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 13 October 2023

More on the Cardinal Pole exhibition at Lambeth Palace

Basing it on a Supremacy and Survival article by Stephanie A. Mann I posted the other day about the current exhibition about Cardinal Pole at Lambeth Palace in Cardinal Pole exhibition at Lambeth Palace

Cardinal Reginald Pole
A portrait of 1540 by Sebastiano del Piombo

Image: Supremacy and Survival 

Stephanie now has a further post about the exhibition and links to its online digital version at Pole and His Books at Lambeth

As she writes in her notes opinions of historians and writers about Pole have been sharply divided on confessional lines from the time of his death until recent years. Recently he has attracted scholarly interest and new biographers. Whilst they may not share a consensus about him they do indicate his significance in his own lifetime and his legacy to the Catholic Church in Europe and, in its adversity, to the Catholic community in England after 1558. As a man he appears to have been complex and elusive, resolute yet evasive, intense but enigmatic to most who knew him. A sophisticated intelligent  artistocratic Italianate Englishman moving at the highest levels in the Church at Trent and in Rome, apparently almost being elected to the throne of St Peter in the Conclave of 1549-50,  yet with a life marked by profound personal tragedies and inner irresolutions. I am tempted to write that for all that he was very much a man of the international humanist sixteenth century his ancestry had been forged in the crucible of the Wars of the Roses and the fifteenth century.

The Wikipedia biography of Cardinal Pole can be seen at Reginald Pole

A friend who has just visited the exhibition tells me he enjoyed visiting it. I hope to get to see it myself. The same friend also commends another current Lambeth exhibition about the Court of Arches.

On November 17 2008 I had the privilege of being thurifer at an EF Requiem for the Cardinal on the 450th anniversary of his death in the chapel at Magdalen, his old college, in Oxford.

The cost of arms of Cardinal Pole before his elevation to Canterbury in 1556.
His ancestry from the House of York and the Plantagenets and also from the medieval English nobility - Nevilles, Beauchamps, Montagus, Clares and Despensers - is confidently displayed

Image: Wikimedia 


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this!

Stephanie A. Mann said...

Thank you very much for sharing these links to my blog.
I appreciate your comments about Edward, Henry VI's son, on Father Hunwicke's blog and hope you could provide more insight in the cult to that prince in future. I knew about Henry VII's promotion of a sainthood Cause for Henry VI, but not about any devotion to Edward of Westminster.
Thanks again.

Once I Was A Clever Boy said...

I must admit that the idea of a ‘cult’ of Prince Edward was news to me. I knew that some years after the pilgrimage offerings sent in 1502 that the Duke of Buckingham and his household made a pilgrimage to Tewkesbury in honour of the Prince and that Princess Mary stopped at Tewkesbury on her way to Ludlow in the later 1520s.

In addition I saw recently that in 1500 Henry VII founded a chantry at Tewkesbury Abbey to pray for him, his Queen, Prince Arthur and their other children, and for the souls of Prince Edward, of Henry’s father Edmund Earl of Richmond, and of Edmund Duke of Somerset and his brother Lord John Beaufort - both were casualties of the 1471 battle, and first cousins of his mother Lady Margaret. This was for a daily Mass in St James chapel, where the Beaufort brothers were buried in the monastic church and for Dirge and Mass annually on May 4-5 for the dead. St James chapel is now the Abbey shop, so not so pious these days…

As I suggested in my comments on Fr Hunwicke’s blog I wonder if the cult of Prince Edward reflects a sentiment as to the loss of a young man as with post WWI attitudes to the fallen in general and particular, and also something of that sense of devotion to at least the memory of figures such as Louis XVII and the Tsarevich Alexei - something like the Orthodox concept of Passion Bearers, which status Nicholas II and his family are now accorded. There was also after 1184 the brief attempt to promote the cult of Henry the Young King.

If there really was such an attempt with Edward of Westminster it is more like the Anglo-Saxon veneration of slain kings and princes than the type of thing that one would expect - but there we may be missing what was going on in the past - in the later middle ages after canonisation procedure was developed. That said there was for example the lively cult of St Thomas of Pontefract - Thomas Earl of Lancaster, executed in 1322 - which shows that a mix of popular feeling and political encouragement could generate considerable interest and devotion.