RICH, RICHARD, IST BARON RICH (c. 149o-1567), Eng lish lord chancellor, was born about 1490, in St. Laurence Jewry, London. After holding various preferments, he was knighted in 1533, and became solicitor-general, acting under Thomas Crom well in the demolition of the monasteries. He played a malicious part in the trials of Sir Thomas More and Bishop Fisher. Rich became first chancellor (1536) of the court of Augmentations, and benefited vastly by its disposal of the monastic revenues. In the same year, he was speaker in the House of Commons. He was a Roman Catholic by conviction, and was a willing agent in the Catholic reaction after the fall of Thomas Cromwell.
Rich was one of the executors of Henry VIII.'s will. In he became Baron Rich of Leez. As chancellor in succession to Wriothesley he supported Protector Somerset until Oct. 1549, when he deserted to Warwick, and presided over the trial of his former chief. At the close of 1551 he retired from the chancellor
ship on the ground of ill-health at the time of the final breach between Warwick (now Northumberland) and Somerset.
Lord Rich was an active persecutor during the restoration of the old religion in Essex under Mary's reign. He died at Roch ford, Essex, on June 12, 1567, and was buried in Felsted church.
The chief authorities are the official records of the period covered by his official life, calendared in the Rolls Series. See also A. F. Pollard, England under Protector Somerset (1900) ; P. Morant, History of Essex (2 vols., 1768) ; R. W. Dixon, History of the Church of England (6 vols., 1878-1902) ; and lives in J. Sargeaunt's History of Felsted School (1889) ; Lord Campbell's Lives of the Lord Chan cellors (1845-69) ; and C. H. and T. Cooper's Athenae Cantabrigienses (2 VON., 1858-61).