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Foxe, Richard


Bishop of Winchester, England, Lord Privy Seal to Henry VII and Henry VIII, founder of Corpus Christi College, Oxford; b. Ropesley, near Grantham, Lincolnshire, 1447 or 1448; d. probably at the castle of Wolvesey in Winchester, Oct. 5, 1528. Most probably, he studied for a time at Magdalen College, Oxford, but he took the degree Doctor of Canon Law from the University of Paris. There he was ordained and became secretary to Henry, Earl of Richmond later Henry VII. Foxe was present at Bosworth Field in 1485 and soon afterward was appointed principal secretary of state and keeper of the privy seal. For the next 30 years he occupied a high place in the councils of the realm and was constantly employed in diplomatic and other secular business. During this period he went from one bishopric to another, but for the most part, until he withdrew from public affairs, he administered his ecclesiastical responsibilities by deputy. He became bishop of Exeter (1487); of Bath and Wells (1492); of Durham (1494), where he was probably resident for a time; and of Winchester (1501). With the rise of Thomas wolsey he withdrew from public life to concentrate on the care of his diocese and the advancement of learning. He resigned the privy seal in 1516. His most lasting work was the foundation of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, the first statutes of which are dated 1517. He was blind for some years before his death.

Bibliography: Letters of Richard Fox, 14861527, ed. p. s. and h. m. allen (Oxford 1929). The Register of Richard Fox, Lord Bishop of Durham, 14941501, ed. m. p. howden (Durham 1932). a. b. emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500, 3 v. (Oxford 195759) 715719. t. fowler, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900 (London 18851900) 7:590596. f. l. cross, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (London 1957) 517.

[v. ponko, jr.]

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