RICHERS, Robert (by 1524-87/89), of Lincoln's Inn, London and Wrotham, Kent.
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Family and Education
b. by 1524, and s. of Henry Richers of Swannington, Norf. by Cecily, da. of Robert Tills of Runhall, Norf. educ. L. Inn, adm. 3 June 1538, called 1544. m. by Nov. 1553, Elizabeth, da. of Edmund Cartwright of Ossington, Notts. by Agnes, da. of Thomas Cranmer of Sutton, Notts., wid. of Reginald Peckham (d. 21 July 1551) of Yaldham, Kent, 1s. 5da.1
Associate of the bench, L. Inn 1567; reader, Furnival’s Inn 1567.
J.p. Kent 1558/59-d.
A younger son in an old Norfolk family, Robert Richers was set to the law. His youthful indiscretions merited a rebuke by the elders of Lincoln’s Inn; they were not otherwise held against him but, once he had become a barrister, his inattention to the details of the inn’s administration displeased his colleagues. His education there was barely finished when he entered the Commons in 1547. He was a stranger to Reigate. With the 3rd Duke of Norfolk a prisoner in the Tower, the patronage of the borough may have been exercised by the Council or by the duke’s half-brother, Lord William Howard, with whom perhaps Richers was already acquainted; if Richers needed conciliar endorsement on this occasion, his later connexion by marriage with Archbishop Cranmer may explain how he got it. During 1553 Howard was in Calais and his absence was perhaps the reason why Richers was not returned to either of the Parliaments held in that year: in the spring Howard alienated several manors in Suffolk to him and in the autumn his counsel was retained by the Duke of Norfolk over the bill reversing his attainder. By the following year Howard had returned to England and had become a Privy Councillor, and Richers’s reappearance in the Commons was presumably his doing. Howard’s influence was pervasive, and even though Richers did not sit for Reigate again he may have received support elsewhere. In the absence of so many returns his Membership in 1555 is hypothetical—it was the year of Cranmer’s burning—but in 1558 he must have used one of the numerous links between Lincoln’s Inn and Cornwall to sit for a Cornish borough. If he was not to reappear in the House, it was presumably for lack of inclination rather than because of religious dissidence; in 1564 he was rated ‘conformable’ by Archbishop Parker and for the last 30 years of his life he was a leading figure in Kent.2
Richers’s practice prospered and early in his career he made numerous purchases in East Anglia. On his marriage to Elizabeth Cranmer he settled in Kent and his acquisitions in middle life were mainly in his adopted county. He made his will on 4 May 1587. He left the details of his funeral to the discretion of his wife and son, who were to be his executors, only requesting that there should be ‘no pomp or vain glory’. His brother Henry was to be supervisor. He left £5 to ‘the most poor and needy people, sturdy beggars and vagabonds as much as may be avoided’, and 16s.8d. to be distributed each Good Friday for seven years following his death to the poor in three parishes. He gave a silver bowl to each of his three married daughters, and £10 to his granddaughter. His two unmarried daughters received £100 each and all his property in Devon. His wife was to enjoy a life estate of all his property in Norfolk and Kent and to share with her son John the residue of his goods. The date of Richers’s death is not known, but the will was proved on 12 Feb. 1589.3