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PECHE, RICHARD (d. 1182), bishop of Lichfield, was son of Robert Peche, an earlier bishop of the see. Richard is said to have been archdeacon of Chester in 1135, and subsequently archdeacon of Coventry. In 1161 he was consecrated to the bishopric of Lichfield by Walter of Rochester (Gervase of Canterbury, i. 168; Rad. de Diceto, i. 305, Rolls Ser.; Wharton, Anglia Sacra, i. 435; Annales Monastici, i. 49, ii. 56, 238, iii. 18, Rolls Ser.) Peche is frequently, even in official documents, styled bishop of Chester on account of the removal of the see, for a short time, from Lichfield to Chester in 1075. He is said to have called himself only bishop of Coventry, to which place the seat of the bishopric had been for a second time removed before its final return to Lichfield (Anglia Sacra, i. 463). The title of Lichfield is rarely given to him by the chroniclers. Peche was at Westminster in 1162, at the settlement of a protracted dispute between the churches of Lincoln and St. Albans (Matthew of Paris, Hist. Angl. i. 318; Chron. Majora, ii. 219; Gesta Abbat. Monast. S. Albani, i. 139, 157; Roger of Wendover, i. 22, Rolls Ser.). In 1170 he made the grave mistake of sanctioning by his presence the coronation of the young prince Henry by the archbishop of York, in defiance of the rights of the church of Canterbury (Chronicles of Stephen, &c., iv. 245). The archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket [see Thomas], was then in exile, but returned in the same year, and Peche was among the prelates who were at once suspended from their sees for their share in the coronation of the prince (Rad. de Diceto, i. 340; Annales Monastici, iv. 382; Matt. Paris, Hist. Angl. i. 357; Chron. Majora, ii. 277). He appears to have been soon forgiven and restored, for in 1171 he was one of the bishops chosen to reconcile the church of Canterbury, in which divine service had been suspended after the murder of the archbishop (Gervase of Canterbury, i. 236). About this time he made a grant of lands and rents to augment the deanery of Lichfield, which had been impoverished during the previous wars (Whitelocke, Hist. Lichfield, ap. Anglia Sacra, i. 448). In 1175 Peche attended the council of Westminster (Walter of Coventry, i. 239, Rolls Ser.) During his last years he was a liberal benefactor to, if not the actual founder of, the Augustinian priory of St. Thomas the Martyr at Stafford (Tanner, Notit. Monast. Staffordshire, xxiv. 2). He had a great affection for the house, and when, shortly before his death, he resigned his bishopric, it was to this foundation that he retired. He took the habit of the canons of St. Thomas, and died among them, 6 Oct. 1182. He was buried in the priory church (Annales Monastici, i. 52, 187, ii. 242, iv. 385; Rog. Hov. ii. 284).

[In addition to the authorities cited, see Dugdale's Monasticon, vi. 471–2; Madox's Form. Angl. cclxxxvii; Trivet, Annales, p. 51 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Le Neve's Fasti, i. 545, 565; Stubbs's Registrum, p. 31.]

A. M. C.-e.