GOLDSBOROUGH, John (c.1597-1640), of Godmanchester, Hunts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

b. c.1597,1 o.s. of John Goldsborough of Godmanchester, Hunts. and Fetter Lane, London, 2nd prothonotary of c.p. 1613-18 and Elizabeth, da. of John Hall of Ore, Suss.2 educ. Christ’s, Camb. 1611; M. Temple 1614.3 m. (1) settlement 18 Aug. 1617, a da. of Sir Anthony Browne of Elmstead, Essex, 1s.;4 (2) 13 May 1619, Anne da. of Sir Robert Payne* of Midloe, Hunts. 5s. (2 d.v.p.), 6da.5 suc. fa. 1618.6 d. 23 Mar. 1640.7 sig. John Goldesburgh.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Cambs. and Hunts. 1626-7;8 j.p. Huntingdon 1637-d.9


The Goldsboroughs took their name from a village near Knaresborough, but their Yorkshire lands passed away by marriage at the end of the sixteenth century.10 However, they prospered elsewhere: one of the MP’s uncles, Thomas†, was a Cambridge alderman, another was bishop of Gloucester.11 Goldsborough’s father, an attorney in Common Pleas, became one of the court’s three prothonotaries in 1613, a lucrative post worth over £1,000 a year. He transferred from Clifford’s Inn to the Middle Temple, where he became an associate bencher, and his son (the MP) was enrolled as a student.12 By his death in 1618 he had acquired the George inn at Huntingdon and 400 acres of woodland in nearby Sapley Park, probably through forfeiture of a mortgage made to him by the former owner, Sir Oliver Cromwell*.13

Goldsborough’s first marriage, to a daughter of the Essex Catholic Sir Anthony Browne, further enlarged his estates, as his father-in-law assigned him the 430 acre manor of Paglesham, Essex, presumably in lieu of a dowry. His wife died shortly afterwards, though not before bearing a son, upon whom Goldsborough entailed most of his estates. Goldsborough moved to Godmanchester following his second marriage to Anne Payne, the daughter of a Huntingdonshire squire.14 The generous provision made for Goldsborough’s heir meant that Anne initially had only a modest jointure, but in 1634 the George and land worth £60 a year were settled on her and her eldest son.15

During the early 1620s Goldsborough was engaged in a lengthy dispute with the rector of King’s Ripton over the tithes of Sapley Park, which had been converted to pasture by the Cromwells.16 This did not necessarily put him on bad terms with the owner of King’s Ripton manor, the 1st earl of Bolingbroke (Oliver St. John I*), who was distantly related to his wife and may have been his electoral patron at Huntingdon in 1626, when he was returned for the seat recently held by the earl’s brother, Sir Henry St. John.17 However, there is no firm evidence of such a nomination, and Goldsborough’s ownership of the George gave him some independent influence within the town. Goldsborough made only one recorded speech in the Commons, on 8 June. This was implicitly hostile to the duke of Buckingham, as it confirmed that one of the sons of the duke’s Yorkshire ally, Sir John Savile*, had been the author of a controversial letter to the West Riding clothiers criticizing the House for spending too much time attacking the favourite.18

It is possible that Goldsborough sought election to Parliament in 1626 to seek relief from his creditors. He had obtained a licence to sell his Essex estates in 1622, and in April 1628, shortly after completing his term as sheriff, he was outlawed for two debts totalling £800, which made it very difficult for him to obtain credit. In 1629 he was forced to put up 400 acres of his estate, which he claimed were worth £400 a year, in order to obtain a loan of £3,000. His creditors demanded additional security, and he mortgaged the George and a further 100 acres, but in the following year the mortgages were called in, and his house in Godmanchester was seized. When he appeared before the knighthood commissioners in the autumn of 1630, Goldsborough was noted as ‘having lately had £311 per annum lands’. Although these were then under threat of extent he was still obliged to pay £10 to compound. He must have managed to give his creditors at least temporary satisfaction, as his estate remained intact at his death.19

Goldsborough died intestate at Godmanchester on 23 Mar. 1640, and was buried there the following day.20 His wife obtained administration of his estate six weeks later.21 His eldest son apparently sold Sapley Park later that year, but must have retained a life interest, as he was still in possession, although under arrest for debt, when fined £440 for delinquency in 1647.22 Goldsborough’s second son fared little better, being forced to sell his lands and the George in 1655.23 No subsequent member of the family sat in Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Simon Healy


  • 1. C142/373/33.
  • 2. Vis. Yorks. ed. Foster, 369; London Mar. Lics. ed. J. Foster, 559.
  • 3. Al. Cant.; M. Temple Admiss.
  • 4. C142/373/33.
  • 5. C142/610/115; Hunts. RO, transcript of Godmanchester par reg.
  • 6. C142/373/33.
  • 7. C142/610/115.
  • 8. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 14.
  • 9. C231/5, p. 252.
  • 10. Vis. Yorks. 369.
  • 11. HP Commons, 1558-1603, ii. 201; CSP Dom. 1598-1601, p. 100.
  • 12. STAC 8/261/30, ff. 1, 8; MTR, 572-3, 577-8, 586; G. Aylmer, King’s Servants, 210.
  • 13. C142/373/33; VCH Hunts. ii. 128, 173; Add. ch. 39229.
  • 14. C142/610/115.
  • 15. Hunts. RO, transcript of Godmanchester par. reg.; C142/610/115; C2/Chas.I/G20/59, f. 4.
  • 16. C2/Chas.I/K16/44.
  • 17. Vis. Beds. (Harl. Soc. xix), 50-1, 53-4.
  • 18. Procs. 1626, iii. 393, 398.
  • 19. C66/2267/10; C2/Chas.I/G20/59; Bodl. Carte 74, f. 193v.
  • 20. C142/610/115; Hunts. RO, Godmanchester par. reg. transcript.
  • 21. PROB 6/17, f. 123.
  • 22. VCH Hunts. ii. 173; CCC, 1538; CJ, v. 518a.
  • 23. Hunts. RO, dd/M71/9.