Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Talbot, Richard (d.1449)

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TALBOT, RICHARD (d. 1449), archbishop of Dublin and lord chancellor of Ireland, was the younger son of Richard Talbot, fourth baron Talbot, by his wife Ankaret le Strange [see under Talbot, Richard, second Baron Talbot]. John Talbot, the famous earl of Shrewsbury [q. v.], was an elder brother. Richard was on 6 June 1401 collated to the prebend of Putston Major in Hereford Cathedral, and on 9 June 1407 appointed precentor. In October 1412 he held the prebend of Fridaythorpe in York Cathedral, and he is also said to have had some benefice in St. David's diocese. In 1415 he was elected dean of Chichester. His brother's position as lord-deputy of Ireland opened the way for Richard's preferment in that country. In 1416 he was elected archbishop of Armagh, but, failing to obtain confirmation in time, John Swain was appointed in his stead. In the following year, however, Talbot was consecrated archbishop of Dublin.

In this capacity Talbot took an active part in the government of Ireland, which at this period was marked by ‘imbecility, folly, and corruption’ (Richey, Hist. of Ireland, p. 231). The frequent change of viceroys and their still more frequent absences gave scope for faction and disorder. In 1419, during his brother's absence, the archbishop was appointed his deputy (Marleburrough, Chron. of Ireland, ed. 1809, p. 28), and on 19 May 1423 he was made lord chancellor of Ireland (Nicolas, Acts of the Privy Council, iii. 93). In April 1426 he was removed from the chancellorship, but secured his reappointment on 23 Oct. following (ib. iii. 212). In 1429 he was charged with abetting disorder and rebellion, and was summoned to England to answer for his conduct. Apparently he gave satisfaction, for he retained the chancellorship. In 1431 he instituted a new corporation within St. Patrick's Cathedral, consisting of six minor canons and six choristers (Monck Mason, St. Patrick's, p. 132). He also established a chantry in St. Michael's Church and another in St. Audoen's, providing for the maintenance of six priests. He renewed the claim of the archbishops of Dublin, which had been in abeyance since the time of Milo Sweetman [q. v.], to independence of the primatial see of Armagh.

During the absence of the viceroy, Sir Thomas Stanley, in 1436, the archbishop again acted as deputy; and when James Butler, fourth earl of Ormonde, was appointed viceroy in 1440, Talbot began a systematic opposition to his government. In the parliament which met at Dublin on 16 Nov. 1441 a petition was drawn up requesting Henry VI to appoint an English peer as viceroy instead of Ormonde. Talbot was selected to lay the petition before the king, and he took the opportunity to describe the ill effects of Ormonde's rule (Nicolas, Acts of Privy Council, v. 317–20). Ormonde, however, was not removed, and the dissensions between him and Talbot forced the English government to summon them both in 1442 and again in 1443 to answer for their conduct, which was leading to disastrous results in Ireland (ib. v. 206, 250). No effect was produced, both rivals retaining their offices of deputy and chancellor. In 1445, however, and again in 1447–8, Talbot held the post of deputy during his brother's absence. In 1443 he declined election to the see of Armagh. He died at Dublin on 15 Aug. 1449, and was buried in St. Patrick's Cathedral. The inscription on his tomb is printed by Ware, who attributes to Talbot a work ‘De Abusu Regiminis Jacobi comitis Ormondiæ dum esset locum tenens Hiberniæ.’ This was extant in Ware's time, but is probably only the ‘articles’ the archbishop drew up against Ormonde. These were among the Earl of Clarendon's manuscripts (No. 46. f. 10 b) (Bernard, Cat. MSS. Hib. p. 5), and are printed in Nicolas's ‘Acts of the Privy Council’ (v. 317–20).

[Cal. Rot. Pat. et Claus. Cancellariæ Hiberniæ (Record publ.), pt. i. passim; Book of Howth, p. 40; Cotton. MS. Cleopatra F. iv. f. 21 b; Chartularies of St. Mary's Abbey, Dublin (Rolls Ser.), vol. i. pp. xliv, 379, ii. 26; Nicolas's Acts of the Privy Council, vols. iii–v.; Lascelles's Liber Mun. Hibern.; Cotton's Fasti Eccl. Hib.; Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Angl.; Henry de Marleburrough's Chron. of Ireland, 1809, pp. 28–32; Ware's Bishops and Writers of Ireland; Monck Mason's St. Patrick's; D'Alton's Archbishops of Dublin, pp. 153–9; Gilbert's Viceroys of Ireland; O'Flanagan's Lord Chancellors of Ireland, i. 85–104; Stuart's Armagh; Burke's Ext. Peerage.]

A. F. P.