Richard Harris Barham (6 December 1788 – 17 June 1845) was an English cleric of the Church of England, novelist, and humorous poet. He was known better by his nom de plume Thomas Ingoldsby.
Richard Harris Barham was born in Canterbury. At seven years of age his father died, leaving him a small estate, part of which was the manor of Tappington, mentioned so frequently in his later publications Ingoldsby Legends. When he was nine years old he was sent to St Paul's School, but his studies were interrupted by an accident which partially crippled his arm for life. Thus deprived of the power of vigorous bodily activity, he became a great reader and diligent student.
During 1807 he entered Brasenose College, Oxford, intending at first to study for the profession of the law. Circumstances, however, induced him to decide for a religious profession. During 1813 he was ordained and accepted a country curacy; he married during the next year, and during 1821 he obtained the appointment of minor canon of St. Paul's Cathedral in London, where he served as a cardinal. Three years later he became one of the priests in ordinary of the King's Chapel Royal.
During 1826 he first contributed to Blackwood's Magazine; and during 1837 he began to furnish to a recently-initiated magazine, Bentley's Miscellany, the series of tales (most of them metrical, some in prose) known as The Ingoldsby Legends. These became very popular, were published in a collected form posthumously (1879) and have since had numerous editions. They may perhaps be compared to Hudibras. The stories are generally whimsical, but based on antiquarian learning. (There is also a collection of Barham's miscellaneous poems, edited posthumously by his son, called The Ingoldsby Lyrics.)
He was a Tory politically; yet he was a lifelong friend of the liberal Sydney Smith. Theodore Hook was one of his most intimate friends. Barham was a contributor to the Edinburgh Review and the Literary Gazette; he wrote articles for Gorton's Biographical Dictionary; and a novel, My Cousin Nicholas (1834). He died in London after a long and painful illness, on 17 June 1845.
One of Richard Barham's descendants is the British author Guy Walters. Barham is also a character of George MacDonald Fraser's historical novel Flashman's Lady. His last poem As I laye a-thynkynge was set to music by the English composer Edward Elgar and published during 1888.