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Richard Smith (bishop)


Richard Smith (bishop)

The Right Reverend
Richard Smith
Vicar Apostolic of England
Appointed 29 November 1624
Term ended 1632
Predecessor William Bishop
Successor John Leyburn
Other posts Titular Bishop of Chalcedon
Ordination 7 May 1592
Consecration 12 January 1625
by Bernardino Spada
Personal details
Born November 1568
Hamworth, England
Died 18 March 1655(1655-03-18) (aged 86)
Nationality English
Denomination Roman Catholic
Alma mater

Richard Smith (b. Hanworth, England, November 1568 - d. Paris, 18 March 1655), (officially the Bishop of Chalcedon), was the second Catholic bishop for England, Wales and Scotland after Catholicism was banned in England in 1559. He followed William Bishop, who died in 1624.


  • Early life 1
  • Priesthood 2
  • Bishopric 3
  • Death 4
  • Works 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7

Early life

Richard Smith was born in Lincolnshire, England. He studied at Trinity College, Oxford University and in Rome, where he was admitted to the English College in 1586.


In 1592 Smith was ordained as a priest. Between 1598 and 1603 he spend some time in Valladolid, where he became a Doctor of Theology, and in Seville.

Smith served as a priest in England at a time when Catholicism was officially banned, and could have faced death if caught and tried. From 1603 to 1609 he was chaplain to Viscountess Montague, wife of Anthony-Maria Browne, 2nd Viscount Montagu, at Battle Abbey in Sussex, England. He left Sussex in 1609 to go to Paris to study and write at Arras College, which had been founded for English priests.


Smith was appointed Apostolic Vicar for the whole of England, Wales and Scotland in 1625. He followed William Bishop, who had held the post for less than a year. As Catholicism was illegal in England at the time, his episcopal title was Titular bishop of Chalcedon. He arrived in England in April 1625, and stayed in Turvey, Bedfordshire, at the house of Lord Montagu. In 1628 a warrant was issued for his arrest. He resigned his post in 1631, when he fled to Paris.


In Paris Smith lived at first with Cardinal Richelieu until the latter's death in 1642. He held the title of commendatory abbot of Charroux Abbey, resigning that title in 1648. He died at the Paris priory of English Canonesses Regular of the Lateran, whose founding, under Mother Lettice Mary Tredway, C.R.L. (formally called Lady Treadway), he had supported.


Smith authored:

  • "An answer to T. Bel's late Challenge" (1605), against Thomas Bell;
  • "The Prudentiall Ballance of Religion", (1609);
  • "Vita Dominae Magdalenae Montis-Acuti" i.e., Viscountess Montagu (1609);
  • "De auctore et essentia Protestanticae Religionis" (1619), English translation, 1621;
  • "Collatio doctrinae Catholicorum et Protestantium" (1622), tr. (1631);
  • "Of the distinction of fundamental and not fundamental points of faith" (1645);
  • "Monita quaedam utilia pro Sacerdotibus, Seminaristis, Missionariis Angliae" (1647);
  • "A Treatise of the best kinde of Confessors" (1651);
  • "Of the all-sufficient Eternal Proposer of Matters of Faith" (1653);
  • "Florum Historiae Ecclesiasticae gentis Anglorum libri septem" (1654).

See also


  • Leys, M. D. R., Catholics in England 1559-1829: A social history (London : Camelot Press Ltd., 1961)

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