GODDARD, Ambrose (?1727-1815), of Swindon, Wilts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



21 Aug. 1772 - 1806

Family and Education

b. ?1727, 3rd s. of Ambrose Goddard of Swindon by Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Awdry of Seend. educ. Winchester 1743-5. m. 16 Aug. 1776, Sarah, da. and h. of Rev. Thomas Williams of Pilroath, Carm., 3s. 7da. suc. bro. Thomas Goddard 1770.

Offices Held


Goddard’s return for the county, which his elder brother Thomas had represented from 1767 to 1770, involved him in his only contest. He was preferred ‘not for the affluence of fortune, or preeminence of talents, but by the general estimation alone of the probity of his principles and character’, said the Gentleman’s Magazine:1 ‘his diffident habits and the state of his nerves precluded him from public speaking’, but ‘he was not the less solicitous that his silent vote should ever be on due and mature deliberation’. He was reckoned hostile to the repeal of the Test Act in Scotland in 1791. A subscriber of £3,000 to the loyalty loan for 1797, he ‘generally though not invariably’ supported Pitt: on 18 May 1798 he voted for Buxton’s amendment to the land tax redemption bill.

On 18 Apr. 1796 Goddard had informed Lord Ailesbury that ‘he thought himself got old for Member of county’, but Ailesbury brushed aside ‘his wish to retire’, being of opinion ‘that his continuing might preserve [the] peace of [the] county’.2 As a friend of Henry Addington’s father, he was well inclined to his administration. The rift between Addington and Pitt, as well as his poor attendance,3 caused him to be listed ‘doubtful’ in September 1804 after Pitt’s return to power. On 27 Dec. he wrote to congratulate Addington on his reconciliation with Pitt. Claiming to be less deaf than he had been, he added ‘If I am particularly wanted at any time I shall be most willing and I hope able to attend the House occasionally though not regularly’. On 15 Jan. 1805, he renewed his congratulations to Addington, about to become Lord Sidmouth.4 It was to him that he adhered, for after voting in the majority for the criminal prosecution of Melville, 12 June 1805, he was listed ‘Sidmouth’ a month later.

Cross-examined by Henry Hunt, Goddard admitted to the county meeting in 1806 that he had long been unable to fulfil his duties as county Member and had been virtually absent for the last two years.5 He retired, having pursued ‘the steady and noiseless tenor of his way in the Senate upwards of thirty years’. His son Thomas was about to come in for Cricklade.6 Goddard died 19 June 1815 in his 89th year.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Gent. Mag. (1815), i. 572; ii. 275.
  • 2. Ailesbury mss, Ailesbury diary, 19 Apr. 1796.
  • 3. PRO 30/8/139, f. 5.
  • 4. Sidmouth mss.
  • 5. Hunt, Mems. ii. 218.
  • 6. Sidmouth mss, Goddard to Sidmouth, 17 Oct. 1806.