Richard Foxe was an English churchman, successively Bishop of Exeter, Bath and Wells, Durham, and Winchester, Lord Privy Seal, and founder of Corpus Christi College, Oxford.
Foxe was born at Ropsley near Grantham, Lincolnshire. He possibly attended to Magdalen College, Oxford, from which drew members of his later foundation, Corpus Christi.
He was Master of the school in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1477.
In 1484, Foxe was in Paris where he met with Henry Tudor, who was planning to seize the English throne, and recruited into his service. In January 1485 Richard III prevented Foxe's appointment to the vicarage of Stepney because was keeping company with the "great rebel, Henry ap Tuddor."
After Bosworth Henry VIII confirmed him as Vicar of Stepney. Following that he was appointed Principal Secretary, and soon afterwards Lord Privy Seal, and elected Bishop of Exeter on 29 January 1487. In February 1492, he was transferred to the see of Bath and Wells.
In 1487 he negotiated a treaty with King James III of Scotland, and in 1491 he baptised the future King Henry VIII of England. In 1492 he helped conclude the Peace of Etaples, and in 1493 he was chief commissioner in the negotiations for the famous commercial agreement with the Netherlands known as Magnus Intercursus.
In July 1494 Foxe was translated to the see of Durham because of its political importance as a palatine earldom and location to the Borders and relations with Scotland.
He lived at Norham Castle, which he fortified and defended against a Scottish raid in 1497. He negotiated Perkin Warbeck’s retirement from the court of James IV, and in 1498–1499 he completed the negotiations a marriage between the King of Scotland and Henry VII's daughter Margaret.
In August 1501, he was translated to the see of Winchester, the richest bishopric in England and then concluded marriage for Prince Arthur’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. He was also instrumental in the negotiations for the marriage of Henry VII’ s youngest daughter Mary to the future emperor Charles V – the marriage plans ultimately failed.
From a contemporary drawing by Sir Thomas Wriothesley of Henry VII’s deathbed Bishop stands first at Henry's left-hand.
In 1500 Foxe was elected chancellor of Cambridge University and in 1507 master of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge. Lady Margaret Beaufort made him one of her executors, and in this capacity as well as in that of chancellor, he had the chief share with Fisher in regulating the foundation of St John's College, Cambridge, and the Lady Margaret professorships and readerships.
Foxe’s influence in the new reign declined under Wolsey’s regime and he devoted himself to his episcopal duties.
He expressed himself as being as anxious for the reformation of the clergy as Simeon the Righteous for the coming of the Messiah, but age was against him.
His sight failed during the last ten years of his life, and Matthew Parker claimed that Wolsey suggested his retirement from his bishopric on a pension. Foxe refused, and Wolsey had to wait until Foxe's death before he could add Winchester to his archbishopric of York and his abbey of St Albans
Foxe died on 5 October 1528, his tomb is in Winchester Cathedral