Richard Fleming - Encyclopedia




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RICHARD FLEMING (d. 1431), bishop of Lincoln, and founder of Lincoln College, Oxford, was born at Crofton in Yorkshire. He was descended from a good family, and was educated at University College, Oxford. Having taken his degrees, he was made prebendary of York in 1406, and the next year was junior proctor of the university. About this time he became an ardent Wycliffite, winning over many persons, some of high rank, to the side of the reformer, and incurring the censure of Archbishop Arundel. He afterwards became one of Wycliffe's most determined opponents. Before 1415 he was instituted to the rectory of Boston in Lincolnshire, and in 1420 he was consecrated bishop of Lincoln. In1428-1429he attended the councils of Pavia and Siena, and in the presence of the pope, Martin V., made an eloquent speech in vindication of his native country, and in eulogy of the papacy. It was probably on this occasion that he was named chamberlain to the pope. To Bishop Fleming was entrusted the execution of the decree of the council for the exhumation and burning of Wycliffe's remains. The see of York being vacant, the pope conferred it on Fleming; but the king (Henry V.) refused to confirm the appointment. In 1427 Fleming obtained the royal licence empowering him to found a college at Oxford. for the special purpose of training up disputants against Wycliffe's heresy. He died at Sleaford, on the 26th of January 1431. Lincoln College was, however, completed by his trustees, and its endowments were afterwards augmented by various benefactors.

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