Jenkyns was born at Evercreech in Somerset, where he was baptised on 21 December 1782. He was the eldest son of John Jenkyns (1753-1824), prebendary of Wells, and his wife Jane, née Banister. He was appointed a Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford in 1802, a Tutor in 1813, Bursar in 1814, and Master from 23 April 1819 until his death in 1854. He was awarded a Master of Arts in 1806 and a Doctor of Divinity in 1819. While Master at Balliol College, Jenkyns was also Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University from 1824 until 1828. He introduced open competition for scholarships and also raised the standard of Balliol College to the first rank at Oxford. From 1845 to 1854, Jenkyns was also Dean of Wells.
- "Jenkyns, Richard". The Concise Dictionary of National Biography. Volume II: A–F. Oxford University Press. 1995. p. 1588.
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/14744
- H. E. Salter and Mary D. Lobel, ed. (1954). "Balliol College". A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 3: The University of Oxford. Victoria County History. pp. 82–95. Retrieved July 15, 2011.
- "Previous Vice-Chancellors". University of Oxford, UK. Retrieved July 13, 2011.
- Cannan, Edwin, ‘Jenkyns, Richard (1782–1854)’, rev. M. C. Curthoys, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/14744
| Master of Balliol College, Oxford
George William Hall
| Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University
John Collier Jones
| Dean of Wells
- University of Oxford (1888). "Vice-Chancellors". The Historical Register of the University of Oxford. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 21–27. Retrieved July 24, 2011.