St. Richard of Wyche

St. Richard of Wyche was born in 1197 in Wyche, England, and was orphaned when he was very young. When he inherited his family’s estate, it had been mismanaged, and he retrieved their fortune before handing it over to his brother Robert. 

Richard refused to marry, going to Oxford and Bologna to study, eventually earning a doctorate in canon law. In 1235, he was appointed chancellor of Oxford, and became chancellor to Edmund Rich, who was now the archbishop of Canterbury. St. Richard accompanied Edmund to the Cistercian monastery at Pontigny, where Edmund retired and died. 

After Edmund’s death, Richard was ordained at the Dominican House of Studies in 1243, and spent time as a parish priest. He returned to Canterbury to serve as chancellor for the new archbishop, Boniface of Savoy, until 1244, when King Henry III named Ralph Neville bishop of Chichester, and Boniface named Richard bishop instead, declaring the king’s actions invalid. 

Eventually, the pope ruled in favor of Richard and consecrated him as Bishop of Chichester. Henry originally opposed this move, until he was threatened by the pope with excommunication. 

Richard served as bishop for eight years, insisting on strict clerical discipline, denouncing nepotism, and continuing to minister and give to the poor. He died at a house for poor priests in Dover, England, in 1253. 

St. Richard is the patron of coachmen and the diocese of Chichester. 


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