John Godolphin 1617-1678

From Book Owners Online

John GODOLPHIN 1617-1678

Biographical Note

Born on the Isles of Scilly, son of John Godolphin, a member of a prominent Cornish family. BA Gloucester Hall, Oxford 1635, BCL 1636, DCL 1643. His sympathies were with the parliamentary cause during the Civil War, when he lived in London. He was made a judge of the Admiralty Court in 1653, and was elected President of Doctors’ Commons in 1655. He published some theological tracts during the 1650s, and went on to publish several legal works. He was ejected from the Admiralty Court at the Restoration, but continued to practice as a London barrister.


Godolphin’s sizeable library, together with that of Owen Phillips (second master of Winchester College

) was sold by auction in London by William Cooper, beginning 11 November 1678. The sale catalogue does not distinguish which books came from which source. It includes 3321 lots, together with ca.1000 unbound pamphlets, classified as Latin law (319 lots), English law (193), Manuscripts (26; mostly legal, so presumably Godolphin’s), Latin/Greek theology and patristics (872), Latin philology (573), English theology (880) and English philology (458).

In his will, Godolphin directed that £20 raised from the sale of his Latin books should be given to poor ministers, at the discretion of his widow Rebekah Godolphin. He also directed that £5 be given to his son Sidney “to buy him a Bible and the annotations of divines thereon”. Beyond this, the will does not specify his wishes regarding books; the residue of his estate after major bequests of property went to his daughter Rebekah, subject to a lifetime interest of his widow.

Characteristic Markings

None of Godolphin’s books have been identified.