Rawlins, Richard (DNB00)

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RAWLINS, RICHARD (d. 1536), bishop of St. David's, was educated at Merton College, Oxford, proceeding B.D. 1492 and D.D. 1495, and he became fellow in 1480 and warden in 1508. He had a long continuance of ecclesiastical preferments. He became rector of St. Mary Woolnoth in 1494, prebendary of St. Paul's on 7 Sept. 1499, vicar of Hendon and subdean of York, 1504, vicar of Thornton, Yorkshire, on 6 Sept. 1505, canon of Windsor, 1506, archdeacon of Cleveland, 1507, king's almoner in 1509, rector of St. Martin's, Ludgate, 1514, archdeacon of Huntingdon on 18 Nov. 1514, and prebendary of Westminster on 28 May 1518. He was with Henry in France in 1513, and served as almoner at the meeting between Charles V and Henry at Gravelines in 1520. He was deprived of the wardenship of Merton by the archbishop of Canterbury for reasons not honourable to him in 1521 (for the particulars see Brodrick, Mem. of Merton, pp. 162–3), and, as a sort of recompense, in 1523 he became bishop of St. Davids. He duly acknowledged the royal supremacy on 22 July 1534. But his orthodoxy was no more above suspicion than his conduct as a bishop, if we may trust the somewhat unreliable testimony of William Barlow (d. 1568) [q. v.], his successor at St. Davids. In 1535 Barlow, who was then acting as Rawlins's suffragan, complained that ‘There is none who sincerely preaches God's word, and scarce any who heartily favour it. No diocese is so corrupted by the enormous vices, the fraudulent exactions, the misordered living, and heathen idolatry shamefully supported under the clergy's jurisdiction.’ Barlow also objected to the bishop's ungodly spiritual officers and to his extravagance. Rawlins died on 18 Feb. 1536, and was buried at St. Davids. A very curious inventory of his goods, and notably of his library, has been preserved. A letter from him is Cotton MS. Vit. B. ix. f. 117.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, i. 671, ii. 743; Brodrick's Memorials of Merton (Oxford Hist. Soc.); Letters and Papers of Henry VIII; Lansdowne MS. 979, f. 116; Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Angl.; Jones and Freeman's Hist. and Antiq. of St. Davids, p. 309.]

W. A. J. A.