in the late second century. His death, traditionally by martyrdom, although that is a somewhat disputed point, occurred circa 202. Wikipedia has an account of what is known of his life and a summary of his teaching in his one surviving work Against the Heresies at Irenaeus

His bishopric at Lyon developed into an Archbishopric and from 1079 it has held the title Primate of Gaul. This gave the Archbishop nominal oversight of the ecclesiastical provinces of Rouen, Tours and Sens, but no actual administrarive  authority. In 1702 Rouen was detached, and as Primates of Gaul and of Normandy these two Archbishops are the only French ones to have such a status. 

From 1032 to 1312 the Archbishops were rulers of the city, which was a major ecclesiastical and spiritual centre, not infrequently the residence of Popes and the place where two Councils of the Church were held in the thirteenth century.

The history of the diocese is set out by Wikipedia at Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Lyon and of the cathedral of St John the Baptist at Lyon Cathedral

Lyon is renowned for retaining through many centuries its own distinctive liturgical rite. There is an introduction to this in the Catholic Encyclopaedia account of the diocese at CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Lyons

Their website has also had a number of videos of recent celebrations of this liturgy. One example is at Video of Solemn Mass in the Rite of Lyon others can be found by searching their website.

Our Lady of Perpetual Succour

Yesterday was the feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. This very well known icon appears to have been created in Crete in the thirteenth century, and the original in Rome has become very well known and loved by the faithful across the world in the last century and a half through photography and other copies.

The New Liturgical Movement has reproduced a 2016 article by Michael P. Foley from the Messenger of St Antony which is a history of the icon, its symbolism and of devotion to it at Perpetual Helper

Tuesday 27 June 2023

Prayers of a fretful and ailing monarch

The Mail Online reports on an academic study of two copies of Psalms and Prayers, compiled by Queen Catherine Parr and which are believed to have belonged to King Henry VIII. One of the volumes is in the collection at Elton Hall in Huntingdonshire and the other, its previous royal ownership only recently attributed, is in the remarkable Getty Library at Wormsley in Buckinghamshire. Both Elton and Wormsley are fascinating to visit in their own right - Elton as a house with medieval beginnings and open to the public, Wormsley is open by arrangement for groups and is an amazing treasury of books and bindings.

Psalms and Prayers was published in 1544 and the work of the King’s bluestocking sixth Queen, a lady with definitely evangelical tendencies. This was at a time when the King’s government led by the Duke of Norfolk and Bishop Gardiner had a distinctly Catholic temper whilst many of those around the Court, and particularly the heir Prince Edward, such as the new Queen and the Earl of Hertford ( the future Protector Somerset ) were inclined towards reformed religion. With an ageing and ailing monarch and a malleable heir there were very high stakes to play for. 

That the King was using this more ‘modern’ prayer book rather than the Books of Hours on which he was doubtless raised is in itself very interesting.

The particular focus of this research has been on the various marginal notes which are believed to have been made by the King himself to indicate particular verses. In most cases they are in the medieval tradition of a hand with a pointing finger, or, in other cases, a triangle of dots and a linking flourish. 

The verses the King highlighted referred to illness, from which he increasingly suffered in these years, and to fear of Divine judgement. The latter certainly suggests a more reflective and introspective man than the popular perception of him. 

Whatever one thinks of King Henry VIII - and how much one thinks he should have feared the wrath of God and needed His mercy - it is fascinating to have this glimpse into the inner life of such a ruler and in that period of history.

Monday 26 June 2023

The Pied Piper of Hamelin

When I was at junior school I remember being introduced to Robert Browning’s poem The Pied Piper of Hamelin and that we also had books from a series of introductions to topics that were from a ‘Pied Piper’ series, the front cover bearing an image of the piper. I cannot imagine, given contemporary sensitivities, that such a title for a range of books would be deemed suitable today.

Medievalists.net recently had an article about the sources for the story of the abduction of the children of Hamelin, which is said to have occurred on June 26th 1284. So it seems appropriate to share the link to it on this 739th anniversary. The article itself can be viewed at The Pied Piper of Hamelin: A Medieval Mass Abduction?

Wikipedia has a detailed article at Pied Piper of Hamelin about the legend, explores a range of hypotheses as to its origins and shows how very many times the story has been retold in the last century or so, and also explores that theme in Pied Piper of Hamelin in popular culture

Saturday 24 June 2023

Restoring the interior of Notre Dame

One piece of good news in recent days has been the announcement by the church authorities in Paris that they are abandoning the highly controversial ideas that had been proposed for the new scheme for the interior of Notre Dame following the 2019 fire. 

Instead they have decided upon a more conservative plan that reflects the historic arrangement of French medieval cathedrals. In addition there are plans for a major new reliquary for the Crown of Thorns acquired by St Louis in the mid-thirteenth century. Together with the already announced plans to recreate Viollet-Le-Duc’s flèche over the crossing it means that the restored cathedral will remain faithful to its builders’ intentions.

The Daily Telegraph website reports on the new plans and on reaction to them as well as the progress being made with the restoration of the main fabric in Notre-Dame shelves ‘politically correct’ restoration after backlash

The Nativity of St John the Baptist

Today is the feast of the Natvity of St John the Baptist.

The New Liturgical Movement has reproduced an informed and informative article by Michael P. Foley from the Summer issue of the magazine The Latin Mass about the life of the Great Forerunner which repays reading. It examines the Gospel accounts of St John as well as the Old Testament background to and context of his ministry and its place in the Jewish tradition. The author draws attention to the importance of accuracy in translation of the narratives, and to the physical realities of the Baptist’s life. It also considers his place in Salvation history, together with how perceptions of that have developed and changed in recent centuries. That last process has unfortunately led to a decline in appreciation of St John the Baptist’s significance today by comparison with the widespread devotion to him earlier centuries.

The article can be read at The Forgotten Forerunner

File:Anton Raphael Mengs - St. John the Baptist Preaching in the Wilderness - Google Art Project.jpg

St John the Baptist Preaching in the Wilderness

Anton Raphael Mengs (1728-79), probably painted in the 1760s.

Museum of Fine Arts Houston


Friday 23 June 2023

Reconstructing the face of a seventh century woman

The continuing work of interpreting a seventh century burial discovered at Trumpington near Cambridge in 2012 has been in the news in recent days with the publication of a facial reconstruction of the teenage occupant of the grave. Research into her skeleton indicates she probably came from the area immediately north of the alps and moved to this country after she was seven, but that she died aged only about sixteen. Her burial is assigned to the years 650-675, so very much the time that St Etheldreda was establishing her monastery nearby at Ely.

The burial is one of a rare type in which the body was laid out on a bed-like structure. It was definitely Christian and included another rare and significant feature in a garnet decorated cross. It is clear that the female was high status, though whether as a nun or a member of an aristocratic circles - or indeed both - is not clear.

The BBC News website has an article about the latest research at Teenage Anglo-Saxon girl's face revealed

Phys Org has a report about the interpretation of the evidence at Researchers reconstruct lifestyle and face of 7th-century Anglo-Saxon teen

Fr Hunwicke also brings this thoughts about the grave and what it suggests in his post A new piece in an old jigsaw?

Medieval table manners

Anyone who has studied social life in the medieval period is aware that eating was not only more often a public activity than it is today but that there were clear expectations of good table manners for those occasions. This can be seen from texts such the Rule of St Benedict onwards and the high and later Middle Ages abounded with books of courtesy and manners. These may well have been intended for those who were ‘getting on in society’ and wished to know how they, and their children, should behave. The texts of such sources, the works of historians and today of video presenters on both social life in the past and food history make this readily available.

Despite this there survives a residual idea of coarse and oafish behaviour at medieval meals amongst not a few of our contemporaries. Film and television far too often perpetuate the myth. It is perhaps due in part to a misunderstanding of a scene played by Charles Laughton in the 1930s Korda film The Six Wives of Henry VIII. One might hope people would learn, but alas they tend not to. 

In a further attempt to redress the balance Medievalists.net recently published an article looking at what was expected in the middle ages at table. It draws upon original sources and can be read at Medieval Table Manners: The Messiest Myth?

So sit up straight, wait for the aquamamile to come to rinse your hands, don’t wipe them or yo our nose on the all important tablecloth, keep your personal cutlery clean and tidy, don’t grab andbe greedy, and enjoy being in an ordered, civilised society….

Monday 19 June 2023

The Seventeenth century in contemporary context

Dominic Sandbrook - best known for writing and broadcasting about twentieth century history - has an interesting article on the UnHerd website about the seventeenth century.

In it he examines parallels between the era of the Stuarts and our own, partly through the eyes and diaries of Samuel Pepys, but also from a range of literature. Along the way we encounter erratic political leadership, political and social upheaval - and its redress - and dramatic climate change on a global scale.

The article deals with a wide range of history and historiography in a short and insightful compass and can be seen at Welcome to the 17th Century

Friday 16 June 2023

The autobiography of a fourteenth century Italian priest

Medievalists.net has an interesting article about the autobiography of Opicino de Canastris,1296-1353, which survives in a Vatican MS. This is a text I was unaware of, and although its very spare and staccato style is far less literary than other medieval autobiographies, such as the Confessions of St Augustine or the Book of Margery Kempe, or biographies such as that by Jocelyn of Brakelond of Abbot Samson or by Joinville of St Louis, it still offers fascinating insights into the life, and inner thoughts, of an official in the Papal Curia in Avignon.

The article, which links to a modern edition of Canastris’ book and to the manuscript itself online, can be seen at A Medieval Autobiography

Celebrating the Anglo-Portuguese alliance

Yesterday The King and the President of Portugal met in London to celebrate the 650th anniversary of the Anglo-Portuguese alliance concluded in June 1373. This in turn was based on one agreed the previous year and was to be reaffirmed in 1386. It is the longest enduring treaty of amity and alliance in the world.

The history of the alliance is outlined by Wikipedia at Anglo-Portuguese Alliance

The 1372 alliance between the two realms is described at Treaty of Tagilde

The 1373 Treaty of London, signed in St Paul’s, between King Edward III and King Ferdinand I is discussed at Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of 1373

Wikipedia has a relatively brief life of the Portuguese King at Ferdinand I of Portugal

The Treaty of Windsor from 1386 between King Richard II and King Joao I is discussed in a much more cursory fashion at  Treaty of Windsor (1386)King Joao was to go on to marry King Richard’s cousin Philippa of Lancaster and their sons and daughter were at the heart of the extraordinary achievements of Portugal in the following century. The close ties between the houses of Lancaster and Aviz in the first half of the fifteenth century were more than just diplomatic but also of cultural and institutional significance.

For those interested in reading more about the origins and development of the alliance the book to read is P.E. Russell’s magisterial English Intervention in Spain and Portugal in the reigns of Edward III and Richard II. Now I accept that might not sound very exciting, but I assure you that it is an immensely readable and very thoroughly researched account. I still recall the thrill of reading it as an undergraduate over fifty years ago. Thirty or so years later in Oxford I had the immense privilege of attending a seminar given by Sir Peter ( as he had then become ) about his last work, his equally great biography of Henry the Navigator, one of the sons of King Joao and Queen Philippa.

The events yesterday included a meeting and military review at Buckingham Palace between King and President - with the latter making King Charles a Knight Grand Collar of the Order of the Tower and the Sword. The Order was first founded in 1459 by King Afonso V and revived in 1808 by the future King Joao VI. Wikipedia has an illustrated history of the Order at Military Order of the Tower and Sword

This was followed by a service of thanksgiving in The Queen’s Chapel. Initially I wondered why until I realised how appropriate a choice it was. As can be seen in the following two videos above the east window of the chapel are the arms of Queen Catherine of Braganza, the only Portuguese Queen Consort of this country. Like her fellow Catholic Stuart Queens Consort this was the chapel provided for their devotions.

The videos can be seen at King Charles Marks 650th Anniversary of Anglo-Portuguese Alliance from the Royal Family Channel and, from the Portuguese Presidential website, at Cerimónia comemorativa dos 650 anos dos Tratados de Tagilde e de Londres

The Mail Online has an article with video content about the day which can be seen at King Charles welcomes Portugal's President at Buckingham Palace

Several years ago through a mutual friend I met the president of the commemoration Dr Maria Joao Rodrigues de Araújo, who is quoted in the Daily Mail article, when she was studying in Oxford. From the videos it looks very much as if she is to be congratulated on a very fitting and successful day.

Tuesday 13 June 2023

An early fifteenth century chasuble from Gdańsk

The Liturgical Arts Journal website often has articles about historic vestments and the history of their development. A recent post was about a very fine chasuble from the church of St Mary in Gdańsk ( Danzig ) and which is dated to about 1420. Given the chequered history of tge city over many centuries, as set out by Wikipedia at Gdańsk is something of a wonder that it has survived, and indeed in such good condition. The vestment itself is illustrated and described at A Chasuble From the Year 1420

As a fine quality piece of work it is a further reminder that the Baltic lands were very much part of the integrated culture of later medieval Europe. Gdańsk/Danzig had trading links which reached across the continent by both land and sea. The chasuble is made of Italian silk, lined with Spanish silk and the orpheries are apparently Bohemian in origin or style.

At the time the chasuble was made the city was ruled by the Teutonic Knights, but the overlordship was contested with the Kingdom of Poland. A few years earlier the Knights had clashed with the King and his Lithuanian confederates and their allies at the battle of Grunwald ( or first battle of Tannenberg ) on the borders of East Prussia and Poland. The catestrophic defeat of the Teutonic Knights at the battle is often presented as the beginning of their decline and to their eventual acknowledgement of Polish suzerainty in 1466. There is a detailed account of the battle and its place in the Polish historical consciousness from Wikipedia at Battle of Grunwald

The battle became and has remained a defining event for the Poles, rather like Bannockburn for the Scots, Aljubarrota for the Portuguese or, in their different ways, Hastings, Agincourt, Blenheim and Waterloo for the English. The celebration of Grunwald in nineteenth century Polish patriotic painting is described at Battle of Grunwald (Matejko)

For the Prussians there was a conscious attempt to redefine history by naming the defeat in the same region of the Russians in 1914 as the second battle of Tannenberg.

So the chasuble is not just a beautiful item in itself but a reminder of a complex network of political and cultural processes that were shaping the future of the region in the early fifteenth century.

Saturday 10 June 2023

Recovering a tapestry commissioned by King Henry VIII

The Spectator has a stimulating article about a tapestry which is apparently the sole survivor from a set of nine illustrating the life of St Paul and commissioned in 1534 by King Henry VIII. Lost from the Royal Collection at Windsor in 1770 it turned up again in recent years in Spain. There is now the distinct possibility that, with appropriate National Heritage Memorial Fund money and independent giving, it can be bought back and housed at the Auckland Project in County Durham. The appeal for funds runs until the end of this year and it is possible to donate online.

Tapestries were the ideal expression of power and prestige in the late medieval centuries and in the early modern period, and monarchs such as King Henry spent lavishly on such splendid courtly hangings. Time and chance have caused the loss of many and damage and decay to others. This example has not only survived but is also in remarkably good condition.

The article - which includes a link for individual donations to the appeal - can be seen at We must save this Tudor masterpiece for the nation

Identifying Thomas Cromwell’s Book of Hours

The Fine Books & Collections website has an interesting piece about the identification of a Book of Hours in the collection of Trinity College Cambridge as having been the property of Thomas Cromwell and as being the one shown in the Holbein portrait of him.

This came about as a result of an exhibition at Hever Castle of devotional books associated with Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn and how that prompted a further look at the Trinity volume. The article goes on to claim that the book is the only object depicted in a portrait of the period known to still survive.

Despite showing a seemingly vague understanding of Books of Hours as such the article is of interest and can be seen at Thomas Cromwell’s Holbein Portrait Book of Hours Discovered

Thursday 8 June 2023

More medieval humour

Following on from my recent posts about research into medieval entertainment, Fifteenth century stand up comedyMore on fifteenth century comedy and Medieval conjuring tricks I see that the theme has also been picked up by an Oxford academic, Prof. Marion Turner, in an enjoyable article in the Daily Telegraph. Her underlying argument is that humour and what we find, sometimes inexplicably, funny does not change over time. She also points to how texts were read or performed in the past, or indeed, today, affects how the humour is brought out.

One example she gives is from The Canterbury Tales with the wickedly entertaining Miller’s Tale. Wonderfully naughty it is not original to Chaucer who, I think, got it from Flanders, but re-located it to Oxford. When I used to do literary tours of Oxford this was one of my favourites to discuss and to make the point it really does relate to the reality of life in late fourteenth century Oxford. Chaucer makes the world of town and gown really come alive with very specific topographical references. He also provides a comical version of an evergreen plot - one which Hollywood used to great effect in the mid-twentieth century with dramas such as Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice.

Having said that about Chaucer may I quickly add that the idea one sometimes comes across that Chaucer is basically just smutty is seriously wrong. He might write about themes that are distinctly earthy, but he is at the same time a satirical observer who was marvellous in his subtlety - as acute an observer of the variety of his contemporaries as Jane Austen was of hers or Charles Dickens of his.

In this day and age of sensitive souls perhaps I should issue a trigger warning that Prof. Turner’s article discusses matter that some might find problematic, but what the hell - if you are already reading this blog I doubt you will be offended ( and the title of her article in effect carries a warning ).

Monday 5 June 2023

Drinking water in the middle ages

Medievalists.net has an article which is designed as a corrective to the oft repeated idea that people in the middle ages did not drink water because it was contaminated and drank ale or wine instead.

The author argues that medieval people knew perfectly well which water was safe to drink and which was not.

The article, which has a quite lengthy list of further reading material, can be read at Did people drink water in the Middle Ages?

Medieval conjuring tricks

Last week I linked in two posts to articles about recent research that gives some idea of medieval comedy performance by an English minstrel in the Midlands about 1480. There is another similar summary at Scholars may have an authentic manuscript of a medieval comedy show — and it's pretty funny

To continue with the theme of medieval types of entertainment I saw that Medievalists.net has a post about magic tricks set out in the Secretum Philosophorum which was written about 1300. The instances given in the article do indicate an awareness of what today we would term elementary chemistry and physics. A somewhat similar trick - in that case how to carry water in a sieve - is featured in Robertson Davies’ very entertaining novel The Rebel Angels.

With the proviso that some of these tricks should probably not be tried at home, the article can be read at 13 Magic Tricks from the Middle Ages

It also has a select bibliography that looks to be useful for those who want to look further into the place of magic in medieval life.

Sunday 4 June 2023

The assault on Tradition within the Church

My redoubtable friend Fr Hunwicke has a typically telling and forceful post on his blog about the assault on Tradition in the Church and the disjunction in its life and numbers with what was imagined would happen some sixty or so years ago.

His post, together with the equally insightful comments from some of his readers, is well worth reading and reflecting upon and can be seen at SMASH TRADITION

Celebrating Cardinal Wolsey

The fire in Ashburnham House in Westminster in 1731 famously destroyed some and damaged others of the manuscripts in the immensely important Cottonian collection which became one of the foundation collections of the British Museum Library. 

Its successor the British Library now holds the collection and regularly posts about its relevant holdings on its always interesting Medieval manuscripts blog. In a recent post it discusses work that has been done on a charred fragment from the 1731 fire which modern technology has enabled scholars to identify as the remains of a panegyric dedicated to Cardinal Wolsey and composed by the antiquary John Leland. Hitherto the work was only known from John Bale’s catalogue and was assumed to be lost.

This is another instance of new techniques helping to reveal more from surviving manuscripts. In recent years there have been accounts of palimpsests being revealed and marginalia recovered which have yielded new and significant textual iinformation.

The post about the panegyric, which includes a link to another about the project looking at the charred fragments, can be viewed at Lost and found: in praise of Cardinal Wolsey

Saturday 3 June 2023

Conserving and exhibiting the Declaration of Arbroath

The BBC News website has a report about the process of conserving the Declaration of Arbroath for display for this coming month at the National Museum of Scotland. The 1320 letter from the leading Scottish nobility and landholders to Pope John XXII survives in one unique copy, and although, as a linked article on the website shows, its significance has changed over the centuries it remains both a fascinating insight into the political thought and culture of early fourteenth century Scotland and as a symbolic statement of national identity.

I posted about the Declaration three years ago on its seven hundredth anniversary and included in the post the translated text of the open letter. That post can be seen at The Declaration of Arbroath 1320

I followed it up with another post which illustrates the political volatility of Scotland at that time and it can be read at After Arbroath - the Soules conspiracy

Pentecost - Baptisms, Octave and Ember Days

As we come to the end of the Pentecost Octave the New Liturgical Movement has a pair of well researched and presented articles by Gregory DiPippo about the liturgical history of Pentecost and its octave which repay reading. They indicate the emergence in the fifth and sixth centuries of what became the established practice form to the mid-twentieth century.

Last weekend when looking at the current 1970 Missal I was quite surprised to see that it provides a Vigil Mass for Pentecost, thus continuing the traditional concept. Hitherto I had only encountered a modern celebration of the Pentecost Vigil at Blackfriars in Oxford and had assumed it was a celebration peculiar to them or to the Dominicans as a congregation. I am surprised that more parishes do not avail themselves of this provision in the Missal. Such a liturgy introduces the celebration of Pentecost with additional solemnity, and can br seen as providing a more ceremonious conclusion to the Easter season before the modern lurch into Ordinary Time. It is all the more surprising when one recalls the post-Vatican II renewed emphasis on the operation of the  Holy Spirit in the life of the Church and of the individual.

Friday 2 June 2023

Conserving the Bishop’s Palace in Lincoln

The ruins of the medieval Bishop’s Palace in Lincoln reopen today following a conservation project which is described by BBC News at Lincoln Medieval Bishops' Palace walls turfed to protect ruins and in more detail by Lincolnshire Live at 'Important' medieval palace 'saved for the future' by masons

English Heritage who administer the remains of the Palace have produced a video about the project which can be viewed at Conservation in Action: Lincoln Medieval Bishops' Palace

The Palace was one of the not inconsiderable number of residences of the medieval Bishops of Lincoln. Because of their responsibility for a diocese that stretched from the Humber to the Thames they were not that frequently in Lincoln itself, although the Palace within the cathedral close was their foremost residence. It was there, for example, that Bishop Fleming entertained King Henry V at his episcopal enthronement feast in 1421, and Fleming’s next but one successor William Alnwick made significant alterations to the twelfth and thirteenth century core of the complex. 

Wikipedia has a well illustrated account of the Palace at Lincoln Medieval Bishop's Palace

The bishops followed an extensive itinerary rather like a figure of eight around their residences in what was the second largest in area, and most populous, diocese in medieval England.

Thus from their London house at the Old Temple on Holborn they could travel north to Buckden in Huntingdonshire, which from the seventeenth century was to be a favoured residence, to Lyddington in Rutland and near to Stamford in the middle of the diocese, then to Sleaford Castle and along the Wolds to their manor and park at Louth, to Nettleham just outside Lincoln and then to the Lincoln Palace. From Lincoln a journey north-west took the bishop to Stow - associated with St Hugh - and then just over the county and diocesan boundary to the substantial castle at Newark, and back to Lyddington. Although there were no episcopal residences in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire these could be reached from Lyddington or from the bishop’s castle at  Banbury in Oxfordshire. In that county there was another manor house at Thame and other at Fingest and Wooburn in Buckinghamshire before a return to London. In the early sixteenth century it was seen as a diocese which required a resident diocesan bishop rather than relying on a Vicar General or other deputies. The published Visitations of monasteries from the middle illustrate this assiduity well.

As a result Bishops of Lincoln were rarely holders of officerships of state or members of government, save for the brief periods as Chancellor for Henry Beaufort, Thomas Rotherham and John Russell in the fifteenth century.

Thursday 1 June 2023

More on fifteenth century comedy

Further to my previous post about the identification of performance notes of a comedy session by a minstrel about 1480 I see that Medievalists.net now has an article about this research.

It is longer than the news reports which I linked to yesterday and, whilst including a useful link to the academic article on which it is based, is considerably shorter than that but does serve as an excellent epitome.