Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Goldwell, James

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1199661Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 22 — Goldwell, James1890Emily Tennyson Bradley

GOLDWELL, JAMES (d. 1499), bishop of Norwich, son of William and Avice Goldwell, was born at Great Chart, Kent, on the manor which had belonged to his family since the days of Sir John Goldwell, a soldier in the reign of King John (Hasted, Kent, iii. 246; Le Neve, Fasti, iii. 539). He was educated at All Souls' College, Oxford, admitted B.C.L. 3 July 1449, D.C.L. March 1452 (Oxf. Univ. Reg. Oxf. Hist. Soc. i. 4), in which year he was made president of St. George's Hall (Wood, Hist. of Oxford, ed. Gutch, ii. 754). During his long life Goldwell received constant preferment in the church, and was employed on political missions by Edward IV. He was admitted rector of St. John the Evangelist's, London, 20 May 1455, but resigned this living the same year on being transferred to Rivenhall, Essex. He also became a prebendary of St. Paul's Cathedral, receiving the prebends of Wildland (28 Oct. 1457), Sneating (1458), and Isledon successively (Newcourt, Repertorium, i. 71), besides a Windsor canonry in 1458 (Le Neve, Fasti, iii. 387). That he held the living of Cliffe-at-Hoo, Kent, together with these other benefices, is shown by his resignation of that rectory when, in 1461, he was promoted to the archdeaconry of Essex, and also received a canonry at Hereford Cathedral (Newcourt, ii. 495; Willis, Hist. of Cathedrals, p. 604). Two years after Goldwell became dean of Salisbury. In 1460 he was registrar of the order of the Garter (Le Neve, ibid.), afterwards master of the requests, and finally principal secretary of state to Edward IV. In June 1465 his name occurs among the commissioners sent to make peace with Denmark; three years after he was the king's agent at Rome; and in September 1471 was given power to treat of peace with France (Syllabus of Rymer, ii. 695–6, 702–9). In the following autumn he was sent on a mission from Edward to Pope Sixtus IV, filling the office of king's proctor at the Roman court. The pope raised Goldwell to the vacant see of Norwich, and he was consecrated at Rome 4 Oct. 1472, the temporalities being restored on his return (25 Feb. 1473). Although a ‘pluralist’ Goldwell was liberal. According to a manuscript in the Caius College Library, quoted by Blomefield, he had at one time been the rector of his own parish church, Great Chart, and when he became bishop he ‘repaired, if not wholly rebuilt, Chart Church,’ and founded a chantry chapel for himself and his family on the south side. Weever speaks of a figure of the bishop in the east window, with the date 1477, probably that of the restorations. Before leaving Rome he had obtained an indulgence from the pope to restore Chart, which had been damaged by fire, and, in order to meet the expense, a pardon of twelve years and forty days was to be granted to all who came twice a year and gave their offerings to the church (Blomefield). So great was Goldwell's bounty to the abbey of Leeds in Kent in the reign of Henry VII, after he was bishop, that the monks acknowledged him ‘in some measure’ their founder, and in token of gratitude appointed a canon in 1487 to pray for his soul (Hasted, ii. 479). After the death of Edward IV Goldwell seems wholly to have retired from political life, and his remaining years were spent in pious works. At Norwich he not only adorned his own palace, but completed the tower of the cathedral, fitted up the choir and chapels, covered the vaulting with lead, and had the arms of the benefactors painted on the walls and windows (Blomefield). By his will, dated 10 June 1497, he left 146l. 13s. 4d. for the foundation of a chantry in the chapel of All Souls' College, Oxford, besides having given money to the college during his lifetime (Gutch, ed. 1786, p. 262). He died 15 February 1498–9. Thomas Goldwell [q. v.], bishop of St. Asaph, was his great-great-nephew.

[Authorities cited above; Blomefield's History of Norfolk, iii. 539, iv. 6; Jessopp's Dioc. Hist. of Norwich, p. 153.]

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