GOLDING, Henry (by 1528-76), of Little Birch, Essex.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. by 1528, 3rd s. of John Golding of Halstead but 1st s. by 2nd w. Ursula, da. of William Merston of Horton, Surr. m. Alice, da. of one Clovyle of Hanningfield, Essex, wid. of George Foster of Little Birch, d.s.p.3

Offices Held

Steward of household to 16th Earl of Oxford by 1553, surveyor by 1556; j.p. Essex 1560-d.; commr. sewers, Essex and Suff. 1564, piracy, Essex 1565.4


Henry Golding came of an Essex family of some means. The fact that his father was an exchequer auditor makes it likely that he was the Henry Golding who in 1543 was servant to (Sir) Richard Southwell, first officer of the court of general surveyors, but the captain of a Plymouth privateer in 1545-6 was probably a namesake.5

It was his half-sister Margery’s marriage in August 1548 to John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford, which either established or strengthened Golding’s position in the earl’s household, where he seems to have been a figure of consequence before the close of the following year. Of greater, if less lasting, significance was his connexion with the Duke of Somerset. This is revealed by a letter which Somerset wrote on 5 Oct. 1549 from Hampton Court when faced by the Earl of Warwick’s challenge to his authority. Addressed to his ‘loving servant’ Mr. Golding, the letter charged Golding, ‘for the confidence we have in you being our servant’, to prepare the ‘things, servants, and ordinary power’ of the Earl of Oxford and to place them at Somerset’s disposal. The survival of this letter among the State Papers probably means that it was never despatched, Somerset shrinking at the last moment from a trial of armed strength with his opponents. Although it is not known how, or in what capacity, Golding had come to serve Somerset, the connexion probably had both a local and official origin: his father was a neighbour in Essex and a colleague in the Exchequer of Clement Smith, who married Somerset’s sister Dorothy, and Golding was himself to marry the widow of one of Smith’s kinsmen. The connexion does not appear to have survived the Protector’s overthrow, and it is as a servant of Oxford’s that Golding continues to appear, first as steward and then as surveyor: when he sued out a pardon in October 1553 he was described as of Castle Hedingham and Colne, Essex (both seats of the earl’s), and formerly of London.6

Although Oxford was one of the first magnates to declare for Mary it is not certain that Golding had rallied to the Queen. In August 1553 he and other servants of the earl were enjoined to return to their houses and to be in readiness to appear before the Council when summoned, with the added exhortation that they should ‘live in such order of obedience to the Queen’s Highness and her laws and to allure others to the same as whereby they may hereafter redub their faults bypast’. Whether these injunctions had been prompted by private lawlessness or by support for Jane Grey cannot be determined, but Golding’s later career suggests that he was not an enthusiastic Marian. It may have been as one who was personally suspect, or as a kinsman and dependant of Oxford at a time when the earl was himself under scrutiny, that Golding was summoned before the Council in July 1555, a summons which had no known sequel. It was clearly with Oxford’s support that Golding was by-elected for Maldon, in place of Roger Appleton, to Mary’s last Parliament, and that he was re-elected there to its successor.7

Made a justice of the peace in 1560, and as such adjudged in 1564 a favourer of religion, Golding was to manifest his Protestantism in the preamble to the will which he made 18 months before his death in December 1576. His purchases of land in Essex had apparently strained his resources, for the largest bequest, £100 to Elizabeth Waldegrave, was made with the proviso that the money should be ‘paid unto her as soon as it may be raised after my debts be paid’.8

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: D. F. Coros


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Date of birth estimated from first certain reference. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 8, 55, 111; PCC 11 Populwell.
  • 4. Harl. Roll N4 ex inf. S. Flower; Essex RO, D/D Pr. 141-2; Ass. 35/2/5; CPR, 1563-6, p. 39; APC, vii. 285.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, xviii, xix, xxi.
  • 6. Trans. Essex Arch. Soc. n.s. xviii. 237; SP10/9/4; Tytler, Edw. VI and Mary, i. 212-13; W. K. Jordan, Edw. VI, i. 508; CPR, 1553-4, p. 442.
  • 7. APC, iv. 320; v. 159.
  • 8. Cam. Misc. ix(3), 62; PCC 8 Daughtry.