Richard Kidder
Bishop of Bath and Wells
Richard Kidder, Bishop of Bath and Wells
ChurchChurch of England
DioceseBath and Wells
OrdinationNovember 1658
by Ralph Brownrigg
Consecration30 August 1691
by John Tillotson
Personal details
Baptized8 February 1663
Died26 November 1703
Bishop's Palace, Wells
BuriedWells Cathedral
ResidenceBishop's Palace, Wells
SpouseElizabeth Kidder
Alma materEmmanuel College, Cambridge

Richard Kidder (1633–1703) was an English Anglican churchman, Bishop of Bath and Wells, from 1691 to his death. He was a noted theologian.


He was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he was a sizar, from 1649, graduating 1652.[1] He became a Fellow there in 1655, and vicar of Stanground, Huntingdonshire, in 1659.[2] He was deprived in 1662.[3]

He was rector of Rayne Parva, Essex, from 1664 to 1674, having conformed to the Act of Uniformity 1662. He was later vicar of St. Martin Outwich, London, and in 1689 a royal chaplain,[4] and dean of Peterborough.

His A Demonstration of the Messias[5] has been identified as a significant influence on the librettist Charles Jennens, in writing the words for the Messiah of Handel.[6] This book also took up suggestions of Joseph Mede on multiple authorship of the Book of Zechariah.[7]

He was killed in the Great Storm of 1703, on 26 November (7 December in today's calendar);[8] he was in bed with his wife in the episcopal palace at Wells when the chimney fell on both of them.[9]



  1. ^ "Kidder, Richard (KDR649R)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. ^ Concise Dictionary of National Biography.
  3. ^ [1], CNDB.
  4. ^ CNDB
  5. ^ A Demonstration of the Messias. In which the Truth of the Christian Religion is proved, against all the Enemies thereof; but especially against the Jews. In three volumes, published 1684, 1699, 1700.
  6. ^ [2]; Michael Marissen, Rejoicing against Judaism in Handel's Messiah, Journal of Musicology, Spring 2007, Vol. 24, No. 2, Pages 167-194.
  7. ^ Bible Survey: The Book of Zechariah
  8. ^ 27 November, Every-Day Book
  9. ^ Newsletter 35
Church of England titles Preceded bySimon Patrick Dean of Peterborough 1689–1691 Succeeded bySamuel Freeman Preceded byThomas Ken Bishop of Bath and Wells 1691–1703 Succeeded byGeorge Hooper