Fishacre, Richard de (DNB00)

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FISHACRE, FISSAKRE, FISHAKLE, or FIZACRE, RICHARD de (d. 1248), Dominican divine, is said to have been a native of Devonshire (Fuller, i. 442, iii. 20). Trivet styles him 'natus Oxonia,' where, however, other manuscripts read Exonia (p. 230). Bale makes him study 'the scurrilities of the Sophists' at Oxford and Paris; but the whole story of the latter visit is probably nothing more than the expansion of a very dubious suggestion in Leland's 'Commentaries ' (Bale, p. 294; Leland, ii. 275). Like Robert Bacon [q. v.], Fishacre in his old age became a Dominican; but as the two friends continued to read divinity lectures for several years after entering the order in the schools of St. Edward, his entry can hardly be dated later than 1240, and perhaps like Robert Bacon's should be placed ten or more years earlier (Trivet, pp. 229-30). The two comrades died in the same year, 1248 (Matt. Paris, v. 16). In their own days they were considered to be without superior, or even equal, in theology or other branches of science; nor was their eloquence in popular preaching less remarkable (ib.) Leland calls Fishacre, Robert Bacon's 'comes individuus,' and adds that the two were as fast linked together in friendship as ever Theseus was to Pirithous. He even hints that the former died of grief on hearing of his friend's decease (Leland, ii. 275; Fuller, ubi supra). Fishacre was buried among the Friars Preachers at Oxford. He was the first of his order in England who wrote on the 'Sentences' (Oriel MS. No. 43, quoted in Coxe). Wood makes him a friend and auditor of Edmund Rich (Hist. II. ii. 740).

Fishacre's works are:

  1. Commentaries on Peter Lombard's 'Book of Sentences,' four books (manuscripts at Oriel College, Nos. 31, 43, and Balliol, No. 57, Oxford, and, according to Echard, at the Sorbonne in Paris, &c.)
  2. Treatises on the Psalter (to the seventieth Psalm only according to Trivet).
  3. 'Super Parabolas Salamonis.' To these Bale adds other dissertations: 'De Pœnitate,' 'Postillæ Morales,' 'Commentarii Bibliæ,' 'Quæstiones Variæ,' 'Quodlibeta quoque et alia plura.' Pits says he was the first Englishman to become a doctor in divinity. The same writer states that Thomas Walden, the great anti-Wycliffite theologian of the early part of the fifteenth century, often appeals to Fishacre's authority while Bale adds that William Woodford (d. 1397), the Franciscan, and William Byntre relied on him for the same purpose. Echard assigns him another work, 'De Indulgentiis.'

[Matt. Paris, ed. Luard (Rolls Ser.), vol. v.; Trivet, ed. Hog (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Leland's Commentaries, ed. 1709; Bale's Scriptores, ed. 1559, p. 294; Pits's Commentaries, ed. 1619, p. 317; Fuller's Worthies, ed. 1840, i. 422, iii. 419-20; Anthony à Wood's Hist. and Antiquities of Oxford, ed. Gutch, ii. 740; Echard's Scriptores Ordinis Prædicatorum, i. 118-19; Coxe's Cat. of Oxford MSS.; Tanner's Scriptores.]

T. A. A.