Richard Flavel was the father of the famous John Flavel and his brother Phineas, also a Gospel Minister. Described as "a painful and eminent minister" he first ministered at Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, then at Hasler in Gloucesterhsire before moving to Willersey, Gloucestershire, in the same county, where he continued until 1660. At the Restoration he was put out of the church because it was a sequestered living, and the previous incumbent was still alive:
His main concern was to find a pace of ministry. He is described as "a person of such extraordinary piety" that those who knew him said "they never heard one vain word drop from his mouth."
A little before 1662 and being near Totness, Devon, he preached from Hosea 7:9 The Days of Visitation arc come, the Days of Recompence are come, Israel shall know it. His application was so close that it offended some and occasioned his .being carried before some JPs but they could not reach him and so he was discharged.
He afterwards left the county and his son's house, where he had retired and went to London, where he continued in a faithful and acceptable discharge of his ministerial duties until the time of the plague in 1665 when he was arrested and imprisoned.
He was at the house of a Mr Blake in Covent Garden, where some were gathered for worship. While he was in prayer, a party of soldiers broke in on them with swords drawn, and demanded the arrest of the preacher, threatening some and flattering others in order to discover him, but in vain.
Some of them threw a coloured cloak over him, and in this disguise he was, together with his hearers, carried to Whitehall. They were all sent to Newgate prison, which was so disease ridden that Flavel and his wife became seriously ill.
Although they were bailed shortly after they subsequently died. It is said that their son John was given an intimation of their death in a dream.