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 1 May 2024

Marian Pilgrimage - Our Lady of Glastonbury

The Pilgrimage begins at Glastonbury, that unique cradle of so many English traditions.

The amended post introducing the Glastonbury devotion to Our Lady can be seen at Marian Pilgrimage - Our Lady of Glastonbury

The statue in the Lady Chapel was claimed - time, circumstance and the catastrophic fire of 1184 notwithstanding - to be the work of St Joseph of Arimathea himself. According to Pynson’s ballad of 1520,

There Joseph lyved with other hermyttes twelfe
That were the chyfe of all the companye,
But Joseph was the chefe hym-selfe;
There led they an holy life and gostely.
Tyll, at the last, Jhesu the mighty,
He sent to Joseph thaungell gabryell,
Which bad hym, as the writing doth specify,
Of our Lady’s Assumpcyon to bylde a chapell

 So Joseph dyd as the aungell hym bad,
And wrought there an ymage of our Lady; 
For to serue her gret devocion he had,
And that same ymage is yet at Glastenbury,
In the same churche; there ye may it se
For it was the fyrst, as I vnderstande
That ever was sene in this countre;
For Joseph it made with his own hande 

From Life of Joseph of Arimathea EETS xliv,43
Waterton, 280

Pynson was, of course, the man who preserved in another ballad the story of the foundation of the Walsingham shrine.

It was at about this time that the chapel of St Joseph was created beneath the twelfth century rebuilding of the “Old Church” or Lady Chapel, and that the penultimate Abbot, Richard Bere added a chapel of Our Lady of Loretto to the north transept. He had visited Loretto whilst in Italy and clearly sought to provide more for pilgrims to his abbey. It’s unusual position is indicative of the way the original house now at Loretto has only three walls in front of a cave. Nothing remains above ground of the Abbot’s chapel but its site is marked out in the turf.


Model of Glastonbury Abbey on the eve of the dissolution in 1539.
The Lady Chapel is to the right, and the Loretto Chapel in the centre foreground extending west of the north transept.
Image: citydesert.wordpress.com

May Our Lady of Glastonbury pray for The King and all the Royal Family and for us all

1 comment:

Zephyrinus said...

Thank you, John, for your outstanding annual Marian Pilgrimage, starting at Glastonbury, today.

Such a beautiful way to venerate The Blessed Virgin, and so necessary in today's World.

In addition, I am delighted to say that my local Church, at this Saturday morning's Mass, will be Crowning the statue of The Blessed Virgin in Her month of May.

And the Church will be packed, I can assure your readers.