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.

Saturday 4 May 2024

Marian Pilgrimage - Our Lady at the North Door and Our Lady of Pew in Westminster Abbey

The Pilgrimage now moves to Westminster Abbey and Palace to three medieval shrines of Our Lady. The modern Pilgrim can also go along to Westminster Cathedral to see the renewed shrine there with a medieval English alabaster statue of the Virgin and Child as well as seeing a copy of that in the Abbey’s restored chapel of Our Lady of Pew. 

I set out the complexities of these various places of devotion in my 2021 article Our Lady of Westminster

In that I also cite the work of my friend the late Fr Mark Elvins OFM Cap. about the central place of the chapel of Our Lady of Pew in the story of King Richard II and his vow to make England the Dowry of Mary in 1381. 

My 2023 version can be seen at Marian Pilgrimage - Our Lady of Westminster

Edmund Waterton gives reference to both statues in the Abbey. He quotes an inventory which lists the gold cope for the statue at the North Door. He also discusses the origin of the term Pew to describe the chapel and statue in both the abbey and the chapel of both the abbey and the royal chapel in the palace. Waterton inclinded to the view that the term Pew was a term to describe a Pièta, and it is clear from his work that such statues were by non means infrequent in later medieval England. The other explanation is that the chapels both in the Abbey and the Palace were places designed for private devotion by the King and his companions.
Edmund Waterton gives many examples from records of financial offerings to Our Lady of Pew by Kings, Queens, and courtiers.

May Our Lady at the North Door and Our Lady of Pew at Westminster pray for The King and all the Royal Family and for us all.

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