GODOLPHIN, Sidney (1652-1732), of Abertanat, Salop and Thames Ditton, Surr.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1685 - 1687
30 Apr. 1690 - 1695
1698 - 1713
1715 - 1722
1722 - 1727
1727 - 22 Sept. 1732

Family and Education

bap. 12 Jan. 1652, o. surv. s. of John Godolphin, DCL, judge of Admiralty 1653–9 and king’s advocate, of St. Thomas, nr. Launceston, Cornw. and St. James, Clerkenwell, Mdx. by 2nd w. Mary, da. of William Tregose of St. Ives, Cornw.  educ. I. Temple 1668.  m. 23 Dec. 1673, Susanna (d. 1724), da. of Rice Tanat of Abertanat, Salop, and coh. to her bro. Owen, 1s. d.v.p. 5da. (1 d.v.p.).  suc. fa. 1678.1

Offices Held

Capt. Earl of Bath’s Regt. (later 10 Ft.) 1685, lt.-col. 1694–6; dep.-gov. Guernsey 1689–90; lt.-gov. Scilly Isles 1690, gov. 1700–d.; maj. Queen’s Regt. (later 2 Ft.) 1700–2; auditor of exchequer June 1702–d.2

Gov. Greenwich Hosp.3


Little is known of Godolphin’s political attitudes before the Revolution, but in 1690 he was appointed lieutenant-governor of the Scilly Isles, and following his return for Penryn at a by-election in April 1690 proved to be a Court supporter. In December 1690 he was included on Lord Carmarthen’s (Sir Thomas Osborne†) list of likely supporters in the event of an attack on Carmarthen’s ministerial position, and in April 1691 Robert Harley* classed him as a Court supporter. Godolphin’s parliamentary activity is difficult to distinguish from that of his second cousin Charles, but it seems likely that most of the speeches attributed to ‘Mr Godolphin’ refer to Charles. It is certain, however, that it was Sidney Godolphin who during the debate of 28 Jan. 1692 on the poll tax ‘moved to have a clause that whatever this bill fell short of the sum intended this House will at the next sessions make it good’. After the end of the 1691–2 session Godolphin was included on Carmarthen’s list of government officials in the Commons, and he appeared on numerous other lists of placemen during this Parliament. At the start of the 1692–3 session, on 15 Nov., he supported a motion for the consideration of supply and proposed that the following day be fixed for this purpose. In 1694 Godolphin obtained a lieutenant-colonel’s commission and served in the Low Countries during the 1694 and 1695 campaigns. The burden of his military duties may explain his failure to stand at the 1695 election, but he resigned this commission in 1696 and returned to the Commons in 1698. A comparison of the old and new Commons classed him as a Court supporter, but he also appeared on a forecast of those likely to oppose a standing army and was not included on either of the lists of those who on 18 Jan. 1699 voted against the disbanding bill. When, in May 1700, Godolphin was appointed a major in Major-General Charles Trelawny’s* regiment, the Prussian envoy described him as an ‘homme attaché à la cour’. He retained his seat at the first 1701 election, and in February 1701 was forecast as likely to support the Court over the ‘Great Mortgage’. During the summer of 1701 he was blacklisted as having opposed the preparations for war with France, but nevertheless retained his seat and in December Harley classed him as a Tory.4

At the start of Anne’s reign Godolphin was granted the place of auditor of the Exchequer responsible for Wales, where he had gained property through his wife, and in the following years his loyalty to the Court drew him away from Toryism. On 30 Oct. 1704 he was forecast as likely to oppose the Tack, and did not vote for it on 28 Nov. An analysis of the 1705 Parliament classed him as a ‘High Church Courtier’. His duties as auditor of the Exchequer prevented him attending the vote of 25 Oct. on the choice of Speaker, though five days beforehand George Clarke* wrote to Godolphin requesting a letter ‘that I might satisfy your friends of the reason for your not being here the first day of the Parliament’. In February 1706 Godolphin supported the Court in the proceedings on the ‘place clause’ of the regency bill. He otherwise made little impression on the records of the Commons, though in early 1708 an analysis of the House classed him as a Whig and in 1710 he voted for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell. Later the same year the ‘Hanover list’ classed him as a Whig, but he made no recorded contribution to the 1710 Parliament and lost his seat in 1713. He returned to the Commons after the accession of George I and continued to sit, as a Whig, until his death, variously reported as having occurred on 22 or 23 Sept. 1732.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. F. G. Marsh, Godolphin Fam. 22–23.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1700–2, pp. 12, 21.
  • 3. Gent. Mag. 1732, p. 979.
  • 4. Luttrell Diary, 161, 229; Boase, Bibl. Cornub. 1202; Add. 30000 D, f. 170.
  • 5. Add. 28052, f. 108; Boyer, Pol. State, xliv. 231; Hist. Reg. Chron. 1732, p. 38; Gent. Mag. 1732, p. 979.