GOLDSMITH, Francis (by 1518-86), of London and Crayford, Kent.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Oct. 1553

Family and Education

b. by 1518. educ. Christ’s, Camb., scholar 1532/33, BA 1535, MA 1539; fellow of Peterhouse 1536-43. m. 1551, Joan (d.1569), da. of Clement Newce of Much Hadham, Herts., 10 ch. (at least 4s. 3da.).2

Offices Held

Servant of Queen Catherine Parr c.1543, sewer or gent. waiter by 1547, surveyor of the meltings, Tower mints I and II by Sept. 1551-c. Aug. 1559; commr. sewers Essex, Herts., Mdx. 1566, Kent 1568.3


Francis Goldsmith is the first of his family to be mentioned in the visitations and, for a man of his wealth, remains remarkably obscure. A widow Goldsmith was a tenant in the parishes of Bexley and Crayford in 1544, so that he may have come from that part of Kent, where he lived in later years. He probably had commercial interests, since he married into a London mercer’s family and apprenticed his two younger sons in the City.4

After spending 11 years at Cambridge, Goldsmith entered the service of Catherine Parr, where he remained until her death. He held a minor post in her household but, contrary to tradition, he was never her chaplain: this belief appears to rest on a gloss to his letter of thanks to the Queen for admitting him to her household in which he praised her piety and signed himself ‘servus’. He had no ties with the boroughs which he represented in Parliament. In 1547, in what appears to have been his first experience of the Commons, he was elected at Chippenham, where Catherine Parr exercised a predominant influence: he may also have been returned for Liverpool, but the list of Members revised early in 1552 shows that he sat for Chippenham. After the dowager Queen’s death he found employment in the mint, where his friend and former colleague in her household, (Sir) Nicholas Throckmorton, was under treasurer. Throckmorton may have helped Goldsmith to find a seat in the first Parliament of Mary’s reign, but his patron at Mitchell was probably the treasurer, William Paulet, Marquess of Winchester, whose kinsmen the Arundells of Lanherne controlled the borough. Goldsmith supported the Protestant opposition in the House to the restoration of Catholicism, as did Throckmorton’s brother Clement. His dissidence on this occasion may have prevented his re-election during Mary’s reign, but he was to be returned to Parliament for a third and final time at the accession of Elizabeth.5

Goldsmith bought properties in London and the home counties, but his chief interest was in Kent. There he withdrew, on his resignation from the mint, and apparently lived as a country gentleman until his death at Crayford on 26 Mar. 1586. He had made his will in the previous November, appointing his eldest son Francis executor and another son and two sons-in-law, William Lewin and Anthony Luther, overseers.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: T. F.T. Baker


  • 1. HMC Var. iv. 128; Hatfield 207.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from education, Peterhouse Biog. Reg. i. 130-1. Mill Stephenson, Mon. Brasses, 185; PCC 25 Windsor.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, xviii; E101/426/2, f. 5; 315/340, p. 66; APC, iv. 84; CPR, 1558-60, p. 26; 1569-72, pp. 218-20; Brit. Numismatic Jnl. xlv. 60.
  • 4. Vis. Lond. (Harl. Soc. xv), 321; Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. xlii), 198; LP Hen. VIII, xix; NRA 8388.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, xvii; Lansd. 980, ff. 43-43v; A. L. Rowse, Tudor Cornw. 293; Ralegh and the Throckmortons, 55-56; CSP Dom. Add. 1547-65, p. 511; Bodl. e Museo 17.
  • 6. CPR, 1550-3, p. 27; 1555-7, p. 60; Wards 7/21/160; PCC 25 Windsor.