Godolphin, Henry (DNB00)

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GODOLPHIN, HENRY (1648–1733), provost of Eton and dean of St. Paul's, fourth son of Sir Francis Godolphin, and younger brother of Sidney, first earl of Godolphin [q. v.], by Dorothy, second daughter of Sir Henry Berkeley of Yarlington, Somersetshire, was born at Godolphin House, Cornwall, on 15 Aug. 1648, baptised at Breage 20 Aug., and admitted at Eton 8 Oct. 1665. He matriculated from Wadham College, Oxford, 30 Aug. 1664, and took his B.A. in 1668. In the same year he was elected a fellow of All Souls, whence he proceeded M.A. 1672, and B.D. and D.D. 11 July 1685. He was made a fellow of Eton College 14 April 1677, and in obedience to a royal mandate was nominated provost of the college 16 Oct. 1695, and instituted 30 Oct. At Eton he was a considerable benefactor to the school, contributing in 1700 1,000l. towards the expense of altering the chapel, and erecting at his own cost a copper statue of the founder, Henry VI, in the schoolyard. He was nominated Sneating prebendary of St. Paul's, London, 13 Nov. 1683, holding the prebend till his decease. After the death of Dr. William Sherlock he was elected dean of St. Paul's, 14 July 1707, and installed on 18 July, but resigning the deanery in October 1726, he returned to the duties of the provostship of Eton, a position much better suited to his abilities and temperament. During his tenure of office at St. Paul's he had greatly thwarted Sir Christopher Wren in his efforts to erect a suitable cathedral. In 1720 he gave to the city of Salisbury certain moneys, then vested in foreign funds, to be applied to the education of eight young gentlewomen whose parents belonged to the church of England. This money, after some delay, was remitted to England, but the business was thrown into chancery, and it was not until 1788 that the charity could be established (Hoare, Wiltshire, 1843, vi. 516, 533, 536, 830). Mr. Willymott, vice-provost of King's College, Cambridge, in 1722 brought out a new translation of 'Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis, four books, together with his three tabernacles of Poverty, Humility, and Patience.' This work was originally dedicated to 'Dr. Godolphin, provost of Eton,' but when Willymott recollected that Godolphin had abused the fellows of that college, the dedication was cancelled, and it was 'dedicated to the sufferers by the South Sea scheme.' Godolphin died at Windsor, 29 Jan. 1732-3, and was buried in Eton Chapel, leaving by will many valuable books to the college. Some letters from him to members of his family are in Brit. Mus. Addit, MS. 28052, ff. 17-25.

He married Mary, daughter of Colonel Sidney, son of John Godolphin [q. v.]; she died 30 June 1743. His son, Sir Francis Godolphin, succeeded his cousin Francis [q. v.] as second Baron Godolphin of Helston in 1766, but dying in 1785 the title became extinct. His daughter Mary married William Owen, esq., of Porkington.

[Evelyn's Diary (1852), ii. 135, 195, 276, 341; Nichols's Literary Anecdotes, i. 237, 681, 706, iv. 601, v.98, viii.391; Milman's Annals of St. Paul's (1869), pp. 436, 458; Creasy's Memoirs of Etonians (1876), pp. 233-5; Lyte's Eton College (1875), pp. 270, 284, 287; Boase and Courtney's Bibliotheca Cornubiensis, pp. 178, 1199; Boase's Collectanea Cornubiensis, p. 283.]

G. C. B.