Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Richard (d.1177?)

RICHARD (d. 1177?), bishop of St. Andrews and chaplain to Malcolm IV, was elected to the bishopric in 1163 on the death of Bishop Ernold or Arnold; he witnessed several charters as bishop-elect. His consecration was delayed on account of the long-standing claim of the archbishop of York to perform the ceremony as metropolitan. On the election of Richard the contest was renewed, and the archbishop of York, in virtue of his legatine power, summoned the leading Scottish clergy to meet him at Norham in 1164. They protested and appealed to Rome, and on Palm Sunday (1165) Richard was consecrated at St. Andrews by ‘bishops of his own country’ in the presence of the king. Malcolm was soon after succeeded by his brother, William the Lion, who was crowned or enthroned by Bishop Richard at Scone on Christmas eve (1165).

The new cathedral of St. Andrews had been founded by Bishop Arnold in 1162, and Richard zealously carried forward the work. In 1174 he was sent to Normandy with other Scottish notables to negotiate the release of their king, who was imprisoned there after his capture before the walls of Alnwick, and, with their consent, William entered into the treaty of Falaise in December of that year. By it the national independence of Scotland was sacrificed, and it was agreed ‘that the church of England should have that right over the church of Scotland which it ought to have, and that they (the Scots) would not oppose its just claims.’ This ambiguous clause kept the independence of the Scottish church an open question, and, in the opinion of his countrymen, did much credit to the patriotism of the bishop of St. Andrews. On 17 Aug. 1175 the treaty was confirmed in York minster, when Richard was present and did homage to the English monarch. He was also present with other Scottish bishops at the council which met at Northampton, 11 Jan. 1176. In reply to King Henry's demand that the northern prelates should acknowledge the supremacy of the English church, as stipulated in the treaty of Falaise, they boldly asserted that neither their predecessors nor they had ever yielded obedience to the church of England, and that they ought not to do so. The papal legate urged them to acknowledge the archbishop of York as metropolitan, but at this juncture the archbishop of Canterbury came to their aid, by asserting a similar claim for his own see; and Henry had to dismiss them without any promise of submission to either.

On their return home Richard and the other heads of the Scottish church sent a deputation to Rome to plead their cause, with the result that the pope forbade the archbishop of York to exercise jurisdiction in Scotland, and the Scottish bishops to yield obedience to him, till the question should be settled by the apostolic see; and in 1188 Clement III exempted the Scottish church from all foreign jurisdiction except that of Rome. According to Fordun, Richard died on 28 March 1177, but the chronicle of Melrose gives 1178 as the year of his death, and that of Holyrood 1179. He was held in great honour by his countrymen as a wise man and a good bishop, as an illustrious pillar of the Scottish church, and the successful defender of its independence.

[Fordun's Hist.; Wynton's Chron.; Chron. of Melrose; Dalrymple's Annals; Wilkins's Concilia; Haddan and Stubbs's Councils; Keith's Scottish Bishops; Robertson's Scotland under Early Kings; J. Robertson's Preface to the Ecclesiæ Scoticanæ Statuta; Martin's St. Andrews; Lyons's St. Andrews; Bellesheim's Hist. of the Catholic Church of Scotland.]

G. W. S.