My mission from the Bishop of Oxford
I met the right reverend Bishop Steven croft at Christchurch, Oxford to tell him of my big adventure.
Cycling over 3 countries to Santiago de Compostela and the tomb of St James. There’s a unique connection to the diocese of Oxford.
For 900 years the left hand of St James the apostle has been in the Thames valley.
William the Conqueror’s grand daughter Matilda was given it as a wedding present and offered it to her father king Henry 1 who put it in his new abbey at Reading.
There it stayed on display attracting pilgrims for over 400 years until Henry V111 and the dissolution of the monasteries.
To save it from destruction an enterprising monk bricked it into a secret hole in the wall of the abbey where it stayed for another 250 years…..
In the 1780s workmen clearing the ruins of the abbey (to make way for Reading prison) found it. It went to Reading museum and was sold for £30 to a collector. The collector put it into Danesfield manor and when that changed hands it was presented to the little church in Marlow where it remains to this day.
I shared my photos of it with bishop Steven who asked me to invite the Archbishop of Santiago to come and visit.
We ended with a blessing…..