Chenevix, Richard 1698-1779, bishop of Waterford and Lismore, was a son of Colonel Chenevix of the guards, and grandson of the Rev. Philip Chenevix, the protestant pastor of Limay, near Nantes, who settled in England at the time of the revocation of the edict of Nantes, when his brother, a president of the parlement of Metz, was barbarously murdered on account of his religion (Smiles, Huguenots, p. 375). He was educated at Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he took the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1716 and M.A. in 1732, and in 1719, after taking orders, he became domestic chaplain to the second Earl of Scarborough. In the same capacity he attended Lord Whitworth at the congress of Cambrai, and in 1728 he entered the service of Philip Dormer Stanhope, the celebrated earl of Chesterfield, when he went as ambassador to the Hague. Lord Chesterfield liked and respected him, and wrote with admiration in one of his letters to the Countess of Suffolk of the manner in which Chenevix tried to restrain his wit by saying that death was too serious a thing to jest upon (Lord Chesterfield's Correspondence, ed. Lord Mahon, iii. 87). When Lord Chesterfield returned to England, Chenevix shared his fortunes when in opposition, and when, in 1745, his patron was appointed lord-lieutenant of Ireland, Chenevix, who had taken his Doctor of Divinity degree at Cambridge in 1744, accompanied him as principal domestic chaplain. Chesterfield naturally nominated Chenevix to the first vacant Irish bishopric; but the nomination met with unexpected opposition. The king declared himself ready to appoint any other nominee of Lord Chesterfield's but Chenevix, on the ground, according to Chenevix himself, that he had written pamphlets against the government; but Chesterfield threatened to resign if his nomination was not carried out, and the government had to give way (ib. iii. 158). On 20 May 1745, therefore, Chenevix was nominated to the see of Killaloe, and he was consecrated at Dublin on 28 July. He only remained a few months at Killaloe, for on 15 Jan. 1746 he was translated to the more lucrative see of Waterford and Lismore, still by the influence of Lord Chesterfield. The Bishop of Waterford and Lismore was, according to Cotton (Fasti Ecclesiĉ Hibernicĉ), an exemplary prelate, and on his death, which took place at Waterford on 11 Sept. 1779, he left 1,000l. to each of his dioceses—to Waterford for pensions to clergymen's widows, and to Lismore for general purposes. His granddaughter and heiress, Melesina Chenevix, married, first, Colonel Ralph St. George, and secondly, Richard Trench, brother of the first Lord Ashtown in the peerage of Ireland, by whom she was mother of Richard Chenevix Trench, archbishop of Dublin [qv.].

     Cotton's Fasti Ecclesiĉ Hibernicĉ
     Cantabrigienses Graduati
     Lord Chesterfield's Correspondence.

Contributor: H. M. S. [Henry Morse Stephens]

Published: 1887