Richard Rich

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born c. 1496 - died 12 June 1567
Character's backstory
: On The Tudors, Rich plays second fiddle to Thomas Cromwell in the dissolution of the monasteries. While this portrayal is accurate, in real life Rich despised Cromwell and later played a role in his downfall by testifying against him.

He prepared the indictment against the Nun of Kent and her associates who opposed the king's great matter in 1533. He testified against both Thomas More and John Fisher. While it would be easy to assume that he had Protestant leanings due to this, his involvement in the dissolution of the monasteries, and because he was the securer of Henry's Act of Supremacy, Rich was in fact Roman Catholic. After Cromwell's fall, he took an active role in the Roman Catholic reaction, and Anne Askew reported that he personally screwed the rack upon which she was tortured. He also had a hand in the destruction of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk and his son Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey being one of the Councillors deputed to examine the Duke.

Upon Henry VIII's death, Rich was named the executor of his will. Excluding Henry VII, Rich served under every Tudor monarch, and supported whatever religious reform that the monarch advanced. For instance, he dutifully carried out the work of Edward Seymour during the reign of Edward VI and aided in the prosecution of Thomas Seymour, supported Jane Grey as queen, prosecuted Protestants during Mary I's reign, and advised Elizabeth I on the question of marriage.

Knighted in 1533
Created 1st Baron Rich of Leez on 26 February 1548

Solicitor General under Henry VIII
Speaker of the House of Commons (1536) under Henry VIII
Lord Chancellor under Edward VI

Personality type: Opportunistic, sycophantic

Signature look:

Endearing trait(s): loyal to his monarch despite his personal beliefs in religion

Annoying trait(s): Not above betraying anyone else to satisfy the monarch

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Richard Rich as played by Rod Hallett

the most wretched creature ... the first inventor of the destruction of the abbeys
and monasteries [and]
the general
ation of church property
French Ambassador Marillac

Has been called the worst villain
of the 16th century
See also : The history of Sir Richard Rich

"Then they did put me on the rack, because I confessed no ladies or gentlemen, to be of my opinion... the Lord Chancellor and Master Rich took pains to rack me with their own hands, till I was nearly dead. I fainted... and then they recovered me again. After that I sat two long hours arguing with the Lord Chancellor, upon the bare floor... With many flattering words, he tried to persuade me to leave my opinion... I said that I would rather die than break my faith"

-Anne Askew's testimony concerning the involvement of Richard Rich in her torture


Family members:
Father: Richard Rich
Mother: Joan Dingley

Wife: Elizabeth Jenks (Jenkins) (with whom he had 15 children!)
Known to have at least one mistress as he fathered four illegitimate children.

Elizabeth, Lady Peyton;
Audrey Etheldreda, Lady Drury;
Winifred, Baroness North;
Frances Baroness Darcy of Chiche;
; Mary; and Dorothy
Sons: Sir Robert, 2nd Baron Rich;
Sir Hugh Rich
; Sir Nicholas Rich
Illeg. Son: Richard Rich, father of Sir Nathaniel Rich
Grandson: Robert Rich, 3rd Baron Rich, 1st Earl of Essex married Lady Penelope Devereux, daughter of Lettice Knollys [granddaughter of Mary Boleyn]

King Henry VIII
Prince Edward Tudor
Princess Mary Tudor
Princess Elizabeth Tudor
Edward Seymour

Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex
Sir Thomas More
Bishop John Fisher
Thomas Seymour
Catherine Parr
[although kin to Queen Catherine, Rich was determined to bring Catherine and other Protestants like Anne Askew down due to their religious beliefs.]


  • "He has made the queen [Catherine Parr] regent?" -- Season 4, Episode 7


<embed flashvars="transition=Fade&site=" height="400" src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="400" wmode="transparent"/>

Richard Rich as played by Rod HallettRichard Rich by Hans Holbein
Richard Rich as played by Rod HallettRichard Rich as played by Rod Hallett
Richard Rich as played by Rod Hallett
JRM as King Henry VIII with Richard Rich played by Rod Hallett

Season 4

Thomas Cromwell and Sir Richard Rich
Season 3

Richard Rich, Thomas Cromwell, and Francis Bryan

Richard Rich with Thomas Cromwell and Francis Bryan
Richard Rich & Edward SeymourRichard Rich as played by Rod Hallett
Richard Rich entraps Sir Thomas More
Season 2

<embed allowfullscreen="true" height="282" src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="344" wmode="transparent"/>
Season 4
<embed allowfullscreen="true" height="282" src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="344" wmode="transparent"/>
Season 2