Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Poor, Richard
POOR, POORE, POURE, or LE POOR, RICHARD (d. 1237), bishop of Chichester, Salisbury, and Durham, was younger brother of Bishop Herbert Poor [q. v.] and son of Richard of Ilchester, bishop of Winchester [see Richard] (Madox, Form. Angl., noted by Stubbs, Introd. to Hoveden, vol. iv. p. xci n.) He was therefore technically illegitimate, and obtained on that account a dispensation to hold his benefices in January 1206 (Bliss, Papal Registers, p. 24). In 1197 or 1198 he was elected dean of (Old) Sarum, where he held the prebend of Charminster (Ann. Mon. ii. 65; Ann. Mon., ii. 159). A man of ability and learning, he was instrumental in perfecting the cathedral statutes by the important ‘Nova Constitutio’ of 1213–14 (printed in Reg. S. Osmund, i. 374–379). In 1204 he went to Rome to prosecute his candidature for the bishopric of Winchester; but Peter des Roches [q. v.] was consecrated. Similarly, about 1213, his election by the monks to the see of Durham, after being ‘hidden under a bushel’ for five months, was quashed by Innocent III (Coldingham, xxi, xxiii, in Hist. Dunelm. Script. pp. 29–31). In 1214, on the removal of the papal interdict, he was elected to the see of Chichester. To his cathedral he gave the manor of Amport, Hampshire, and endowed a prebend with the church of Hove (Stephens, Chichester, pp. 72–3). In 1216 he is mentioned as one of the executors of King John.
In 1217 he was translated to Salisbury, to the general joy, as he had been ‘pugil fidelis et eximius’ against the anti-national claims of the dauphin Louis (Wanda, pp. 4, 5). In 1222 he was one of the arbitrators who gave the award exempting the abbey of Westminster from the jurisdiction of the bishop of London (Matt. Paris, iii. 75; Wilkins, Conc. i. 598). In August 1223 he was one of the four bishops sent on the death of Philippe Auguste to demand Normandy from Louis VIII (Matt. Paris, iii. 77; Ann. Mon. iii. 81).
But the most important work of Poore's life was the removal of the see of Salisbury to New Sarum, and the erection of the present magnificent Early-English cathedral of Salisbury. This plan had been long contemplated (see letters of Peter of Blois, e.g. No. 104; Matt. Paris, iii. 391; Sarum Charters, pp. 267–9; Reg. S. Osmund, vol. ii. pp. cii–cvi, 1–17, 37 sqq.; Wilkins, Conc. i. 551. sqq.; Dodsworth, Salisbury, pp. 107–121). Eventually the bishop, with the chapter's concurrence, sent special envoys to Rome, obtained from Honorius III a bull dated 29 March 1219, and chose a site ‘in dominio suo proprio’ named Myrfield or Miryfield, i.e. Maryfield (Willis), Merryfield (Godwin), or Maerfelde = boundary-field (Jones). A wooden chapel and cemetery were at once provided, and some of the canons sent to collect funds in various dioceses. The formal ‘transmigratio’ was on 1 Nov., and the foundations were laid with great solemnity on 28 April 1220, the bishop laying five stones—for the pope, Langton, himself, Earl William and Countess Ela of Salisbury—and the work soon received the support of the king and many nobles (Wanda, pp. 5–15; Matt. Paris, iii. 391; Ann. Mon. i. 66, which says that Pandulph laid the five stones). A poem on the subject by the court poet, Henry d'Avranches (cf. Warton, Hist. of Poetry, i. 47), exists in the Cambridge University Library, and is quoted by Matthew Paris.
The work went on quietly for five years, and the bishop must have full credit for the organisation and the provision of funds for the work. On 28 Sept. 1225 he consecrated a temporary high altar in the lady-chapel, and two others at the end of the north and south aisles, endowing the ‘vicars choral’ with the church of Bremhill (Sarum Charters, pp. 116–19), or possibly that of Laverstock (Leland, Inscr.), which is still served by them. Next day the public consecration of the whole site took place, Langton preaching to an enormous audience; the king and the justiciar (De Burgh) came on 2 Oct. and again on 28 Dec. (Wanda, pp. 38–40). In March 1226 Poore administered the last sacrament to William de Longespée [q. v.], the first person to be buried in the cathedral (ib. p. 48; Matt. Paris, Hist. Min. ii. 280), and on 4 June translated from Old Sarum the bodies of Bishops Osmund, Roger, and Joscelin. A letter dated 16 July 1228, in which he urges the chapter to press Gregory IX to canonise Osmund, is the latest document in which Poore is described as bishop of Sarum (Wanda, p. 88).
Poore also commenced the episcopal palace, and built the original ‘aula’ and ‘camera’ (1221–2) with the undercroft. The greater part of his work, recently identified, still remains as the nucleus of the present building (Bishop [Wordsworth] of Salisbury's ‘Lecture,’ in Wilts Arch. Mag. vol. xxv.). He carefully organised the cathedral system by important statutes passed by the chapter under his influence (Reg. S. Osmund, ii. 18, 37, 42). His Salisbury constitutions (dated by Spelman c. 1217, and by Wilkins c. 1223) bear a strong resemblance to those supposed by Wilkins to have been promulgated by Richard De Marisco [q. v.] at Durham about 1220 (cf. Wilkins's ‘Concilia,’ i. 599, Labbe's ‘Concilia,’ xi. 245–70, and ‘Sarum Charters,’ pp. 128–63). Bishop Wordsworth is of opinion that the Durham constitutions are of later date, and are simply Poore's own revision for use at Durham of his Sarum constitutions (see Canon Jones's Note in Sarum Charters, p. 128).
For the city of New Sarum Poore procured a charter from Henry III about 1220, besides those which he gave himself (Hatcher and Benson, Salisbury, pp. 728–31), and the systematic arrangement of the town in rectangular ‘places’ or ‘tenements,’ still known as squares or chequers, is attributed to him. Tradition connects his name with the foundation of the still existing Hospital of St. Nicholas by Harnham Bridge. It is clear that he assisted it, and procured the donations of Ela of Salisbury (c 1227), but the ‘ordinatio’ of 1245, providing for the master, eight poor men, and four poor women, assigns the honours of founder to Bishop Bingham (Hatcher and Benson, pp. 38–49, documents 732–5, and in Sarum Charters, pp. 295–300; Tanner, Not. Mon.; Dugdale, Mon. vi. 778).
In 1228 Poore was translated to the see of Durham by a bull dated 14 May (Hist. Dunelm. Script. app. lii.; cf. Greenwell, Feodarium Prioratus Dunelmensis, pp. 212–217). On 22 July he received the temporalities, though the king took the unprecedented step of retaining the castles of Durham and Norham (Hutchinson, Durham, i. 200). Poore wrote a letter of farewell to Sarum on 24 July, and was enthroned at Durham on 4 Sept. (Graystanes in Hist. Dun. Scr. p. 37, where 1226 is an obvious slip). At Durham he maintained good relations with the convent, and discharged a ‘debitum inæstimabile’ of more than forty thousand marks left on the see. The Early-English eastern transept of the ‘Nine Altars,’ commonly assigned to him, may have been projected, but was not commenced till 1242 (Greenwell, Durham Cathedral, p. 37). In 1232 the pope ordered him to inquire into the outrages against Roman clerics in the northern province (Matt. Paris, iii. 218). His latest appearance in public affairs is as one of the witnesses to Henry III's confirmation of Magna Charta in 1236 (Ann. Mon. i. 103).
About 1230 he had refounded at Tarrant Kainston (which has been claimed as his birthplace) a small house for three Cistercian nuns and their servants, the site of which is now included in Preston or Crawford Tarrant (Hutchins, Dorset, iii. 118–19). He made the control of it over to Henry III's sister Johanna, queen of Scotland, who was buried there in 1238 (Matt. Paris, Chron. Maj. iii. 479); it was consequently called ‘Locus Benedictus Reginæ super Tarent.’
Poore died on 15 April 1237 at Tarrant (Matt. Paris, Chron. Maj. iii. 392, Hist. Maj. ii. 396). A blundering inscription, now lost, copied by Leland (Itin. iii. 62), in the lady-chapel at Salisbury, states that his body was buried there and his heart at Tarrant. According to Tanner (quoting wrongly Wharton, Angl. Sacr.), he was interred in Durham chapter-house. But Graystanes states explicitly (l.c.) that he died and was buried at Tarrant, ‘sicut vivens præceperat.’ A coffin slab, found about 1850 under the ruins of the abbey chapel at Tarrant, and now in the church of Tarrant Crawford, is not improbably that which covered the bishop's body (cf. Rev. E. Highton, Last Resting-place of a Scottish Queen and a Great English Bishop, p. 8). An effigy in Purbeck marble in Salisbury Cathedral on the north side of the high altar, formerly said to be Poore's, is now believed to represent his successor, Bishop Bingham.
The ‘Ancren Riwle,’ a treatise in Middle English on the duties of monastic life—also found in a Latin version as ‘Regulæ Inclusarum’—is said in an early manuscript to have been addressed by Simon of Ghent, bishop of Salisbury (1297–1315), to his own sisters, who were anchoresses at Tarrant. But it is attributed by its editor, the Rev. J. Morton (Camden Soc. 1853), to Bishop Poore, on the ground that in language it belongs to the earlier part of the thirteenth century, and is likely to have been written by the founder of the religious house at Tarrant. The author quotes freely from the Latin fathers, Bernard, Anselm, and even Ovid and Horace (Morden, Introd. pp. xv, xvi). It is considered ‘one of the most perfect models of simple natural eloquent prose in our language. … As a picture of contemporary life, manners, and feeling it cannot be overestimated’ (Sweet, First Middle English Primer, pp. vi, vii).
Various letters of Poore are printed by Canon Rich Jones (Reg. S. Osmund, and Sarum Charters; see also Hatcher and Benson, Wilkins, and Hutchinson). His Salisbury seal is in Dodsworth (pl. 3), and in Bishop Wordsworth's ‘Seals of Bishops of Salisbury’ (reprinted from ‘Archæological Journal,’ vol. xlv.), p. 12. The Durham seal in Surtees (i. pl. i. 8) is clearly his. The counter-seal, representing the Virgin and Child between two well-modelled churches with spires, may indicate an intention of completing both his cathedrals by central spires, such as was actually erected at Salisbury.
The bishop was identified first by Panciroli, and lately by Sir Travers Twiss (Law Magazine and Review, No. ccxcii. May 1894), with Ricardus Anglicus, the ‘pioneer of scientific judicial procedure in the twelfth century.’ Panciroli (d. 1599) states that Ricardus Anglicus was surnamed Pauper, and that he was so poor that he and two chamber-fellows at Bologna possessed between them only one academic hood (capitium), which they wore in turns to enable them to attend the public lectures. This story is a common fable; and it is impossible to determine whether Panciroli (whose work was published in 1637) had any evidence for assigning Ricardus the name Pauper or Poor. Sarti and Fattorini (De Claris Archigymnasii Bononiensis Professoribus, ed. C. Albicini, I. ii. 386) and Savigny express an unfavourable view of the accuracy of Panciroli, and Bethman-Hollweg pronounces the whole statement ‘durchaus fabelhaft.’ Bishop Poore is called ‘magister’ in ‘Flores Historiarum’ (ii. 156), and ‘summe literatus’ by Wanda; but there is no allusion to his eminence as a jurist or canonist; nor is there any trace of special knowledge in his constitutions or in the ‘Ancren Riwle.’ Moreover, Ricardus Anglicus of Bologna may probably be identified with the ‘Ricardus Anglicus, doctor Parisiensis,’ of a bull of Honorius III, dated 1218 (see Rashdall, Mediæval Universities, ii. 750). Such an identification would positively differentiate him from Richard Poore, who had been a bishop since 1215, and would certainly be described by the name of his see.
The Bolognese Richard was an Englishman, who, according to his imitator Tancred, afterwards archdeacon of Bologna and rector of the law school there in 1226, held the position of ‘magister decretorum’ at Bologna, and was the first to improve on the methods of Johannes Bassianus by treating of judicial procedure in a more scientific spirit, namely, ‘in the manner of a compilation, in which passages from the laws and canons are cited in illustration of each paragraph.’ This statement is repeated by Johannes Andreæ of Bologna (d. 1348), who, however, was not personally acquainted with Richard's treatise; nor is there any authority for the statement of Dr. Arthur Duck (De Usu Juris Civilis Romanorum, p. 142), that Richard taught law at Oxford. His treatise entitled ‘Ordo Judiciarius’ was discovered by Professor A. Wunderlich of Göttingen in 1851 in the public library of Douay. It was formerly in the monastery of Anchin, and was published at Halle in 1853 by Professor Charles Witte. It is unfortunately misdated 1120 by a blunder in the legal document which is, as usual, inserted to fix the date. However, a second manuscript was discovered in 1885 by Sir T. Twiss in the Royal Library at Brussels; the manuscript (No. 131–4), which bears the stamp of the famous Burgundian Library, contains also the ‘Brocarda’ of Otto of Pavia, and a portion of the ‘Summa’ of Bassianus. This text has been transcribed and autotyped; it is considered more free from clerical errors than the Douay manuscript, and the inserted document is clearly dated 1196, which shows that Richard anticipated the method of treatment of his elder contemporary Pillius (cf. Sir T. Twiss's article; Professor M. von Bethman-Hollweg of Bonn, Civil-Prozess des gemeinen Rechts, Bonn, 1874, vol. vi. pt. i. 105–9; Professor J. F. von Schulte, Geschichte der Quellen des canonischen Rechts, Stuttgart, 1875). Von Schulte assigns to the ‘Ordo Judiciarius’ a later date, on the ground that it contains quotations from decretals recorded in compilations which were not in existence before 1201. Sir T. Twiss disputes this view. Ricardus Anglicus also composed glosses on the papal decretals, which were used by Bernard of Parma, and ‘Distinctiones’ on Gratian's ‘Decretum,’ which are supposed by Professor von Schulte to be extant in a manuscript at Douay. Both he and Poore must be distinguished from a contemporary physician also called Ricardus Anglicanus [see Richard of Wendover].
[Documents and Works cited above, esp. the Sarum Charters, ed. Jones and Macray, and William de Wanda's narrative in the Register of St. Osmund, which, as well as Wendover, Paris, and the Monastic Annalists, are quoted from the Rolls Series. The statements of Godwin, Dugdale, Tanner, and Willis, and even the notices in Dodsworth's Salisbury, Cassan's Bishops of Salisbury, and Hatcher and Benson's Salisbury are inaccurate, and superseded by the (practically identical) memoirs by Canon W. H. Rich Jones in the Wilts Arch. Mag. 1879, xviii. 223–4, Fasti Sarisb. 1882, i. 45–50, and Introd. to Reg. of S. Osmund, vol. ii. pp. xcviii–cxxxi. Leland's inscription is clearly not contemporary. Suggestions have been furnished by Dr. John Wordsworth, bishop of Salisbury.]