Richard Chenevix (bishop)

The Right Reverend Dr

Richard Chenevix
Bishop of Waterford and Lismore
Miscellaneous works of the late Philip Dormer Stanhope Fleuron N005220-9.png
Richard Chenevix
Installed15 January 1746
Term ended11 September 1779
PredecessorCharles Este
SuccessorWilliam Newcome
Other postsBishop of Killaloe
Personal details
Birth nameRichard Chenevix
Died11 September 1779
DenominationChurch of Ireland
ChildrenPhilipa Melosina, Philip Chenevix
Alma materPeterhouse College Cambridge

Richard Chenevix (1698 – 11 September 1779) was Bishop of Waterford and Lismore.[1] He was the grandfather of Melesina Trench and was responsible for her upbringing after she was orphaned, until his death.


Chenevix was the son of Colonel Philip Chenevix of the guards, and grandson of Reverend Philip Chenevix. Philip Chenevix had been the Protestant pastor of Limay, had settled in England after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes as his brother had been murdered because of his religion.[2]

He had a daughter Phillipa Melosina who married Henry Alcock, who became M.P. for Waterford. She died giving birth to a son, 14 May 1765.[3]

He also had a son Philip Chenevix, who married Mary Elizabeth Gervais, and they had a single child, Melesina, in 1768. Both Philip and Mary died before Melesina's fourth birthday, and she was sent to live with her grandfather. He looked after her until his death when she was eleven. He determined that she had a promise of genius and rejected traditional female education as inappropriate for her, instead he encouraged her to read as much as possible, and she explored his library.[4] When he died Melesina was his sole heir.


Chenevix was educated at Peterhouse College Cambridge, earning a BA in 1716 and an MA in 1732. He returned to Cambridge in 1744 to earn a DD.[5]

In 1719 he took orders and entered into the service of the second Earl of Scarborough as domestic chaplain, then in 1728 he entered the service of the Earl of Chesterfield. When in 1745 the Earl of Chesterfield was appointed to be Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Chenevix accompanied him as domestic chaplain. It was through the influence of the Earl of Chesterfield that Chenevix was appointed as Bishop of Killaloe on 20 May 1745 before being translated to the more lucrative bishopric of Waterford and Lismore on 15 January 1746. He remained as Bishop of Waterford and Lismore until his death at Waterford in 1779.

Chenevix was persuaded to replace the old Gothic cathedral in Waterford with a new Cathedral, which was begun in 1773 and completed in the year of Chenevix's death in 1779.[6] The bishop selected the architect, John Roberts, who had recently finished building his new bishops palace.[7] In fact Chenevix was so pleased with this work that he granted to the architect his old palace on long lease.[8]


  1. ^ website
  2. ^ Stephens, Henry Morse (1887). "Chenevix, Richard (1698-1779)" . In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 10. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  3. ^ Internet Archive – Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Ireland
  4. ^ Chawton House Library Biographies
  5. ^ "Chenevix, Richard (CHNS713R)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  6. ^ Christchurch Waterford website Archived 26 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Irish Architectural Archive
  8. ^ Genealogy Links website


H. M. Stephens, rev. Philip Carter. "Chenevix, Richard (1696/7–1779)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/5216.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)

Religious titles
Preceded by
Jemmett Browne
Bishop of Killaloe
Succeeded by
Nicholas Synge
Preceded by
Charles Este
Bishop of Waterford and Lismore
Succeeded by
William Newcome

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