Skip to main content

Rich, Richard


Lord chancellor; b. St. Laurence Jewry, London, 1496?; d. Rochford, Essex, June 12, 1567. A student at Cambridge and the Middle Temple, Rich seems to have led a dissipated youth. He was a good lawyer, however, and served on several royal commissions. He also represented Colchester in the "Reformation Parliament" (152936). Knighted and appointed solicitor general in 1533, Rich loyally supported Henrician policies. His evidence, based on private interviews with Thomas more and John fisher, was instrumental in securing their conviction. More accused Rich of perjury, a charge history has sustained. Henry VIII rewarded Rich with honors, especially the chancellorship of the court of augmentations. Speaker of the parliament that met in 1536, he was second to Thomas cromwell in his influence and assisted him in suppressing the monasteries.

Rich grew wealthy on these spoils. He also managed to survive Cromwell's demise in 1540 and quickly adapted his policies to fit his sovereign's mood. Created a baron and lord chancellor (1548), he soon deserted the Protector Somerset for the cause of John Dudley, Earl of Warwick. Resigning the chancellorship in 1551, Rich retired to Essex. A halfhearted supporter of Lady Jane Grey, he soon declared for Queen Mary, thus surviving another change of regime. Rich fostered Catholic practices in Essex and persecuted Protestants. At Elizabeth's accession, he swore his loyalty, but refused to accept the Act of Uniformity (1559). An ambitious and greedy politician, Rich has been criticized by historians as a man of skill who was also an unscrupulous timeserver.

Bibliography: a. f. pollard, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900 (London 18851900) 16:100912. p. hughes, The Reformation in England (New York 1963). r. w. chambers, Thomas More (Westminster, Md. 1949). h. f. m. prescott, Mary Tudor (rev. ed. New York 1953).

[p. s. mcgarry]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Rich, Richard." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . 19 Mar. 2019 <>.

"Rich, Richard." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . (March 19, 2019).

"Rich, Richard." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved March 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.