Richard Mitford

Richard Mitford
Bishop of Salisbury

Tomb of Richard Mitford in Salisbury Cathedral
Church Catholic
Appointed 25 October 1395
Term ended 3 May 1407
Predecessor John Waltham
Successor Nicholas Bubwith
Consecration 10 April 1390
Personal details
Born East Hagbourne, Berkshire
Died 3 May 1407
Previous post Bishop of Chichester

Richard Mitford (died 1407) was an English bishop of Chichester from 17 November 1389, and 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]

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] 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[10] from 1352-1374 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 - 1390.[11]

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"[12] 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[14] 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.[15] He was a patron of Henry Chichele, who acted as lawyer for him.[16]

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.


  1. Bishops of Selsey and Chichester accessed on 25 August 2007
  2. Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 239
  3. Bishops of Salisbury accessed on 25 August 2007
  4. 1 2 Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 271
  5. Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward III, p. 136, 23 Edward III Part 2m 1349.
  6. Ross, C.D. (ed.). The Cartulary of Cirencester Abbey, Gloucester, vols. 1, 2 & 3 (London, 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, T.C.B. The Register of John Chandler, Dean of Salisbury 1404-17/ Wiltshire Record Society, Vol. XXXIX (Devises, 1988).
  9. Register of Archbishop Thomas Arundel, Will of Richard Metford in the unpublished testamentary portion, Vol. I, folios 237v-239r. Lambeth Palace Library; and Jacob, E.F. (ed.). Registrum HJenrici Chichele, Vols. 1 & 2. Canterbury & York Society 39 & 40 (Oxford, 1943).
  10. Cobban, A. The King's Hall within the University of Cambridge in the Later Middle Ages (Cambridge, 1969), p. 9.
  11. Fasti Wyndesorienses, May 1950. S.L. Ollard. Published by the Dean and Canons of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle
  12. 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.
  13. "Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300-1541: volume 4: Monastic cathedrals (southern province)". British History Online. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  14. A coarse cloth wrapped round a corpse over which wax was poured to seal it.
  15. British Library Online Online Showcases Sherborne Missal accessed on 25 August 2007
  16. Catholic Encyclopedia Online Article on Henry Chichele accessed on 25 August 2007


Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Thomas Rushock
Bishop of Chichester
Succeeded by
Robert Waldby
Preceded by
John Waltham
Bishop of Salisbury
Succeeded by
Nicholas Bubwith
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