Richardson, admitted to Emmanuel in 1715-6, is described by Venn as an ‘industrious antiquary’.
He kept the affairs of the College in his own hands, acting as Bursar as well as Master (not unusual at that time), writing most of the College orders himself and admonishing numerous students for misbehaviour. He compiled a book of admissions, including lists of Masters and Fellows for Emmanuel and other colleges, a statistical comparison of Oxford and Cambridge colleges, and collections of other University material. The College was in debt when he was elected, and several fellowships were temporarily suspended in order to save money, but his building work left the finances in a similar state when he died. The Essex building was begun in his time, thus moving the main entrance to its present position, and the Hall was remodelled by the same architect, James Essex.
Richardson was a prebendary and later precentor of Lincoln Cathedral and employed Essex to work on the interior of the choir there. He was buried in the College chapel.