Gabriel Goodman

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Gabriel Goodman
Gabriel Goodman - - 569829.jpg
Religion Church of England
Born 6 November 1528
Died 17 June 1601
Senior posting
Based in England
Title Dean of Westminster
Period in office 1561–1601

Gabriel Goodman (6 November 1528 – 17 June 1601) was the Dean of Westminster and the re-founder of Ruthin School, in Ruthin, Denbighshire.

Early years[edit]

Gabriel Goodman, the second son of Edward Goodman, a wealthy merchant in Ruthin, Denbighshire, was born at Nantclwyd y Dre, Ruthin in 1528. Very little is known of his early years, but a nineteenth-century biography suggests that he was taught at home by one of the priests of the dissolved collegiate church at Ruthin. Goodman's entrance to the University of Oxford in or about 1543 and his later B.A. from the University of Cambridge confirms that he also received formal grammatical training, and he matriculated from St John's College, Cambridge sometime in 1549 or 1550.[1]

In 1553 Goodman secured his M.A. at Christ's College, Cambridge and, finding the formalities of a theological grounding unnecessary, a D.D. from St John's in 1564. After Cambridge he became chaplain to Sir William Cecil, later Lord Burghley,[1] and tutor to William's eldest son Thomas Cecil, Earl of Exeter.

Ecclesiastical career[edit]

In 1559 Goodman was made a prebend of St Paul's Cathedral to which he added a prebendary of Westminster Collegiate Church in May 1560. The old Westminster Abbey had been dissolved and the monks dispersed or pensioned. Queen Elizabeth I reinstituted the establishment as a collegiate church with Dr Bill as Dean and Gabriel Goodman as twelfth prebendary.

Sometime in 1561 Goodman was promoted to the position of Dean and in January 1562 he was concerned in "a memorable convocation of the clergy of the Province of Canterbury wherein the matters of Church were to be debated and settled for the future regular service of God and establishment of orthodox Doctrine". The convocation's deliberation culminated in the Thirty-Nine Articles of which Goodman was a signatory.

When William Morgan was supervising the printing of the Welsh Bible he stayed with Goodman at the Deanery. Dean Goodman was well versed in several languages and was considered for seven bishoprics but, for reasons which are not clear, Goodman's attempts to secure a diocese were unsuccessful. Notwithstanding the support of Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, Goodman failed to gain the see of Norwich in 1575, Rochester in 1581, Chichester in 1585 and Chester in 1596.

Re-Foundation of Ruthin School[edit]

In 1574 Goodman returned to his home-town of Ruthin where he made strenuous efforts on its behalf. In addition to signing a petition to the Countess of Warwick to arrange a new charter for the borough, Goodman had built a new School-house to the north of St Peter's Church. Whilst there is evidence to suggest that Ruthin School had continued to function after the dissolution of the collegiate church in or about 1535, it is not clear where the school was held. It therefore appears that Goodman had the new building constructed to provide a permanent home for his old school.

Over the next decades Goodman endeavoured to secure Ruthin School's future. On 23 February 1591 Goodman presented the lands and incomes of the churches of Ruthin and Llanrhydd, in perpetuity, to the President (the Bishop of Bangor) and the Warden of Ruthin and in May 1599 he returned home "to perfect that work begun of the school".

Gabriel Goodman died on 17 June 1601 and was buried in Westminster Abbey. A memorial monument was also installed in the Ambulatory Chapel of St Benedict with a Latin inscription translating as:


  1. ^ a b "Goodman, Gabriel (GDMN546G)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.