GOODRICH (GODERICK), Richard (by 1508-62), of Bolingbroke, Lincs. and London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1508, 1st s. of Richard Goodrich of Bolingbroke, Lincs. by Alice, da. of John Etton of Firsby, Lincs. educ. Jesus, Camb.; G. Inn, adm. 1532, ancient 1542. m. (1) Mary, da. of John Blagge of London, 1s. 1da., div. 1552 or later, (2) Dorothy, da. of William Badby of Essex. wid. of (Sir) George Blagge (d. 17 June 1551) of Westminster, Mdx. and Dartford, Kent, s.p. suc. fa. 1508.3

Offices Held

J.p. Lincs. (Lindsey) 1539-47, Mdx. and Surr. 1547, Mdx. 1558/59-d., custos rot. 1561; commr. chantries, Lincs., Lincoln and Boston 1546, Mdx. London and Westminster 1548, relief, Lincs. (Lindsey), Mdx. and Surr. 1550, heresies 1551, 1552, eccles. law 1551, 1552, for sale of crown lands 1552, 1561, goods of churches and fraternities, London 1553, to take oaths of ecclesiastics 1559, to execute Acts of Uniformity and Supremacy 1559; other commissions 1540-d.; attorney, ct. of wards 1546-7, of augmentations 1547-53; auditor, accts. of treasurer of Boulogne 1546, of Queen Catherine Parr 1546, of under treasurer of the mint 1547; steward, Standish manor, Glos. 1546.4


The son of a merchant of the staple who lived in rural Lincolnshire, Richard Goodrich found in education the path to preferment. After studying at Cambridge and Gray’s Inn he presumably practised during the years in which he also served as a justice of the peace and sewer commissioner for his home county and was returned for Grimsby to the last two Henrician Parliaments. Upon first being elected there, perhaps through the patronage of the 4th Earl of Westmorland, Goodrich wrote on 4 Jan. 1542 from London to thank the mayor and townsmen of Grimsby,

having neither desired such trust or favour at your hands with whom, as you know, I have had before this time very little acquaintance, but also to assure you, if at any time hereafter it shall lie in me, to requite you with like kindness, and in the mean time to do for the wealth of your town in this Parliament to come such service and trust as shall become me; and although neither my learning nor experience be such as appertaineth, yet you shall be well assured of one as well willing to satisfy your expectation as any man, which good will, although power fail to perform, I trust you will take in good part. If there be any especial matter for the wealth of your town to be preferred at this Parliament, after knowledge had thereof for my part I shall do my best therein. You must return your election under your common seal to the sheriff of the shire who also must return the same at the day to him prefixed. Finally though I be not able to do you much pleasure herein you shall be sure I will neither do you hurt nor yet burden your town for that purpose with any charges, God willing, who keep you. Your as yet unacquainted, Richard Goodrich.

The borough must have been either satisfied with his performance or amenable to his patron, for he was re-elected to the next Parliament and again in 1547. It may have been on this last occasion that the Earl of Westmorland wrote a letter, dated 16 Sept. but without a year, demanding that the town should give him both nominations. Whether he obtained them is not clear, for Goodrich’s fellow-Member was the mayor, John Bellow, but that the corporation laid down its own conditions is suggested by the bond which Bellow gave, on both Members’ behalf, to attend the Parliament until it ended and not to require payment. A continuing connexion with the earl may also explain one mention of Goodrich as a Member of this Parliament: during the second session a bill was introduced to deprive the Earl of Cumberland of his hereditary shrievalty of Westmorland and Goodrich was one of the Members solicited by Thomas Jolye to oppose it. At about the same time, on 8 Jan. 1549, Goodrich and Sir Thomas Arundell were ordered to ‘draw a bill for the absence of knights and burgesses of Parliament’ and in the following session bills for sheep and for patentees were committed to Goodrich.5

On 14 May 1546 Goodrich had been made attorney of the court of wards, with a stipend of £90 a year, and on the following 2 Jan. promoted to the attorneyship of the court of augmentations at the figure of £100. It is likely that both he, and his successor in the wards Nicholas Bacon, had embarked on their new duties in the previous September, their formal appointments following when the court of augmentations was reorganized: Goodrich’s precursor in that court was then reported to be seriously ill and almost blind, and Bacon’s remuneration was backdated to September 1546. Besides conducting business in London, where as attorney he became the fifth-ranking officer in the court, Goodrich served elsewhere as a surveyor, especially in Lincolnshire. Through his office and his regional affiliation he was brought into close touch with William Cecil. In 1550 he is found acting as Cecil’s agent in the purchase of lands and a house and co-operating with Richard Morison and Armagil Waad in some of Cecil’s other affairs. His correspondence with Cecil includes an apology in 1551 for not being able to accompany him to Bath.6

Although not a speculator in church lands, Goodrich almost inevitably collected some for himself. He began in April 1541 by taking a lease of the rectories of Holy Trinity and St. Mary the Virgin, Ely, the chapel of Chettisham, a grange called le Sexterye barn, and a reversion of the chapel of Stuntney, all in the Isle of Ely. In February 1546 he and William Forthe paid £146 for the reversion of the manor of Chillesford, Suffolk, which was held for life by Anne of Cleves, but the transaction lapsed and their money was repaid. In July 1547 Goodrich received an annuity of 20 marks from a wardship and in September a grant from Cranmer of the reversion of the site and mansion of Sleaford, Lincolnshire: the latter he sold in 1550 to the 9th Lord Clinton. Acquisitions on a larger scale began in August 1548 with his purchase, with William Breton of London, of Chantry lands in Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, London and Warwick: for these they paid £606, so that the recorded annual value of £22 is presumably a mistake. In February 1550 Goodrich was joined with Sir George Blagge, whose widow he was later to marry, in a grant of chantry lands in Kent and London worth £30 a year: it was made for services to Henry VIII and a payment of £317. In October 1550 he received another annuity of £9 from the court of wards and in November 1551 a lease of two chantries in Lincolnshire at a rent of £29. The accession of Queen Mary put a stop to Goodrich’s receipt of church lands; in 1561-2, shortly before his death, he acquired two more manors, both in Somerset.7

A staunch Protestant, Goodrich was active in church affairs throughout the reign of Edward VI. In 1551 he was appointed with his cousin Thomas Goodrich, bishop of Ely and later lord chancellor, to a sub-committee of eight (including only one other layman, John Lucas) charged with making a preliminary summary of the ecclesiastical laws for submission to the committee of 32 to be appointed in the following year, of which he was also a member. He took part in the proceedings against Bishops Day, Gardiner, Heath and Tunstall. His religious sympathies deprived him of further employment under Mary after the dissolution of the court of augmentations, for which, however, he was given a compensatory annuity of £100. His matrimonial troubles may also have contributed to his disfavour. During the reign of Edward VI he had ‘found means to be divorced and separated a thoro et mensa’ from his wife Mary and had then married Dorothy, widow of Sir George Blagge. Mary sued in the ecclesiastical courts for the restitution of her conjugal rights and in Chancery before Bishop Gardiner for the return of her dowry, pleading urgency in the latter court because Goodrich was ‘fully minded immediately to go beyond the seas’: no evidence has been found that he did so. In his answers to the chancery bill Goodrich styled the plaintiff ‘Mary Blage’ and ‘Mary Blake’, ‘naming herself Mary Goodrich’.8

On the accession of Elizabeth, Goodrich drew up a memorandum advising caution and dissimulation in again breaking with Rome. He warned of ‘the danger that may come before it be meddled [in] either by Parliament or otherwise’ and recommended that

before the Parliament nothing against him [the pope] may be attempted, but dissembled withal in the meantime: nor at the Parliament, if it be holden before or in March next, I think his authority not to be touched, nor anything to be attempted there of matters in religion, except the repeal of the Statutes of Henry IV and V.

On 23 Dec. 1558 he was appointed to a committee to consider ‘all things necessary for the Parliament’ which was to meet in January 1559, and although he did not sit in it himself he was to serve on several commissions for the carrying out of its ecclesiastical enactments. He also played a leading part in the restoration of the bones of Peter Martyr’s widow to ‘a more decent and honest monument’.9

Goodrich had made his will on 14 Nov. 1556, already ‘lame of mine old disease, the gout’ and with his ‘two hands shaking’. He described himself as of Whitefriars, next to Fleet Street, London, where he dwelt in a mansion and two houses that he left to his wife Dorothy. He died in May 1562 and was buried in the choir of St. Andrews, Holborn. His funeral was attended by Archbishop Parker, Bishops Grindal and Cox, Sir Nicholas Bacon, and some 200 gentlemen from the inns of court. A talented administrator and a brilliant lawyer, Goodrich was made a doctor of laws in 1560, and his abilities won the praise of such men as John Leland, Hugh Latimer and (Sir) Nicholas Throckmorton, and the respect of Cranmer, Cecil and many others.10

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: T. M. Hofmann


  • 1. Great Grimsby AO, loose corresp. calendared HMC 14th Rep. VIII, 254 (but misdated 1545).
  • 2. Only ‘Rych’ remains of his name on the indenture, C219/19/57; full name known from Hatfield 207.
  • 3. Date of birth estimated from fa.’s death, PCC 9 Bennett. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. li), 415-16; C1/1354/66-68; DNB; PCC 15 Powell ex inf. Mrs. R. G. Cox.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, xiv, xvi, xxi; CPR, 1547-8, pp. 78, 86, 90; 1548-9, p. 137; 1550-3, pp. 114, 123, 354-5, 390-1, 396; 1553, pp. 184, 355-7, 398, 411, 416; 1558-60, pp. 28, 118-19; 1560-3, p. 112; Lansd. 156, ff. 108-10; Foxe, Acts and Mons. vi. 94, 100, 105, 127, 132, 262-4; E101/424/12, pt. i. f. 49.
  • 5. Grimsby AO, loose corresp.; ct. bk. 1539-48, f. 117; HMC 14th Rep. VIII, 252, 254; Clifford Letters (Surtees Soc. clxxii), 102-4; CJ, i. 6, 13, 14.
  • 6. LP Hen. VIII, xxi; W. C. Richardson, Ct. Augmentations, 140 n. 83, 209 n. 128, 240; Archaeologia, xliii. 230-2; CSP Dom. 1547-80, pp. 29-30, 34, 35, 43-44; HMC Hatfield, i. 80.
  • 7. LP Hen. VIII, xvi, xxi; CPR, 1547-8, pp. 13, 19; 1548-9, pp. 32-33; 1549-51, pp. 169-71, 222, 357; 1550-3, p. 195; 1560-3, pp. 31, 221; SP6/19/14, 30; E315/223/267; DKR, ix. 213.
  • 8. Foxe, vi. 94, 100, 105, 127, 132, 262-4; CPR, 1549-51, p. 347; 1550-3, p. 123; 1553-4, p. 76; W. K. Jordan, Edw. VI, ii. 358-9; Lit. Rems. Edw. VI, 345n, 487; APC, iii. 368; Lansd. 156, ff. 108-10; C1/1354/66-68. Bp. Goodrich was Richard’s cousin according to Lincs. Peds. 415-16, his uncle according to DNB.
  • 9. Neale, Parlts. 36-38; H. Gee, Eliz. Prayer Bk. 202-6; APC, vii. 28; Foxe, viii. 297.
  • 10. PCC 15 Streat; Guildhall Lib., London, 6673/1 St. Andrews par. reg. f. 348; Leland, Coll. v. 163; Foxe, vii. 516.