Richard Courtenay

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Richard Courtenay
Bishop of Norwich
AppointedJune 1413
Term endedSeptember 1415
Predecessor Alexander Tottington
Successor John Wakering
Other posts Dean of St Asaph
Dean of Wells
Consecration17 September 1413
Personal details
Died c. 15 September 1415
Harfleur, France
Buried Westminster Abbey
Denomination Roman Catholic
Parents Sir Philip Courtenay of Powderham Castle
Alma mater Exeter College, Oxford

Richard Courtenay (died 15 September 1415) was an English prelate and university chancellor, [1] who served as Bishop of Norwich 1413-15.



Courtenay was a son of Sir Philip Courtenay of Powderham Castle near Exeter, and a grandson of Hugh de Courtenay, 10th Earl of Devon (died 1377). He was a nephew of William Courtenay, archbishop of Canterbury, and a descendant of King Edward I of England. [2] From an early age he was renowned for his intellect and personal beauty. He was nicknamed "the flower of Devon". [3]

Educated at Exeter College, Oxford, Courtenay entered the church, where his advance was rapid. He held several prebends, was Dean of St Asaph and then Dean of Wells,[ citation needed ] and became Bishop of Norwich in June 1413, [2] being consecrated on 17 September 1413. [4]

As Chancellor of the University of Oxford, [5] an office to which Courtenay was elected more than once, Courtenay asserted the independence of the University against Thomas Arundel, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1411; but the Archbishop, supported by King Henry IV and Antipope John XXIII, eventually triumphed. [2]

Courtenay was a close friend of King Henry V both before and after he came to the throne; and in 1413, immediately after Henry's accession, he was made treasurer of the royal household. On two occasions he went on diplomatic errands to France, and he was also employed by Henry on public business at home. Having accompanied the king to Harfleur in August 1415, Courtenay succumbed to dysentery [ citation needed ] and died about 15 September 1415. [4] The closeness of the attachment has led to speculation that Courtenay may have played a critical role in mentoring Henry to become a respected monarch, and that his relationship with Henry may have been more than a friendship. [3]


Another member of this family was Peter Courtenay (died 1492), a grandnephew of Richard. He also attained high position in the English Church. [2]


  1. Wood, Anthony (1790). "Fasti Oxonienses". The History and Antiquities of the Colleges and Halls in the University of Oxford. pp. 37, 39–40.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Chisholm 1911.
  3. 1 2 Was my ancestor King Henry V's lover?, Daily Telegraph, 7 April 2017;
  4. 1 2 Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 262
  5. Hibbert, Christopher, ed. (1988). "Appendix 5: Chancellors of the University". The Encyclopaedia of Oxford. Macmillan. pp. 521–522. ISBN   0-333-39917-X.

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Academic offices
Preceded by
Robert Alum
Chancellor of the University of Oxford
Succeeded by
Richard Ullerston
Preceded by
William Sulburge
Chancellor of the University of Oxford
Succeeded by
William Sulburge
Preceded by
William Sulburge
Chancellor of the University of Oxford
Succeeded by
William Sulburge
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Alexander Tottington
Bishop of Norwich
Succeeded by
John Wakering