GOULSTON, Edward (c.1666-1720), of Tutsham, West Farleigh, Kent

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



Dec. 1701 - 1702

Family and Education

b. c.1666, 6th s. of Edward Goulston of Tutsham by Joan, da. and h. of Thomas Tookey of New Romney.  educ. at home (Mr Burletson); St. John’s, Camb. adm. 27 June 1681, aged 15, I. Temple 1681; G. Inn 1683, called 1689.  m. lic. 3 Feb. 1695, Anne (d. 1724), da. of James Goulston of Wyddial, Herts., sis. of Richard Goulston*, s.psuc. fa. 1669.1

Offices Held

Jurat, New Romney 1685–8, 1701–d.2


Edward Goulston married the sister of his cousin and fellow MP, Richard Goulston, and both shared an allegiance to the Tories, although Edward’s career was overshadowed by that of his more important brother-in-law. Goulston’s father, a lawyer, had established an interest through his wife at New Romney, where his nephew, Sir William†, had been elected in 1685. That year Edward himself was intruded into the borough’s politics at the remodelling of the corporation, alongside Sir William. He was called to the bar four years later, though it is not known whether he practised, and was appointed a j.p. in 1690. His tenure of the office until his death suggests that he was well respected locally or that his loyalties to a national party were not zealously held. He was chosen at the second election of 1701, his return being regarded by Lord Spencer (Charles*) as a loss for the Whigs, while Robert Harley* classed him as a Tory. It is difficult to separate his activity from that of his cousin and of another relative, William Gulston*, though Edward was certainly listed as having favoured the motion on 26 Feb. 1702 vindicating the Commons’ proceedings in the impeachments of William’s ministers. He stood down at the next general election, explaining to the borough that although he had

some time since intimated to you by letter my intention to offer my service to your corporation to represent them in this ensuing Parliament, which I should willingly have done with the same known integrity and honesty as I did in the last, but notwithstanding those faithful services I find a great part of your corporation inclined at this juncture to choose another gentleman in my room. I am far from having that resentment (which some others would upon the like occasion) out of a true friendship I have for your body, being always concerned for the peace as well as the prosperity of it; therefore, to avoid all heats and animosities, which frequently are the effects of parties opposing one another, I do hereby freely signify unto you my resolution not to give you any further trouble at this time, hoping when another occasion shall offer, that you will unanimously have kinder thoughts of me.

He evidently retained ambitions for the seat, for he again sent a copy of this letter to the corporation in October 1704, but his hopes of re-election remained unfulfilled. It may be that allegations of corruption undermined Goulston’s pretensions, as in an undated letter to the corporation he strenuously denied reports that during the 1701–2 Parliament

I took a bribe for my vote against the nation’s good: I declare to all the world that report is groundless, false and scandalous; for I never was offered or took a bribe directly or indirectly in all my life, and defy any person to justify the contrary, but always voted for the good of the nation; as many gentlemen (if they please) can testify.

He died in 1720, childless, leaving the estate to his widow for her life, and then to Francis Goulston, the heir of his cousin Richard. He bequeathed £5 to the poor of West Farleigh parish, having already donated a gilt almsplate to the church in 1702. He wished to be buried there with ‘a handsome monument in remembrance of me in the wall over the seat where I usually sit’.3

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Mark Knights


  • 1. Cussans, Herts. Edwinstree hundred, p. 121; Arch. Cant. xiii. 476; Hasted, Kent, v. 142.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1685, p. 291; Centre Kentish Stud. New Romney bor. recs. NR/AC2 assembly bk. 1662–1702, pp. 1, 672, 806.
  • 3. Info. from Prof. N. Landau; New Romney bor. recs. NR/AEp/61, 62/3, 67, Goulston to corp. 16 July 1702, 31 Oct. 1704, n.d.; Arch. Cant. 479; PCC 231 Shaller.