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.

Monday 5 February 2024

Early Christian Liturgical arrangements

The Liturgical Arts Journal recently had a pair of interesting and insightful articles by Shawn Tribe about early Christian basilicas and their liturgical arrangements. 

This was followed with a second article, which is splendidly illustrated, and it can be seen at 
Some of the points made tie in with the central argument in respect of the orientation - both literal and practical - of early basilican plan churches as an expression of the theological and liturgical requirement for the eastward position as set out by Fr. Uwe Michael Lang of the London Oratory in his Turning Towards the Lord.

In this country such liturgical arrangements have influenced a few nineteenth century church buildings. The best known if these is, of course, Bentley’s Westminster Cathedral, but the designer of the great Anglo-Catholic church of St Barnabas in Jericho in Oxford conciously sought to replicate on the banks of the Oxford Canal the style of early medieval churches of this type on the islands of the Venetian lagoon. 

One can speculate about examples from the first millennium in the churches founded by St Augustine in Canterbury or the occasional splendid examples which survive at Brixworth in Northamptonshire and maybe also Wing in Buckinghamshire. One could perhaps add to them the church at Conisborough in Yorkshire. Although now replaced by later medieval structures the churches built by that great Romaniser St Wilfrid In Northumbria may well have been of this type.

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