St. Richard of Wyche
Richard of Wyche, also known as Richard of Chichester or Richard deWych, was born around 1197 in Burford, very close to Wyche town. He soonlost his parents, thus becoming an orphan at a young age. Richard’sparents had left their estate to the inheritance of Richard’s elderbrother, who at the time, wasn’t old enough for such inheritance. As aresult of this, the estate was left to be under a feudal wardship untilRichard’s brother was of the right age to claim his inheritance. Comingof age, Richard’s brother took control of the estate as his possessionby inheritance, but was then requested to provide payments for amedieval form of death duty. This new responsibility did not leave hisfamily any good as they soon became penurious, and little Richard as atthe time, in a bid to support his family as much as he could, had tostart farming. Later on, his brother passed on the inheritance of theproperty to Richard, and arrangements were made for him to marry a noblelady, but Richard declined all offers. He rather preferred to ownnothing, just him and his study and the Church.
Call to Dedication and Devotion
Richard went to school at the University of Oxford and soon became ateacher in the same institute after completing his studies. Richard wenton to Paris and Bologna, exhibiting his proficiency in Canon law. Whenhe learnt that one of his former tutors, Edmund of Abingdon, had beenmade archbishop of Canterbury, he supported Edmund’s clerical reform andwas even in agreement with the papal rights against the king. Hopefully,as things could get, Richard, in 1237, was appointed chancellor of thediocese of Canterbury by his former tutor, Edmund. It was duringRichard’s exile at Pontigny that he fully joined the archdiocese, andremained there until the archbishop passed away three years later. Then,Richard decided that he was going into the priesthood. He went on tostudy theology for a two-year duration. After his studies, Richard wasmade parish priest in Charing, and after some time, he was reappointedchancellor of Canterbury by the new archbishop.
Years later, though the king and some other parties did not show theirsupport, Richard was chosen as Bishop of Chichester. He was consecratedin March 1245 at Lyons by Innocent IV. It wasn’t an easy task really. Hefaced a lot of opposition and hatred from different angles, yet hewasn’t discouraged by it. To those corrupt clergies and usurers whowithout mercy gabbled the Massyes, Richard was especially merciless andrigid. His interest was to see that the Masses were treated fairly andthat justice got to everyone the way it was due.
To his memory, still in remembrance are his militant acts to liberatethe Masses from the hands of people who would only exploit them. Heworked tirelessly to reform the manners of the corrupt clergy andpriests who were falling apart. In his chapel, Richard had a body ofstatues signifying the reformation of falling clergies. More to it isthe impact he’d made while tutoring his students, pastoring hiscongregants. Also to his memory is that he’d dedicated the Chapel atDover, named after his patron, St. Edmund.
Death and Burial
Richard died in the year 1253, aged 56, in Maison Dieu, Dover. Thisdeath had sufficed just after he had dedicated the St. Edmund’s Chapelin the same city. As he’d wished for, his body was buried in the chapelon the northside of nave, Chichester.
St. Richard’s feast day is both on 3 April and 16 June.
An Interesting Fact About St. Richard of Wyche
- Miracles are believed to happen at the tomb of Richard in Chichester
Prayer to St. Richard of Wyche
Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus ChristFor all the benefits Thou hast given me,For all the pains and the insultsThou hast borne for me.O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother,May I know Thee more clearly,Love Thee more dearly,Follow Thee more nearly.
Source: Bullock-Webster, p 31. Acts and Devotion. Prayer 48