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.

Wednesday 6 December 2023

Gilbert White

The eighteenth century Hampshire clergyman and pioneering naturalist Gilbert White was recently featured in an online article from the Guardian about local initiatives in and around his home parish of Selborne in Hampshire are following in his footstep to respond to changes in the landscape and to seek to restore it. The article can be read at ‘Rude magnificence’ restored: following in the footsteps of pioneering naturalist Gilbert White | Rewilding

Two 2020 articles reflect similar interpretations of his enduring legacy. The first is from Country Life and can be seen at Gilbert White: The naturalist whose poetic but precise words changed how we see the world

The other is from the website of The Pallant in Chichester and can be viewed at Who was Gilbert White and why is he important? | Perspectives

I first became aware of The Natural History of Selborne through my mother and her reading of him. Later in life I was to find that Gilbert White was a fellow Orielensis.

The Wikipedia account of his life and assessment of his contribution to the study of natural history can be seen at Gilbert White

He does indeed appear as a prophetic figure about regarding and appreciating nature on our doorstep and an eminently appropriate voice for the twenty first century to listen to.

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