I have not found in any man such skill in
comforting the sad, in raising up the fallen and in finding out
the hidden causes of the sickness
of a conscience.
Often, I tell you, I have come to his feet to speak of my conscience
and he has anticipated me in the very things I was about to say,
has sketched for me, as it were, the form of my mind and to my
amazement has told me the whole state of my soul.
[Foundation history [Narratio], pp. 191-2.]
Richard, who was sacrist of the Benedictine abbey of St Mary’s,
York, was committed to monastic reform and initiated moves to reform
the community, which resulted in the departure of a group of the
monks who later established Fountains. Richard officiated as prior
of the new community at Fountains and it was only with great reluctance
that he accepted the abbacy, following the death of the first Abbot
Richard. He was a gentle and well-loved abbot, but his unwillingness
to hold office never abated. Richard died at Clairvaux, on his
way to the General Chapter meeting.