GOODRED (GODRED), William (d.c.1448), of Horseheath, Cambs. and Middleton, Norf.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

s. of William Goodred of Horseheath ?by his w. Joan. m. Katherine née Shuldham (d.1464) of Marham, Norf. wid. of William Bawde of Essex and of Ralph Middleton.

Offices Held

Commr. of sewers, Cambs., Hunts., Lincs., Norf., Northants. May 1418, Norf. Mar. 1430 (q), Cambs. Dec. 1435 (q), Norf. May 1438; inquiry, Cambs. Apr. 1429 (q), Essex, Norf., Suff. Aug. 1433 (concealments), Norf. Dec. 1433 (government of Norwich), Feb. 1434 (concealments), Cornw., Devon, Dorset, Hants, Som., Wilts. June 1434 (escape of felons), July 1434 (concealments) Feb. 1435 (mercantile dispute), Cornw., Devon July 1435, Norwich July 1440 (concealments), July 1441 (misgovernance), Norf. Mar. 1442 (disputes), Aug. 1442 (concealments); oyer and terminer, Cambs. Nov. 1429, Devon July 1434, Berks., Surr., Suss. Feb. 1437, Suff. May 1438, Lincs. Feb. 1439, Devon Sept. 1439, Northants. Oct. 1439, Norf. June 1441, Norwich Feb. 1443; weirs, Norf. Feb. 1431 (q); gaol delivery, Canterbury Nov. 1437.

J.p. Cambs.p. 24 Feb. 1419-Dec. 1431, Cambridge Nov. 1429-Feb. 1432, Norf. Nov. 1430-2, Mar. 1434-Oct. 1441, Bishop’s Lynn Feb. 1431-July 1444, Dorset May 1435-Nov. 1439, Devon Nov. 1435-May 1440, Cornw. Jan. 1439-Nov. 1439, Wilts. Mar. 1438-Oct. 1440, Som. Mar. 1439-40, Hants Oct. 1439-Nov. 1440, Staffs. Nov. 1441-2, Oxon. May 1442’Nov. 1443, Apr. 1446-d., Berks. Mar. 1443-d.

King’s attorney in KB by Mich. 1426-Apr. 1434.1

Justice of assize, W. Country 17 June 1434.

J.KB 3 July 1434-c. Feb. 1444.

Trier of Gascon petitions in the Parliaments of 1439 and 1442.2


The elder William Goodred, who served as escheator of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire from 1395 to 1399 and as alnager in 1401-3, held property at Horseheath and Haslingfield. It was probably he, rather than his son, who in 1416 obtained a royal licence to grant a garden next to the rectory at Horseheath to the parson to enable him to enlarge his manse, expecting in return the provision of religious services for the souls of members of the local family of Mersey, to whom the Goodreds were doubtless related. The younger William was first recorded in May 1410 when both he and his father witnessed a transaction to which Thomas Wykes*, the Cambridgeshire lawyer, was party. The older Goodred may have been living as late as 1425, but his involvement in local administration had ended many years earlier; and well before William senior’s death his son, who had completed his training for the legal profession by the beginning of Henry V’s reign, had established himself in the community as a lawyer of outstanding calibre. William Goodred ‘junior’ attended the shire elections at Cambridge for the first time in the spring of 1414.3 Two years later he acted as a feoffee for Richard de Vere, earl of Oxford, in arranging the purchase from Sir Thomas Skelton’s* nominees of a manor in Hinxton, Cambridgeshire. His reputation grew rapidly: when in about 1418 the King’s Council directed that all matters in dispute between the town and the university of Cambridge should be referred to the determination of four persons (each party nominating a clergyman and a lawyer), he was selected by the town authorities to act for them in conjunction with Master William Alnwick. The burgesses were evidently well satisfied with his advocacy, for in later years (certainly from 1423 to 1434) they retained him as counsel-at-law, with an annual fee of £2.4

Early in 1419, shortly before his first appointment as a j.p., in Cambridgeshire, Goodred became involved in an acrimonious dispute over the manors of Serre and St. Lawrence in the Isle of Thanet, Kent, to which his father had laid claim by virtue of his marriage to Agnes, widow of John Wykes (d.1416), the former marshal of the King’s bench. The matter was serious enough to be brought to the attention of the King’s Council, and in February the younger Goodred and his friend Thomas Wykes (the deceased’s kinsman) were bound over to keep the peace towards the counter-claimant, Hugh Strauley, esquire. For a while the disputed estate was put into the custody of the prior of Christ Church, Canterbury, and of Judge William Cheyne, but in December (not long after the dissolution of Goodred’s only known Parliament) it was decided on the advice of the justices and of the Council learned in law, that Goodred senior and his wife should be given possession.5

Goodred once more attended the parliamentary elections for Cambridgeshire, in the spring of 1421. His career may have been advanced subsequently by Sir John Tiptoft*, for whom he acted two years later as a trustee of the manor of Babraham. Following Henry V’s death Tiptoft became a member of the Council which was to govern the realm for the duration of Henry VI’s minority, and it was that body which, on 28 Nov. 1424, ordered Goodred to take the coif as a serjeant-at-law on the morrow of the Purification following, and promoted him to the post of crown attorney in the King’s bench some two years afterwards. When Lord Cromwell presented to the Parliament of 1433 his statement of the government’s current financial position, Goodred’s annual salary as serviens Regis ad leges was specified as £50. However, his promotion, in July 1434, as a j. KB entitled him to receive at the Exchequer 110 marks a year, ‘in order that he may honourably maintain his estate’. Subsequently, he was kept busy serving on royal commissions of a judicial nature, mainly in the West Country and Norfolk, one of his many tasks being to investigate the civic disorders arising from constitutional disputes in Norwich.6 Naturally, Goodred was occasionally called on to arbitrate in suits between members of the nobility, one such, in 1438, being the longstanding feud between Ralph Neville, 2nd earl of Westmorland, and his uncle of the half-blood, Richard Neville, earl of Salisbury, over the first earl of Westmorland’s estates. He was regularly summoned to sit with the Lords in Parliament, and twice served as a trier of petitions. By the autumn of 1443 as much as £192 15s.d. was due to him as arrears of fees as a judge, and he would appear to have retired from the King’s bench not long afterwards. Nevertheless, he continued to be named as a j.p. in a number of counties, his last appointment as such being dated March 1447. In the following February he joined with Thomas, Lord Scales, in making a grant in mortmain to the alderman and brethren of the important Holy Trinity Guild at Bishop’s Lynn, of ‘Scalesmill’ in South Lynn, situated near his own seat at Middleton.7

Goodred had acquired landed holdings in Norfolk at least 20 years earlier, the most notable of his properties being ‘Tyrrington Hall’ in Middleton, which he sold to Lord Scales shortly before his death. His widow, Katherine, retained interests in four other manors elsewhere in the county, which, in her will, made on 20 June and proved on 8 Aug. 1464, she ordered to be sold. Goodred had evidently left her comfortably off, for she was able to make monetary bequests amounting to over £285.8

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. E404/43/35, 50/208.
  • 2. RP, v. 4, 36.
  • 3. VCH Cambs. vi. 73-74; CIPM, xvi. 487; Feudal Aids, i. 181; CCR, 1409-13, p. 97; CPR, 1416-22, p. 32; CPL, vii. 418; C219/11/3.
  • 4. CPR, 1416-22, p. 54; CCR, 1413-19, p. 418; J.H. Cooper, Annals Cambridge, i. 162, 170, 173, 185.
  • 5. CCR, 1413-19, p. 515; 1419-22, pp. 18-19; SC8/217/10808; CPR, 1416-22, pp. 187, 237; Peds. Plea Rolls ed. Wrottesley, 344.
  • 6. C219/12/5; CP25(1)30/96/2; CCR, 1422-9, pp. 69-71, 163; RP, iv. 437; CPR, 1429-36, pp. 345, 347; Recs. Norwich ed. Hudson and Tingey, i. 328-35.
  • 7. CCR, 1435-41, pp. 178-9; 1441-7, pp. 191-2; CPR, 1446-52, p. 125.
  • 8. Feudal Aids, iii. 581; F. Blomefield, Norf. ii. 492; ix. 29; Norf. RO, Reg. Brosyard, ff. 328-30.