GOOD, Sebastian (c.1599-1658/9), of Malden, Surr.
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Family and Educationb. c.1599, 1st s. of John Good* and Elizabeth, da. of Sebastian Bruskett, merchant of St. Sithe’s Lane, London.1 educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1615, aged 16; L. Inn 1618, ?called 1628.2 m. Elizabeth, da. of Bostock Fuller† of Tandridge, Surr. 2s, 3da.3 suc. fa. 3 Apr. 1627.4 d. bet. 28 June 1658-1 Apr. 1659.5
Commr. assessment, Surr. 1649-51, 1653.6
Good was presumably named after his maternal grandfather, Sebastian Bruskett, a London merchant who bequeathed his mother both property and cash.7 The Brusketts traded with Italy, and the MP’s second son, Guicciardini Good, was probably named after the merchant Vincent Guicciardini, a family friend, rather than the Florentine historian.8 Unlike his father, Good was apparently never suspected of Catholicism, at least not before the 1630s. Indeed, he was probably granted control of the family’s main estate at Malden, Surrey in May 1622 to avoid the possibility of its seizure for recusancy.9
Good’s interest in the Malden estate embroiled him in a lawsuit with Merton College, Oxford, which had granted the Crown a 5,000-year lease of the property in 1578. Three years later this lease was bought by Joan Good, the Member’s grandmother. In 1623 Merton prosecuted the Goods, claiming the lease of 1578 had been obtained ‘by the power and strength of some whom they durst not cross or contradict’. The Goods responded with a cross-bill in Chancery. The case was particularly sensitive, as any ruling could form a precedent for determining the validity of a large number of similar leases which colleges had routinely made to the Crown during the mid-sixteenth century as a means of securing their estates against potential claims from the Court of Augmentations. Consequently, when the case first came for trial, Chancery declined to give a verdict ‘in respect of the weightiness thereof’.10
Good’s election to Parliament in 1625 can probably be explained by his desire to obtain a verdict in this Chancery case, either by means of a private estate bill or a more general statute. He was presumably returned for Tregony through the influence of the Cornishman John Arundell* of Trerice, who had known his father for a number of years, and was to sit for the same constituency himself in 1628.11 However, any legislative plans which Good may have had remained unfulfilled during the brief session: no relevant bill is known to have been tabled, and he left no trace on the records of his only Parliament.
Chancery finally pronounced its verdict in November 1627: the 5,000-year lease was deemed invalid because it had been extorted from the college under duress (a ruling which conveniently sidestepped the wider question of the validity of such leases), but as it had been bought in good faith, the judges ‘were resolved to strike a middle way’. Good was to surrender the advowson of the vicarage of Malden, and to pay the college £100 towards its legal costs. In return he was to be granted an 80-year lease of the manor, and to be given immunity from prosecution for breaking the terms of his grandmother’s will, which stipulated that any of her heirs who attempted to alienate the original lease should be deprived of their inheritance.12
Although Good was training as a lawyer at Lincoln’s Inn during the 1620s, his career prospects were blighted in June 1628, when his call to the bar was respited for unexplained reasons; his case was never reconsidered, and it is not known whether he ever practised.13 His exclusion from local office before the Civil War may have been caused by suspicions about his religious sympathies: his brother John was apparently detained at Dover in 1630 for refusing to take the Oath of Allegiance on returning from a journey to France (an interesting objection in light of his father’s earlier treatise in support of the Oath),14 and his mother was only saved from conviction for recusancy in 1639 by the intervention of secretary of state Sir Francis Windebank†.15 However, if anything could have been proved against Good himself, his property would almost certainly have been sequestrated during the Civil War. In the event, the Republican regime actually selected him as an assessment commissioner. Whether he served is unknown, but as he was nominated four times he may not have been entirely inactive.16 He does not appear to have held public office during the Protectorate.
Good’s will of 28 June 1658 included a preamble which, being both predestinarian and Trinitarian, was possibly intended to convince doubters of his Protestant orthodoxy. Clearly in financial difficulty, Good had arranged to buy out his wife’s jointure rights in return for £2,000, which was to be invested by trustees (among whom were her brother Francis Fuller and Sir Ralph Verney†) to provide her with a life annuity. Having thus cleared the main encumbrance on his estate, he advised his heir to sell his interest in Malden to pay off his debts and honour bequests of £1,350 to his younger children.17 Good was dead by 1 Apr. 1659, when his will was proved by his son, who avoided selling Malden, presumably with the help of his first wife, whose family later sued for compensation.18 The Goods eventually surrendered Malden to Merton College when the 80-year lease expired in 1707.19
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Simon Healy
- 1. Vis. Surr. (Harl. Soc. lx), 51.
- 2. Al. Ox.; LI Admiss.; LI Black Bks. ii. 277.
- 3. Vis. Surr. 51.
- 4. O. Manning and W. Bray, Hist. and Antiq. Surr. iii. 8.
- 5. PROB 11/290, ff. 250-250A.
- 6. A. and O. ii. 44, 310, 479, 676.
- 7. PROB 11/80, f. 126.
- 8. Vis. Surr. 51; PROB 11/56, f. 250v.
- 9. See Lansd. 776, ff. 13, 43v, 46 for John Good’s fears of this eventuality.
- 10. C78/474/6; CSP Dom. 1623-5, p. 593; 1635-6, p. 65.
- 11. SP46/72, f. 110.
- 12. C78/474/6; PROB 11/73, f. 374v.
- 13. LI Black Bks. ii. 277.
- 14. APC, 1629-30, p. 257; 1630-1, p. 66; CSP Dom. 1629-31, p. 337. John Good’s treatise on the Oath is in HEHL, EL2187.
- 15. CSP Dom. 1639, pp. 251, 428.
- 16. A. and O. ii. 44, 310, 479, 676.
- 17. PROB 11/290, ff. 250v-250Av.
- 18. HMC 7th Rep. 486b; HMC 8th Rep. i. 120-1.
- 19. VCH Surr. iii. 524; Manning and Bray, iii. 8.