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.
Thinking of visiting Oxford?
Allow me to be your guide... and discover the history of Oxford with an Oxford historian.
I offer a wide range of guided walks around the city and university. These can be a general introduction to the history and architecture or looking at specific themes and subjects.
I am a Catholic and a historian based in Oxford, where I am a member of Oriel College. My research, for a long delayed D.Phil., is a study of Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln in the second decade of the fifteenth century. I also work as a freelance tutor in History and as an independent tour guide.
I was received into the Church in 2005 and am a Brother of the External Oratory of St Philip Neri at the Oxford Oratory.
On Sunday evening I was a guest at dinner in the Hall at Keble College. Designed by William Butterfield and completed in 1878 it was deliberately built to be seven feet longer than the Hall at Christ Church, and like that structure, is on the first floor, and approached by an impressive staircase. It includes a musician's gallery half way along from which the choir sang the college grace at the beginning of dinner.
It underwent a major cleaning and restoration in 2003-4, which revealed the splendour of the stencilled ceiling. This was my first visit to the hall and it is a spectacular piece of Victorian High Church confidence.
The view looking east Image: Philosopher Queen on Flickr
The view towards High Table
Image: Andrew Harrington on Flickr
Quite apart from all that it was a very convivial evening discussing the history of Pakistan with our host as well as, this being Oxford, plenty of church gossip.