Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Goodrich, Thomas
GOODRICH or GOODRICKE, THOMAS, D.D. (d. 1554), bishop of Ely and lord high chancellor of England, was a younger son of Edward Goodrich of East Kirkby, Lincolnshire, by his third wife, Jane, sole daughter and heiress of Mr. Williamson of Boston. The name was pronounced and often spelt Goodricke, in spite of the epigram—
Et bonus, et dives, bene junctus et optimus ordo;
Præcedit bonitas, pone sequuntur opes.
Thomas is said to have been a member of King's College, Cambridge, but was not on the foundation, and it seems certain that he was of Corpus Christi College, where he resided with his elder brother John, when he took his degree of B.A. in 1510, in which year he was appointed a fellow of Jesus College (Masters, Hist. C.C.C.C. p. 293). He commenced M.A. in 1514, and was one of the proctors of the university in 1515. He was admitted to the rectory of St. Peter Cheap, London, 16 Nov. 1529, on the presentation of Cardinal Wolsey, as commendatory of the abbey of St. Alban (Newcourt, Repertorium Ecclesiasticum, i. 521). He was one of the divines consulted by the convocation as to the legality of the king's marriage with Catherine of Arragon, and also one of the syndics appointed by the university of Cambridge to determine that question in February 1529–30. At this time he was a doctor of divinity. Soon afterwards he occurs as one of the chaplains to Henry VIII, and canon of St. Stephen's, Westminster. On 5 April 1533 he was present as one of the divines in the convocation held in St. Paul's chapter-house, London. In the same year he was sent to France on an embassy. He was a commissioner for reforming the ecclesiastical laws in the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI. About a year after the death of Bishop West the king promoted him to the see of Ely, and he was consecrated at Croydon by the Archbishop of Canterbury on 19 April 1534 (Le Neve, Fasti, ed. Hardy, i. 341).
His zeal for the Reformation was manifested in 1535 by his enjoining masters and fellows of colleges in the university of Cambridge to preach in the parish churches, and there to set forth to the people the king's style of supreme head of the church of England, and to renounce the pope (Strype, Eccl. Memorials, i. 186, folio). In 1537 he was one of the compilers of what was called the ‘Bishops' Book,’ which was published under the title of ‘The Godly and Pious Institution of a Christian Man;’ and soon afterwards he was entrusted with the Gospel of St. John in the revision of the New Testament. In December 1540 he seems to have been suspected of encouraging the translation by Thomas Walpole and others of an epistle of Melanchthon, and the privy council directed his study to be searched (Nicolas, Proceedings of the Privy Council, vii. 98).
On the accession of Edward VI he was sworn of the privy council, and in November 1548 was appointed one of the royal commissioners for the visitation of the university of Cambridge. He assisted in compiling the first Book of Common Prayer, which he encouraged Francis Philippe, one of his dependents, to translate into French for use in the Channel Islands and elsewhere. On 15 March 1548–9 Goodrich was sent to prepare Lord Seymour of Sudeley for death, after the warrant had been signed for his execution by his brother the Duke of Somerset. The duke's harsh conduct induced the bishop to join the malcontents in the privy council who sought the overthrow of the protector. In 1549 and 1550 he was one of the commissioners assigned to inquire ‘super hæretica pravitate.’ Hooper, writing to Bullinger on 27 Dec. 1549, refers to Goodrich as one of six or seven bishops who comprehended the reformed doctrine relating to the Lord's Supper with as much clearness and piety as one could desire; and says it was only the fear for their property that prevented them from reforming their churches according to the rule of God's word (Robinson, Letters relative to the English Reformation, i. 72, 76). In 1550 he was one of the bishops who tried to obtain a recantation from John Bocher [q. v.] (Nichols, Lit. Remains of Edward VI, ii. 264). He objected to Cranmer's making any concessions to Hooper's puritanical scruples as to the ceremony of consecration. In November 1550 Goodrich was appointed one of the commissioners for the trial of Gardiner, bishop of Winchester (Strype, Cranmer, p. 223, folio). Soon afterwards he and Cranmer were ordered by the council to dispute with George Day [q. v.], bishop of Chichester, who was deprived and committed to Goodrich in ‘Christian charity.’ In May 1551 Goodrich was appointed a commissioner to invest Henry II, king of France, with the order of the Garter, and to treat of the marriage of his daughter Elizabeth with Edward VI (Brydges, Restituta, iii. 234).
On 22 Dec. 1551 the great seal, on the sudden retirement of Lord-chancellor Rich, was given into the bishop's hands as keeper. Upon the discovery that Rich's illness was pretended, Goodrich received the full title of lord chancellor on 19 Jan. 1551–2 (Foss, Judges of England, v. 302). In the parliament which met the next day the new liturgy was made the law of the land. Another was held in March 1552–3, being the last in Edward's reign; and, on account of the king's illness, was opened in the great chamber of the palace, where Goodrich as chancellor declared the causes of the meeting. He was apparently not consulted upon Edward's settlement of the succession, but was induced by the Duke of Northumberland to put the great seal to the instrument in which it was declared. With the rest of the council he subscribed the undertaking to support the royal testament, and he acted on the council during the nine days of the Lady Jane's reign, signing as chancellor several letters issued by them on her behalf (Chronicle of Queen Jane, pp. 91, 100). He was accordingly one of the prisoners named for trial as traitors on the accession of Queen Mary; and it was perhaps on account of his having joined in the order sent by the council on 20 July, commanding the Duke of Northumberland to disarm, that the queen struck his name out of the list. The great seal was of course taken from him. He did homage to Queen Mary on the day of her coronation, and he was permitted to retain his bishopric until his death, which took place at Somersham, Huntingdonshire, on 10 May 1554. He was buried in Ely Cathedral, where there is a brass representing him in his episcopal robes as he wore them after the Reformation, with a Bible in one hand and the great seal in the other. He repaired and adorned the episcopal palace at Ely, but alienated some of the property of the see. His portrait is in Holbein's picture of the grant of the charter to Bridewell Hospital (Granger, Biog. Hist. of England, 5th edit. i. 170).
Burnet says ‘he was a busy secular spirited man, and had given himself up wholly to factions and intrigues of State; so that, though his opinion had always leaned to the Reformation, it is no wonder if a man so tempered would prefer the keeping of his bishopric before the discharge of his conscience’ (Hist. of the Reformation, ed. Pocock, ii. 442).[Authorities cited above; also Addit. MSS. 5802 f. 146, 5860 p. 321, 5870; Bentham's Ely, p. 189; Boutell's Monumental Brasses of England, pp. 17–19; Cambridge Camden Society's Monumental Brasses, p. 13; Campbell's Lives of the Lord Chancellors, 1845, ii. 28; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. i. 117, 545; Fuller's Church Hist.; Fuller's Worthies; Godwin, De Præsulibus (Richardson); Parker Society's Publications (general index); Rymer's Fœdera, xiv. 485, 486, 487, 527; Smith's Autographs; State Papers of Henry VIII; Strype's Works (general index); Wharton's Anglia Sacra, i. 676; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 707.]