Fitz-James, Richard

, bishop of Rochester, Chichester, and London, and a distinguished benefactor to Merton college, Oxford, was a native of a good family in Somersetshire. About 1459 he went to Oxford, and in 1465 was elected probationer fellow of Merton college, and when M. A. entered into holy orders, and in 1473 served the office of proctor. In March 1474 he became prebend of Taunton in the church of Wells, and when appointed chaplain to Edward IV. took his degrees in divinity. In March 1482 he was elected warden of Merton college, which office he retained for twenty-five years, during which he greatly advanced the credit and prosperity of the college, built the whole of what is now the ancient part of it, and made considerable additions to the fine chapel. In March 1484-5 he was made vicar of Minehead, and about the same time rector of Aller in Somersetshire. In June 1495 he was admitted almoner to Henry VII, and in May 1469 consecrated bishop of Rochester, from which, in Jan. 1503, he was translated to Chichester, and in March 1505 was again translated to the see of London. On this last preferment he resigned his wardenship of Merton, which he had hitherto held in commendam with Rochester and Chichester. While bishop of London, he was a munificent contributor to the cathedral church, and is also on record as a great benefactor to the completion of St. Mary’s church, Oxford. Along with his brother, sir John Fitzjames, lord chief justice of England, he founded the school at Bruton, in Somersetshire. He died in 1522, very aged, and was buried in St. Paul’s cathedral. 2


Ath. Ox. vol. I. Wood’s Colleges and Halls.