GODDARD, Ambrose (?1727-1815), of Swindon, Wilts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



21 Aug. 1772 - 1806

Family and Education

b. ?1727, 3rd s. of Ambrose Goddard by Elizabeth, da. of Ambrose Awdry of Seend, Wilts., and bro. of Thomas Goddard. educ. Winchester 1743-5. m. 16 Aug. 1776, Sarah, da. and h. of Rev. Thomas Williams of Pilrowth, Carm., 3s. 7da. suc. bro. 1770.

Offices Held


The earlier part of Goddard’s life was, according to the Gentleman’s Magazine (1815, ii. 275), ‘passed in mercantile engagements in Lisbon, till, by the death of his elder brother, he succeeded to the paternal inheritance in Wiltshire’. Until 1772 he was agent at Lisbon for the Post Office.

In 1772 he was nominated by the Wiltshire gentry ‘not for the affluence of fortune, or pre-eminence of talents, but ... the probity of his principles and character’,1 and was returned by a large majority after a fierce contest against Henry Herbert. The election was said to have cost £20,000;2 a subscription opened for Goddard brought in £8,250, of which he donated £1,000.3 In Parliament he consistently opposed North’s Administration; voted for Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783, and for Fox’s East India bill, 27 Nov. 1783. In January 1784 he was classed by Robinson as ‘very hopeful’. He was a member of the St. Alban’s Tavern group which attempted to bring about a union between Pitt and Fox; after this failed he ‘generally though not invariably’4 supported Pitt, his only recorded votes being with Opposition on Richmond’s fortifications plan, 27 Feb. 1786, and with Administration over the Regency. The Gentleman’s Magazine states that Goddard’s ‘diffident habits and the state of his nerves precluded him from public speaking’, and no speech by him is reported before 1790.

He died 19 June 1815, aged 88.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Mary M. Drummond


  • 1. Gent. Mag.
  • 2. Wilts. Mag. xxi. 328.
  • 3. Awdry mss, Wilts. RO.
  • 4. Gent. Mag.