Richard FitzNeal

Last updated
Richard FitzNeal
Bishop of London
Appointed15 November 1189
Term ended10 September 1198
Predecessor Gilbert Foliot
Successor William of Sainte-Mère-Eglise
Other posts Dean of Lincoln
Consecration31 December 1189
Personal details
Born c. 1130
Died10 September 1198
4th Lord Treasurer
In office
Monarch Henry II
Richard I
Preceded by Nigel, Bishop of Ely
Succeeded by William of Ely

Richard FitzNeal [lower-alpha 1] (c. 1130 – 10 September 1198) was a churchman and bureaucrat in the service of Henry II of England.



In 1158 or 1159 Nigel, Bishop of Ely paid Henry II to appoint his natural son, Richard FitzNeal, as the king's treasurer. [1] [2] Richard was the great nephew of Roger, bishop of Salisbury, who had organized the exchequer under Henry I, when it was separated from the Chamberlain's office in the king's household. Henry II, who was an astute judge of character and inspired great loyalty, was well served by Richard, who held the post of Lord Treasurer at the head of Henry's exchequer for almost the next 40 years. Concurrently Richard was Dean of Lincoln, a major administrative position in an important English diocese.[ citation needed ] In 1184 he was made Prebendary of Aylesbury. [3] [ unreliable source? ] He also held the prebend of Chiswick in the diocese of London. [2]

In 1177 Henry II asked FitzNeal to write a book about his work. The book, Dialogue Concerning the Exchequer (Dialogus de Scaccario), is the first administrative treatise of the Middle Ages, a unique source of information on royal finances and the methods of collecting them in the twelfth century. Its preface instructs the novice in governance that it is not the function of the exchequer officials to decide on the merit of royal policy, merely to execute it. The secular bureaucracy is the instrument of the king's will, and the royal power ebbs and flows according to whether his treasury is full or empty.[ citation needed ] He wrote at the end of the work that he had "laid my axe to the virgin and rough wood and cut for the royal buildings timber that a more skilled builder may smooth with his adze". [4] It is in the Dialogue that Richard recorded an oral story told to him by Henry of Blois, grandson of William the Conqueror and Bishop of Winchester, about the origins of Domesday Book, which according to Henry of Blois's story was made so that "every man might be content with his own rights, and not encroach unpunished on those of others". [5]

As well as being treasurer, FitzNeal was rewarded with the position of bishop of London from 1189 until his death in 1198. He was nominated on 15 September 1189 and consecrated on 31 December 1189. [6] [7] The Diocese of London ranks third in honour in the Church of England after the Archdioceses of Canterbury and York.

Evidence from FitzNeal's writings shows that Richard had read the Institutes but that he seems to have not read the Digest , although he may have known of it. [8]

FitzNeal was replaced as treasurer in 1196 by William of Ely. [1] He died on 10 September 1198. [6]


  1. Or FitzNeale, FitzNigel, sometimes called Richard of Ely


  1. 1 2 Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 103
  2. 1 2 Greenway Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: Volume 1, St. Paul's, London: Prebendaries: Chiswick
  3. Prebendaries 1092 to 1842 – Aylesbury accessed on 3 September 2007
  4. Quoted in Clanchy From Memory to Written Record p. 19
  5. Clanchy From Memory to Written Record p. 25
  6. 1 2 Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 258
  7. Greenway Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: Volume 1, St. Paul's, London: Bishops
  8. Turner "Roman Law" Journal of British Studies p. 14

Related Research Articles

Geoffrey Ridel was the nineteenth Lord Chancellor of England, from 1162 to 1173.

Ralph de Warneville English politician; Bishop of Lisieux

Ralph de Warneville was the twentieth Lord Chancellor of England as well as later Bishop of Lisieux in Normandy.

Eustace was the twenty-third Lord Chancellor of England, from 1197 to 1198. He was also Dean of Salisbury and Bishop of Ely.

Henry Wingham was a Lord Chancellor of England and Bishop of London.

John Chishull or John de Chishull was Lord Chancellor of England, Bishop of London, and Lord High Treasurer during the 13th century. He also served as Dean of St. Paul's.

Eustace of Fauconberg was a medieval English Bishop of London from 1221 to 1228 and was also Lord High Treasurer.

Savaric fitzGeldewin was an Englishman who became Bishop of Bath and Glastonbury in England. Related to his predecessor as well as to Emperor Henry VI, he was elected bishop on the insistence of his predecessor, who urged his election on the cathedral chapter of Bath. While bishop, Savaric spent many years attempting to annexe Glastonbury Abbey as part of his bishopric. Savaric also worked to secure the release of King Richard I of England from captivity, when the king was held by Emperor Henry VI.

William of Bitton was a medieval Bishop of Bath and Wells.

William of March was a medieval Treasurer of England and a Bishop of Bath and Wells.

Simon of Wells was a medieval Bishop of Chichester.

Henry of Lexington was a medieval Bishop of Lincoln.

Richard of Gravesend was a medieval Bishop of Lincoln.

John Dalderby was a medieval Bishop of Lincoln.

Robert de Sigello was a medieval Bishop of London and Lord Chancellor of England.

Richard de Belmeis was a medieval cleric, administrator and politician. His career culminated in election as Bishop of London in 1152. He was one of the founders of Lilleshall Abbey in Shropshire.

William of Sainte-Mère-Église was a medieval Bishop of London.

Henry of Sandwich was a medieval Bishop of London.

Burchard du Puiset was a medieval Anglo-Norman clergyman and treasurer of the diocese of York. Either the nephew or son of Hugh du Puiset, the Bishop of Durham, Burchard held a number of offices in the dioceses of York and Durham before being appointed treasurer by King Richard I of England in 1189. His appointment was opposed by the newly appointed Archbishop Geoffrey, which led to a long dispute between Geoffrey and Burchard that was not resolved until the mid 1190s. After the death of Hugh du Puiset, Burchard was a candidate for the Hugh's old bishopric, but lost out in the end to another candidate. Burchard died in 1196.

Hamo was a 12th- and 13th-century English cleric. He was the Diocese of York's dean, treasurer, and precentor, as well as the archdeacon of East Riding.

John Crakehall was an English clergyman and Treasurer of England from 1258 to 1260.


Further reading

Political offices
Preceded by
Nigel, Bishop of Ely
Lord Treasurer
Succeeded by
William of Ely
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Gilbert Foliot
Bishop of London
Succeeded by
William of Sainte-Mère-Eglise