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 3 October 2023

Questionable Church Ales

Christopher Howse has an article in the Daily Telegraph about how the now popular idea arose that in the medieval period it was usual to hold social events, such as fund raising Church Ales, in the naves of parish churches. This notion is now increasingly discounted by serious historians such as Nicholas Orme. That is not to deny that naves did on occasion host non-religious events ( even if the diocesan reprobated such things ) and, in the case of cathedrals, on occasion parliamentary meetings such as the first one of the States General in 1300 in Notre Dame in Paris and the Irish Reformation Parliament in 1541 in Holy Trinity Cathedral ( now Christ  Church ) in Dublin.

Howse has some entertaining examples of what dis happen on occasion and also cites the development of thr Church House, especially in the south-west of England, in the later middle ages, although they are described at a much earlier date.

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