GOLDSMITH, Francis (d.1586), of London and Crayford, Kent.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Oct. 1553

Family and Education

Related to the Goldsmiths of Cheshire. educ. Christ’s, Camb., scholar 1532-3, BA 1535, MA 1539; fellow of Peterhouse 1536-43. m. Joan, da. of Clement Newce of Much Hadham, Herts., 10 ch. (at least 4s. 3da.).2

Offices Held

Member of Queen Catherine Parr’s household c.1543; surveyor of melting house of Tower mint by Sept. 1551-c.Aug. 1559.3


Nothing is known for certain of Goldsmith’s parentage or boyhood. Perhaps he came from Kent, where he lived later in life. After graduating and holding his fellowship at Peterhouse (where he seems to have had very little money) he entered the household of Queen Catherine Parr. He must have prospered during the next few years, since he bought extensive ex-chantry property in a number of London parishes, and in 1551 a ‘great tenement called the Place’ next to the bridge at Crayford. His post at the Tower, salary under £30, may have carried considerable perquisites: between 1556 and his death he bought more land, mainly in Essex and Kent. By 1586 he had an inn, the Old Bell, at Crayford, where he was churchwarden, and farm land in Bexley, Dartford and Erith. One of the two bills committed to him in the 1559 Parliament concerned craftsmen living near the Kent coast (14 Mar.); the other concerned the reinstatement of protestant clergy deprived in the reign of Queen Mary (6 Apr.).4

Though he kept his post throughout Mary’s reign, Goldsmith ‘stood for the true religion’5 in the Parliament of October 1553, and did not appear again in the House of Commons until the accession of Elizabeth. In 1559 he was returned for both Preston6 (on the nomination of Sir Ambrose Cave, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster), and Helston, which he preferred, and where, having no direct influence, he must have owed the seat to a court connexion such as the 2nd Earl of Bedford. After resigning his office at the Tower, Goldsmith does not seem to have held any central government post, and presumably lived on the profits of his land. His friends included Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, who in 1561, when he was ambassador in France, left several of his children in Goldsmith’s charge, and later, in his will, gave Goldsmith a standing bowl and cover.7

Goldsmith died at Crayford on 26 Mar. 1586, leaving his children well provided for. The two oldest surviving sons, Francis (born c.1557-8) and Clement, were entered at Gray’s Inn, the two youngest, Nicholas and Thomas, being apprenticed respectively in London to a goldsmith and a mercer. One of his daughters married Dr. William Lewin, who was asked to act as an overseer of Goldsmith’s will, drawn up in November 1585 and proved on 16 May following. The preamble stresses that salvation comes by the merits, death and passion of Christ, and by no other means. The funeral was to be without pomp. a sermon being preached at the burial and annually for seven years at Crayford, where the parson, Mr. Balam, could keep the divinity books which Goldsmith had lent him. The poor of Crayford, other Kentish parishes and St. Stephen’s, Coleman Street, London, received money legacies totalling £6. In addition to 40s. to poor scholars at Christ’s and 20s. to those at Peterhouse, Goldsmith left £4 to make a silver pot with his initials for the college which had given him his fellowship. The books in his two studies were to be equally divided between his two eldest sons, after Dr. Lewin had chosen 50, and another son-in-law, Anthony Luther, 20. Lands and house property went mainly to the older sons, but £500 each was set aside for the two younger ones.8

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. C219/26/43; E371/402(1).
  • 2. Vis. London (Harl. Soc. xv.), 321; Cheshire Vis. Peds. (Harl. Soc. xciii), 46; Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. xlii), 198-9; Mill Stephenson, Mon. Brasses, i. 185.
  • 3. LP Hen VIII , xviii(2), p. 283; APC, iv. 84; CPR, 1558-60, p. 26.
  • 4. T. A. Walker, Peterhouse Biog. Reg. i. 130-1; LP Hen. VIII, xviii(2), p. 283; CPR, 1550-3, pp. 27-8; 1555-7, p. 60; 1557-8, p. 443; APC, iv. 84; Wards 7/21/160; Arch. Cant. viii. 135; PCC 25 Windsor; CJ, i. 57, 59; D’Ewes, 53.
  • 5. Bodl. e Museo 17.
  • 6. His name has been erased on the first part only of the indenture C219/26/43, Cooke’s being substituted.
  • 7. CSP Dom. Add. 1547-65, p. 511; A. L. Rowse, Ralegh and the Throckmortons, 55-6; PCC 9 Daper.
  • 8. Wards 7/21/160; Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. lxxv), 106; PCC 25 Windsor.