Richard de Ferings

Richard de Ferings (died 1306), was the archbishop of Dublin.

Ferings was official of Canterbury, in which capacity he won the friendship of Archbishop Peckham.[1] In 1279 he was present at the Council of Reading.[2] In 1280 he was also for a short time official of Winchester, having been appointed by Peckham during a vacancy of the bishopric; but before long Peckham found him so indispensable that he brought him back to Canterbury, and put Adam of Hales into the post at Winchester.[3] Next year Peckham made him Archdeacon of Canterbury, and in 1284 gave him the rectory of Tunstall, near Sittingbourne, to be held in commendam with the archdeaconry.[4]

Ferings remained archdeacon until 1299, when he was appointed by Pope Boniface VIII to the archbishopric of Dublin. The feuds of the two rival chapters had long made the elections to that see constant subjects of disputes. In 1297 William of Hothum, himself a nominee of the pope after a contested election, died soon after his consecration. Early in 1298 Christ Church elected Adam of Belsham, and St. Patrick's chose their dean, Thomas of Chadsworth, for whom the canons had previously tried to secure the archbishopric. In their hurry neither body had secured the royal licence to elect. Both were accordingly summoned to answer for the contempt, and the temporalities of Christ Church were for a time seized by King Edward.[5] Ferings's appointment by the pope was consequently not opposed by the king. His consecration was probably abroad, as it is not noticed in the English authorities, though the date is given as 1299 in the ‘Annals of Ireland’ published with the ‘Chartulary of St. Mary's Abbey, Dublin’.[6]

It was not, however, until June 1300 that Ferings received from the crown the temporalities of his see, after a renunciation of all the words in the bull of appointment which were prejudicial to the royal authority.[7]

Ferings spent little of his time in Ireland. His conciliatory temper led him to several attempts to make peace with disappointed candidates and angry chapters. Even before his consecration he had appointed his old rival, Thomas of Chadsworth, his vicar, though he subsequently feared lest the infirmities of age made him unfit for the post, and urged the canons of St. Patrick's and Chadsworth himself to recommend a fit substitute if he were incapable.[8] In 1300 he succeeded in persuading the canons of St. Patrick's and the monks of Christ Church to agree to a ‘final and full concord,’ which, while recognising that both churches were of metropolitical and cathedral rank, gave Christ Church, as the elder foundation, a certain honorary precedence. (The composition is printed in Mason's ‘St. Patrick's,’ App. vi.) It was perhaps to conciliate the wounded pride of St. Patrick's that he continued to make Chadsworth his vicar-general during his frequent absences abroad. In 1303 he also endowed St. Patrick's with the new prebends of Stagonil and Tipperkevin, the latter of which supported two prebendaries, and in 1304 he exempted the prebendal churches from the visitations of dean and archdeacon (Mason, St. Patrick's, App. iii. sec. vi.). In the same year he also confirmed the arrangements of his predecessors in reference to St. Patrick's (Hist. MSS. Comm. 10th Rep. pt. v. p. 217).

In 1302 he resigned to Edmund Butler the manor of Hollywood, near Dublin, which had for some time been in the possession of the see.[9] In 1303 Ferings was summoned to the English parliament in his capacity of archbishop of Dublin.[10] There are other precedents for this somewhat unusual course. His absence from Ireland was so far recognised by the king that he gave Ferings special permission to have the revenues of his see sent to England for his support,[11] and in letters of protection granted to him Edward speaks of his being in England ‘by the king's order’.[12] During his archbishopric the great valuation of the Irish churches was gradually taken.[13] He died on 17 October 1306.[14]


  1. Reg. Peckham, i. 88
  2. ib. i. 46
  3. ib. i. 98
  4. ib. i. 267, iii. 1007
  5. Rot. Parl. i. 152 b
  6. ii. 291, Rolls Ser.
  7. Calendar of Documents, Ireland, 1293–1301, Nos. 746, 751. Either these or No. 633 must be misdated a year
  8. Mason, Hist. St. Patrick's, p. 115; Prynne, Records, iii. 943
  9. Chart. St. Mary's Abbey, ii. 330
  10. Parl. Writs, i. 574
  11. Cal. Doc. Ireland, 1293–1301, No. 838
  12. ib. No. 848
  13. summarised in Cal. Doc. Ireland, 1302–7
  14. Ann. Ireland in Chart. St. Mary's, ii. 334

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Ferings, Richard de". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 

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