Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 48.djvu/129

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7th ser. viii. 110). An unimportant letter to her brother (dated 1599) in her handwriting is in the British Museum (Addit. MS. 12500). Others of her letters to Sir Robert Cecil are at Hatfield.

[Brydges's Peers of the Reign of James I, pp. 28 sq., 329 sq.; Devereux's Devereux-Earls of Essex, i. 151–6; Fox-Bourne's Life of Sir Philip Sidney; Duke of Manchester's Court and Society from Elizabeth to Anne, i. 293 seq.; Miss Costello's Memoirs of Eminent Englishwomen; Arber's Garner, i. 467 seq.; Sidney's Astrophel and Stella, ed. A. W. Pollard, pref.; Sidney's Works, ed. Grosart; Sydney Papers, passim; Dugdale's Baronage; Doyle's Official Baronage; art. Blount, Charles,, Earl of Devonshire and eighth Baron Mountjoy.]

S. L.

RICH, RICHARD, first Baron Rich (1496?–1567), lord chancellor, second son of Richard Rich and Joan Dingley, his wife, was probably born in 1496, since early in 1551 he is officially described as fifty-four years of age and more. The family was of Hampshire origin, and the chancellor's great-grandfather, Richard Rich (d. 1469), a prominent member of the Mercers' Company, served as sheriff of the city of London in 1441. He left two sons, John (d. 1458), from whom are descended the baronets of the Rich family, and Thomas, grandfather of the lord chancellor. The visitation of Essex in 1612 represents the chancellor as second son of John Rich, who died on 19 July 1458, which is impossible. Robert, a brother of the chancellor, died in 1557. Rich was born in the parish of St. Laurence Jewry, in the church of which several of his family were buried. Cooper (Athenæ Cantabr. i. 253) states that he was at one time a member of Cambridge University (cf. Ascham, Epist. 1703, pp. 322–3), and in 1539 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the chancellorship of that university against the Duke of Norfolk. He was bred to the law, entered the Middle Temple, and formed an acquaintance with Sir Thomas More, a native of the same parish and member of the same inn. ‘You know,’ said More to Rich at his trial, ‘that I have been acquainted with your manner of life and conversation a long space, even from your youth to this time; for we dwelt long together in one parish, where, as yourself can well tell (I am sorry you compel me to speak it), you were always esteemed very light of your tongue, a great dicer and gamester, and not of any commendable fame either there or at your house in the Temple, where hath been your bringing up’ (Cresacre, Life of Sir T. More, ed. Hunter, p. 263).

Rich, however, in spite of his dissipation, acquired an intimate knowledge of the law. In 1526 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the office of common serjeant against William Walsingham, the father of Sir Francis. In 1528 he wrote to Wolsey urging a reform of the common law, and offering to describe the abuses in daily use, and to suggest remedies. In the following December he was placed on the commission for the peace in Hertfordshire, and in February 1529 was made a commissioner of sewers. In the autumn he became reader at the Middle Temple, and in November was returned as one of the burgesses of Colchester to the ‘reformation’ parliament which sat from 1529 to 1536. In June 1530 he was placed on the commission for gaol delivery at Colchester Castle, and in July was one of those appointed to make a return of Wolsey's possessions in Essex. In March 1532 he was granted the clerkship of recognisances of debt taken in London, and on 13 May was appointed attorney-general for Wales and the counties palatine of Flint and Chester. On 10 Oct. 1533 he was made solicitor-general, and knighted. In this capacity he took the leading part in the crown prosecutions for non-compliance with the acts of succession and supremacy. In April 1535 he assisted at the examination of the three Carthusian monks who were executed shortly after at Tyburn. Baily's story (Life of Fisher, p. 214) that Rich was sent to Fisher with a secret message from Henry to the effect that he would not accept the supremacy of the church if Fisher disapproved is improbable; but in May Rich came to the Tower and endeavoured to ascertain the bishop's real views on the subject, assuring him on the king's word that no advantage would be taken of his admissions, and promising that he would repeat them to no one but the king. Nevertheless this conversation was made the principal evidence on which Fisher was condemned, and at his trial he denounced Rich for his treachery in revealing it. Similarly base was Rich's conduct towards Sir Thomas More. On 12 June he had an interview with More in the Tower, in which, according to his own account, he ‘charitably moved’ the ex-chancellor to comply with the acts. But at the trial he gave evidence that More had denied the power of parliament to make the king supreme head of the church; the words rested solely on Rich's testimony, and More charged Rich with perjury. ‘In good faith, Mr. Rich,’ he said, ‘I am more sorry for your perjury than mine own peril; and know you that neither I nor any one else to my