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Richard of Dover

Richard (d. 1184), archbishop of Canterbury, was a Norman, who became a monk at Canterbury, where he acted as chaplain to Archbishop Theobald and was a colleague of Thomas Becket.

In 1173, more than two years after the murder of Becket, it was decided to fill the vacant archbishopric of Canterbury; there were two candidates, Richard, at that time prior of St Martin's, Dover, and Odo, prior of Canterbury, and in June Richard was chosen, although Odo was the nominee of the monks. Objections were raised against this election both in England and in Rome, but in April 1174 the new archbishop was consecrated at Anagui by Pope Alexander III, and he returned to England towards, the close of the year.

The ten years during which Richard was archbishop were disturbed by disputes with Roger, archbishop of York, over the respective rights of the two sees, and in 1175, at a council held in London, there was a free fight between their partisans. Henry II arranged a truce for five years between the rival prelates, but Richard was soon involved in another quarrel, this being with Roger, abbot of St Augustine's, Canterbury, whose action also trenched upon the privileges of the archbishop.

Richard was more acceptable to Henry II than Becket had been; he attended the royal councils, and more than once he was with the king in Normandy. Henry probably preferred him because he insisted less on the rights of the clergy than his great predecessor had done; but the monastic writers and the followers of Becket regarded this attitude as a sign of weakness. Richard died at Rochester on February 16 1184 and was buried in his cathedral.

See the article by W Hunt in the Dict. Nat. Biog vol. xlviii. (1896); and WF Hook, Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury.

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.