Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hoton, Richard

HOTON or HOGHTON, RICHARD of (d. 1307), prior of Durham and probable founder of Durham College, the Oxford 'nursery' of the Benedictines of Durham, the site of which is now occupied by Trinity College, seems to have been a native of Houghton-le-Spring, Durham. Tradition, however, connects him with the family now represented by Sir Charles De Hoghton, bart., of Hoghton Towers, near Blackburn, Lancashire. Richard was subprior of Durham at the reappointment to the priorate of Hugo de Derlington (1285), by whom he was appointed prior of the cell of Lynche, but afterwards 'conventualis apud Coldingham.' Derlington is said to have disliked him, and afterwards 'odio R. de Hoton, qui juvenis graciosus erat, monachos misit Oxoniam ad studendum, et eis satis laute impensas ministrabat' (Graystanes, c. xxi.). Richard, however, on becoming prior in 1289, carried on the scheme by providing the Durham students with a house at Oxford similar to that possessed by the Benedictines of St. Peter's Abbey, Gloucester, in Gloucester College. Part of the site had been acquired as early as 1286. In 1300 Hoton was deposed and imprisoned by Bishop Antony Bek I [q.v.], for resisting his attempts to visit Durham priory, but he escaped, and going to Rome turned the tables on the bishop, who was summoned for contumacy. Hoton was reinstated by Boniface VIII in 1301, and was again suspended for similar action by Clement V, but was restored on payment of a fee of one thousand marks. He died at Rome on 9 Jan. 1307, and seems to have been remembered as a benefactor to the church of Durham.

[Robert Graystanes, cc. xxi–xxvii. in Historiæ Dunelmensis Scriptores Tres (Surtees Soc.) and App.; Wood's City of Oxford, ed. Clark (Oxf. Hist. Soc.) ii. 263 sq.; Browne-Willis's Mitred Abbies, i. 260–1; see art. Bek, Antony I.]

H. E. D. B.