Friday, March 26, 2010

Simeon Aykroyd Shaw

From Aspects of ceramic history, Volume 1 By Gordon Elliott:

Anyone who had had reason to research the origins of ceramic production in North Staffordshire will be familiar with the work of Simeon Shaw. His History of the Staffordshire Potteries (1829) is one of the earliest chronologically-based surveys of the area's development from the late medieval period to the industry of Shaw's own times.
In conclusion, I feel it is appropriate that I say something about the personal life of Simeon Shaw. For much of this information I am indebted to the paper already cited by Eva and Donald Beech.

He was born on the 17th of April, 1785 at Salford, Lancashire. His father, Edmund Shaw, apparently owned a cotton spinning mill located in the town’s Cable Street. By 1809 he was already in Staffordshire, for on the 13th of June in that year he was married at Bucknall, then a small village near Hanley in Stoke-on-Trent. If we set aside a short period of apprenticeship as a printer he was practicing, according to an entry in a baptismal register, as a teacher. There is conflicting evidence at this time regarding the scene of his teaching activities because Pigot and Dean’s Manchester and Salford Directory for 1819 to 1820 records him as a schoolmaster at Wellmeadow Buildings, Salford. It appears that at this early stage in his career he was experiencing serious financial problems, for on the 15th April, 1820 he was summoned to appear before the Lancaster Quarter Sessions. Although imprisoned for an unrecorded period his release was made possible through the generosity of family and friends. The events that followed were to probe even more traumatic for Shaw because on the 7th November, 1820 his young wife, Elizabeth died leaving him with the responsibility of raising five children, all of whom were under ten years of age. Whether for reasons of practical expediency or a newly found love, Shaw remarried in 1822 to Harriet Marsh Broad of Burslem. In the same year he is listed as being the ownder of a Commercial Academy in Piccadilly, Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent. By 1834 we find the Shaw family living some two and a half miles away at the town of Tunstall.

The 1830s were for Simeon a busy and productive time for in 1838 we find him involved with plans to publish a History of the Borough of Stoke-on-Trent which was to be issued in monthly parts. The project was carried out with the assistance of John Ward, a Burslem-based solicitor. Ward was apparently the owner of an important collection of historical documents to which he agreed to give Shaw access on the condition that any work based on this evidence was submitted to him for editing. Publication of the resulting manuscript took longer than expected because of problems in getting illustrations engraved on time. Possibly because Shaw was concurrently experiencing other problems the planned history was taken over by and published under the name of John Ward.

Unfortunately, one domestic and professional crisis followed another. Like so many families of the times bereavement was for the Saws a common experience. Other losses for Shaw were less traumatic but in their effect significantly distressing. One son, Osmond, much to Simeon’s disapproval, became a Mormon and compounded his new allegiance by emigrating, in 1852, with his wife and children to the United States, settling in Salt Lake City.

The later years of Simeon’s life are not well documented but it would appear that they were, to say the least, not exactly joyful. He appears to have experienced a sharp decline in his mental state, culminating in being committed to the County Asylum where he died on the 8th April, 1859. His obituary, which appeared in the Staffordshire Sentinel on the 16th April, 1859 reads;
“After a life chequered by prosperity and adversity, his intellect gradually gave way, his strong memory failed, and his outer man decayed. He was not cut down, but gradually withered, dropped and died.”

According to the Beeches he was not quite sevently four. I feel it especially fitting that he was laid to rest in the burial ground of Bethesda Chapel; fitting because the chapel lies within yards of the entrance to the Potteries Museum. The appropriateness of their proximinity is, surely, a relationship that Shaw would have appreciated.


Simeon Ackroyd Shaw (b1785 d1859), schoolmaster and author
Born 17 April 1785 in Lancashire. Son of Edmund Shaw (millowner) and Betty (nee Ackroyd).
Simeon Shaw cam to the Potteries to work as a printer for the 'Potteries Gazette and Newcastle under Lyme Advertiser'.
Married his first wife, Elizabeth Simpson, on 13 June 1809.
by 1818 Shaw was running an academy in Northwood for young gentlemen.
Married his second wife, Harriet Marsh Broad, on 25th December 1921.
by 1822 Shaw was running a commercial academy in Piccadilly, Shelton.
published a 6 volume work 'Nature Displayed'.
Shaw was partly instrumental in the founding of the Pottery Mechanics' Institution in Frederick Street, Shelton. (although Ward does not include Shaw in the list of founders).
published 'History of the Staffordshire Potteries'.
by 1834 Shaw had a large academy in Market Place, Hanley.
published 'The Chemistry of Pottery'.
Shaw began to publish installments of a local history work 'The Borough of Stoke upon Trent in 1838'.Eight parts had been issued when Shaw had financial problems with his printers (W.Lewis & Son) - Shaw had to mortgage his book and the rights.John Ward completed the work in twelve more parts and the whole work was published as a book in 1843.
Ward died on 8th April 1859 in the County Lunatic Asylum, domestic and financial worries and overwork led to his mental breakdown.Shaw was buried in Bethesda churchyard.

(Bethesda Memorial Chapel, Albion Street, Hanley, England, where Simeon Shaw is buried)


Elizabeth Jenks

(Drawing by Holbein the Younger)

Elizabeth Jenks was born in 1510. She was the daughter of William Jenks and Elizabeth Adams. She married Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich. She died on 12 December 1558.2 Her married name became Rich.

Artist: Workshop of Hans Holbein the Younger (English, after 1536)
Title: Lady Rich (Elizabeth Jenks, died 1558)
Medium: Oil on woodDimensions17 1/2 x 13 3/8 in. (44.5 x 34 cm)
Classification: Paintings
Credit Line: Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913
Accession Number: 14.40.646
(At the New York Metropolotian Museum of Art)

The portrait is based on Holbein's drawing of Lady Rich. Two versions exist, neither by Holbein himself, the other in a German private collection. Elizabeth, Lady Rich (d. 1558), was the daughter of William Jenks, or Gynkes, a London grocer. She married Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich, now notorious for his evidence against both Sir Thomas More and Sir Thomas Cromwell before their executions in 1535 and 1540. She bore Rich, whose portrait Holbein also drew, five sons and ten daughters.

(References: K. T. Parker, The Drawings of Hans Holbein at Windsor Castle, Oxford: Phaidon, 1945, OCLC 822974, pp. 50–51.
John Rowlands, Holbein: The Paintings of Hans Holbein the Younger, Boston: David R. Godine, 1985, ISBN 0879235780, p. 234.
Roy Strong, Holbein: The Complete Paintings, London: Granada, 1980, ISBN 0586051449, p. 82.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Jens Peter Olsen

Type of Pioneer: Early Pioneer
Pioneer's Name: Olsen, James (Jens) Peter
Birth Place: Viemose, Kalvehave, Praesto, Denmark
Date of Birth: Fri, 14 May, 1841
Date of Death: Sat, 13 Oct, 1883
Father: Rasmus Olsen
Mother: Ingeborg Hansen or Sorensen
Spouse: Ane Kirsten Nielsen
Other Spouses: Annie Catherine Christensen
Arrived in Utah: Thu, 05 Oct, 1854
Education: Unknown formal education
Profession: Farmer and builder
Civic Activities: Unknown - Lt. in guard during Indian wars
Church: Missionary - Unknown other
Authentic Mormon Pioneer: Yes

Submitted By: Louis M. Pickett

James Peter Olsen was born in Viemose, Kalvehave, Praesto, Denmark, on the 14th of May 1841. His father was Rasmus Olsen and his mother was Ingeborg Hansen or Sorensen. James was called Jens for short. The family owned and lived on a beautiful estate, which was on high ground overlooking the ocean.

In 1852 the family became acquainted with Mormon missionaries and was taught the gospel. Jens’ father was baptized on July 12, 1852. Later, on November 19, 1853, Jens and some of his siblings were baptized. Soon after the family joined the church they started making plans to gather to Zion.

The day after Christmas, December 26, 1853, the family boarded the steamship Eideren at Copenhagen with 378 other passengers. The family arrived at Liverpool, England on January 9, 1854. There many of the company became sick. The illness was so bad that twenty-two children and two adults died. When it was time for the immigrants to board the ship Benjamin Adams, an examining physician declared fifteen from the group unfit for the voyage and would not permit them to sail with the rest of the company.

While on the ship from Liverpool to America Jens’ younger brother, Hans Rasmus, became ill. He died on March 9, 1854 and was buried at sea. When Jens and his family arrived at the New Orleans ship docks they saw Negro slaves being held in corrals like animals. They were being sold for about $25.00 each. At New Orleans the family boarded the steam ship L.M. Kennet and went up the Mississippi River, arriving in St. Louis, Missouri on April 3, 1854. They then continued on to Kansas City where they prepared for the journey to cross the plains.

Jens was about 13 years old at that time and would have been a lot of help on the journey as they made their way to the Salt Lake Valley. He would have gathered fire wood, milked the cow, brought water to the camp, even drove the oxen some of the time. On October 5, 1854 the Olsen family finally entered the Great Salt Lake Valley. They did not get to stay there very long because many of the company they traveled with were asked to move on to the Sanpete Valley to help settle that area and teach the Indians how to raise crops.

Twenty eight wagons with these Scandinavian Saints left Salt Lake and headed for Fort Ephraim. It took them close to another week to travel to where their new home would be. In the spring of 1864, just before Jens turned 23 years of age, he was asked to go to Omaha, Nebraska with ox teams to help bring emigrants to the Salt Lake Valley. It took him six months to make the round trip.

While on these trips Jens met Annie Catherine Christensen and they were married after they arrived in Utah. He was sealed in the Endowment House to her and his second wife,Ane kirsten Nielsen on 24 Feb 1865 He and Ane had five children. Jens was called to go to St. George to work on the construction of the temple. That was a one year assignment. He also helped on the construction of the Manti temple. Jens held the rank of Lt. In the guard during the Indian wars. He was a good mediator with the Indians and Chief Blackfoot visited his home many times. He would bring pine gum for the children.
On October 16, 1882 Jens left home, his wives and children, for a mission to Denmark. He labored there for ten months, being ill most of the time. He was then released to go home. He lived only two months after arriving home. His death was at the age of 42 on the 13th of October, 1883.

Sources:Family tradition - Ephraim, Utah ward records (6279 F. Utah E 10pt 3.5)E.H. Film 183395 page 429 line 7479-24 Feb 1865 sealed by H.C. Kimball and witnessed by W.W. Phelps
Virtues: Commitment, Honor, Integrity, Obedience

Luella Keetch & Albert Lorenzo Cullimore

John Dudley North (Baron North)

Dudley, Third Baron North (1581-1666), artist unknown, about 1615, England V&A Museum no. P.4&:1-1948

Dudley North, 3rd Baron North (1581 – January 16, 1666) was an English nobleman.

He was the son of Sir John North and of Dorothy, daughter and heiress of Sir Valentine Dale. He succeeded his grandfather, Roger North, 2nd Baron North, at the age of nineteen. He was educated at Cambridge, and married in 1599 Frances, daughter of Sir John Brockett of Brockett Hall in Hertfordshire. He travelled in Italy, took part in the campaign of 1602 in the Netherlands, and on his return became a conspicuous figure at court, excelling in athletic exercises as well as in poetry and music, and gaining the friendship of Prince Henry.

He was one of the principal courtiers of James I. His family was linked by marriage with the Dudley family that had been so powerful at the Tudor court. Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was a favourite of Elizabeth I and Dudley North's grandfather married the widow of his brother, Sir Henry Dudley.

In 1606, while returning from Eridge to London, he discovered the springs of Tunbridge Wells, which cured North himself of a complaint and quickly became famous. He also recommended the Epsom springs to the public. He supported and subscribed to the expedition to Guyana made by his brother Roger North (c. 1582 – c. 1652) in 1619, and when Roger departed without leave Dudley was imprisoned for two days in the Fleet.

In 1626 he attached himself to the party of Lord Saye and Sele in the Lords, who were in sympathy with the aims of the Commons; and when the civil war broke out he was on the side of the parliament. In 1641 he was a member of the Lords committee on Religion, and served on the committee to consider Laud's attainder in 1644, finally voting for the ordinance in January 1645. He was placed on the admiralty commission in 1645, and acted as Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire. He was one of the small group of Lords who continued attendance in the House of Peers, and on December 19, 1648, with three others, visited Fairfax, when they cast down their honors at his Excellency's feet and protested their desire not to retain any privileges prejudicial to the public interest.

He passed the rest of his life in retirement at Kirtling in Cambridgeshire. He died leaving a daughter and two sons, the elder of which, Sir Dudley, succeeded him as the 4th Baron North.

Dudley North wrote A Forest of Varieties (1645), a miscellany of essays and poems, another edition of which was published in 1659 under the title of A Forest promiscuous of various Seasons' Productions.

Levi North

Levi was born 17 July 1817 in Rising Sun, White County, Illinois, “near Carmi”. His children had listened to their father explain his birthplace as “near Carmi” in southern Illinois. This was his way of saying that while he had indeed been born in Rising Sun, the place was no longer existed and was not shown on any maps. His parents had moved from Rising Sun, Indiana to this spot on the Illinois side of the Wabash River, just a few miles upstream from its confluence with the Ohio River. Having come from Rising Sun, Levi’s father, Sidney, had named the place Rising Sun. But the North family lived there just a few years and after they left the little settlement became obscure.

Levi’s parents were Sidney North & Mary Hawthorne. Sidney’s family was from the Hartford, Connecticut area, recently from Ohio County, Indiana, where he spent his youth and early adult life. Mary’s family was from the Carolinas with a period of time spent in Kentucky. Sometime in the 1820s Sidney moved his family to central Illinois, near Effingham. Here, Sidney and Mary would live there remaining years.

Levi met Arriminta Howard in Effingham, her family having moved there from Madison County, not far from East St. Louis, Illinois. The two were married in Effingham in November, 1837. Levi had joined the LDS Church (then called the Mormons) sometime before the spring of 1832. He had been baptized in the Presbyterian Church as a three year old and his father was upset at Levi’s choice of religions. There were some heated discussions between father and son on this. Arriminta had joined the Mormons with her mother and family before moving to Effingham. It was there that their first child, a son they named Charles Addison, was born.

Soon after his birth, Levi and Arriminta decided to join their church’s movement to gather to Nauvoo, Illinois, on the east bank of the Mississippi River. They, however, chose to settle in a smaller, Mormon community on the Iowa side of the river. This is where some of Arriminta’s family had settled. The tiny settlement was called Sugar Creek, named for the small river which ran through there.

This was not to be an easy period for this family, nor for the ever increasing members of their church, who were gathering from all over the earth. Within a year or two it was decided that the members living in Sugar Creek should move across the river into Nauvoo. There were several reasons for that. The Church was growing at a tremendous rate, bringing to the area several thousand people a month. This alarmed those who did not agree with the Mormon beliefs. There were incidents of violence which threatened to increase. But the more important reason for Levi moving his family into Nauvoo was his work on the construction of the Mormon Temple there. This had become a high priority for the church members. It was completed the first of 1846.

But the problems between the LDS and their neighbors had increased. A number of them had become serious enemies of the church which eventually led to the martyrdom of the church’s prophet Joseph Smith and his brother.

By 1846 it had been determined that the whole church membership would move west to the Rocky Mountains. Levi would pl ay an important role in this movement for he had learned carpentry while living with his father and had specialized in the building of wagons, which was, of course, the major conveyance for both people and freight. He helped build hundreds of wagons for the Saints in their exodus to the West. So, while the majority of the church at Nauvoo reached the Salt Lake Valley, Levi and Arriminta moved west only to the Kanesville area of western Iowa. There they would live, supplying wagons for the rest, until 1852. They then joined the body of Saints (which included many of Arriminta’s family) in Utah.

Brigham Young, the new church leader had saved a homesite for Levi’s family. It was just west of the fort where the Salt Lake City & County Building would later be built. The lot was located between 4th & 5th South between Main & State streets. It was a great place if you wanted to be right in the middle of everything. But that wasn’t at all what the Norths wanted. Levi quickly determined that they liked an area south-east of Salt Lake in what would later be called Millcreek. There he built a nice, comfortable home for Arriminta and the children which now numbered six. He acquired several acres of land on both sides of the country road which served as the main highway through the south-east part of the valley. He built barns, sheds and fences; he planted flower and vegetable gardens, crops and trees (both shade and fruit). He constructed a pond to hold fresh, cool water produced by a nearby spring and taught his children all he knew about the natural and spiritual realms that he loved and enjoyed.

Levi soon became involved in many of the construction projects, building roads, bridges, canals, mills, etc. He had the spacial ability to see how these things ought to be done and was respected for his work ethic and integrity. He served his community and his church in many capacities, never slacking on providing for his family’s needs.

The family did not record the events surrounding Levi’s & Arriminta’s decision to participate in their church’s principle of Polygamy. But on 2 March, 1865, thirteen years after arriving in Utah and 27 years after their marriage, Arriminta & Levi received into their home a second wife. Her name was Maren Kirstine Pedersen, a native convert from Denmark. She had immigrated to Utah to be with the Saints a few years earlier and had found employment and housing with Arriminta’s sister and family. Levi built her a home on the west side of the Country Road, across from Arriminta. There Levi and Maren would have the sweet joy of bringing nine children into the world (two would die in infancy, a third would die at age 3). Levi & Arriminta would also have nine children . Levi’s children would provide him with almost 100 grandchildren.

But the United States Government, at the insistence of some congressmen and many church enemies, did not look upon polygamy, even based on strong religious beliefs, as being morally or socially acceptable. The opposition did not start on the legislative level however. If fact, it would probably have been upheld by the laws of the land (however repulsive it is to many people) if the dissident, apostate ex-members of the LDS church had not continued to foment ill feelings among the neighboring communities. And that agitation continued, eventually spreading across the East, long after the Mormons left to settle in the Rocky Mountains, which at that time was far removed from the jurisdiction of the United States. Nevertheless, after almost 30 years of strong and bitter debate in congress and in the courts, and under the prejudicial governing of a few “anti-Mormon” governors and judges in the Utah Territory, it became law that polygamy, as practiced by the Utah Mormons, was illegal and it was ordered that all polygamous men either renounce the polygamous wives and the children of those marriages; or they would be arrested and remanded in the Territorial Prison. In 1887, under that law, Levi and his son, Hyrum, served six month sentences and were fined for their “crime”. A lot could be said about the justice system that imprisons someone who “righteously” lives a principle that has no detrimental effect on society and overlooks the actions of individuals who engage in adulterous and salacious activities which clearly cause health and social problems. At least one of the Territorial governors and several of the judges who were sent to Utah to prosecute the “lawbreakers. One of them even kept a mistress while serving in Utah, all the while having a wife and children back in the more “faithful law and church-going” East. Levi returned home after the prison term saying that it taught him a good lesson. . . in basket weaving and stitching; which is what the men did while serving their time.

He returned home just in time to be with Maren for the birth of their last child. They named him Levi Edward, but sadly the little boy lived a short three years, dying in the summer of 1990. Levi, himself lived only another three-and-a-half years, dying in February, 1894. Fortunately, he had lived a very healthy, active life all of those seventy-seven years. We have no record of the cause of his death. He left Maren with a ten year old boy, a fourteen and a seventeen year old girls. Otherwise, his other 14 surviving children were grown and most married; leaving his two wives in the capable and loving care of the children. Arriminta died in March, 1903, 9 years later, at the age of 84. Maren, who was much younger, died in September, 1939, a long 45 years after Levi. These three true “pioneers” had lived to witness the taming and the settling of the Western United States. They had begun their move to Utah in a day when Indians were the only permanent inhabitants of Utah.


Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich

(Drawing by Holbein the Younger)
(The Rich Home)

Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich (1496/7 – 12 June 1567), was Lord Chancellor during the reign of King Edward VI of England. He was the founder of Felsted School in Essex in 1564. Thomas More told Rich at the time of More's trial that he was reputed light of his tongue, a great dicer and gamester, and not of any commendable fame; but he was a commissioner of the peace in Hertfordshire in 1528, and in the next autumn became reader at the Middle Temple.

Early life and education
He was the son of John Rich of Penton Mewsey, Hampshire and Agnes Rich. He was described as being 54 in 1551 which gives him a birth year of around 1497. He may have had connections with a Rich family prominent in the Mercer's Company in the 15th century but early pedigrees linking him to a Richard Rich of St Lawrence Jewry are incorrect. Rich may well have grown up in London, as Thomas More at his trial said that he knew him. Beyond that we have little knowledge of his early life.

He may have studied at Cambridge before 1516. In 1516 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 we know that 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. 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.

Other preferments followed, and in 1533 he was knighted and became Solicitor General, 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. He had an odious share in the trials of 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. More expressed his opinion of the witness in open court with a candour that might well have dismayed Rich. In an irony, Rich would also play a major part in the fall of Cromwell, whom he despised, using similarly dubious methods.

Rich became the chancellor (19 April 1536) 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 a hundred 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. He was Speaker of the House of Commons in the same year, and advocated the king's policy. In spite of the share he had taken in the suppression of the monasteries, and of the part he was to play under Edward VI, his religious convictions remained Roman Catholic. His testimony helped the conviction of Thomas Cromwell. Rich was also a participant in the only recorded torture of a gentlewoman at the Tower of London, Anne Askew, who later stated that Chancellor Wriothesley and Rich had screwed the rack to torture her with their own hands.

Baron Rich of Leez
Rich was an executor of the will of King Henry VIII, on which much suspicion has been thrown, and on 26 February 1548 he became Baron Rich of Leez. In the next month he succeeded Wriothesley as chancellor, an office in which he found full scope for the business and legal ability he undoubtedly possessed. He supported Protector Somerset in his reforms in church matters, in the prosecution of his brother Thomas Seymour, and in the rest of his policy until the crisis of his fortunes in October 1549, when he deserted to Warwick (afterwards Northumberland), and presided over the trial of his former chief. His daughter had married Warwick's eldest son, Henry (1526-1544/5; died at Boulougne). He was one of the subscribers of the device of 21 June 1553 settling the crown on Lady Jane Grey, but swiftly abandoned his support (as indeed almost everyone did). During the final years of Henry's, Edward's, and Mary's reigns, he was in favor of whatever religion was in power; he was not Catholic enough to oppose the persecution of the Church under Somerset and Northumberland, and he enthusiastically persecuted Protestants during Mary's reign.

Prosecution of bishops
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. However, Mary on her accession showed no ill-will to Rich. He retired from the chancellorship on the grounds of ill-health in the close of 1551, at the time of the final breach between Northumberland and Somerset. He was now sixty years old, and there is no reason to suspect the sincerity of his plea. There is an improbable story, however, to the effect that Rich warned Somerset of his danger in the Tower of London, and that the letter was delivered by mistake to Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, who handed it to Northumberland.

Lord Rich took an active part in the restoration of the old religion in Essex under the new reign, and was one of the most active of 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 had 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 family of the founder until 1851. By his wife Elizabeth Jenks, or Gynkes, he had fifteen children. The eldest son Robert (1537?-1581), second Baron Rich, supported the Reformation. One grandson, Richard Rich, was the first husband of Catherine Knyvet and another grandson Robert, third lord, was created Earl of Warwick in 1618.

In 2006, he was selected by
BBC History Magazine as the 16th century's "worst Briton". He is a major character in the play and film A Man for All Seasons, although there is some dispute about whether this is a fair treatment of Richard. In the 1966 film he was played by John Hurt, and by Jonathan Hackett in the 1988 television movie.

He is a supporting character in the Shardlake crime novels by C. J. Sansom, which are set in the reign of Henry VIII. Rich is portrayed as a cruel villain who is prepared to subvert justice in order to enhance his property and position. He has a significant role in the plot of Sovereign (Sansom novel), the third of the series.

^ Carter, P.R.N. (2004). "Richard Rich, first Baron Rich (1496/7–1567)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. OUP. Retrieved 2009-03-29. (UK library card, ATHENS login or subscription required)
^ Webb, E.A. (1921). Records of St. Bartholomew's Smithfield. 2 vols. Retrieved 2009-03-29.
^ BBC: 'Worst' historical Britons list
This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
The chief authorities are the official records of the period covered by his official life, calendared in the
Rolls Series.
Pollard, Albert Frederick (1900). England under Protector Somerset. London: K. Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co. Ltd. Retrieved 2009-03-29.
P. Morant, History of Essex (2 vols., 1768)
Richard Watson Dixon, History of the Church of England (6 vols., 1878-1902)
Sargeaunt, John (1889). A history of Felsted school, with some account of the founder and his descendants. Chelmsford: Durrant. pp. 129.
Campbell, John (1845-69). "XXXVIIL Life of Lord Chancellor Rich". Lives of the Lord Chancellors and keepers of the Great Seal of England from the earliest times till the reign of Queen Victoria. 2 (of 9). London: Murray. Retrieved 2009-03-29.
Cooper, C.H. and Cooper, T (1858-61). Athenae Cantabrigienses. v1 v2. Cambridge: Deighton, Bell.


RICHARD RICH, first Baron Rich (1496?-1567), lord chancellor, second son of Richard Rich and Joan Dingley, his wife, was probably born in 1496, since early in 1551 he is officially described as fifty-four years of age and more. The family was of Hampshire origin, and the chancellor's great-grandfather, Richard Rich (d. 1469), a prominent member of the Mercers' Company, served as sheriff of the city of London in 1441. He left two sons, John (d. 1458), from whom are descended the baronets of the Rich family, and Thomas, grandfather of the lord chancellor. The visitation of Essex in 1512 represents the chancellor as second son of John Rich, who died on 19 July 1468, which is impossible. Robert, a brother of the chancellor, died in 1557. Rich was born in the parish of St. Laurence Jewry, in the church of which several of his family were buried. Cooper states that he was at one time a member of Cambridge University, and in 1539 be was an unsuccessful candidate for the chancellorship of that university against the Duke of Norfolk. He was bred to the law, entered the Middle Temple, and formed an acquaintance with Sir Thomas More, a native of the same parish and member of the same inn. 'You know,' said More to Rich at his trial, 'that I have been acquainted with your manner of life and conversation a long space, even from your youth to this time; for we dwelt long together in one parish, where, as yourself can well tell (I am sorry you compel me to speak it), you were always esteemed very light of your tongue, a great dicer and gamester, and not of any commendable fame either there or at your house in the Temple, where hath been your bringing up.'1

Rich, however, in spite of his dissipation, acquired an intimate knowledge of the law. In 1526 be was an unsuccessful candidate for the office of common serjeant against William Walsingham, the father of Sir Francis. In 1528 he wrote to Wolsey urging a reform of the common law, and offering to describe the abuses in daily use, and to suggest remedies. In the following December he was placed on the commission for the peace in Hertfordshire, and in February 1529 was made a commissioner of sewers. In the autumn he became reader at the Middle Temple, and in November was returned as one of the burgesses of Colchester to the 'reformation' parliament which sat from 1529 to 1536. In June 1530 he was placed on the commission for gaol delivery at Colchester Castle, and in July was one of those appointed to make a return of Wolsey's possessions in Essex. In March 1532 he was granted the clerkship of recognisances of debt taken in London, and on 13 May was appointed attorney-general for Wales and the counties palatine of Flint and Chester. On 10 Oct. 1533 he was made solicitor-general, and knighted. In this capacity he took the leading part in the crown prosecutions for non-compliance with the acts of succession and supremacy. In April 1535 he assisted at the examination of the three Carthusian monks who were executed shortly after at Tyburn. Baily's story2 that Rich was sent to Fisher with a secret message from Henry to the effect that he would not accept the supremacy of the church if Fisher disapproved is improbable; but in May Rich came to the Tower and endeavoured to ascertain the bishop's real views on the subject, assuring him on the king's word that no advantage would be taken of his admissions, and promising that he would repeat them to no one but the king.

Nevertheless this conversation was made the principal evidence on which Fisher was condemned, and at his trial he denounced Rich for his treachery in revealing it. Similarly base was Rich's conduct towards Sir Thomas More. On 12 June he had an interview with More in the Tower, in which, according to his own account, he 'charitably moved' the ex-chancellor to comply with the acts. But at the trial he gave evidence that More had denied the power of parliament to make the king supreme head of the church; the words rested solely on Rich's testimony, and More charged Rich with perjury, 'ïn good faith, Mr. Rich,' he said, 'I am more sorry for your perjury than mine own peril; and know you that neither I nor any one else to my knowledge ever took you to be a man of such credit as either I or any other could vouchsafe to communicate with you in any matter of importance.' Rich attempted to substantiate the accusation by calling Sir Richard Southwell and Palmer, who had attended him in the Tower; but they both professed to have been too busy removing More's books to listen to the conversation. More was condemned, and Rich reaped his reward by being appointed before the end of the year overseer of liveries of lands, and chirographer of common pleas.

Meanwhile the lesser monasteries had been dissolved, and to deal with their revenues there was formed the court of augmentations of the revenue of the crown. This court was a committee of the privy council, and Rich, who was probably at the same time sworn of the council, was made its first chancellor on 19 April 1536. He was returned probably as knight of the shire for Essex to the parliament which met on 8 June and was dissolved on 18 July 1536, and was elected speaker. In his opening speech he compared the king with Solomon for justice and prudence, with Samson for strength and fortitude, and with Absalom for beauty and comeliness, and in his oration at the close of the session he likened Henry to the sun which expels all noxious vapours and brings forth the seeds, plants, and fruit s necessary for the support of human life. He was now perhaps, next to Cromwell, the most powerful and the most obnoxious of the king's ministers. When in the same year the northern rebellion [cf. Pilgrimage of Grace] broke out, the insurgents coupled his name with Cromwell's in their popular songs, and in the list of articles they drew up demanded his dismissal and punishment, describing him as a man of low birth and small reputation, a subverter of the good laws of the realm, a maintainer and inventor of heretics, and one who imposed taxes for his own advantage.

The failure of the rebellion was followed by the suppression of the remaining religious houses, and Rich devoted himself zealously to the work, being described as the hammer, as Cromwell was the mall, of the monasteries. Occasionally he visited a monastery himself, but his chief occupation was the administration of their revenues, and it was natural that some of the enormous wealth which passed through his hands should stick to his fingers. In 1539 he was appointed, as groom of the privy chamber, to meet Anne of Cleves at Calais; but he deserted Cromwell in the disgrace which consequently overtook him, and was one of the chief witnesses against his friend and benefactor.Cromwell's fall was followed by a reaction against the Reformation, and Rich took an active part in the persecution of the reformers, working with Gardiner, and being described by Foxe as one of the papists in Henry's council. He was constant in his attendance at the privy council, and in April 1541 one John Hillary was committed to the Marshalsea for accusing Rich of deceiving the king as to the possessions of the abbey of Keynsham. In 1544 he resigned the chancellorship of the court of augmentations, and in the same year was treasurer of the wars against France and Scotland, accompanying Henry to Boulogne, and assisting in the negotiation of a treaty with France.On 30 Dec. he was again returned to parliament as knight of the shire for Essex.

In June 1546 he took part in the examination of Anne Askew, and was present when she was tortured in the Tower; according to her own explicit statement, Wriothesley and Rich 'took pains to rack me with their own hands till I was well nigh dead.'3 The story has been much discussed but never disproved, and 'is perhaps the darkest page in the history of any English statesman.'4In spite of these proceedings, Rich's position was improved by the accession of Edward VI. Henry had appointed him an assistant executor of his will, bequeathed him £200, and, according to Paget, left instructions that he should be made a peer. On 20 Feb. 1547-8 he was created Baron Rich of Leeze (Leighs), Essex. In March Wriothesley was deprived of the lord-chancellorship, owing, it is said, to Rich's intrigues, and on 23 Oct. Rich was appointed lord chancellor. He acquiesced in the violent religious changes made by Somerset, signing the orders in council for the administration of the communion in both kinds and for the abolition of private masses. In 1549 he took part in the proceedings against the Protector's brother, Lord Seymour of Sudeley; having obtained an opinion from the judges and council, he conducted the bill of attainder through parliament, and afterwards signed the warrant for his execution.On the outbreak of the rebellion in the same year he summoned the justices before him, and rated them for their neglect to preserve the peace in an harangue printed in Foxe.

In October he accompanied Somerset to Hampton Court when the young king was removed thither; but, finding the Protector's party was deserting him, he took the great seal and joined Warwick at Ely House, Holborn. There, on 6 Oct., he described before the lord mayor the abuses of which Somerset was accused; he made a similar harangue at the Guildhall on the 8th, and on the 12th rode to Windsor bearing the news of the council's proceedings against Somerset to the king. He presided at Somerset's examination before the council, drew up the articles against him, obtained his confession, and brought in the bill of pains and penalties, by which the Protector was deprived of all his offices.Rich may have thought that Warwick would reverse the religious policy of his predecessor, or perhaps the marriage of his daughter Winifred with Warwick's son. Sir Henry Dudley induced him to side against Somerset; but Warwick's triumph failed to improve his position. Probably against his will, he took part in the proceedings against Bonner and Gardiner. The eighth session of the court appointed to try the latter was held at Rich's house in St. Bartholomew's on 20 Jan. 1551, though at another stage of the proceedings Rich appeared as a witness in the bishop's favour. Similarly he was burdened with the chief part in the measures taken by the council against the Princess Mary.

In 1560 he was sent to request her to move to Oking or come to court; she refused, but professed herself willing to accept Rich's hospitality at Leighs Priory. The visit was prevented by a dangerous sickness which broke out in the chancellor's household, and necessitated his absence from the council from June to November. More to Rich's taste were the measures he took against Joan Bocher and the sectaries of Booking.5In August 1551 he was again sent to Mary at Copped Hall to forbid mass in her household. On 26 Oct. a commission was appointed to transact chancery business because of Rich's illness, and on 21 Dec. he resigned the great seal. Fuller, in his 'Church History,' relates a story communicated to him by Rich's great-grandson, the Earl of Warwick, to the effect that Rich had written a letter to Somerset, who he thought might yet return to power, warning him against some design of Northumberland. In his haste he addressed it merely 'to the duke,' and his servant handed it to the Duke of Norfolk, who revealed its contents to Northumberland. Rich, hearing of the mistake, only saved himself by going at once to the king and resigning the great seal.

It is improbable, however, that Norfolk, who made Rich one of his executors, would have betrayed him ; at any rate, Rich did not resign the great seal to the king, but to Winchester, Northumberland, and D'Arcy, who were sent to his house for the purpose, and there can be no doubt of the genuineness of his illness. The great seal was entrusted for the time to Goodrich, bishop of Ely; but Rich's ill-health continuing, the bishop was definitely appointed lord chancellor on 19 Jan. 1551-2.Rich now retired to Essex, where he was placed on a commission for the lord-lieutenancy in May; but he was still identified with the government of Northumberland, whom he appointed his proxy in the House of Lords.

In November he recommenced his attendances at the privy council, and continued them through the early part of 1553. He was one of the commissioners who decided against Bonner's appeal early in that year, and on 9 July he signed the council's answer to Mary's remonstrance, pronouncing her a bastard and proclaiming Lady Jane Grey. But immediately afterwards he went down into Essex, and, paying no attention to a letter from the council on 19 July requiring him to remain faithful to Jane, declared for Mary. On the 21st a letter from the council ordered him to retire with his company to Ipswich 'until the queen's pleasure be further known;' and on 3 Aug. he entertained Mary at Wanstead on her way to London. His wife attended Mary on her entry into the city, and Rich was at once sworn of her council, and officiated at the coronation.During Mary's reign Rich took little part in the government, and his attendances at the council were rare. He was one of the peers summoned to try Northumberland, and he was the only peer who voted against Gardiner's bill for the restoration of the see of Durham. But he vigorously abetted the restoration of the old religion in Essex; at Felsted he at once established masses for the dead, and he was a zealous persecutor of the heretics, examining them himself or sending them up to London, and being present at numerous executions.

The excessive number of martyrs in Essex is attributed by Foxe to Rich's persecuting activity. In 1557 he was raising forces for the war in France and defence of the Essex sea-coast, and in the following February attended Lord Clinton on his expedition against Brest. In November 1558 he was appointed to accompany Elizabeth to London, and in December was placed on a commission to inquire into lands granted during the late reign. He dissented from the act of uniformity, and in 1566 was summoned to discuss the question of the queen's marriage.

He died at Rochford, Essex, on 12 June 1567, and was buried in Felsted church, where a recumbent effigy represents him with a small head and keen features; the inscriptions have been obliterated. His will, dated 12 May, with a codicil dated 10 June 1567, was proved on 3 June 1568. His portrait, by Holbein, is preserved among the Holbein drawings in the Royal Library at Windsor; it has been engraved by Bartolozzi and R. Dalton.Rich has been held up to universal execration by posterity; catholics have denounced him as the betrayer of More and Fisher, and protestants as the burner of martyrs.

A time-server of the least admirable type, he was always found on the winning side, and he had a hand in the ruin of most of the prominent men of his time, not a few of whom had been his friends and benefactors — Wolsey, More, Fisher, Cromwell, Wriothesley, Lord Seymour of Sudeley, Somerset, and Northumberland. His readiness to serve the basest ends of tyranny and power justifies his description as 'one of the most ominous names in the history of the age.'6 But his ability as a lawyer and man of business is beyond question.His religious predilections inclined to Catholicism; but he did not allow them to stand in the way of his advancement. Few were more rapacious or had better opportunities for profiting by the dissolution of the monasteries; the manors he secured in Essex alone covered a considerable portion of the county.

It should, however, be acknowledged that he used some of his ill-gotten wealth for a noble object, and that he was a patron of learning. In 1554 he founded a chaplaincy at Felsted, and made provision for the singing of masses and dirges and the ringing of bells. These observances were abolished at the accession of Elizabeth, and in May 1564 Rich founded a grammar school at Felsted, which afforded education to two sons of Oliver Cromwell, to Isaac Barrow, and to Wallis the mathematician. Rich also founded almshouses in Felsted, and built the tower of Rochford church. His own seat was Leighs Priory, which was purchased in 1735 by Guy's Hospital.

His town house in Cloth Fair, Bartholomew Close, afterwards called Warwick House, is still standing (1896).By his wife Elizabeth (d.1558), daughter and heiress of William Jenks or Gynkes, grocer, of London, Rich had five sons and ten daughters. Of the sons, Sir Hugh, the second, was buried at Felsted on 27 Nov. 1554; the eldest, Robert (1537?-1581), succeeded to the title, and, unlike his father, accepted the doctrines of the Reformation. He was employed on various diplomatic negotiations by Elizabeth, and was one of the judges who tried the Duke of Norfolk for his share in the Ridolfi plot. He was succeeded in the title by his second son, Robert (afterwards Earl of Warwick).

Of the daughters, Elizabeth married Sir Robert Peyton (d.1590); Winifred (d.1578) married, first, Sir Henry Dudley, eldest son of the future duke of Northumberland, and, secondly, Roger, second Lord North, by whom she was mother of Sir John North; Ethelreda or Audrey married Robert, son of Sir William Drury of Hawsted, Suffolk, and cousin of Sir William Drury; Frances married John, lord D'Arcy of Chiche (d. 1580), son of the lord chamberlain to Edward VI. Rich had also four illegitimate children, of whom Richard was father of Sir Nathaniel Rich.1. Cresacre More, Life of Sir T. More, ed. Hunter, p. 263. link2. Baily, Life of Fisher.3. Foxe, Acts and Monuments, p. 547. link4. Froude, History of England, v. 208. link5. cf. Dixon, History of the Church of England, iii. 212.6. Dixon.

Excerpted from: Pollard, A. F. "Richard Rich, first Baron Rich." Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. XVI. Sidney Lee, ed. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1909. 1009-1012.

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