Arthur Goodwin MP

Goodwin was a member of a family of county gentry that was well established in Buckinghamshire by the mid-sixteenth century. Arthur’s father Francis was knighted in 1601 and served as JP, MP and Sheriff of the county. His mother was Elizabeth Grey, daughter of Arthur Grey, 14th Baron Grey of Wilton.

Arthur was probably born around 1595 and educated at Thame Grammar School, alongside his close friend John Hampden. He was admitted as a barrister of the Inner Temple in 1613 and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford in 1614. He married Jane Wenman, daughter of Richard Wenman, 1st Viscount Wenman, in 1618. Their only child, Jane, became the second wife of Philip Wharton, 4th Baron Wharton in 1637.

Arthur Goodwin sat as MP for High Wycombe in the Parliaments of 1621 and 1624 and represented Aylesbury in 1626. In 1640 he was returned as one of the two Members for Buckinghamshire in both the Short and the Long Parliaments.  An experienced politician, he was active in the early debates of the Long Parliament.

During the Civil War he was a strong supporter of the puritan and parliamentarian causes and his substantial personal wealth enabled him to give generous financial support to the war effort.  He was active primarily in his own county, a key border region straddling the road from London to Oxford, the royalist capital. In August 1642 he joined John Hampden and Bulstrode Whitelocke in capturing the Earl of Berkshire as he attempted to raise troops for the king in Oxfordshire. They also prevented the royalist seizure of Daventry, where they captured the Earl of Northampton. Goodwin commanded a cavalry regiment in Essex’s army at the battles of Edgehill and Turnham Green.

Goodwin was appointed as commander-in-chief of Buckinghamshire in January 1643. Raiding close to Oxford in March he captured horses and cattle. Following the successful siege of Reading he helped force Prince Rupert to retreat towards Oxford.

In June 1643, Goodwin’s friend Hampden was wounded at Chalgrove in a skirmish with a royalist raiding party commanded by Prince Rupert. Goodwin visited Hampden in Thame and when he died a few days later wrote a moving letter to his daughter in praise of Hampden and asked for a black ribbon to tie to his standard. Goodwin himself died on 16th August 1643 in Clerkenwell, of ‘camp fever’, possibly a form of typhus. He is buried at Wooburn in Buckinghamshire.