GOLDSWORTHY, Philip (c.1737-1801).

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



2 Feb. 1785 - Jan. 1788
15 Feb. 1794 - 4 Jan. 1801

Family and Education

b. c.1737, s. of Burrington Goldsworthy, consul at Leghorn and subsequently Cadiz, by Philippia, da. of Capt. Philip Vanbrugh, R.N., yst. bro. of Sir John Vanbrugh the architect.  educ. Westminster 1749-c.1754; Trinity, Camb. 1755; L. Inn 1755.  unmsuc. to estates of his aunt Martha, wid. of Francis Gashry (q.v.), 1777.

Offices Held

Cornet, 1 Drag. 1756, lt. 1760, capt. 1768, maj. 1776, lt.-col. 1779; col. 1784; maj.-gen. 1793; col. 1 Drag. 1794- d.; lt.-gen. 1799.

Equerry 1779 and clerk marshal 1788 to the King.


Goldsworthy served with Lord Herbert in the regiment commanded by Lord Pembroke, and was returned for Wilton when Herbert was appointed vice-chamberlain. ‘Though Goldsworthy was very proper for the time’, wrote Pembroke to Herbert on 21 Sept. 1787,1 ‘I do not of course mean him to be the fixed Member here.’ Herbert now wished to return to Parliament, and Goldsworthy, though anxious to remain in the House, was prepared to vacate his seat. Herbert approached Pitt, who appeared willing to bring in Goldsworthy when a vacancy occurred, and was himself ready to wait till that took place. But no other constituency was found and in January 1788 Goldsworthy vacated his seat. He was returned against in 1794 when Herbert succeeded to the peerage. There is no record of his speaking in the House, and his only known vote during his first term in Parliament was for Administration on the Duke of Richmond's fortifications plan, 27 Feb. 1786.

Goldsworthy was for many years an equerry in the royal household, ‘warmly and faithfully attached to the King and all the royal family’.2 Fanny Burney described him as ‘a man of little cultivation or literature, but delighting in a species of dry humour’ which greatly entertained the King; he was ‘the wag professed among the equerries’, and privileged to say what he pleased. When ‘perfectly at his ease, pleased with every individual in his company, and completely in good humour’ he would joke about court life:

After all one's labours, riding, and walking, and standing, and bowing—what a life it is? Well! it's honour! that's one comfort; it's all honour! royal honour!—one has the honour to stand till one has not a foot left; and to ride till one's stiff, and to walk till one's ready to drop,—and then one makes one's lowest bow, d'ye see, and blesses one's self with joy for the honour.

But she also describes him as a man of moods whose ‘sport and humour ... ceases wholly if the smallest thing happens to disconcert him’. A brother officer, Major J. Floyd, called him ‘a very good fellow’ and ‘a most excellent officer’.3

He died 4 Jan. 1801.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Mary M. Drummond


  • 1. Pembroke Pprs. ii. 360.
  • 2. Diary and Letters of Mme D'Arblay, ed. Dobson, iii. 64-65, 258.
  • 3. Pembroke Pprs. i. 348; ii. 66.