GOODWIN, Francis (1564-1634), of Upper Winchendon, Bucks.

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

Family and Education

b. 1564, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir John Goodwin by his 2nd w. Anne, da. of Sir William Spencer. m. Elizabeth, da. of Arthur Grey, 14th Lord Grey of Wilton, 2s. 2da. suc. fa. 1597. Kntd. 1601.

Offices Held

J.p. Bucks. from c.1591, q. by 1601, commr. musters 1596, sheriff 1623-4.


Of a family established in Buckinghamshire for just over a century, Goodwin was elected senior knight of the shire when only 22, and before he had succeeded to his estates. He perhaps owed this early honour to the influence of his father-in-law, Lord Grey of Wilton, who lived at Whaddon. In this Parliament the first knights of the shire were appointed to the subsidy committee on 22 Feb. 1587. Unsuccessful for the county in 1589, Goodwin was chosen at Chipping Wycombe. He tried to retain this seat in 1593, but he had a great enemy, one John Dorrell, who, to cover his own activities on behalf of his master Henry Windsor, 5th Lord Windsor, the high steward of the borough, accused Goodwin of using ‘extraordinary labour’ to obtain votes, and Goodwin was defeated. One of the successful candidates, Thomas Fortescue II, was a son of (Sir) John Fortescue I, Goodwin’s chief opponent in the county. This Goodwin-Fortescue rivalry surfaced again in the famous election dispute of 1604, which earned Goodwin notoriety in his day, and a place in history. After missing the 1589 Parliament Goodwin was again successful for Buckinghamshire in 1597, when he was named to several committees: armour and weapons (8 Nov.), marriages without banns (14 Nov.) and a private bill (24 Jan. 1598). The knights of the shire were also eligible to attend committees concerning enclosures (5 Nov.), the poor law (5, 22 Nov.), the penal laws (8 Nov.), monopolies (10 Nov.) and the subsidy (15 Nov.). Dorrell, in the meantime, had conceived ‘deadly hatred’ against Goodwin, whom he accused of having ‘the place but of a bare j.p.’, whereas he had been made a commissioner of musters even in his father’s lifetime. Dorrell libelled him in Goodwin’s Discovery; claimed that he had embezzled money collected for a town distressed by plague, that he dealt partially ‘without any regard for justice’, that Chipping Wycombe ‘hath been often wronged by the said Goodwin and his confederates ... upon purpose to infringe the liberty of their corporation by taking the mayor’s authority from him’ and finally, for good measure, that Goodwin supported ‘atheists, anabaptists, Brownists, and suchlike seditious persons’.

Goodwin died 10 Aug. 1634, naming as executors his son Arthur and his friend Sir William Fiennes, 1st Viscount Saye and Sele. Despite his mother’s Catholicism, and his father’s being ‘indifferent’ in religion, Goodwin disposed of his property according to the ‘sanctified examples’ found in the Bible. He ascribed his lack of male grandchildren to ‘my sins, which may have diverted so great a blessing’, and proceeded to exhort his son, ‘that his poor house and estate in his posterity may advance the prosperity and honour of God’s service in his church, and the cause of religion’.

Vis. Bucks. (Harl. Soc. lviii), 64; C. O. Moreton, Hist. Waddesdon and Over Winchendon, 129-133; CP, vi. 186-7; CSP Dom. 1601-3, p. 98; 1603-10, pp. 90, 94; C142/262/140, 525/128; D’Ewes, 409, 552, 553, 555, 557, 561, 587; APC, xxv. 388; xxxii; xxxii. 225, 345; 1613-14, p. 177; St. Ch. 5/G3/19; VCH Bucks. iv. 528; PCC 72 Seager; SP12/157/90, 168/25; Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 31.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Authors: G.M.C. / Alan Davidson


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Ibid.