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Richard Courtenay

Richard Courtenay
Bishop of Norwich
AppointedJune 1413
Term endedSeptember 1415
PredecessorAlexander Tottington
SuccessorJohn Wakering
Other post(s)Dean of St Asaph
Dean of Wells
Consecration17 September 1413
Personal details
Diedc. 15 September 1415
Harfleur, France
BuriedWestminster Abbey
DenominationRoman Catholic
ParentsSir Philip Courtenay of Powderham Castle
Alma materExeter College, Oxford

Richard Courtenay (died 15 September 1415) was an English prelate and university chancellor,[1] who served as Bishop of Norwich from 1413 to 1415.


Courtenay was a son of Sir Philip Courtenay of Powderham Castle near Exeter, and a grandson of Hugh de Courtenay, 10th Earl of Devon (died 1377). He was a nephew of William Courtenay, archbishop of Canterbury, and a descendant of King Edward I of England.[2] From an early age he was renowned for his intellect and personal beauty. He was nicknamed "the flower of Devon".[3]

Educated at Exeter College, Oxford, Courtenay entered the church, where his advance was rapid. He held several prebends, was Dean of St Asaph and then Dean of Wells,[citation needed] and became Bishop of Norwich in June 1413,[2] being consecrated on 17 September 1413.[4]

As Chancellor of the University of Oxford,[5] an office to which Courtenay was elected more than once, Courtenay asserted the independence of the university against Thomas Arundel, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1411; but the Archbishop, supported by King Henry IV and Antipope John XXIII, eventually triumphed.[2]

Courtenay was a close friend of King Henry V both before and after he came to the throne; and in 1413, immediately after Henry's accession, he was made treasurer of the royal household. On two occasions he went on diplomatic errands to France, and he was also employed by Henry on public business at home. Having accompanied the king to Harfleur in August 1415, Courtenay succumbed to dysentery[citation needed] and died about 15 September 1415.[4] The closeness of their attachment has led to speculation that Courtenay may have been the monarch’s homosexual lover.[3]


Another member of this family was Peter Courtenay (died 1492), a grandnephew of Richard. He also attained high position in the English Church.[2]


  1. ^ Wood, Anthony (1790). "Fasti Oxonienses". The History and Antiquities of the Colleges and Halls in the University of Oxford. pp. 37, 39–40.
  2. ^ a b c d Chisholm 1911.
  3. ^ a b Shute, Joe (1 June 2017). "Was my ancestor King Henry V's gay lover?". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 22 August 2023.
  4. ^ a b Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 262
  5. ^ Hibbert, Christopher, ed. (1988). "Appendix 5: Chancellors of the University". The Encyclopaedia of Oxford. Macmillan. pp. 521–522. ISBN 0-333-39917-X.


Academic offices Preceded byRobert Alum Chancellor of the University of Oxford 1407 Succeeded byRichard Ullerston Preceded byWilliam Sulburge Chancellor of the University of Oxford 1411–1412 Succeeded byWilliam Sulburge Preceded byWilliam Sulburge Chancellor of the University of Oxford 1412–1413 Succeeded byWilliam Sulburge Catholic Church titles Preceded byAlexander Tottington Bishop of Norwich 1413–1415 Succeeded byJohn Wakering
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Richard Courtenay
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