Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Redman, Richard (d.1505)

REDMAN, RICHARD (d. 1505), bishop of Ely, probably great-grandson of Sir Richard Redman [q. v.], was born in the chapelry of Levens on the borders of Cumberland and Westmoreland. He is said to have been educated at Cambridge, and subsequently to have become one of the regular canons of the Premonstratensian order in the abbey of Shap, of which house he became abbot, and was visitor of the order in 1478. He seems to have held his abbey in commendam with his bishopric of St. Asaph for many years. The abbey was scarcely five miles from Levens, and was an important house with ample revenues. It is probable that family influence contributed to his promotion to this his first preferment. He seems to have been nominated to the see of St. Asaph in 1468, but was not actually consecrated till three years later, a question having arisen as to whether the see was vacant (Le Neve, Fasti, i. 73). In the parliament of 1483 he was appointed one of the triers of petitions from Gascony and the parts beyond sea. He found the cathedral of St. Asaph a heap of ruins, in which state it had lain since Owen Glendower had burnt the place down in 1408. Bishop Redman set himself to restore the church at a great cost, and it remains now substantially as he left it. On 21 Aug. 1474 he took part in the consecration of Thomas Billing, bishop of Hereford, at St. Mary's, Westminster. In 1487 he became somehow compromised in the ‘rebellion’ of Lambert Simmel. A complaint was made to the pope, who adjudicated upon the matter. The bishop recovered his place in the favour of Henry VII, for in 1492 we find him one of the commissioners for treating with the Scots for peace, and next year he was admitted to the privy council. In January 1496 the see of Exeter was vacated by the translation of Oliver King to the bishopric of Bath and Wells, and Redman succeeded him at Exeter. Finally, in September 1501, he was removed to the see of Ely, where his magnificent monument may still be seen. He died at Ely House, Holborn, on 24 Aug. 1505. The bishop must have been a man of very large means, and his profuse liberality was proverbial during his lifetime. In his will, which has been preserved, he made many and large bequests to the religious houses in his diocese, to the cathedral, and to his old abbey of Shap, as well as to the poor, among whom one hundred marks was to be distributed at his funeral.

[Bentham's Ely, p. 183; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr.; Le Neve's Fasti; Rolls of Parl. iv. 63, vi. 196, 238.]

A. J.