Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 48.djvu/199
requested benediction, but refused to comply with the archbishop's demand for a profession of obedience unless qualified with a salvo. Richard would not admit a qualified profession, and Roger went to Rome, where he obtained privileges from Alexander III in contempt of the archbishop. He returned in 1178, bringing letters ordering his benediction, and giving a commission to the bishop of Worcester to perform the ceremony. Hearing of this, Richard went to St. Augustine's declaring that he had come to give the benediction; but the abbot-elect was not in the monastery, having withdrawn himself so as not to receive it from the archbishop, who thereupon appealed to Rome. Henry upheld him; for it was believed that the abbot-elect had made his house immediately subject to the pope, and had promised a yearly tribute, to the prejudice of the rights of both king and archbishop. Roger went back to Rome, and excited the anger of Alexander against Richard by representing him as disobedient to the pope's command. Richard, who was summoned to the Lateran council, went as far as Paris, and then returned to England, acting, it is said, on the advice of flatterers, and held back by his own timidity (Gervase, i. 276), though it seems likely that he never intended to go to the council, and was therein acting with the approval of his suffragans (Rog. Hov. ii. 171).
Alexander himself gave Roger the benediction in February 1179, with a saving of the rights of the see of Canterbury, and in 1180 sent letters to him and to the king declaring that the archbishops of Canterbury were to hallow future abbots without requiring the profession. Richard maintained that the charters on which the convent based its claim to exemption were not authentic, and attacked its claims over churches to which the convent presented. After prolonged disputes these charters were proved to be spurious, and finally, in 1183, the king compelled the convent to make an agreement with him, by which it gave up many privileges claimed by it, and really gained nothing in return (Gervase, i. 275–6, 296; Gesta Henrici II, i. 209; Thorn, cols. 1824–6, 1830–7; Elmham, pp. 420 sqq.). It was not alone in the case of St. Augustine's, where the rights of his own see were concerned, that Richard showed his dislike of the attempts made by monasteries to gain exemption from episcopal jurisdiction. He opposed the attempt of the abbot of Malmesbury to refuse profession of obedience to the bishop of Salisbury, and wrote strongly to Alexander III on the evils arising from exemptions (Peter of Blois, Ep. 68).
Meanwhile, on 23 Aug. 1179, Richard received King Henry and Louis of France at Canterbury. In November 1182 he crossed to Normandy, to obtain the king's help in his strife with St. Augustine's. The see of Rochester being vacant, he appointed to it his clerk, Waleran, archdeacon of Bayeux, and consecrated him at Lisieux on 19 Dec. This infringed the rights of the convent of Christ Church, and there was much anger there about it; but the matter was arranged by the bishop going thither and swearing fealty to the convent. Richard spent Christmas with the king at Caen, and pronounced sentence of excommunication against those who disturbed the peace between the king and his sons. In July he accompanied Henry to Le Mans, where the young king had been buried, and brought the body to Rouen for burial there (Gesta Henrici II, i. 303–4; Will. Newb. iii. c. 7; Gervase, i. 20). He returned to England on 11 Aug. On 14 Feb. 1184 he fell sick suddenly at Halling in Kent, while on his way to Rochester, and, being taken with violent colic, died there on the 16th. His body was taken to Canterbury and honourably buried in the north aisle of the cathedral on the 18th.
Richard was accused by the more zealous of Becket's followers of sacrificing the liberties of the church and allowing the oppression of the clergy, and his character is treated harshly by monastic writers, to whose independence he was opposed. While it was probably not of an heroic sort, it seems likely that the line that he took in ecclesiastical matters, and specially with respect to clerical immunities, was the result of conviction rather than of sloth or timidity, and that he saw no harm to the church in the king's endeavours to prevent it from becoming a separate body, independent of the secular power. That he was remiss in the discharge of his office does not seem proved by facts, and he was certainly diligent in promoting the material prosperity and upholding the rights of his see. That he did not live up to the high standard which the most earnest churchmen held to become his position may be allowed, and it may be that he was more active in temporal administration than in purely spiritual things. While he was but moderately learned and was ignorant of law—then the study most in vogue among the clergy—he made friends of learned men, among whom were Peter of Blois and Giraldus Cambrensis; and Peter of Blois describes how such men resorted to the archbishop's court, and after prayers or meals would pursue intellectual exercises, reading, arguing, and deciding legal cases. Richard was not a great archbishop, but it was perhaps well for the church and the