The Reverend Bruce Bridgewood (51-57) and Geoffrey Cox (51-59) organised a solemn sung Mass of Requiem for the repose of the soul of the school’s founder, John Dowman, and for all Old Pocklingtonians who have died in active service or otherwise.
The service took place at St Vedast’s Church in Foster Lane, just around the corner from St Paul’s Cathedral, on Saturday 22 November 2014 at 11am. Amongst the congregation were several OPs, the Headmaster Mark Ronan, and Past President of the OP Association, Tom Nash (68-77). Following the service there was an informal gathering at a local wine bar for refreshments.
Dowman was a leading churchman, Archdeacon of Suffolk and a canon residentiary of St Paul’s Cathedral. For a time he worked for Cardinal Wolsey as Auditor of Causes. He died in November 1526 and was buried in the Chapel of St Catherine on the south side of old St Paul’s.
In the codicil to his will, dated, strangely, the same day, he asks for ‘a solemn requiem mass’. We know that on the 8th and 9th of November 1553 – almost thirty years after his passing – John Dowman’s death was solemnly remembered in St Paul’s Cathedral: ‘Vpon Wednysday ye viij. of Novembar an obyt was kept in Poules for doctour Dolman, & vpon Thursday ye ix. Of Novembar ye byshope of London songe ye masse hymselfe’.
The Requiem Mass which was sung in St Vedast’s was almost certainly the first to be celebrated openly for him since those celebrated by Bishop Bonner during the Marian counter reformation between 1553 and 1558.