GOODWIN, Arthur (c.1593/4-1643), of Upper Winchendon, Bucks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



1640 (Apr.)
1640 (Nov.) - 16 Aug. 1643

Family and Education

b. c.1593/4,1 s. of Sir Francis Goodwin* of Upper Winchendon and Elizabeth, da. and h. of Arthur Grey, 14th Lord Grey of Wilton.2 educ. ?Thame g.s. (Richard Boucher);3 Magdalen, Oxf., BA 1614; I. Temple 1614.4 m. by 1618, with £1,500, Jane, da. of Sir Richard Wenman* of Thame Park, Oxon.,5 1da. suc. fa. 1634.6 d. 16 Aug. 1643.

Offices Held

Commr. sewers, Bucks., Herts, Mdx.1638-9;7 j.p. Bucks. 1641;8 commr. Midlands Assoc., Bucks. 1642-d., sequestration of delinquents 1643, assessment 1643.9


The Goodwin family rose rapidly after 1530 to become one of the most important families in Buckinghamshire, with estates centred upon Upper Winchendon and Woburn.10 This Member’s father, Sir Francis Goodwin, was a prominent county governor who was repeatedly returned to the Commons, and was frequently at odds with the Crown over issues of parliamentary privilege and taxation. Goodwin himself received a conventional education for a gentleman of his status, attending Thame grammar school, where his friend, John Hampden*, had studied, before proceeding to Magdalen College, Oxford and the Inner Temple. At Oxford he contributed to a volume of verses, Luctus Posthumus, which was compiled on the death of Prince Henry.11

Goodwin’s only local responsibilities before the late 1630s were as a trustee of lands held by the parish of Woburn, a duty which he discharged from March 1614.12 His marriage in 1618 to Jane Wenman, who brought with her a portion of £1,500, linked him to an important group of Oxfordshire families but produced just one child, a daughter born in about 1619. Sir Francis Goodwin hoped in 1634 that she might eventually marry a younger son of Viscount Saye and Sele.13

His family’s local prominence probably explains Goodwin’s return for Chipping Wycombe in 1621. When Serjeant Richardson, who was nominated as Speaker on 30 Jan., made the customary disabling speech, Goodwin made the surprising, not to say outrageous suggestion that another be chosen in his place.14 Thereafter, he was silent, and was named to no committees. He was apparently equally taciturn in 1624, although he was added on 12 Apr. along with other Buckinghamshire Members to a committee on a bill for the sale of the lands of Sir Anthony Aucher*, Sir Roger James and John Wroth.15

Goodwin did not sit in 1625, but in 1626 he represented Aylesbury, at which time Ralph Goodwin also sat for Ludlow. Neither the clerk nor contemporary diarists distinguished clearly between them.16 Arthur, who may have had military experience in the Low Countries in 1623,17 is a more plausible candidate for the committee appointed on 28 Mar. to consider the bill on muster-masters,18 while Ralph is more convincing as the Member nominated to serve on 25 May on a bill dealing with the tenures of Broomfield and Yale in Denbighshire.19 Which of them was added to the committees for the bills to naturalize Samuel Bave and Thomas Sotherne on 28 Mar. and Samuel Powell on 1 June is not clear.20 One or other of them was, however, preoccupied with defending the Commons’ privileges against royal or conciliar threats. On 1 Apr. attempts by the king to frustrate the formulation of charges against Buckingham and to gain priority for supply prompted ‘Mr. Goodwin’ to suggest a remonstrance to Charles.21 A similar case was made on 17 May by ‘Mr. Goodwin’ for complaining to the king over the arrest of Sir Dudley Digges, one of the House’s main spokesmen in the duke’s impeachment, to demand justice against those aiming to undermine the commonwealth.22 Three days later, Sir John Eliot was defended for having verbally assaulted Buckingham.23 On 3 June a Mr. Goodwin branded a speech made on 12 May by Sir Dudley Carleton (who had now been called to the Lords) condemning the intemperate language used in accusing the duke and indicating Charles’s displeasure as unfit for Parliament.24

Whichever Goodwin this was - and it seems more likely, in view of the identity of his father, that it was Arthur - he was certainly consistent in defending the House’s liberties. Carleton’s request on 25 Apr. for increased supply was met by an argument that the Commons should only consider supply in a parliamentary way.25 The next day, in grand committee, ‘Mr. Goodwin’ argued that detailed proposals to increase supply and find new methods of doing so should be considered in a sub-committee,26 thereby delaying the satisfaction the king and his advisers expected.

Goodwin’s later career and views are more difficult to determine. His father resisted the demand for the Privy Seal loan which followed the dissolution of the 1626 Parliament. By the 1630s both men were in more obdurate political and religious company. Viscount Saye and Sele and the 2nd Lord Brooke (Robert Greville*) were parties to an estate settlement made by Sir Francis while the viscount and Arthur Goodwin were executors of Sir Francis’s will.27 Arthur Goodwin’s friend, John Hampden, was among the inner circle of those resisting Ship Money and the policies of the Caroline regime. The marriage in 1637 of Goodwin’s daughter, Jane, to Philip, 4th Lord Wharton strengthened such ties.28 It is no surprise that Goodwin proved to be as resolute an opponent of the Crown as Hampden in the Short and Long Parliaments.

Goodwin was undoubtedly wealthy, with an income probably in excess of £1,000 a year.29 His portrait, painted by none other than Van Dyck in 1639, supports this contention.30 Nevertheless, he was less affluent than his father and had the financial burden of supporting the Long Parliament’s war effort. He died at Clerkenwell in August 1643, leaving his estate to his wife for her life and in reversion to his daughter and her husband.31 He was buried in the chancel at Woburn three days later.32

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Christopher Thompson


  • 1. He may have been 21 years old by March 1614. Cent. Bucks. Stud. PR240/3/6. His father’s will of August 1634 describes him as being about 40.
  • 2. Bodl. ms Eng. Misc. C, ff. 69-70. Edward Goodwin, who was named a trustee of Woburn church’s lands in 1614, may have been his brother.
  • 3. J. Howard Brown, A Short Hist. of Thame School, 77, 132.
  • 4. Al. Ox.; I. Temple database of admiss.
  • 5. C142/525/128.
  • 6. C142/777/104.
  • 7. C181/5, pp. 244, 272.
  • 8. C231/5, p. 437.
  • 9. A. and O. i. 50, 90, 111, 146, 227.
  • 10. A.M. Johnson, ‘Bucks. 1640-60. A Study in County Pols.’ (Univ. of Wales M.A. thesis, 1963), pp. 14, 50.
  • 11. Luctus posthumus siue Erga defunctum illustrissimum Henricum Walliae Principem (Oxford, 1612), p. 50. Unlike Hampden, Goodwin did not contribute to Lusus Palatini, the volume celebrating the marriage of Princess Elizabeth to the Elector Palatine in 1613.
  • 12. Cent. Bucks. Stud. PR 240/3/6.
  • 13. C142/525/128. Jane Goodwin was described as being 15 in Aug. 1634 by Sir Francis.
  • 14. SP14/119/67.
  • 15. Harl. 6806, f. 274.
  • 16. Procs. 1626, iv. 445.
  • 17. SP14/153/86.
  • 18. Procs. 1626, ii. 386.
  • 19. Ibid. iii. 329.
  • 20. Ibid. ii. 385; iii. 340-1.
  • 21. Ibid. ii. 418.
  • 22. Ibid. iii. 273.
  • 23. Ibid. 296.
  • 24. Ibid. 352, 356, 364.
  • 25. Ibid. 62.
  • 26. Ibid. 80.
  • 27. C142/525/128.
  • 28. C142/777/104. This marriage settlement was less generous than that enjoyed by Arthur Goodwin and his wife in 1618.
  • 29. M.F. Keeler, Long Parl. 190.
  • 30. Now in The Devonshire Collection at Chatsworth.
  • 31. PROB 11/192, ff. 5v-7.
  • 32. Oxford DNB.