GOULSTON (GULSTON), Sir William (c.1641-87), of Whitechapel, Mdx. and Fairfield, Kent.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1641, 2nd s. of Richard Goulston of Wyddial, Herts. by Alice, da. of William Meggs, Draper, of White-chapel. m. 24 Nov. 1674, Frideswide, da. of Robert Morris, yeoman, of Abingdon, Berks., 3s. 2da. Kntd. 8 Mar. 1680.1

Offices Held

Member, R. Africa Co. 1672, E.I. Co. 1675, committee 1684-5; commr. for assessment, Herts. 1679-80; j.p. Mdx. 1679-87; lt.-col. orange regt. of militia ft. London 1680-1; member, Hon. Artillery Co. 1681; jurat, New Romney 1685-d.2.


Goulston’s grandfather, of Leicestershire origin, became a protonotary of the court of common pleas and bought the Hertfordshire estate of Wyddial in 1628. His father, though apparently neutral in the Civil War, sat for Hertfordshire in Richard Cromwell’s Parliament. Goulston, taking after his mother’s family, became a London merchant and by 1671 was engaged in foreign trade. His association with the Africa and East India Companies must have been profitable; in the seventies he was trading briskly in the stock of the latter company. He owned property in Whitechapel, and his wife brought him the Norfolk manor of East Bradenham. He was one of the Middlesex grand jury that found a true bill against Lord Arundell of Wardour in the Popish Plot. Through his marriage to the niece of John Morris, he became intimately connected with his senior partner, Sir Robert Clayton, serving as his lieutenant-colonel in the London train-bands, and it was doubtless Clayton who secured his return for Bletchingley in 1681. He was named only to the committee of elections and privileges in the short Oxford Parliament. In April he lost his militia commission. Although empanelled as a juryman for the Fitzharris trial, he failed to appear. In July 1683 he was regarded as ‘dangerous’ by (Sir) Adam Browne, whose son Ambrose had his eye on the constituency, though Goulston’s connexion with so prominent a Whig as Clayton gave some grounds for distrust. But he can never have been seriously under suspicion, for he was not removed from the commission of the peace.3

Goulston inherited an interest at New Romney from his uncle Edward, who married a local heiress, and he leased the manor of Fairfield, 12 miles away, from the Canterbury chapter. On 24 Mar. 1685 Sir Benjamin Bathurst described him to the corporation as his very good friend. ‘I know he hath a good interest in and near your town’, he wrote, adding that if he were elected the King would be pleased. Fortified by this recommendation, the electors not only returned him to Parliament but chose him as one of the supporters of the canopy at the coronation. An active Member of James II’s Parliament, he was named to 12 committees, including those appointed to inspect the accounts of the disbandment commissioners and to bring in the bill for the general naturalization of foreign Protestants. In August he was appointed a jurat of New Romney under the new charter, but he was removed from the Middlesex bench by order of the Privy Council early in 1687. He died later in the year, aged 46, and was buried at Wyddial on 23 Dec. 1687. In his will he was able to leave to each of his daughters a portion of £5,000, and his executors still held £5,500 East India stock at the Revolution. His cousin Edward sat for New Romney in William III’s last Parliament as a Tory.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Basil Duke Henning


  • 1. J. Cussans, Herts. Edwinstree, 121; Le Neve’s Knights (Harl. Soc. viii), 335; Misc. Gen. et Her. n.s. i. 212-13.
  • 2. Sel. Charters (Selden Soc. xxviii), 188; Cal. Ct. Mins. E.I. Co. ed. Sainsbury, x. 255; Guildhall Broadsheets, A9/1/9; Luttrell, i. 75; Ancient Vellum Bk. ed. Raikes, 110.
  • 3. Blomefield, Norf. vi. 136; HMC Lords, i. 28; State Trials, viii. 333; CSP Dom. July-Sept. 1683, p. 172.
  • 4. Hasted, Kent, viii. 380; PCC 176 Mico; VCH Surr. iv. 258; Kent AO, NR/ AEp, f. 52; Arch. Cant. xiii. 476; Cussans, 121, Suss. Arch. Colls. xv. 193; Luttrell, i. 75; Stowe 796, f. 196; PCC 4 Exton; Add. 22185, f. 14.