GODDISLAND, John (by 1489-1546), of Barnstaple, Devon.

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 1489, s. of one Goddisland of Barnstaple. m. Thomasin.3

Offices Held

Mayor, Barnstaple 1510-11, 1513-14, 1525-6, 1544-5; commr. subsidy, Devon 1512, 1515.4


A leading merchant of Barnstaple, John Goddisland is known to have sat in the Parliaments of 1512 and 1515—on the second occasion in accordance with the King’s request for the return of the previous Members—and may have done so in others for which the names are lost. A payment of 13s.4d. made to him pro uno burgensium parliamenti appears in the accounts of the borough receiver for 1513-14 and is followed in 1514-15 by another of 16d. for ‘a book of an act’, perhaps the Act on the manufacture of woollen cloth in Devon (6 Hen. VIII, c.8). Among other payments to Goddisland was one for the carriage of money to London in 1524-5; two years later he and John Meryfield were charged with delivering on behalf of the receiver 50s. to the wardens of the bridge, to whom Goddisland himself gave 6s.8d. in the following year. He was a defendant in two lawsuits, one in the Star Chamber concerning a messuage in Barnstaple, the other in the court of requests in his capacity as an executor.5

By a will made on 15 May and proved on 13 July 1546 Goddisland asked to be buried ‘nigh unto the burial of my father’ in the guild of St. Mary in the south aisle of Barnstaple church, and bequeathed to the church a carpet before the high altar, a streamer of gold silk with his mark, and money for prayers for the souls of himself, his parents and his friends. He left £5 6s.8d. for distribution among the poor at his funeral and made small bequests to friends and servants. He gave the residue of his goods and a life interest in his property to his widow, his sole executrix, herself soon to follow him to the grave.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. N. Devon Athenaeum, Barnstaple 3972, f. 26v.
  • 2. Ibid. f. 27.
  • 3. Date of birth estimated from first reference. PCC 13 Alen.
  • 4. J. B. Gribble, Barnstaple, 200-1; Statutes, iii. 80, 174.
  • 5. N. Devon Athenaeum 46/123; 512; 514; 3972, ff. 17-18, 26v, 27, 34, 38, 46(2); St.Ch.2/23/271, 24/351; Req.2/5/365.
  • 6. PCC 13, 15 Alen.