John Godolphin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

John Godolphin (1617–1678) was an English jurist and writer, and Judge of the High Court of Admiralty under the Commonwealth.


The second son (by Judith Meredith) of John Godolphin, who was younger brother of Sir William Godolphin (died 1613), he was born on the Isles of Scilly, 29 November 1617. He became a commoner of Gloucester Hall, Oxford, in the Michaelmas term of 1632. There he studied philosophy, logic, and the civil law; he graduated as B.C.L. in 1636 and D.C.L. in 1643.

He took the Parliamentarian side, and on 30 July 1653 was appointed judge of the admiralty, with William Clerk and Charles George Cocke. After Clarke's death Godolphin and Cock were reappointed in July 1659 to hold the same office until 10 December. After the Restoration he became one of the king's advocates.

He died near Fleet Street, 4 April 1678, and was buried in Clerkenwell Church. He was four times married, and had by his first wife a son, Sidney, who was governor of Scilly, and whose daughter Mary married Henry Godolphin.


Godolphin wrote the following books on law and divinity:

  • ‘The Holy Limbec, or an Extraction of the Spirit from the Letter of certain eminent places in the Holy Scripture,’ 1650. ‘The Holy Limbeck, or a Semi-Century of Spiritual Extraction,’ &c., is the same book with title altered.
  • ‘The Holy Arbor, containing a Body of Divinity. … Collected from many Orthodox Laborers in the Lord's Vineyard,’ 1651.
  • ‘Synēgoros thalassios, a view of the Admiral Jurisdiction …’ 1661 and 1685 (appendix has a list of lord high admirals after Henry Spelman, and an extract from the ancient laws of Oleron, translated from Garsias alias Ferrand).
  • ‘The Orphan's Legacy, or a Testamentary Abridgement’ (in three parts, on wills, executors, and legacies), 1674, 1677, 1685, 1701.
  • ‘Repertorium Canonicum, or an Abridgement of the Ecclesiastical Laws of this Realm consistent with the Temporal,’ 1678, 1680, 1687.


  • "Godolphin, John" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Godolphin, John". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.