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of Lincoln, was born in Oxfordshire, probably at Henley-on-Thames, and was admitted on 1 June 1522 a scholar of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, whence he graduated B.A. on 15 Dec. 1523, according to Wood (Fasti, ed. Bliss, i. 63). This degree having been completed by determination, he went to Paris, and there graduated M.A. On 4 June 1523 he was collated by his uncle to the prebend of Centum Solidorum in the church of Lincoln, and he resigned it for that of Cropredy in 1525. He appears to have resided for some time at Bruges, as John Ludovicus Vivès, writing from that city on 8 July 1524 to Bishop Longland, the king's confessor, says: ‘Richard Pate, your sister's son, and Antony Barcher, your dependant, are wonderfully studious’ (Brewer, Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, vol. iv. pt. i. p. 203). In 1526 he was made archdeacon of Worcester. On 11 March 1526–7 he had the stall of Sanctæ Crucis, alias Spaldwick, in the church of Lincoln, and on 22 June 1528 the stall of Sutton cum Buckingham in the same church. On this latter date he was also made archdeacon of Lincoln upon the death of William Smith, doctor of decrees. His uncle, the bishop, wrote to Wolsey on 15 July 1528: ‘There is a house in the close at Lincoln, belonging to the late archdeacon, which I should be glad of for a residence for my nephew, Richard Pate, archdeacon of Lincoln, whom I should like to settle there’ (ib. vol. iv. pt. ii. p. 1973).
In November 1533 Pate was appointed to be the king's ambassador resident in the court of the emperor, Charles V. During his absence the bishop of Lincoln was not unmindful of his nephew's interests, and in a letter dated 27 Sept. 1535 he desired Cromwell's favour for the archdeacon of Lincoln, ‘whose great charges at this time are beyond what his income can bear,’ and shortly afterwards he sought leave for the archdeacon to license his officers to visit his archdeaconry, ‘or he will lack money to serve the king where he is, for this is the chief time of his profits.’ In April 1536 Pate was at Rome with the emperor, who complained of the course adopted by the king of England, and energetically defended his own action on behalf of his aunt, Catherine of Arragon. Subsequently he accompanied the emperor to the Low Countries. Soon afterwards he was recalled to England, and Sir Thomas Wyatt succeeded him as ambassador in the emperor's court in March 1536–7. In June 1536 he had supplicated for the degree of B.D. at Oxford.
On 8 July 1541 Pope Paul III ‘provided’ Pate to the bishopric of Worcester, which had been vacated by the death of Cardinal Jerome Ghinucci, who had been deprived of the temporalities of the see in 1535 on account of his being a foreigner. Bishop Stubbs assigns the appointment and consecration of Pate to 1554, when he received the temporalities from Queen Mary (Registrum Sacrum Anglicanum, p. 81). It is to be noted that Nicholas Heath [q. v.], who was placed in this see by Henry VIII in 1543, although rehabilitated by Cardinal Pole, and made archbishop of York, was not recognised by the pope as bishop of Worcester. In his ‘provision’ to York, Heath is styled ‘clericus Eboracensis’ (Brady, Episcopal Succession in England, i. 51, 52). Pate attended the council of Trent as bishop of Worcester, his first appearance there being in the session which opened on 21 April 1547. He was also present at the sittings of the council in September 1549 and in 1551. He remained in banishment during the reign of Edward VI. In 1542 he had been attainted of high treason, whereupon his archdeaconry was bestowed on George Heneage, and his prebend of Eastharptre in the church of Wells on Dr. John Heryng.
On the accession of Queen Mary he returned to this country. His attainder was reversed, and on 5 March 1554–5 he obtained possession of the temporalities of the see of Worcester (Rymer, Fœdera, xv. 415). Queen Elizabeth deprived him of the temporalities in June 1559, and cast him into prison. He was in the Tower of London on 12 Feb. 1561–2, when he made his will, which has been printed by Brady. On regaining his liberty he withdrew to Louvain, where he died on 5 Oct. 1565. Mass is still said for him every year at the English College, Rome, on the anniversary of his death.
One of the figures in Holbein's celebrated picture of ‘The Ambassadors,’ now in the National Gallery, is believed to represent Pate (Times, 8 Dec. 1891).[Baker's Northamptonshire, i. 697; Bedford's Blazon of Episcopacy, p. 108; Chambers's Biographical Illustrations of Worcestershire, p. 62; Dodd's Church Hist. i. 488; Foster's Alumni Oxonienses, 1500–1714, iii. 1126; Fowler's History of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, pp. 86, 88, 382; Godwin, De Præsulibus, ed. Richardson, p. 470; Humfredus, Vita Juelli, 1573, p. 179; Kennett MSS. xlvi. 298; Le Neve's Fasti; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. vi. 203, 2nd ser. v. 378; Oxford University Register, i. 131; Thomas's Survey of the Cathedral of Worcester, 1736, pt. ii. pp. 209–10; Willis's Survey of Cathedrals, ii. 646; Wood's Athenæ Oxonienses, ii. 794, and Fasti Oxonienses, i. 19, 62, 63, 85, ed. Bliss.]