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

May Marian Pilgrimage

In 2020 to celebrate the rededication of England as the Dowry of Our Lady I took up an idea of Fr Hunwicke from his blog. This was, in the circumstances of lockdown, to have an online virtual Pilgrimage to medieval Marian shrines in England, visiting one each day in May. 
Fr Hunwicke derived this from a booklet outline such a series of virtual shrine visits produced at Walsingham about 1960. This in turn drew on the great scholarly endeavours of Fr.T.E.Bridgett in Dowry of Our Lady (1875) and of Edmund Waterton in Pietas Mariana Britannica (1879). These remainly largely unchallenged as resources for the serious study of medieval English Marian piety. Both are available online, as well as physical reprints of Waterton, and probably also of Bridgett. I will post separately about Edmund Waterton, a man local to my home area and the however many times great nephew of ‘my’ Bishop Richard Fleming.

These books cover the whole range of Marian devotion and this Pilgrimage only scratches the surface. I have basically followed the original route of the Walsingham booklet, adding in a few serious omissions, but not changing its idiosyncratic route from Glastonbury to Walsingham with its curious spurts across country - it is not one to attempt by public transport or by private!

The route takes in well known places for pilgrims and more local sites, but not what may be termed recorded parish devotion to a well-loved and honoured statue in a particular parish or monastic church. These are often recorded as the recipients of bequests in late medieval wills. To include all of these would mean barely leaving one’s home county. 

My original notes have been supplemented with additional notes each year as this Pilgrimage has become an established annual feature of this blog. Last year I focussed in particular on the royal links of many of these shrines to mark the Coronation and suggested that an intention of the Pilgrimage should be The King and The Queen. This year, given the health issues facing His Majesty and the Princess of Wales, I suggest that praying for the King and all the Royal Family should be one intention as well as any private ones we wish to make.

I have thought of including Welsh, Scottish and Irish shrines, using Bridgett and Waterton as a beginning, but to do that will require a separate Pilgrimage, hopefully for Assumptiontide in August.

So, with virtual Palmer scrip and staff in hand let us set off for Glastonbury…

1 comment:

Once I Was A Clever Boy said...

Errata - the correct title of the book by Fr. Bridgett is Our Lady’s dowry, or How England won and lost that title.