Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

An illustrated appreciation, of the most interesting districts in Sussex.

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xlii                                    SAINT RICHARD
sentees; he excommunicated usurers; while (a revolutionist indeed !) priests who spoke indistinctly or at too great a pace were suspended. Also, I doubt not, he was hostile to locked churches. Furthermore, he advocated the Crusades like another Peter the Hermit.
Richard's own life was exquisitely thoughtful and simple. An anecdote of his brother, who assisted him in the practical administration of the diocese, helps us to this side of his character. "You give away more than your income," remarked this almoner-brother one day. " Then sell my silver," said Richard, " it will never do for me to drink out of silver cups while our Lord is suffering in His poor. Our father drank heartily out of common crockery, and so can I. Sell the plate."
Richard penetrated on foot to the uttermost corners of his diocese to see that all was well. He took no holiday, but would often stay for a while at Tarring, near Worthing, with Simon, the parish priest and his great friend. Tradition would have Richard the planter of the first of the Tarring figs, and indeed, to my mind, he is more welcome to that honour than Saint Thomas a Becket, who competes for the credit— being more a Sussex man. In his will Richard left to Sir Simon de Terring (sometimes misprinted Ferring) his best palfrey and a commentary on the Psalms.
The Bishop died in 1253 and he was at once canonised. To visit his grave in the nave of Chichester Cathedral (it is now in the south transept) was a sure means to recovery from illness, and it quickly became a place of pilgrimage. April 3 was set apart in the calendar as Richard's day, and very pleasant must have been the observance in the Chichester streets. In 1297 we find Edward I. giving Lovel the harper 6s. 6d. for singing the Saint's praises ; but Henry VIII. was to change all this. On December 14th, 1538, it being, I imagine, a fine day, the Defender of the Faith signed a paper ordering Sir William Goring and William Ernely, his Commissioners, to repair to Chichester Cathedral and remove "the bones, shrine, &c, of a certain Bishop. . . .
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