GOODRICH, Robert, of Cambridge.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Jan. 1390

Family and Education

Offices Held

Commr. of inquiry, Cambs. Mar., Apr. 1401 (poaching on crown lands); array Nov. 1403.

Mayor, Cambridge Sept. 1401-4.1

J.p. Cambridge 4 Jan. 1402-Dec. 1404.


Other members of the Goodrich family lived in Cambridge in the second half of the 14th century, including four who were fellows of King’s Hall. But when first recorded, in February 1385, as the recipient of a royal pardon, Robert Goodrich was described as an ‘esquire of Northamptonshire, dwelling in Cambridge’.2 However, his origins were not mentioned thereafter: on several of the occasions that he subsequently acted as a surety in Chancery it was as ‘of Cambridge’ or ‘of Cambridgeshire’.3Little is known of his property holdings in Cambridge, but it seems likely that these were quite substantial by August 1392 when he, with others, obtained a royal licence to alienate in mortmain four messuages, two tofts and certain rents in the town in aid of a chantry in the parish church of St. Clement. He was also prepared to invest in land outside Cambridge: in the following year he acquired from Thomas Walden and his wife a moiety of three messuages and some 190 acres of farmland in Teversham, Fulbourn, Trumpington and elsewhere. Then, in September 1397, he entered into an agreement with the master and scholars of Merton college, Oxford, by which, for £5 a year, he took on a ten-years lease of Merton Hall in Cambridge along with its meadows, closes and arable land in the fields nearby, together with rents at Girton and Howes.4

Goodrich’s landed holdings, which in 1412 were estimated to provide him with an annual income of no less than £20 13s.4d., gave him interests similar to those of members of the gentry of Cambridgeshire, with some of whom he established connexions. Among them were at least four knights of the shire (although none of them sat in the same Parliaments as did Goodrich himself). Thus, he acted as a feoffee of the manor of ‘Brompton’ in Meldreth on behalf of John Topcliffe, by whose authority it was sold in 1391 to Sir Edmund de la Pole*; in 1397 he was among witnesses to deeds of John Tyndale* relating to estates in Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire; in 1402 he offered mainprize in Chancery for Thomas Priour*; and five years later he was party to a transaction concerning the holdings of John Hore I* and his wife in Chesterton and Rampton.5

Goodrich’s parliamentary service for Cambridge took place several years before he is recorded as playing any part in local government. But such an involvement did begin in 1401, and he then served for three consecutive years as mayor, during which he acted ex officio as a j.p. in the town, and also received appointments to royal commissions in the shire at large. It was during his third term as mayor (1403-4) that he sued a Lincolnshire man for a debt of 40s., and three years later he brought another action in the central courts, this time for the substantial sum of £40 against one Roger Rede. Goodrich’s official conduct as mayor was cited with approval in articles brought by the chancellor and proctors of the university in 1420 against John Bilney I*, where Bilney’s allegedly infamous behaviour towards the clerks was contrasted with the more lenient approach of his predecessor.6

Goodrich is last recorded in 1422 as witness to a local deed.7

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: E.M. Wade


  • 1. Add. 5833, f. 133d.; J.H. Cooper, Annals Cambridge, i. 165.
  • 2. Biog. Reg. Univ. Cambridge to 1500 ed. Emden, 261; C67/29 m. 4.
  • 3. CCR, 1385-9, p. 616; 1392-6, p. 224.
  • 4. C143/420/21; CPR, 1391-6, p. 139; CP25(1)30/90/123; Add. 5813, f. 198.
  • 5. CCR, 1389-92, pp. 483, 504; 1396-9, p. 80; 1402-5, p. 130; VCH Cambs. viii. 85; CP25(1)30/93/44; Feudal Aids, vi. 411.
  • 6. CPR, 1401-5, p. 336; 1405-8, p. 132; Cooper, i. 165.
  • 7. Harl. Ch. 51G 17.