Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Ricart, Robert

RICART, ROBERT (fl. 1478), town clerk of Bristol, was a lay brother of the fraternity of the Kalendars, an ancient guild attached to the church of All Saints, Bristol. He was perhaps the vestry clerk of that church, for the parish minute-book appears to have been written by him from 1466 to 1478. He was elected common clerk of the town on 29 Sept. 1478 (the eighteenth of Edward IV, cf. Kalendar, p. 1), and held that office till 1508 or 1509 (ib. p. 49, and preface p. iii). It is somewhat improbably conjectured that he was a chantry priest at All Saints. The name was not uncommon at Bristol, where a Reginald Riccard was steward in 1267, Arthur Rycarte sheriff in 1558, and Philip Ricart town clerk in 1519. The will of a Robert Riccarde of Bristol was proved in the prerogative court of Canterbury on 26 March 1504.

At the bidding of William Spencer, who was mayor of Bristol in 1478–9, Ricart compiled a book, to be known as the ‘Mayor's Register’ or ‘Mayor's Kalendar,’ to form a record of the ancient usages and customs of the town. The book is divided into six parts, the first three relating to the history, the last three to the local customs and laws. It was edited by Miss Lucy Toulmin Smith for the Camden Society in 1872. Leland (Itinerary, vii. 87) appears to quote it as ‘a little book of the Antiquities of the house of Kalendaries in Brightstow.’ Entries made by Ricart are found also in the ‘Great Red Book,’ the ‘Book of Wills,’ and the ‘Little Red Book,’ among the Bristol archives.

[Smith's Preface to Ricart's Kalendar; Rogers's Kalendars of All Hallowen, Brystowe, p. 166; Barrett's History of Bristol, p. 456; Mrs. Green's Town Life in the Fifteenth Century.]

C. L. K.