GOODWIN, Sir Francis (1564-1634), of Upper Winchendon, Bucks. and Westminster, Mdx.

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

Family and Education

bap. 13 Oct. 1564,1 2nd but o. surv. s. of Sir John Goodwin of Upper Winchendon and his 2nd w. Anne, da. of Sir William Spencer† of Yarnton, Oxon.2 m. settlement 14 Mar. 1592, Elizabeth (d. by 1634), da. of Arthur, 14th Lord Grey of Wilton, 2s. inc. Arthur* (1 d.v.p.), 2da. suc. fa. 1597;3 kntd. by 19 Sept. 1601.4 d. 10 Aug. 1634.5 sig. Fra[ncis] Goodwin.

Offices Held

J.p. Bucks. c.1591-1626, 1627-d.;6 commr. musters 1596, oyer and terminer, Norf. circ. by 1602-7, 1608-d.;7 surveyor, Anne of Denmark’s estates, Bucks. 1604-?19;8 commr. depopulation, Bucks. 1607, subsidy 1608, 1610, 1621-2, 1624, aid, Bucks. 1609, sewers, Colne valley, Herts., Bucks. and Mdx. 1609-25, sewers, Bucks. and Berks. 1622, 1626;9 dep. lt. Bucks. 1619-at least 1628;10 collector, Palatine Benevolence, Aylesbury hunds., Bucks. 1622;11 sheriff, Bucks. 1623-4;12 commr. Privy Seal loan 1625-6, Forced Loan 1626-7.13


The Goodwins were tenants at Upper Winchendon from the later fifteenth century, but were of little account until the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign, when they purchased the manor of Lower Winchendon from Francis Russell, 2nd earl of Bedford, and the Crown. Goodwin’s father made further extensive land purchases which elevated him into the senior ranks of the county gentry, and Sir Francis was the first of the family to sit in the Commons.14 Goodwin was returned for Buckinghamshire in 1586, aged about 22, probably on the interest of his future father-in-law, Arthur, 14th Lord Grey of Wilton, patron of the godly faction among the Buckinghamshire gentry. At the next general election in 1588, Secretary Sir Francis Walsingham† persuaded a reluctant Lord Grey to allow the return of (Sir) John Fortescue* as knight of the shire, leaving Goodwin to find a seat at Chipping Wycombe instead. When a Parliament was next summoned, in 1593, Goodwin’s vigorous attempts to secure re-election for this borough were defeated by Fortescue’s son Thomas Fortescue II†. Moreover, Goodwin found himself mocked in a libel written by a servant of Fortescue’s patron, the Catholic Henry, 5th Lord Windsor. By the 1597 general election both Grey and Sir John Goodwin were dead, and tempers had cooled enough to allow Sir John Fortescue and Goodwin to share the county seats in face of a challenge from other quarters, but there was clearly ill-feeling between the two men well before 1604.15

In 1603, shortly after James’s accession, Goodwin’s brother-in-law Thomas, 15th Lord Grey, was arrested for complicity in the Main Plot, and consequently spent the rest of his life in the Tower, where Goodwin was permitted visitation rights. Thereafter, Goodwin probably looked to Grey’s cousin Edward Russell, 3rd earl of Bedford - a Hertfordshire resident with Buckinghamshire estates, in whose financial affairs he became involved - for electoral patronage.16 This upheaval in Buckinghamshire’s power structure may have complicated matters at the 1604 county election, when many of the freeholders were said to have ignored instructions from the gentry. At the county court on 22 Feb. sheriff Sir Francis Cheyney† arrived ready to propose Fortescue for the first place and Goodwin for the second, only to discover that Sir George Throckmorton and many of the freeholders wanted Goodwin for the senior seat. Cheyney prompted the magistrates then present to remonstrate with the electors, and when this appeal failed he had Goodwin himself urge Fortescue’s merits ‘very plainly and earnestly’. However the voters remained adamant. With Goodwin confirmed as the senior knight, Fortescue, a privy councillor, could hardly serve as his junior, and Sir William Fleetwood II was returned instead. Fortescue failed to obtain another seat elsewhere, and on 2 Mar. Sheriff Cheyney, then in London, visited attorney-general Sir Edward Coke*, who had recently acquired a residence in Buckinghamshire, and had clearly been briefed about the shire election. Coke showed Cheyney two outlawries against Goodwin which were apparently still in force, rendering the latter ineligible to sit in the Commons under the election statute 7 Henry IV, cap.15. Coke thereupon penned a certificate to this effect to append to the return, which Cheyney delivered to Sir George Coppyn†, clerk of the Crown in Chancery, on 16 March. Fortescue, who was - most unusually - then present at Coppyn’s office, ensured that Cheyney received a second writ to hold a fresh election before he departed.17

Goodwin and his friends learned of the second writ almost immediately, as on the same evening it was sealed Edward, 11th Lord Zouche wrote to Secretary Lord [Robert] Cecil† complaining that Goodwin’s election had been overturned ‘for small matters not followed against him, and pardoned by divers pardons’. At a second election on 21 Mar., Fortescue was returned. The indenture presumably reached Chancery the following day, as it was then that Fleetwood rose in the Commons and called for the second return to be ‘examined, and Sir Francis Goodwin received as a member of the House’.18 The rival writs and returns were brought to the House on 23 Mar., when Goodwin was also questioned, after which he withdrew pending a decision on his status. Fleetwood then justified the original return, and after considerable debate Goodwin was seated on a voice vote. The diarist Sir Edward Montagu* recorded that ‘the contention ... was decided’ by this vote, and Goodwin was subsequently included on two committees, one for a conference with the Lords to draft a petition asking the king for permission to discuss composition for wardship (26 Mar.) and another restricting the use of common recoveries in land transactions involving under-age children (27 March).19

The election dispute resurfaced on 27 Mar., when the Lords asked for a conference about it ‘before any other matter were further proceeded in’. As a result of this intervention Goodwin apparently withdrew from the House once again, pending a resolution of his case. The Commons sent a delegation to the king on the following day, arguing that Goodwin’s outlawries had never been publicly proclaimed, that other MPs had sat while outlawed, and that the outlawries were covered by the general pardons of 1597 and 1601. James, insisting that Chancery had jurisdiction over elections, asked the House to confer with the judges, who backed his claim.20 On 3 Apr. MPs responded with an extended recapitulation of their case that Goodwin was not an outlaw, and insisted that the membership of the Commons could not be subjected to the whims of unscrupulous sheriffs. James, while initially inclined to stand his ground, quickly realized that the ill-feeling this dispute generated might hamper his plans for the Union, and on 11 Apr. he conceded the Commons’ claim to jurisdiction, but secured agreement that both the disputed returns should be quashed, and a fresh election held.21 Although now no longer a Member of the Commons, Goodwin is recorded by the clerk as having made a speech about the Union on 23 April. However, this was obviously a clerical error - it was probably Sir Francis Hastings who was intended. The third Buckinghamshire election, held on 16 May, saw the return of Christopher Pigott, who seems to have been a compromise candidate. Goodwin’s father had feuded with Pigott’s father during Elizabeth’s reign, but their sons had apparently reached an accommodation: Pigott signed Goodwin’s indenture in February, and the first signatory to his own return in May was Goodwin’s erstwhile champion, Sir George Throckmorton.22

On 31 Jan. 1606 King James informed the Commons of his willingness to see both Goodwin and Fortescue readmitted to the House at by-elections, a concession Members accepted with caution, declining to enter the message in the Journal lest it become a precedent for royal control of elections.23 The timing of the message allowed Fortescue to stand for Middlesex at the by-election which followed the death of Sir Robert Wroth I*, but Goodwin also took advantage of this ruling, being returned for the borough of Buckingham on 24 Feb., in place of the recently deceased Sir Edward Tyrrell. His candidacy was backed by the Privy Council, which commended his ‘loyalty and good affection’ in a letter to the corporation, and urged them to put aside any others who might have sought the place. This conspicuous display of official support may have been designed to sweeten Members in advance of moves to increase the two subsidies the Commons had voted on 10 February.24

Goodwin first appeared in the records of the parliamentary session on 7 Mar. 1606, when he was named to committees for bills concerning the importation of wine and the restoration of ministers deprived for refusing to subscribe to the 1604 Canons. In all, he was named to two dozen committees during the session, including those for bills for free trade (3 Apr.), and the regulation of parliamentary elections (3 April). Presumably because of his earlier difficulties with outlawries, he was named to the committee for the bill regulating the execution of writs (8 May).25 Goodwin did not play any part in the disputes over purveyance which dominated the agenda at the time he rejoined the House, but he did show considerable interest in the implementation of the recusancy laws, which were given a high priority in the aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot. He was added to the committee considering the execution of penal statutes against Catholics (27 Mar.), and on 4 Apr. he tabled a bill to punish those church papists who attended divine service but refused to take communion; this received a first reading the same day, and a second three days later, when he was first named to the committee. It was reported by Sir Francis Barrington on 1 Apr., but progressed no further.26 On 4 Apr. Goodwin reported the decision of the privileges’ committee to hold a roll-call of the House the following week, and on 12 Apr. he reported from the committee for the bill enforcing residency requirements on clergymen.27 He made a ‘long and good speech’ about Sir Roger Aston’s* patent for the greenwax fines on 15 Apr. - what he said was not recorded, but as this patent was only voted a grievance by a narrow margin, his words may have had an impact. He was one of the committee appointed to revise the ecclesiastical grievances on 13 May, and on the following day he was among the delegation which presented the grievances to the king.28

The next parliamentary session, of 1606-7, was dominated by the question of the Union. Early on in the proceedings, Goodwin was one of those ordered to attend a conference at which the Lords prodded the Commons into action (24 Nov. 1606). He was also one of the committee charged with preparing for the next conference (29 Nov.), but he played virtually no recorded part in the debates over escuage, trade and naturalization which occupied the next six months. At one particularly tense moment in March 1607, when Speaker Phelips pleaded illness in order to prevent the Commons from questioning a ruling from the judges, Goodwin was appointed to a committee which considered how to continue the sitting without a Speaker (23 Mar.), a task which became moot when Phelips reappeared the next morning.29 On 2 May, James abandoned his ambitious plans for Union, asking merely for a bill to repeal the anti-Scots ‘hostile laws’, but different practices on either side of the border quickly led to disagreement over even this modest issue. When a vote was held about a proviso to allow trial judges a role in the selection of witnesses (5 June), Sir John Holles and Goodwin acted as tellers for the Noes in a vote which rejected this amendment; this decision was eventually revised in a conference with the Lords (11 June), for which Goodwin had helped to prepare.30

Much of Goodwin’s activity in the 1606-7 session concerned recusancy and ecclesiastical affairs: he was named to committees for bills regulating the church courts (29 Nov.), restricting the implementation of the 1604 Canons (11 Dec.), concerning scandalous ministers (added 9 March) and another bill about ecclesiastical courts (16 May). None of these was likely to win the approval of the bishops, and with that in mind, on 18 May Goodwin and others were instructed to draft a petition exhorting the king to ensure the stricter enforcement of the existing laws concerning recusancy, non-residence and pluralism, and the promotion of a preaching ministry. Goodwin reported the draft document to the House on 11 June, but the petition was laid aside a week later after James signified his dislike of its contents.31

Goodwin played a more significant role in the proceedings of the next parliamentary session, in the spring of 1610. He was named to the committee preparing for a conference with the Lords over Dr. John Cowell’s law textbook, which discussed the prerogative in terms which offended the Commons (27 February). As in 1606, Goodwin was named to the committee for the clerical subscription bill (14 Mar.), and was appointed a teller against a bill to promote brewing in inns (21 March). On 7 May he called for a snap vote on whether the Crown’s use of Proclamations as surrogate legislation should be judged a grievance, but Sir Roger Owen persuaded the House to refer this issue back to the grievances’ committee.32 During these months, the Crown’s agenda was dominated by the Great Contract, a plan for fiscal reform. Members refused to discuss this issue until they were allowed to debate the question of impositions on trade, then levied without parliamentary sanction. James eventually forbade the Commons to debate impositions, whereupon Goodwin was one of a delegation which successfully persuaded the king to change his mind (24 May). James then urged a vote of supply. In debate on 14 June Goodwin saw no harm in voting subsidies in principle: the Commons had made its initial offer for the Great Contract before Easter, he observed, and then postponed negotiations pending a resolution of the impositions debate; therefore any supply could also be voted conditionally. In the event, the House ignored his advice, and laid the question of supply aside.33 Goodwin was one of those who heard the king’s answer to the grievances, an integral part of the Great Contract, but James’s refusal to make concessions over impositions upset many MPs, who resolved to vote only one subsidy, a sum which fell a long way short of royal expectations (11 July). However, at a private meeting with Goodwin and seven other Members that evening in Hyde Park, Cecil (now lord treasurer Salisbury) offered assurances which persuaded the Commons to make a serious offer for the Great Contract on the following morning; this duly formed the basis of the deal agreed before the prorogation 12 days later.34 Goodwin left no trace on the patchy records of the autumn session, at which the deal over the Contract rapidly unravelled.

At the 1614 general election, with Fortescue dead, Goodwin and Sir William Borlase ‘carried it quietly’ at the Buckinghamshire county court. On the first day of business, Goodwin was named to the privileges’ committee (8 Apr.), and another to search for precedents for the return of attorney-general Sir Francis Bacon* to the Commons (8 April). On 19 Apr., amid rumours about the existence of an ‘undertaking’ to pack the Commons with placemen in order to manage the session for the Crown, Goodwin ‘made an eloquent and good speech’, noting that there had been complaints about four county elections, and many boroughs, and moving for ‘a plain law to explain the election of knights and burgesses’; he was duly named to the drafting committee (19 April).35 One of the most flagrant electoral abuses uncovered was the intimidation of the burgesses of Stockbridge, Hampshire by Sir Thomas Parry*, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster. When this was reported on 9 May, Goodwin called for a summons to the borough’s bailiff and the pursuivant who had brought Parry’s messages to the town. Sir Robert Phelips accused Parry of being an undertaker, and called for him to be secluded from the House until his case was heard, a motion Goodwin seconded. The debate resumed on the following day, when Goodwin, among others, clamoured to have Parry expelled; but wiser counsels prevailed, and the chancellor was allowed to speak in his own defence before a verdict was given.36

The other pressing issue at the start of the session was that of supply, raised by Secretary Sir Ralph Winwood* as early as 12 April. There was a concerted attempt to sidetrack this debate with complaints about undertakers, while others proposed to link supply and grievances, but Goodwin, recalling that ministers had - contrary to custom - initiated supply debates in the 1610 sessions, came up with the solution eventually adopted, the postponement of the question until after the Easter recess.37 Many MPs aimed to revive the 1610 debate over impositions, and on 5 May Goodwin was one of those named to prepare for a conference with the Lords on this subject.38 However, before a date could be set, Bishop Neile attacked the Commons’ proceedings over this issue as disloyal, which outraged the Lower House. Speaking on 25 May, Goodwin attempted to calm passions, suggesting that rather than protesting to the king, MPs should go to the Lords for confirmation of Neile’s words, and arguing against a cessation of business pending a resolution of this dispute. It was resolved to petition the Lords, and two days later Goodwin suggested that the Upper House should be asked to consider any further insults Neile had levelled at the Commons. Neile was swiftly exonerated by his peers, but on 1 June the Commons debated a discreditable incident in which the bishop had given a recusant a conformity certificate even though the latter had not taken communion as the law required. Goodwin pointed out that the man in question had not even been resident in Neile’s diocese, and wondered what other consideration had moved the bishop, beyond his fee of 20s.39

While some Members were questioned by the Privy Council after the dissolution, Goodwin’s measured speeches caused no offence. In November 1616 he secured a passport to travel, apparently for his health, as the newsletter-writer John Chamberlain considered ‘it were more time for him to rest’ than travel. He had returned to England by April 1618, when he concluded a marriage settlement between his only son Arthur* and a daughter of Sir Richard Wenman*.40 By the following year, he had been appointed a deputy lieutenant of his shire by the royal favourite George Villiers, marquess of Buckingham, grantee of the forfeited Grey estates and lord lieutenant since 1616.41 This Court connection appears to have influenced Goodwin’s attitude in Parliament during the 1620s, for, while often critical of abuses, he was notably reluctant to attack the favourite directly.

Goodwin was returned for Buckinghamshire once again at the general election of December 1620, while his son found a seat at Chipping Wycombe, 12 miles to the south of Winchendon. First mentioned in the records of the session on 5 Feb. 1621, Goodwin was one of those appointed to consider a response to royal attempts to impose limits on the Commons’ freedom of speech; he was added to the privileges’ committee on 8 Feb., and five days later he successfully moved for a committee to survey the clerk’s Journal every week, to which he was named.42 The question of free speech was no sooner resolved, on 15 Feb., than an outburst against the Sabbath bill by the young lawyer Thomas Sheppard* allowed MPs to prove their ability to police their own debates. Goodwin supported calls to allow Sheppard to explain himself before any action was taken against him, and, following a precedent from the end of the 1606 session, suggested that a committee be appointed ‘to set down the words’ which had caused offence. This course of action might have allowed tempers to cool, but in the event Sheppard repeated his words at the bar of the House, and was suspended.43

Much of the early part of the session was taken up with attacks on patentees, particularly (Sir) Giles Mompesson*, whose patron, Buckingham, quickly moved to distance himself from the abuses uncovered. Goodwin did not play a major part in these investigations, but on 20 Feb. he provided evidence about Mompesson’s willingness to circumvent the efforts of the Buckinghamshire magistrates to suppress an alehouse by licensing it as an inn, testimony which was considered sufficiently important to be cited as evidence in the impeachment charges sent up to the Lords. When he was given leave to testify before the Lords on 16 Mar., doubts arose as to whether the fact that the Commons had already judged Mompesson guilty made Goodwin’s evidence likely to be ruled inadmissible because of partiality. Goodwin argued that magistrates such as he routinely gave evidence in cases before their own county bench, and was further agreed that while he could not be required to give evidence to the Lords under oath, he could do so voluntarily, to which he readily agreed.44 After the Easter recess, King James urged restraint in the pursuit of patentees. In response, various Members provocatively revived the investigation of the alehouse patent, the chief beneficiary of which was lord treasurer Mandeville (Sir Henry Montagu*). Despite James’s fury, on 24 Apr. Mandeville’s enemies rushed to ensure that the investigation was not abandoned. After Secretary Sir George Calvert* advised Members only to examine Mandeville if clear evidence of wrongdoing was discovered, Goodwin argued that this investigation was just as important as the one that had been conducted into Mompesson’s inns patent. However, before the Commons had achieved anything, the Lords condemned the alehouse patentee on their own initiative (4 May).45 On 30 Apr. James ordered Members to discontinue their inquiries into Irish affairs, as he proposed to deal with allegations of corruption himself. The Commons’ claim to jurisdiction over Ireland was tenuous and several courtiers urged that the matter be dropped, but Goodwin added his voice to those who called to petition the king for permission to proceed. Though this was done, James’s continued disapproval quashed this inquiry.46

This debate had no sooner ended than a much more serious dispute broke out on 1 May, when complaint was made about Edward Floyd, a Catholic lawyer who had rejoiced in the defeat of James’s son-in-law at the battle of the White Mountain in 1620. A host of Members rushed to suggest punishments, including whipping. For his part Goodwin considered that a gentleman should not be whipped, but he was happy to see Floyd fined and imprisoned in the Tower.47 Once again, James asked the Commons to justify its claim to jurisdiction over a man who was not an MP. On 5 May William Hakewill reminded Members that Goodwin’s case in 1604 had established that the Commons was a court of record, but the Lords, anxious to preserve their role as judges in any impeachment, dissented, and two days later proposed a conference to settle the matter. Goodwin, among others, seems to have feared the Commons would concede too much at a conference if those who attended were allowed to make a binding resolution to the dispute, but wiser heads realized the need to capitulate.48 The Commons referred Floyd to the Lords for judgment, and agreed to enter a Protestation in the Journal certifying that their vote of 1 May would not be used as a precedent to establish jurisdiction in such cases. Goodwin supported this decision, on the rather optimistic grounds that Floyd’s case would at least not impede any future claims of this nature.49 This may simply have been an act of bravado, but it is possible that Goodwin believed his own argument, because on 15 May, when corruption charges were reported against two diocesan chancellors, he was happy to see them arrested, despite warnings from other Members that this risked a privilege dispute with Convocation.50

Goodwin’s final recorded intervention before the House adjourned for the summer was to table a bill granting the sole licensing of inns to assizes and quarter sessions on 16 May. This measure, which would have prevented a revival of Mompesson’s inns patent, received two readings before the recess, and on 24 Nov., shortly after the session resumed, Goodwin successfully pleaded for an order for a fresh committee meeting.51 Parliament had been recalled on this occasion to vote money towards the relief of the beleaguered garrisons of the Palatinate, but a vociferous group of MPs insisted upon the passing of good laws before Christmas. Goodwin, fearing there might not be time to complete the scrutiny of important bills, called to have the supply committee consider what bills could be passed before Christmas; this motion, while likely to delay the passage of the subsidy bill, was nevertheless adopted.52 Hopes of a successful conclusion to the session diminished when James took offence at a petition from the Commons urging him to break off negotiations for a Spanish bride for Prince Charles. On 7 Dec., following calls to send Speaker Richardson with a second petition explaining the motives of the House, Secretary Sir George Calvert observed that the Speaker’s absence would require a suspension of business. This would have constituted a further snub to the king, and while some Members were prepared to contemplate such a step, Goodwin called for a quick vote on this question. In so doing, he does not seem to have intended to achieve a cessation of business - rather, he calculated that few were prepared to contemplate going this far, an assumption which proved correct: no vote was taken, and the Speaker was not among the delegation sent to the king.53 The only item of business the Commons was prepared to transact while awaiting the king’s answer was an attempt by two patentees to embroil Sir Edward Coke in a Star Chamber suit. Following a report of this investigation on 13 Dec., Goodwin pronounced himself satisfied that the one witness examined had ‘confessed sufficient matter to prove malice, even for Parliament business, against Sir Edward Coke’.54

Despite the attempts of Members such as Goodwin to be constructive amid angry exchanges, the session collapsed shortly before Christmas. The Privy Council promoted a Benevolence in place of the supply bill lost at the dissolution, rating MPs for particularly large sums. In February 1622 Goodwin, summoned before the Council for his failure to contribute, was rated at £40, a sum he does not seem to have paid, although he did raise the modest sum of £37 from the taxpayers of Aylesbury hundreds in Buckinghamshire.55 He was pricked as sheriff of Buckinghamshire in November 1623, and was thus ineligible for election to the 1624 Parliament, when he oversaw the return of Fleetwood and Sir Thomas Denton for the shire.

Having completed his term as sheriff, Goodwin was returned as a knight for Buckinghamshire once again at the 1625 general election. He played a relatively minor part in this brief session. On 21 June, when John Pym moved for a national fast day, Goodwin urged that Members petition the king only for a fast day for themselves on the grounds that ‘insisting upon the general may lose the particular’. A fast was duly ordered for the Commons alone, but Goodwin was one of the committee ordered to draft a petition for a national fast (21 June).56 On the same day, Goodwin was appointed to the privileges’ committee. The first dispute considered by this body was the Yorkshire election, at which Sir John Savile* had appealed against the partiality of Sheriff Sir Richard Cholmley* in returning his rivals Sir Thomas Wentworth* and Sir Thomas Fairfax I*. Wentworth’s allies consistently attempted to delay any decision, but when the dispute was reported to the House on 4 July, Goodwin attempted to speed proceedings by suggesting that Wentworth and Fairfax answer Savile’s petition by submitting their version of events in writing. This motion was adopted, and quickly led to the overturning of the election result.57

With the plague rapidly increasing in Westminster, much normal business was laid aside. However, religion remained high on the Commons’ agenda, and Goodwin was named to committees for the Sabbath bill (22 June), recusancy bill (23 June) and the clerical subscription bill (27 June).58 He is not recorded to have spoken during the supply debates of 30 June and 8 July, although he was presumably still in Westminster on 9 July, when he was named to the committee for the bill for auditing sheriffs’ accounts.59 He may not have attended the brief Oxford sitting in August, as he left no trace on its surviving records.

Elected for his shire once again in 1626, Goodwin was named at the start of the session to the standing committees for privileges (9 Feb.) and religion (10 Feb.), and shortly thereafter to two committees for bills relating to ecclesiastical affairs: simony (14 Feb.) and scandalous ministers (15 February).60 However, legislation formed a minor part of a session dominated by attacks on Buckingham, now a duke. Early investigations centred on the favourite’s detention of a French ship accused of carrying Spanish contraband, a move which had provoked a trade embargo against English shipping. Goodwin was one of many who urged further investigation of this matter on 23 Feb., but when a report of 1 Mar. suggested that Buckingham might have acted without royal authority, Goodwin provocatively suggested that Charles’s role in this incident ill became a king, for which observation he was called to order by Edward Littleton II. He protested - not entirely convincingly - that he had spoken only ‘to lay more honour in the king’, and was cleared by a voice vote.61 This averted the sort of incident which occurred ten days later, when Clement Coke, sitting for Aylesbury, implied that the king was acting tyrannically. A royal complaint found MPs inclined to exonerate Coke, and Goodwin, perhaps still smarting from his own experience, seems to have suggested that Coke’s words were ‘somewhat harsh’. Offering to repeat his recollection of Coke’s words he was abruptly stopped, presumably for fear that he would offer some fresh insult to the king.62

The other major issue at the start of the session was the parlous state of trade caused by attacks on English shipping by Spanish privateers. Goodwin, representing an inland county, was notably less concerned about this question than MPs from port towns: when wine merchants complained about a wartime increase in duties (15 Feb.), he insisted this matter could be left until the Tunnage and Poundage bill was introduced; and in a debate on the protection of shipping ten days later, he seems to have suggested that the subject should not be given particular priority.63 He was one of the delegation ordered to attend a conference with the Lords on 7 Mar., at which Archbishop Abbot and lord chamberlain Pembroke appealed for a prompt supply vote to prosecute the war with Spain. However, when the issue was debated on 27 Mar., he insisted that no subsidy bill should pass until the king had given a satisfactory answer to the Commons’ grievance petition.64 Probably because Buckingham was his superior as lord lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, he played no recorded part in the favourite’s impeachment, although a ‘Mr. Goodwin’ - probably his son Arthur - did. However, Goodwin was presumably present while the charges were being debated, during which time he was named to committees for bills to prevent the spread of plague (29 Apr.) and to allow marriages during Lent (6 May).65 He made one final speech, on 7 June, when he urged that the counties be repaid the coat and conduct money they were owed for raising troops in 1624-5, a major grievance in his shire, as payment was provided for under the 1624 Subsidy Act.66

The dissolution of June 1626 cost the Crown a vote of four subsidies, and created a desperate need for money. The Privy Seal loans which Goodwin, as a deputy lieutenant, had been involved in rating shortly before the parliament met, yielded little in Buckinghamshire, which paid only 21 per cent of its quota. A Spanish invasion threat over the summer prompted the Privy Council to appeal for a Benevolence equivalent to the lost subsidies, but this badly misfired in Buckinghamshire after Goodwin, addressing the subsidymen of the northern part of the shire at Stony Stratford on 19 Aug., conceded that a decision would be delayed until after the harvest. He failed to turn up to a similar meeting at Beaconsfield three days later, but news of the delay he had proposed was obviously known to those present, who also pressed for time to consider the king’s demand. Goodwin was summoned before the Privy Council, and dismissed from the Buckinghamshire commission of the peace in October.67 His disgrace did not last very long, as the inauguration of the Forced Loan in the same month required a considerable local effort: on 3 Jan. 1627 the duke of Buckingham met the county’s deputy lieutenants at Whitehall, and Goodwin was reinstated as a magistrate four days later, this clearly being the price of his support for the Loan. He was active in this service, but his efforts produced little, as the yield for Buckinghamshire, at just under 44 per cent of the county’s designated quota, was among the lowest in England.68 Goodwin’s service as a Loan commissioner is unlikely to have endeared him to the shire’s freeholders, and neither he nor his son are known to have stood at the 1628 general election; the death of their most powerful supporter, the earl of Bedford, in May 1627, may also have affected their prospects. Thus in 1628, Goodwin was succeeded as knight of the shire by Sir Edward Coke.

During the final years of his life Goodwin was preoccupied by a protracted lawsuit over the late earl of Bedford’s debts, many of which were charged against estates of which he was one of the trustees.69 In his will of 2 Aug. 1634 he confirmed an earlier deed passing his Upper Winchendon estate to trustees including William Fiennes, 1st Viscount Saye and Sele and Robert Greville*, 2nd Lord Brooke, and laid plans for a marriage between his grand-daughter and eventual heiress Jane Goodwin and one of Lord Saye’s younger sons. He died at Winchendon eight days later. His son Arthur represented Buckinghamshire in the Short and Long Parliaments and was one of the leaders of the parliamentarian war effort in the shire until his death in August 1643. Thereafter the family estates passed to Jane Goodwin, who married Philip, 4th Lord Wharton.70

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Simon Healy


  • 1. C.O. Moreton, Hist. Waddesdon and Over Winchendon, 131.
  • 2. Vis. Bucks. (Harl. Soc. lviii), 64; PROB 11/166, f. 55.
  • 3. Vis. Bucks. 64; C142/262/140; PROB 11/166, f. 55v; Moreton, 131.
  • 4. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 99; Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, i. 130-1.
  • 5. C142/525/92.
  • 6. Hatfield House ms 278; C231/4, ff. 210v, 215.
  • 7. C181/1, f. 16; 181/2, f. 58.
  • 8. HMC De L’Isle and Dudley, iii. 133, 140; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 493.
  • 9. C181/2, ff. 35v, 76v, 90, 184, 202v; 181/4, f. 165; E315/524, f. 39; C212/22/20-3; E179/283, ‘commrs. for the aid’.
  • 10. Eg. 860, ff. 48v, 115v; L.L. Peck, Ct. Patronage and Corruption in Early Stuart Eng. 86, 248-9.
  • 11. SP14/135/62.
  • 12. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 9.
  • 13. E401/2586, p. 355; C193/12/2.
  • 14. Moreton, 129-30; Vis. Bucks. 64; G. Lipscomb, Bucks. i. 518-19; C142/262/140.
  • 15. L.L. Peck, ‘Goodwin v. Fortescue’, PH, iii. 35-9; M. Kishlansky, Parlty. Selection, 63-5; Harl. 6994, f. 80; HP Commons (1558-1603), ii. 205; Peck, Patronage, 43-4.
  • 16. HMC Hatfield, xvi. 193, 249; C142/435/118.
  • 17. CJ, i. 161a-b; C219/35/1/203; Peck, ‘Goodwin’, 49.
  • 18. HMC Hatfield, xvi. 40; CD 1604-7, p. 55; CJ, i. 149a.
  • 19. CJ, i. 151-2, 154b; CD 1604-7, pp. 23-4, 44.
  • 20. CJ, i. 156a, 158, 161b; CD 1604-7, pp. 29-34, 47-8.
  • 21. CJ, i. 163-4, 168-9; CD 1604-7, pp. 39-41, 64-5; E. Lindquist, ‘Case of Sir Francis Goodwin’, EHR, civ. 672-5; A.D. Thrush, ‘Commons v. Chancery’, PH, xxvi. 306-7; HMC Hatfield, xvi. 49.
  • 22. CJ, i. 182b, 955b; C219/35/1/204, 211; Peck, ‘Goodwin’, 39-44.
  • 23. Bowyer Diary, 15-16; Stowe 168, f. 322.
  • 24. SIR JOHN FORTESCUE; C219/35/1/209; Peck, Patronage, 89, 250.
  • 25. CJ, i. 279a, 292b, 293a, 307a.
  • 26. Ibid. 290b, 293b, 294a, 298b.
  • 27. Ibid. 293b, 298a. Bowyer Diary, 101 has Sir Francis Hastings delivering the report of 4 April.
  • 28. CJ, i. 298b, 308b, 309a.
  • 29. Ibid. 324b, 326b, 354a.
  • 30. Ibid. 379b, 382a; B. Galloway, Union of Eng. and Scot. 122-6.
  • 31. CJ, i. 326b, 329b, 350b, 374b, 379b, 385a, 384-5.
  • 32. Ibid. 400b, 410a, 413a-b, 425b.
  • 33. Ibid. 432a, 439b.
  • 34. Ibid. 447a; T. Birch, Ct. and Times Jas. I, i. 122-3.
  • 35. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 33-4, 105-8.
  • 36. Ibid. 175-82, 193, 198.
  • 37. Ibid. 67, 110.
  • 38. Ibid. 151.
  • 39. Ibid. 345, 366, 406.
  • 40. SO3/6, unfol. (Nov. 1616); Chamberlain Letters, ii. 40; C142/525/128.
  • 41. Peck, Patronage, 83, 86.
  • 42. CJ, i. 513b, 520a; CD 1621, ii. 26, 73.
  • 43. CJ, i. 522a; R. Zaller, Parl. of 1621, pp. 42-3. For the 1606 precedent, see ibid. 312- 13; Bowyer Diary, 180.
  • 44. CD 1621, iv. 163-4; vi. 255-6; CJ, i. 556a, 558a.
  • 45. CJ, i. 589b; CD 1621, iii. 70; iv. 253; Nicholas, Procs. 1621, i. 311; LJ, iii. 108-9.
  • 46. CJ, i. 598b; Zaller, 118-19.
  • 47. CJ, i. 602a; CD 1621, iii. 127.
  • 48. Nicholas, ii. 28; CJ, i. 614a; Zaller, 106-13.
  • 49. CD 1621, iii. 239; Zaller, 114-15.
  • 50. CD 1621, iii. 265.
  • 51. CD 1621, iii. 442; v. 169. 377; vi. 195.
  • 52. CJ, i. 649b; CD 1621, iii. 473; v. 408.
  • 53. CJ, i. 661a; Zaller, 161-3.
  • 54. CJ, i. 662b; Zaller, 157-8, 164-5.
  • 55. SP14/127/82; 14/135/62; Cent. Kent. Stud. U269/1/OE1409.
  • 56. Procs. 1625, pp. 204-5.
  • 57. Ibid. 206, 297.
  • 58. Ibid. 215, 226, 253.
  • 59. Ibid. 358.
  • 60. Procs. 1626, ii. 7, 13, 32, 44.
  • 61. Ibid. 110, 164, 167-9.
  • 62. Ibid. 290.
  • 63. Ibid. 50, 132.
  • 64. Ibid. 216, 379-81.
  • 65. Ibid. iii. 97, 180.
  • 66. Ibid. 387; Peck, Patronage, 93.
  • 67. R. Cust, Forced Loan, 35-7, 94-9; Peck, Patronage, 92-6; APC, 1626, pp. 230, 242; C231/4, f. 210v.
  • 68. Peck, Patronage, 96; C231/4, f. 215; CSP Dom. 1627-8, p. 330; S.M. Healy, ‘Oh, what a Lovely War?’, Canadian Jnl. of Hist. 454, 463.
  • 69. C142/435/118; C2/Chas.I/G9/39; 2/Chas.I/G25/47, 49, 51.
  • 70. PROB 11/166, ff. 55-6; C142/525/128; ARTHUR GOODWIN.