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.
I was struck over the weekend by the appositeness of the Sunday Gospel, the parable of the labourers in the vineyard, to the situation facing Anglo-Catholics in respect of the Ordinariate.
It seems to me that the offer of working in the Lord's vineyard really has come to those who have been waiting around until the eleventh hour. The offer is there, and the promise the same as made to all other toilers therein. This really is the time to accept the offer, and enter in. There is precious little comfort out in the market place waiting for something or someone else to come along with a better offer - indeed the offer is on parity with that made to all others whom the Lord calls. There is no one else who can offer so much and so freely. There is no other offer.
For those already within the vineyard there is the reminder that we all enter with the same expectation, there is no higher reward on offer, so there should not be resentment at latecomers - just be gratefull they are there at last - nor hopes of preferential treatment on the basis of long service - preferential treatment comes for those who excell not by length of service but quality.