Richard Mitford

Last updated
Richard Mitford
Bishop of Salisbury
Tomb of Richard Mitford in Salisbury Cathedral
Appointed25 October 1395
Term ended3 May 1407
Predecessor John Waltham
Successor Nicholas Bubwith
Consecration10 April 1390
Personal details
BornEast Hagbourne, Berkshire
Died3 May 1407
Previous post(s) Bishop of Chichester

Richard Mitford (died 1407) was an English bishop of Chichester from 17 November 1389, consecrated on 10 April 1390, [1] [2] and then bishop of Salisbury. [3] He was translated to the see of Salisbury on 25 October 1395. [4]


Early records

The earliest record of him is "Richard Medeford of Hakebourne, clerk" [5] in 1349. The cartulary of Cirencester Abbey [6] records the Metfords of Hakebourne (modern name East Hagbourne, Berks.) as a leading freeman tenant family of the village. His name appears as "Metford" in his own household accounts [7] and as "Medford" in the Register of John Chandler, [8] who was Dean of Salisbury Cathedral during much of Mitford's episcopacy. Mitford, as revealed by bequests in his own and his brother Walter's wills, [9] [10] had three brothers and four sisters. He spent much of his life at the royal court, starting probably as a chorister in the Chapel Royal and continuing as a clerk of the household under Edward III. His training during his time as a Fellow at Kings Hall, Cambridge [11] from 1352 to 1374 prepared him for service in the royal bureaucracy, where he eventually rose to become Secretary of the King's Chamber to Richard II (1385 to 1388). He was a Canon of Windsor from 1375 to 1390. [12]

Senior household members of Richard II were politically important, and his position gave Mitford considerable influence. He was one of the members of the royal household arrested by the "Lords Appellant" [lower-alpha 1] in late 1387 for treason, and was imprisoned first in Bristol Castle and then in the Tower of London. However, he was eventually released without penalty.

From 1385 to 1390 he was Archdeacon of Norfolk. [13] In 1389, Mitford was elected to be Bishop of St David's but was rejected by the Pope.

While Bishop of Salisbury, Mitford spent much of his time at one or another of his episcopal manors, and by chance the household accounts survive of his stay at Potterne, near Devizes, for the last seven months of his life. These give day-by-day records of members of his household and his visitors, the amounts and prices of the food provided for everyday meals as well as the feasts given at Christmas, and even at his own funeral. Such details as his charitable gifts, the fee for his doctor and how much serecloth [lower-alpha 2] was provided for his funeral are also included.

The figure of a bishop labelled with Mitford's name appears in the illustrations of the Sherborne Missal . [14] He was a patron of Henry Chichele, who acted as lawyer for him. [15]


A summary of his appointments is:

Mitford died 3 May 1407, [4] and was buried in the south transept of Salisbury Cathedral, where his tomb survives.

Related Research Articles

William Courtenay was Archbishop of Canterbury (1381–1396), having previously been Bishop of Hereford and Bishop of London.

Henry Chichele 15th-century Archbishop of Canterbury

Henry Chichele was Archbishop of Canterbury (1414–1443) and founded All Souls College, Oxford.

John Stafford (bishop) 15th-century English archbishop and statesman

John Stafford was a medieval English prelate and statesman who served as Lord Chancellor (1432–1450) and as Archbishop of Canterbury (1443–1452).

Richard Poore 13th-century Bishop of Chichester, Bishop of Durham, and Bishop of Salisbury

Richard Poore or Poor was a medieval English bishop best known for his role in the establishment of Salisbury Cathedral and the City of Salisbury, moved from the nearby fortress of Old Sarum. He served as Bishop of Chichester, Bishop of Salisbury and Bishop of Durham.

Richard FitzNeal was a churchman and bureaucrat in the service of Henry II of England.

John Waltham 14th-century Bishop of Salisbury and Treasurer of England

John Waltham was a priest and high-ranking government official in England in the 14th century. He held a number of ecclesiastical and civic positions during the reigns of King Edward III and Richard II, eventually rising to become Lord High Treasurer, Lord Privy Seal of England and Bishop of Salisbury. He is buried in Westminster Abbey, London.

William Reade (bishop) 14th-century Bishop of Chichester

William Reade was a medieval Bishop of Chichester.

Simon Sydenham 15th-century Bishop of Chichester

Simon Sydenham was a medieval Dean of Salisbury and Bishop of Chichester.

Richard Praty was a medieval university Chancellor and Bishop.

James Goldwell was a medieval Dean of Salisbury and Bishop of Norwich.

John Chandler was a medieval Bishop of Salisbury.

Robert de Stretton was Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield following the death of Roger Northburgh in 1358. A client of Edward, the Black Prince, he became a "notorious figure" because it was alleged that he was illiterate, although this is now largely discounted as unlikely, as he was a relatively efficient administrator.

John Prophet (1356–1416) was an English medieval Secretary to King Henry IV, Keeper of the Privy Seal and, Dean of Hereford and York. A distinguished and capable administrator he remained loyal to all kings through a mix of shrewdness, and cunning. Although guilty of simony and pluralism, Prophet was no lollard, but successfully made the transition from Richard II's extravagant court at Westminster to an indispensable servant of the Lancastrians.

John Buckner 18th–19th century Anglican bishop of Chichester

John Buckner, LL.D. (1734–1824) was an Anglican clergyman who served in the Church of England as the Bishop of Chichester from 1797 to 1824.

Richard Kingston was a Canon of Windsor from 1400 to 1402 and the Dean of Windsor from 1402 to 1418.

John Boor was a Canon of Windsor from 1389 - 1402 and Dean of the Chapel Royal.

William de Pakyngton was a Canon of Windsor in 1381 and Dean of Lichfield.

Richard Prentys was a Canon of Windsor from 1403 to 1404 and Dean of the Chapel Royal.

Thomas Butiller was an English priest in the late 14th and early15th centuries.



  1. Mainly the magnates Gloucester, Arundel and Warwick, who were dissatisfied with the extravagant lifestyle of Richard II and the rewards he granted to his favorite courtiers. The lords led an armed revolt in 1387 which the king's troops were unable to quell, and persuaded Parliament to behead five of the king's Chamber knights.
  2. A coarse cloth wrapped round a corpse over which wax was poured to seal it.


  1. Bishops of Selsey and Chichester accessed on 25 August 2007
  2. Fryde et al. 1996, p. 239.
  3. Bishops of Salisbury accessed on 25 August 2007
  4. 1 2 Fryde et al. 1996, p. 271.
  5. Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward III, p. 136, 23 Edward III Part 2m 1349.
  6. Ross 1964.
  7. Woolgar, C.M. Household Accounts from Medieval England, Parts 1 & 2. British Academy Records of Social & Economic History (New Series) XVII (London, 1992, pp. 264-430
  8. Timmins 1988.
  9. Register of Archbishop Thomas Arundel, Will of Richard Metford in the unpublished testamentary portion, Vol. I, folios 237v-239r. Lambeth Palace Library
  10. Jacob 1943.
  11. Cobban 1969, p. 9.
  12. Fasti Wyndesorienses, May 1950. S.L. Ollard. Published by the Dean and Canons of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle
  13. "Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300-1541: volume 4: Monastic cathedrals (southern province)". British History Online. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  14. British Library Online Online Showcases Sherborne Missal accessed on 25 August 2007
  15. Hind 1908.


  • Cobban, A. (1969). The King's Hall within the University of Cambridge in the Later Middle Ages . Cambridge.
  • Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1996). Handbook of British Chronology (Third revised ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN   0-521-56350-X.
  • Hind, George Elphege (1908). "Henry Chichele"  . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia . Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  • Jacob, E.F., ed. (1943). Registrum Henrici Chichele. Canterbury & York Society 39 & 40. Vol. 1 & 2. Oxford.
  • Ross, C.D., ed. (1964). 'The Cartulary of Cirencester Abbey, Gloucester. Vol. 1, 2 & 3. London.
  • Timmins, T.C.B. (1988). The Register of John Chandler, Dean of Salisbury 1404-17. Vol. XXXIX. Devises: Wiltshire Record Society.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Bishop of Chichester
Succeeded by
Preceded by Bishop of Salisbury
Succeeded by