1500-1599 Ancestors Ancestors Royal Ancestors


Sir Richard of Weld Rich (Lord Chancellor of England, 1st Baron of Leigh’s) “the evilest person of the 16th century”, Esquire (13th GGF)


BIRTH 1510 • St. Lawrence Jewry, London, England

DEATH 12 JUN 1567 • Rochford, Rochford District, Essex, England


Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich

From Wikipedia

The Right HonourableThe Lord RichKt
Portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger
Speaker of the House of Commons
In office
9 June 1536 – 18 July 1536
Preceded byHumphrey Wingfield
Succeeded byNicholas Hare
Lord Chancellor
In office
Preceded byThe Lord St John
Succeeded byThomas Goodrich
Personal details
BornJuly 1496
Died12 June 1567 (aged 70)
Resting placeFelsted church, Essex
OccupationLord Chancellor of England


Arms of Rich: Gules, a chevron between three crosses botonée or

Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich (July 1496 – 12 June 1567), was Lord Chancellor during King Edward VI of England‘s reign, from 1547 until January 1552. He was the founder of Felsted School with its associated alms houses in Essex in 1564. He was a beneficiary of the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and persecuted perceived opponents of the king and their policies. He played a role in the trials of Catholic martyrs Thomas More and John Fisher as well as that of Protestant martyr Anne Askew.



According to some sources, Rich was born in the London parish of St Lawrence Jewry, the second son of Richard Rich by Joan Dingley,[1][2] but this is disputed.[3] Also, according to Carter, he was born at BasingstokeHampshire, the son of John Rich (d. 1509?), of Penton MewseyHampshire, and a wife named Agnes whose surname is unknown.[4] In 1509, Richard inherited his father’s house in IslingtonMiddlesex.[4] Early in 1551 he was described in an official document as “fifty-four years of age and more”, and was therefore born about 1496 or earlier.[1][4]

According to Sergeaunt (1889):[5]

The origin of the family of Lord Rich has been matter of some discussion … The first of the family of whom there is definite information was Richard Rich, a wealthy mercer of London and Sheriff of the City in 1441. The date of his death is given by Burke as 1469, but it would seem that he has been confounded with his son John, who was buried in the Mercer’s chapel in that year. The family remained in the city, and the son of John Rich was probably also a mercer. To him was born sometime between 1480 and 1490 a son whom he named Richard.

He had a brother, Robert, whom Henry VIII granted a messuage in Bucklersbury[6] on 24 February 1539,[7] and who died in 1557.[1]


Little is known of Rich’s early life. He may have studied at Cambridge before 1516.[1] That year, he entered the Middle Temple as a lawyer and at some point between 1520 and 1525 he was a reader at the New Inn. By 1528 Rich was in search of a patron and wrote to Cardinal Wolsey; in 1529, Thomas Audley succeeded in helping him get elected as an MP for Colchester.[8] As Audley’s career advanced in the early 1530s, so did Rich’s, through a variety of legal posts, before he became truly prominent in the mid-1530s.[1]

Other preferments followed, and in 1533 Rich was knighted and became the Solicitor General for England and Wales in which capacity he was to act under Thomas Cromwell as a “lesser hammer” for the demolition of the monasteries, and to secure the operation of Henry VIII‘s Act of Supremacy. Rich had a share in the trials of Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher. In both cases his evidence against the prisoner included admissions made in friendly conversation, and in More’s case the words were given a misconstruction that could hardly be other than wilful.[9] While on trial, More said that Rich was “always reputed light of his tongue, a great dicer and gamester, and not of any commendable fame.”[10] Rich also played a major part in Cromwell’s fall.

As King’s Solicitor, Rich travelled to Kimbolton Castle in January 1536 to take the inventory of the goods of Catherine of Aragon, and wrote to Henry advising how he might properly obtain her possessions.[11]


On 19 April 1536 Rich became the chancellor of the Court of Augmentations, established for the disposal of the monastic revenues. His own share of the spoil, acquired either by grant or purchase, included Leez (Leighs) Priory and about 100 manors in Essex. Rich also acquired—and destroyed—the real estate and holdings of the Priory of St Bartholomew-the-Great in Smithfield. He built the Tudor-style gatehouse still surviving in London as the upper portion of the Smithfield Gate.[12] He was Speaker of the House of Commons in the same year, and advocated the king’s policy. Despite the share he had taken in the suppression of the monasteries, the prosecution of Thomas More and Bishop Fisher and the part he played under Edward VI and Elizabeth, his religious beliefs remained nominally Catholic.

Rich was also a participant in the torture of Anne Askew, the only woman tortured at the Tower of London. Both he and Chancellor Wriothesley turned the wheels of the rack to torture her.[13]

Baron Rich[edit]

Leez Priory tower

Rich was an assistant executor of the will of King Henry VIII, and received a grant of lands.[14] He became Baron Rich of Leez on 26 February 1547. In the next month he succeeded Wriothesley as chancellor. He supported Lord Protector Edward Seymour in his policies, including reforms in Church matters and the prosecution of his brother Thomas Seymour, until the crisis of October 1549, when he joined with the John Dudley. He resigned his office in January 1552.

Prosecution of bishops[edit]

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Elizabeth, Lady Rich, by Hans Holbein the Younger.

Rich took part in the prosecution of bishops Stephen Gardiner and Edmund Bonner, and had a role in the harsh treatment accorded to the future Mary I of England. But upon her accession, Mary showed Rich no ill will. He took an active part in the restoration of the old religion in Essex under the new reign, and was one of the most active persecutors. His reappearances in the privy council were rare during Mary’s reign; but under Elizabeth he served on a commission to inquire into the grants of land made under Mary, and in 1566 was sent for to advise on the question of the queen’s marriage. He died at Rochford in Essex, on 12 June 1567, and was buried in Felsted church.

In Mary’s reign he founded a chaplaincy with provision for the singing of masses and dirges, and the ringing of bells in Felsted church. To this was added a Lenten allowance of herrings to the inhabitants of three parishes. These donations were transferred in 1564 to the foundation of Felsted School for instruction, primarily for children born on the founder’s manors, in Latin, Greek and divinity. The patronage of the school remained in the founder’s family until 1851.


Rich’s descendants formed the powerful Rich family, lasting for three centuries, acquiring several titles in the Peerage of England and intermarrying with numerous other noble families.

By his wife Elizabeth Jenks (Gynkes) he had 15 children.[15] The eldest son, Robert (1537?–1581), second Baron Rich, supported the Reformation. One grandson, Richard Rich, was the first husband of Catherine Knyvet: another, Robert Rich, third Baron Rich (1559–1619) was created First Earl of Warwick (of the third creation) in 1618. This line failed with the death of the 8th Earl on 7 September 1759.

Rich had an illegitimate son named Richard (d. 1598[16]) whom he acknowledged fully in his will with legacies and guardians for his minority, his education in the common law, and suitable marital arrangements.[17] In this line of descent was his grandson the merchant adventurer Sir Nathaniel Rich, and his great-grandson Nathaniel Rich (nephew of the elder Nathaniel), a colonel in the New Model Army during the English Civil War.


Since the mid-16th century Rich has had a reputation for immorality, financial dishonesty, double-dealing, perjury and treachery rarely matched in English history.[4] The historian Hugh Trevor-Roper called Rich a man “of whom nobody has ever spoken a good word”.[18]

Depiction in the arts[edit]

Rich is the supporting villain in the play A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt, which shows his slide into corruption. In the subsequent, Oscar-winning film adaptationJohn Hurt portrays him. Bolt depicts Rich as perjuring himself against More in order to become Attorney-General for Wales. More responds, “Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world… but for Wales?”. The final line of the film notes that Rich “died in his bed” in juxtaposition with More’s martyrdom and the other major characters’ untimely deaths. In the 1988 remake of the film, Jonathan Hackett portrayed Rich.

Rich is a supporting character in C. J. Sansom‘s Shardlake series of historical mystery novels, which are set in Henry VIII’s reign. Rich is portrayed as a cruel villain who is prepared to subvert justice to enhance his property and position. He has a significant role in the plot of Sovereign, the third of the series, and in Heartstone, the fifth.

Rod Hallett played Rich in seasons two, three and four of the Showtime series The Tudors.

Rich (spelled Riche in the novels) appears in Hilary Mantel‘s three volumes about Thomas CromwellWolf HallBring Up the Bodies and The Mirror and the LightBryan Dick portrays him in the BBC television adaptation of the first two novels, Wolf Hall.


  1. Jump up to:a b c d e Pollard 1896, p. 123.
  2. ^ Cokayne 1945, p. 774.
  3. ^ “History of Parliament: RICH, Richard (1496/97-1567), of West Smithfield, Mdx., Rochford and Leighs, Essex”. History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
  4. Jump up to:a b c d Carter 2004.
  5. ^ Sergeaunt 1889, p. 80.
  6. ^ City of London, at the east end of Cheapside.
  7. ^ Simpson 1870, pp. 161–3.
  8. ^ “History of Parliament”. History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  9. ^ Pendrill, Colin (2000). The English Reformation: crown power and religious change, 1485–1558. p. 144.
  10. ^ More, Cresacre (1828). Rev. Joseph Hunter F.S.A. (ed.). The Life of Sir Thomas More. London: William Pickering. p. 263. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
  11. ^ Strype, John (1822). “Rich to Henry, 19 January 1535/6”. Ecclesiastical Memorials1. Oxford. pp. 252–255.
  12. ^ Webb, E.A. (1921). Records of St. Bartholomew’s Smithfield. 2 vols. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
  13. ^ Weir 1991, p. 517.
  14. ^ Carter, P. R. N. “Rich, Richard”. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/23491. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  15. ^ Thirteen of them are shown in the Essex pedigrees, W.C. Metcalfe, The Visitations of Essex in 1552, 1558, 1570, 1612 and 1634; to which are added miscellaneous Essex pedigrees, (etc)., Part 1, Harleian Society, Vol. XIII (London 1878), pp. 276–77.
  16. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. Missing or empty |title= (help) (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  17. ^ Rich, Richard (1496/97–1567), of West Smithfield, Middlesex, Rochford and Leighs, Essex, History of Parliament Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  18. ^ Muriel St Clare Byrne, ed. (1983). The Lisle Letters; an abridgmentUniversity of Chicago Press.


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded bySir Humphrey WingfieldSpeaker of the House of Commons
Succeeded bySir Nicholas Hare
Preceded byWilliam Paulet, Lord St John
(Keeper of the Great Seal)
Lord Chancellor
Succeeded byThomas Goodrich
(Keeper of the Great Seal)
Peerage of England
New creationBaron Rich
Succeeded byRobert Rich
showvteEnglish Lord Chancellors under the House of Tudor (1485–1603)
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Tudor England’s Most Infamous Villain: Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich of Leez

by Beth von Staats – https://englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.com/2016/04/tudor-englands-most-infamous-villain.html

Sir Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich of Leez
(Hans Holbein the Younger)

Sir Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich of Leez, Essex — was there ever a more manipulative man in 16th century British history? Simply stated, no. In fact, many historians would be hard pressed to find any British man who walked the earth with less redeeming qualities. With no moral center, not even the zealous religious fanaticism common for the era, the Baron Rich of Leez lived his life flip-flopping to the whims of the monarchs he served, resourcefully allying with and then stepping on anyone in his way to advancement and wealth.

Unfortunately for many in the realm, Rich was long-lived, spreading his venom throughout the reigns of King Henry VIII, King Edward VI and Queen Mary I, amazingly remaining unscathed. With the varying political and religious agendas of these monarchs, ranging from staunch Roman Catholicism to near Calvinist Protestantism and everything in between, just how did he pull this off? Well let us count the ways through this admittedly incomplete list.

Ten Dastardly Deeds of Sir Richard Rich

Saint John Fisher

1. Sir Richard Rich, by 1535 Attorney General of Wales and Solicitor General of England, is famously known for his persecution of those who refused to take the Oath of Supremacy during the reign of King Henry VIII, a vow that assured the King was the acknowledged head of the Church in England inclusive of the clergy and all religious liturgy and tenants. In the case of Bishop John Fisher, Rich tricked the man into admitting his loyalty to the Roman Catholic papacy, promising to tell no one. Rich then testified to Fisher’s statements at trial.

In Thomas More’s case, Rich flat out lied to the same. Thomas More reportedly told him at trial, “In faith, Mr. Rich, I am sorrier for your perjury than for my own peril, and you shall understand that neither I, nor no man else to my knowledge, ever took you to be a man of such credit as in any matter of importance I or any other would at any time vouchsafe to communicate with you.”

Though the source of the quote is actually from More’s son-in-law William Roper, truer words were never spoken. Both Saint John Fisher and Saint Thomas More were executed by decapitation for high treason based on Rich’s dubious testimony.

Ruins of Holywell Priory, Middlesex

2. In 1536, along with his other titles, Sir Richard Rich was appointed Chancellor of the newly created Court of Augmentations. In this role, he worked in partnership with the Vice-gerant and King’s Principal Secretary Thomas Cromwell to dissolve all abbeys, monasteries and nunneries in England and Wales, displacing thousands and completely upending a way of life going back centuries.

What did Sir Richard Rich have to gain by this? Well, he acquired wealth and territories, of course. At bargain basement prices, he procured the monastery at St. Bartholomew, the priory of Leez, the manors of Lighes Parva, Magna Lighes, Folsetd and Fyfield in Essex. Not satisfied, he added to his land gains by procuring the nunnery of St. Bride at Syon, several manors in Essex once belonging to Christ Church, Canterbury and several more manors once owned by St. Osth’s at Chic and the Holywell Priory, Middlesex.

Our Baron Rich of Leez was on his way.

Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex
(Hans Holbein the Younger)

3. In 1540, Sir Richard Rich turned on his close ally and benefactor of his great wealth and land acquisitions, again performing commendably as a “chief witness”, this time against Thomas Cromwell, who was just four months earlier elevated to Earl of Essex. Cromwell was soon executed by decapitation for sacramentary heresy and treason, the charges and testimony falsified.

Thomas Cromwell made his opinions of Rich known to King Henry VIII in a letter after his arrest. From prison he wrote, “What master chancellor has been to me, God and he knows best; what I have been to him your Majesty knows.”

The Baron of Leez was “off the hook” for perjuring himself in court this time, though. Cromwell was condemned on attainder, thus Rich’s lies were solely to Parliament, the Privy Council and the King.

4. Sir Richard Rich was an incredibly resourceful villain. As King Henry VIII’s religious views swayed from evangelical to conservative and back again, Rich went along for the ride, playing the role of henchman brilliantly. In July 1540, on the heels of Cromwell’s execution, three men were burned at the stake, declared heretics for preaching doctrines opposed to King Henry’s Six Articles of Faith.

On the same day — that’s right, the same day — three more men were hanged, drawn and quartered for denying the Royal Supremacy. Think about that for a minute. Three Evangelicals and three Roman Catholics were put to death at the hands of Sir Richard Rich on the same day. Was there anyone more expert in riding the waves of King Henry VIII’s ever changing religious doctrine? I think not.

Perhaps Queen Catherine Howard
(Hans Holbein the Younger)

5. Well, yes, this time in 1541 the parties were actually guilty of wrongdoing both from a legal and moral standpoint, so perhaps we can give Sir Richard Rich the benefit of the doubt that his extensive involvement in the fall of Queen Catherine Howard, as well as his participation in the special Commission for the trials of Thomas Culpepper and Francis Dereham, were solely done for the benefit of the King’s honor and the realm’s security.

If you are shaking your head disbelievingly, I don’t blame you.

6. In 1546, the Baron of Leez was a busy guy. Along with Lord Chancellor Thomas Wriothesley and Bishop Stephen Gardiner, Rich engaged in a witch hunt, working to discredit and upend minor evangelicals in the hopes of snagging the major players, most notably Katherine Parr, Queen of England; Catherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk; and Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Thomas Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton
(Hans Holbein the Younger)

One such “minor evangelical” was martyred preacher Anne Askew. Unwilling to testify with whom she associated, Sir Richard Rich and his cohort Wriothesley tortured the woman, racking her by turning the wheeled levers themselves. To punctuate the evilness of the act, the Constable of the Tower of London refused to participate and rushed to court to inform the king. Before he could gain an audience, the damage was done. Anne Askew became the only known women to ever be tortured at the Tower of London in its’ over thousand year history.

With arms, legs, elbows and knees dislocated from the rack, Anne Askew was burned at the stake on July 16, 1546.

William Paulet,
1st Marquess of Winchester
(Hans Eworth)

7. Upon the death of King Henry VIII and ascension of King Edward VI in 1547, Sir Richard Rich once again did what he did best, turn on one of his closest allies to seek his own advancement. To reach his goal, Rich successfully worked with his other “allies of the moment” and secured the fall of his “interrogation and torture partner” Lord Chancellor Thomas Wriothesley.

Things did not work out quite as planned. William Paulet was appointed in Wriothesley’s place. No problem — Baron Rich of Leez quickly convinced Lord Protector Edward Seymour and the Privy Council of Paulet’s “incompetence”, securing the Lord Chancellorship for himself.

8. Throughout the reign of King Edward VI, Lord Chancellor Rich was a “staunch Protestant”. Thus, along with Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, he insured the destruction of all “images and idols” in the realm’s churches. Throughout the realm great roods and stained glass were destroyed. All church and abbey walls were whitewashed, covering priceless works of art replaced with the Ten Commandments — in English, of course.

Stephen Gardiner
 Bishop of Winchester

Just how “staunch” was Rich’s Protestantism? Baron Rich of Leez was heavily involved in proceedings leading to the arrests and imprisonments of conservative and later avowed Roman Catholics, Bishop Edmund Bonner, and Bishop Stephen Gardiner. Taking things a step further, in his role as Lord Chancellor, Rich worked tirelessly to ensure the Eucharist mass was not celebrated, arresting those performing mass for the ever defiant Lady Mary Tudor.

Sir Richard Rich dutifully delivered a letter to the King’s Roman Catholic sister from Edward VI himself commanding her to cease and desist. The Lady Mary’s response? She commanded that Rich keep his lecturing short. Her celebration of the Eucharist continued.

Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk
(Hans Holbein the Younger)

9. What goes around comes around, even for the brilliantly manipulative Sir Richard Rich. In December 1551, he was compelled to resign his long sought powerful position as Lord Chancellor of England and Wales, feigning illness. The poor man took to his bed at at his estate at St. Bartholomew’s.

Why? Like those in modern times who carelessly hit the “send button” before insuring they are emailing or private messaging the correct person, a befriending letter of manipulative warning intended to be sent to the imprisoned Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset was delivered instead to the also imprisoned Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk.

I suppose addressing the wax sealed parchment “The Duke” was not quite specific enough for a missive sent to the Tower of London. After all, throughout Tudor history, there always seemed to be a few Dukes, Earls or Barons in the pokey.

What a great opportunity for Norfolk to gain potential release! Though ultimately unsuccessful (for now), the Duke sent the missive along to John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. Rich’s days as Lord Chancellor were over.
Phew! Finally we are done with him. Or are we?

10. Upon the death of King Edward VI in 1553, both Mary Tudor and Elizabeth Tudor were usurped in favor of the King’s cousin, Jane Dudley. Sir Richard Rich was solicited for the support of the new queen. Knowing this was his chance to regain power within the realm, the Baron of Leez did what he is now infamous for. Rich flipped his support to whom he gauged would ultimately reign and proclaimed his loyalty to the woman he previously persecuted, Mary Tudor.

Queen Mary Tudor
(Hans Holbein the Younger)

The Baron of Leez always the ultimate host, Queen Mary Tudor spent a few days visiting with Rich and his family at his home in Wanstead before heading to London to take her rightful crown.

What was Sir Richard Rich’s most noteworthy service to the realm in Queen Mary’s reign? This should come as no surprise. Baron Rich, a loyal subject that he was, became one of Queen Mary’s most active persecutors, orchestrating the arrest and execution by burning of all convicted Protestant “heretics” in his home county of Essex.

Perhaps to make amends for his previous work as Chancellor of the Court of Augmentations, the Baron of Leez worked towards the large and unfinished task of restoring the monasteries. He granted the Queen what remained of the monastery at St. Bartholomew, where she established Black Friars.

Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich of Leez
Felsted Church, Essex

After five years supporting the Roman Catholic agenda of Queen Mary Tudor, Sir Richard Rich rode into London with Queen Elizabeth Tudor when she ascended the throne. In his likely only act showing disagreement with a reigning monarch, Rich refused to support Queen Elizabeth’s Act of Uniformity, voting against it in Parliament’s House of Lords in 1559 with the Roman Catholic minority. 
Sir Richard Rich mellowed in his last years, perhaps in penance and preparation for meeting his God. The Baron of Leez founded a grammar school in Felsted, which in time educated two sons of Oliver Cromwell. He also founded almshouses to care for the poor and built the tower of Rochford Church.
The father of at least 15 children, 11 legitimate from his long suffering wife and at least 4 known bastards, Sir Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich of Leez, died on June 12, 1567. He rests under his magnificent, albeit disconcerting tomb and statue at Felsted Church, Essex.

The “resting place” of Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich of Leez.

Do you have other stories detailing the manipulations and evilness of Sir Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich of Leez? If so, feel free to share them in the comment section below.

Author Unidentified, Chapter X: Sir Richard Rich,British History Online

Author Unidentified, Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich,Luminarium Encyclopedia Project, England Under the Tudors. The article notes that it was excerpted from the following: 1. Pollard, A. F. “Richard Rich, first Baron Rich.”; 2. Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. XVI. Sidney Lee, ed.; and 3. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1909. 1009-1012.


Beth von Staats is a short story historical fiction writer and administrator of Queen Anne Boleyn Historical Writers.

REVELATION: Tudor Era Short Stories by Beth von Staats______________________________           

This post is an EHFA Editor’s choice. It was first published on July 23, 2014.
Posted by Beth von Staats at 12:00 AM Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels: Lord Chancellor Richard Rich. Solicitor General Richard RichSir Richard RichSir Richard Rich 1st Baron Rich of LeezVillains of English HistoryVillains of World History


  1. Christy K RobinsonJuly 23, 2014 at 10:42 PMNo stories about YOUR Richie Rich, but there was another one by that name in the 17th century, the Earl of Warwick. Also very wealthy, and a friend of Sir Henry Vane the Younger (whose descendant today is Lord Barnard of Castle Raby).

    Wouldn’t it be cool if Edward Rutherford wrote a multiple-generation epic novel about the Riches, like he did for London and the New Forest?ReplyReplies
    1. Beth von StaatsJuly 24, 2014 at 12:17 AMIs this the Sir Richard Rich who founded his “Redneck Plantation” in what is now Newport News, Virginia? (Sometimes I just can’t make this stuff up.)

      Yes, with so many direct descendants of Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich out there, it would be a wonderful source material for an outstanding writer such as Edward Rutherford. What a delightful idea.
  2. Sue BursztynskiJuly 24, 2014 at 2:06 AMThe first time I came across this guy was in A Man For All Seasons, in which he was portrayed, indeed, as slimy, but this is a hoot! I can’t help but think of “The Vicar Of Bray” on steroids! 😉 Does he really have descendants now? How they must cringe when soeone says, “Oh, you’re descended from THAT Richard Rich?”ReplyReplies
    1. Beth von StaatsJuly 24, 2014 at 4:26 AMDoes Richard Rich have descendants? Well, is the Pope Catholic? Oh my, there must be hundreds. He was very prolific.

      I can imagine the Vicar of Bray asking himself, “Now what would the Baron of Leez do?”. That is a great analogy.
    2. UnknownMarch 5, 2016 at 11:51 AMI am a descendant. You can’t judge the 16th century by 21st century standards. There were a lot a slimy people. I read that Elizabeth when her council was pushing her to marry, sent for Richard because she wanted his advice.
    3. UnknownAugust 1, 2017 at 8:51 PMI appear to be a descendant also. From what I have found thus far, it would appear Sir Richard Rich is my 13th great grandfather. – Mark Graves
    4. UnknownAugust 21, 2017 at 8:15 PMI am certainly a descendant; fortunately, I have some better ancestors as well. —> Gary Storrick
    5. UnknownJanuary 2, 2018 at 6:09 PMRichard Rich was my 15th great-grandfather, and he was the great-grandfather to Anne Mynne, wife of George Calvert, who was the founder of the colony of Maryland.
      Rich was a prime example of the prevailing society in England, the witch hunters and control mongers, much like today’s world. However, I agree with Stephanie. You can’t judge his actions by the standards in today’s world.
    6. UnknownJanuary 2, 2018 at 6:45 PMYes, Lord Richard Rich had many descendants. He was my 15th great-grandfather, and he was great-grandfather to Anne Mynne, wife of George Calvert, founder of the colony of Maryland.
    7. MarthaMarch 7, 2018 at 6:01 PMI’m also a descendant. He’s my 16th great-grandfather. I’m also related to the Calverts through Mary Calvert/John Chenoweth’s line. How I would have loved to know this when I was attending my Catholic high school, since Man of All Seasons was viewed by my history class.
      -Martha Raver
    8. Douglas dougbowker@yahoo.comOctober 29, 2018 at 7:09 PMI am ashamedly a descendant of this evil man.
  3. AnonymousJuly 24, 2014 at 8:36 AMFirst I must say his tomb effigy is very creepy, almost leaning towards sleazy. Thank you for this article, I have read several things about him, but they were all from different sources. It is nice to see this many in one place.ReplyReplies
    1. Beth von StaatsJuly 24, 2014 at 4:24 PMI have received many comments and messages about the tomb today. All agree 100% with you! I am sure they do exist, but this is the only tomb I have seen where the person is immortalized ALIVE rather than resting as if asleep or dead. I think the book is a nice touch, don’t you? Thank you for your kind comment.
  4. UnknownJuly 24, 2014 at 9:02 AMRich also helped Henry take possession of Katherine of Aragon’s property after her death, which he had no right to since he himself claimed they had never been married. He was in the thick of Anne Boleyn’s downfall, acting as solicitor general. Although everyone else that plays a prominent role in Tudor history had religious beliefs that motivated them, or loyalty to king and country to explain their behavior, Rich has no redeeming qualities.ReplyReplies
    1. Beth von StaatsJuly 24, 2014 at 4:27 PMDid Baron Rich take possession of the property at the King’s command? If so, well he could hardly refuse. Your point is well taken. I agree Baron Rich was up to his neck with Anne Boleyn’s fall, as well as the 5 men who died with her. Feel free to share what his actions were if you are interested. Thank you for sharing!
  5. Antoine VannerJuly 24, 2014 at 12:21 PMWhat a foul man! He reminds one of Martin Borman.ReplyReplies
    1. Beth von StaatsJuly 24, 2014 at 4:28 PMOh my…. funny observation, but TRUE.
  6. Soft Fuzzy SweaterJuly 24, 2014 at 1:10 PMIn my college 16th English Literature class, I can still remember a poem by, I think, Wyatt, “Rich Fools..” a piea to the future Penelope Rich not to marry him. It turns out that Wyatt was right, he wasn’t just a lovelorn jealous swain.ReplyReplies
    1. Beth von StaatsJuly 24, 2014 at 6:23 PMI will look for that poem Soft Fuzzy Sweater, and if I find it, I will post it here. There was also a fun song the rebels who participated in the Pilgrimage of Grace sang referring to “Crim, Cram and Rich” (Cromwell, Cranmer and Rich). I should try and find that, too.
    2. Beth von StaatsJuly 24, 2014 at 9:30 PMSoft Fuzzy Sweater, the poem you are recalling was actually composed by Sir Philip Sidney during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. As you correctly recall, the poem is a veiled attack on Penelope Deveraeux’s husband, Richard Rich. This, however, was Richard Rich, 3rd Baron Rich of Leez, our subject’s grandson. Evidently, Philip Sidney had a very poor opinion of him. Perhaps the apple did not fall far from the tree? I don’t know, but it is fun to speculate. Here is the poem.

      Astrophel and Stella


      Rich fools there be whose base and filthy heart
      Lies hatching still the goods wherein they flow,
      And damning their own selves to Tantal’s smart,
      Wealth breeding want, more blest, more wretched grow.
      Yet to those fools heaven such wit doth impart,
      As what their hands do hold, their heads do know;
      And knowing, love; and loving, lay apart
      As sacred things, far from all danger’s show.
      But that rich fool, who by blind fortune’s lot
      The richest gem of love and life enjoys,
      And can with foul abuse such beauties blot,
      Let him, deprived of sweet but unfelt joys,
      Exiled for aye from those high treasures which
      He knows not, grow in only folly rich!
  7. Barbara BarberMarch 21, 2016 at 1:07 PMI was hoping to find a youtube video on Rich but all I found was this. However, you still might find it interesting.

    His mausoleum.


    1. Beth von StaatsJune 15, 2016 at 7:55 PMThank you for sharing. His mausoleum if not haunted is at the very least creepy. 🙂
  8. Cryssa BazosApril 29, 2016 at 4:02 AMAn interesting villain.Reply
  9. Donna SApril 30, 2016 at 6:43 AMA very interesting post. First time i came across this guy was in Sansom’s books and Shardlake, his hero, and Rich are deadly enemies. I have always wanted to know more about him and thanks to you I do.Reply
  10. Sally JohnsonApril 30, 2016 at 9:21 AM“What a great opportunity for Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk to gain potential release! Although unsuccessful (for now), Howard sent the missive along to John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. Sir Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich of Leez, Essex’s days as Lord Chancellor were over.”

    Does anyone know what position Northumberland held to make this action by Howard the end of Rich’s “career”?
    1. Beth von StaatsJune 15, 2016 at 7:56 PMThat is a great question. Dudley was never Lord Protector of the realm. Instead, after the fall of the Duke of Somerset, he was named Lord President of the Council and Grand Master of the Household. Dudley was less autocratic than Somerset had been, but obviously he had the authority to remove Rich from his role as Lord Chancellor. His influence over the decision making of Edward VI is widely debated.
  11. Stuart HallidayOctober 24, 2016 at 5:15 AMAt More’s trial Rich said that he had asked More, in a private interview ‘Parliament has made our King Head of the Church in England. Why will you not accept this?’. Rich then said that More then replied ‘Parliament hath not the competence.’ The question is, whose version of that do we accept. Inevitably, most people accept More’s version because of Rich’s shadiness. However I think there is a possibility that Rich was telling the truth. Maybe More was tired; or uncertain. Or perhaps we thought of Rich as a person of no great import. Maybe More, with his love of disputation, simply forgot himself and thus condemned himself. It’s a possibilityReply
  12. MillieSeptember 3, 2019 at 3:56 AMVery embarrassed he is my 15th great-grandfatherReply
  13. Timothy RichSeptember 12, 2019 at 4:10 PMThis is my 13th Great Grandfather. And I carry the name, RichReply
  14. KarenOctober 11, 2019 at 1:42 PMThis is my first husband’s 13th Great Grandfather. Yowza! So glad my first husband was quite the opposite!Reply
  15. aladecOctober 20, 2019 at 1:35 PMMy 13th Great Grandfather. Thank goodness I think that the evil was not hereditary.But I’ll have to ask my wife if she agrees. If not I might have to put her on the rack.Reply
  16. Christopher XawmFebruary 19, 2020 at 3:29 AMOne correction. Cromwell sent all four sons to Felsted School, not two. One died at the school.Reply
  17. Paul HodgkinsMay 20, 2020 at 9:00 AMYes I am also his ancestor 15 generations on . Although I only recently came across him the key to my finding him was via The Hardres Family of Kent. As no doubt other amateur part time genealogists have found if you can find one even minor ancestor from the landed classes of the 17th Century , at which point records of the “masses” disappear, you enter a treasure trove of more distant wealthy and sometimes important people as such people tend to marry largely with the upper echelons of society.For such people historical records often exist which they certainly don’t for the ordinary masses!Reply
  18. UnknownJune 18, 2020 at 12:34 PMHe is my 12th great grandfather…his daughter, Frances Rich Keeler, was my 11th great grandmother.Reply
  19. Doug BowkerJune 22, 2020 at 9:15 AMI am starting to think that we are all related to each other.Reply

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