Osbaldeston, Richard (DNB00)
OSBALDESTON, RICHARD (1690–1764), successively bishop of Carlisle and of London, born on 6 Jan. 1690, at Hunmanby, Yorkshire, was the second son of Sir Richard Osbaldeston, knt., lord of Havercroft, of the old family seated at Osbaldeston, Lancashire, by his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter and coheiress of John Fountaine of Melton, Yorkshire. He was educated at Beverley school, was admitted a pensioner to St. John's College, Cambridge, 2 June 1707, and graduated B.A. in 1711, being sixteenth on the tripos list. His other degrees were M.A. 1714, and D.D. 1726. He was elected fellow of Peterhouse on the Park foundation 26 July 1714, and resigned the fellowship on 22 March in the following year. He soon began to climb the ladder of promotion. The Duke of Portland appointed him to the rich living of Hinderwell, Yorkshire, in 1715, and he held it till he became bishop (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. v. 405). In 1727, the year of George II's accession, he was already royal chaplain, and he was one of George III's early tutors. On 19 Sept. 1728 he became dean of York, and on 4 Oct. 1747, on the death of Bishop Fleming, was consecrated bishop of Carlisle. His episcopate was not a distinguished one. He is described as ‘a whig in politics, and liberal in his church views; rich, indolent, and chiefly non-resident, leaving his diocese to be administered by his vigorous chancellor, Waugh.’ In 1762, on the death of Bishop Hayter [q. v.], he was translated to the see of London, ‘to nobody's joy that I know of,’ Hurd spitefully remarks (Hurd, Life, p. 84), and he was considered by Secker ‘every way unequal to the situation’ (Chandler, Life of Dr. S. Johnson, p. 197). As Osbaldeston is stated to have recommended Hurd for preferment (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. vi. 478), his depreciatory remark shows little sense of gratitude. He left Carlisle Cathedral and his episcopal residence in the diocese in bad condition. A curious correspondence between him and his successor at Carlisle, Dr. Charles Lyttelton [q. v.], relative to the condition of Rose Castle, from the Lyttelton archives, is printed in ‘Notes and Queries’ (4th ser. iv. 149–52). The steward of the new bishop complained of chimneys unswept for years, ragged beds, decayed furniture, rusty saucepans, and Lyttelton himself complained of claret, ‘paid for as good, growing staile, naught, and as sour as verjuice,’ and port ‘so foul’ that it had to be ‘filtered before it could be drunk.’ The sum allowed for dilapidations was insufficient, and the house had been stripped so bare that even the chaplain's old surplice had been carried off, and the new chaplain had been ‘forced to read prayers without one, in the sight of half the county.’ Osbaldeston's part of the correspondence is not conspicuous for temper or courtesy.
His tenure of the see of London was brief. The one thing recorded of it is Osbaldeston's refusal, characterised by some intemperance of language, to permit the introduction of monumental statuary to relieve the bareness of the interior of St. Paul's. The whole story is amusingly told by Bishop Thomas Newton [q. v.] in his ‘Autobiography.’ Newton, being then a residentiary canon of St. Paul's, was asked, in the absence of the dean, to sanction the erection of a statue to commemorate a former lord mayor. He saw no objection, and Archbishop Secker approved; but when the scheme was proposed to Osbaldeston, he was furious. ‘Sir Christopher Wren had designed no such thing. There had been no monuments in all the time before he was bishop, and his time there should be none.’ So the matter was dropped, and the cathedral had to wait more than thirty years (John Howard's was the first statue erected, in 1796) for monumental sculpture (Howard, Autobiography, ed. 1782, 4to, p. 108). It is to Osbaldeston's credit that he recognised the claims of John Jortin [q. v.], whom he treated liberally. He also recommended Hurd for preferment, and in 1762 nominated César de Missy one of the French chaplains to the king (Illustr. of Lit. iii. 306). He died at Fulham Palace on 15 May 1764, and was buried in the churchyard of the parish church. He was twice married, but left no issue. Archdeacon Moss, in a charge delivered in 1764 after Osbaldeston's death, speaks 'with much respect of his strong sense of responsibility, his love of literature, his talent for business, and his hospitality' (Abbey, The Church of England and its Bishops, ii. 69). His only publications were some sermons and charges. His portrait was painted by T. Hudson, and engraved in mezzotint by James MacArdell [q. v.]
[Hunter's South Yorkshire, ii. 413; Baker's St. John's, ii. 706; Ferguson's Diocesan History of Carlisle, p. 172; Newton's Autobiography, ed. 1782, 4to, p. 108; Coates's Poems, 1770, p. 59; Notes and Queries, 4th ser. iv. 149–152.]