GOODALE, John (b.c.1502), of Salisbury, Wilts.

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. ?1502, ?s. of one Goodale of Cambridge. educ. ?Eton; ?King’s, Camb. 1519, fellow 1522; Corpus, Oxf. 1527 or earlier. m. at least 2s.2

Offices Held

Under bailiff, bp. Salisbury 1537-9.3


Little has come to light about John Goodale’s career apart from his years at Salisbury. The under bailiff’s Protestantism suggests that he was the John Goodale arrested on Wolsey’s orders in 1528 for circulating heretical books. In the spring of that year Bishop Longland of Lincoln complained that the University of Oxfordwas being corrupted by writings sent from London to Thomas Garrett of Corpus Christi College; the works were supplied by the printer and bookseller John Gough and by Dr Farman, president of Queen’s College, Cambridge, and rector of All Hallows, Honey Lane, whose servant John Goodale conveyed them to Oxford. After his arrest Goodale claimed that he had not known of the contents of the packages which he had taken to Oxford, although he admitted having been a pupil of Garrett there before entering Farman’s service. This connexion with the early reformers might have been helpful during Cromwell’s ascendancy; Farman was dead by 31 Oct. 1528, but Garrett became rector of All Hallows, Honey Lane, and chaplain to Archbishop Cranmer in 1537, three years before being burned at Smithfield.4

Goodale perhaps attended both universities; in 1519 a 17 year-old scholar from Eton named John Goodall had been admitted to King’s College, Cambridge, and three years later he became a fellow there. Nothing more is known of this man, unless he can be identified with Garrett’s pupil or with the John Goodall who sought the patronage of Cromwell in an undated letter, ascribed to 1533. The writer explained that he had been induced to leave Cambridge ten years ago to teach the young and that he had spent five years in Essex, where he had saved a little money, and a further five years reading English with a student; he was evidently a tutor and made no reference to Farman, Garrett or to either university. Nevertheless, it is possible that Farman’s ‘servant’, evidently a poor scholar, had been engaged as a tutor and that a man who had pleaded ignorance to Wolsey’s interrogators would shrink from recalling this experience later. Since the Member was both a reformer and a correspondent of Cromwell, it is tempting to identify him with the writer of this early letter and with the Goodales who had studied at Oxford and Cambridge.5

Goodale apparently had no links with Salisbury before his appointment to succeed Thomas Chamber as under bailiff to Bishop Shaxton. The leading citizens of Salisbury were at odds with their Protestant bishop, whose attempts to uphold his jurisdiction had rekindled the old longing for civic independence. Skilfully led by Thomas Chaffyn I, the citizens attacked Chamber for admitting a serjeant to office on his own authority in February 1537 and for saying that the mayor owed obedience to the bishop rather than to the King. This allowed them to depict Shaxton’s interference to Cromwell as a usurpation of royal rights and on 7 June they asked that in future the under bailiff should be a man ‘of some gravity and substance’. Cromwell tried to escape from the dilemma by persuading the bishop to dismiss Chamber in favour of John Goodale, who was presumably already in the minister’s service and who is first mentioned as under bailiff in October. Goodale was thus plunged into a paradoxical struggle between a reforming bishop who was relying on his traditional rights, and conservative citizens who were appealing to the crown.6

Cromwell’s intervention failed because Goodale soon surpassed Shaxton himself in asserting episcopal authority, while pursuing the work of reform. In October 1537 Goodale complained to Cromwell of the enormities of the priests at Salisbury and a month later the corporation accused him of copying Chamber by belittling the mayor’s authority; Goodale’s uncouth language was held against him and the citizens asked that the new mayor should be sworn in before someone other than the under bailiff, whose precursor had tried to administer an oath favourable to the bishop. Cromwell rebuked Goodale and was reported to have spoken caustically of Shaxton, who on 20 Nov. wrote to justify himself and the officer whom he had been asked to appoint. On 11 Jan. 1538 the citizens asked for Goodale’s dismissal, lest he bring the city to ruin ‘by the maintenance and bearing of the bishop’, and it was announced that he had been arrested and bound over until 22 Jan. Goodale survived this attack and journeyed to London, but since one of his sons had died of the plague he was unable to see Cromwell and by 20 Feb. he was back in Salisbury, where he renewed his charges against the corporation.7

On 20 Aug. 1538 John Bourchier, 6th Lord Fitzwarin, asked for goods of the Black Friars at Salisbury for himself and those of the Grey Friars for Goodale, who on 2 Oct. received the contents of both houses on behalf of the King. Threats against his life on 14 Oct., when he foiled an attempt to rescue a local butcher who was under arrest in Goodale’s own house, led the under bailiff to sue his assailants in Chancery. At about this time Goodale risked further unpopularity by bringing an action in the Star Chamber against the priest and curate of St. Martin’s, Salisbury, over the worship of images. He also sued the vicar of Minety in the same court, after having accused him of being nonresident for 12 months; an informant was entitled by statute to £10 for each month of proved nonresidence but the vicar, ‘allied and supported by men of honour and worth within the said county of Wiltshire’, refused to pay.8

In the spring of 1539 Goodale finally overreached himself while trying to enforce a royal proclamation which had been issued in the previous November. He ordered the removal of an image from the altar on which it was being venerated and in the process the Sacrament, which was lodged in a niche at the base of the statue, fell to the ground. His servant was promptly arrested for sacrilege, whereupon he besought Cromwell to take no notice of his enemies, whom he continued to denounce, and the bishop wrote a spirited letter on his behalf. Shaxton himself, however, was about to be deprived for opposing the Six Articles and Cromwell was evidently tired of the incessant complaints from Salisbury; Goodale was sent to the Marshalsea on a petition from Chaffyn, John Abarough and Robert South, his ‘mortal adversaries’, and remained there for 20 weeks. He was freed only at his wife’s request, after being dismissed from office and forbidden to return to Salisbury on pain of forfeiting £500. The former under bailiff, still being pursued for sacrilege, last appears when drafting an answer to this charge in the Star Chamber after Cromwell’s death.9

Goodale’s Membership of Parliament is known from an undated letter of his to Cromwell, ascribed to 1538 but probably written in the following spring, as it was sent from prison. He reminded the minister of his services in the last two Parliaments ‘by writing, speaking and spending his goods for the extirpating of the [feigned] and usurped authority of the bishop of Rome’. He was not one of those returned in 1529, but by the seventh session (Nov.-Dec. 1534) he had entered the House to fill a vacancy: the name ‘Godale’ appears on a list of Members, drawn up in December 1534 and thought to be linked with the treasons bill then passing through the Commons, perhaps in connexion with a committee. The constituency for which Goodale sat is not known: it was certainly not Salisbury, but with Cromwell’s assistance he could have procured his election for almost any vacancy. It was presumably for the same constituency that he reappeared in the following Parliament, in June 1536, when the King asked for the re-election of the previous Members, but he is unlikely to have done so in 1539 for by then he had almost exhausted the minister’s patience and shortly before that Parliament opened there occurred the affair of the image.10

It is not certain that Goodale’s career ended in 1539. A man of that name was among the gentry of Carmarthen who mustered in 1544 and was one of the town’s 20 leading inhabitants when it received a charter two years later; he was a justice of the peace there and purchased an interest in the clerkship of the peace, over which he brought a suit in the court of requests under Edward VI. There was also a gentleman of London named John Goodale who was accused by David Morgan, a sewer of the Chamber, of extorting money by repeated actions for debt; this may have been the John Goodale who,with his wife Catherine, was a plaintiff in the same court over detention of deeds relating to property in the parishes of St. Stephen’s, Coleman Street; St. Michael’s, Crooked Lane; and St. Botolph’s without Aldgate, and who was still living in 1548. Namesakes also appear as substantial landowners in Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, and on 24 Apr. 1553 a John Goodale was promised the next vacant prebend in Rochester cathedral. The very short will by a John Goodale, made on 24 Jan. 1559 and mentioning no wife, children or landed property, throws no further light on the Member’s fate.11

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: T. F.T. Baker


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament; LP Hen. VIII, vii. 1522(ii) citing SP1/87, f. 106v; xiii(2), 1178.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from probable entry to Cambridge. Emden, Biog. Reg. Univ. Oxf. 1501-40, pp. 240-1; LP Hen. VIII, iv, xiii.
  • 3. Wilts. Arch. Mag. xxxix. 326-7.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, iv; Emden, 228-9; W. G. Searle, Queens’ Coll. (Camb. Antiq. Soc. pubs. ix), 171-3.
  • 5. Al. Cant. ii. 234; LP Hen. VIII, vi.
  • 6. Wilts. Arch. Mag. xxxix. 324; LP Hen. VIII, xii; Elton, Policy and Police, 100-3; M. L. Robertson, ‘Cromwell’s servants’ (Univ. California Los Angeles Ph.D. thesis, 1975), 494.
  • 7. Wilts. Arch. Mag.. xxxix. 324-6; LP Hen. VIII, xii, xiii; Elton, 104.
  • 8. LP Hen. VIII, xiii; C1/802/6, 809/50.
  • 9. LP Hen. VIII, xiv; Elton, 105; St.Ch.2/16/91, 24/408.
  • 10. LP Hen. VIII, vii. 1522(ii) citing SP1/87, f. 106v; xiii(2), 1178 citing too summarily SP1/140, f. 224; Elton, 101.
  • 11. LP Hen. VIII, xvii, xix-xxi; CPR, 1547-8 to 1563-6 passim; Req.2/5/299, 6/232, 11/171; PCC 5 Loftes.