Wednesday, 15 September 2010


My good friend, Richard Potter, has emailed me to correct me gently. "I loved my time in Oxford and loved looking round the odd nooks and crannies, like the end of Merton chapel that they couldn't afford to finish so they painted the back wall to make it look like the finished thing. You went to Magdalen deer park - when I was there Brasenose called one of their quads 'the deer park' because at some time students had 'encouraged' a deer from Magdalen up the road and kept it for a while (presumably until they were found out) in the quad. Then there is Corpus Christi; in the quad as you enter there is a rare statue of a representation of Christ as a pelican - the eucharistic (Corpus Christi) reference is to the belief that pelicans plucked flesh from their own breast to feed their young.
"... and so many more, but one of the reasons I am writing is to point out a small error. John Henry Newman is not being canonised, but is being beatified a sort of half way stage. There needs to be a further miracle ascribed to his intercession before he is declared a saint. From Sunday, he will be known as Blessed John Henry Newman."

We wondered by the way what Magdalen kept deer for. Is it to provide home-grown venison for the fellows' high table? 

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