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Francis Godolphin, 2nd Earl of Godolphin

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Title: Francis Godolphin, 2nd Earl of Godolphin  
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Language: English
Subject: Godolphin Arabian, Duke of Marlborough (title), Thomas Osborne, 4th Duke of Leeds, William Gregg (clerk and spy), List of office holders of the Duchy of Cornwall
Collection: 1678 Births, 1766 Deaths, Alumni of King's College, Cambridge, British Mps 1707–08, British Mps 1708–10, British Mps 1710–13, Earls in the Peerage of England, English Mps 1695–98, English Mps 1701, English Mps 1701–02, English Mps 1702–05, English Mps 1705–07, Godolphin Family, Infobox Templates, Lord-Lieutenants of Oxfordshire, Lords Privy Seal, Members of the Parliament of Great Britain for Constituencies in Cornwall, Members of the Parliament of Great Britain for English Constituencies, Members of the Pre-1707 English Parliament for Constituencies in Cornwall, Members of the Privy Council of Great Britain, People Educated at Eton College
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Francis Godolphin, 2nd Earl of Godolphin

The 2nd Earl of Godolphin.

Francis Godolphin, 2nd Earl of Godolphin, PC (3 September 1678 – 17 January 1766) was a British politician, styled Viscount Rialton between 1706 and 1712.


  • Biography 1
  • Issue 2
  • Notes 3
  • References 4


Godolphin, only child of Sidney Godolphin, 1st Earl of Godolphin, was born in Whitehall, London, on 3 September 1678, and baptised the same day. His mother, Margaret Godolphin, died six days later on 9 September. John Evelyn, who had been her most intimate acquaintance, transferred his friendship to her infant son, took charge of the general superintendence of his education, and continued to take an interest in his welfare as he grew.

Francis Godolphin was educated at Eton College, and at King's College, Cambridge, where he took his M.A. degree in 1705.[1] His first public appointment was that of joint registrar of the court of chancery on 29 June 1698, which he held to 20 January 1727, holding also the place of one of the tellers of the exchequer from 1699 to 1704. He was chosen a member of parliament for East Looe in Cornwall on 1 December 1701, but on 4 February 1701–2 elected to serve for Helston, and sat for that constituency till 21 September 1710. As cofferer of the household he was in office from 1704 to 1711, and acted as lord warden of the stannaries, high steward of the duchy of Cornwall, and rider and master forester of Dartmoor from 1705 to 1708. He was known under the courtesy title of Viscount Rialton from 29 December 1706 till 1712. He sat for the county of Oxford from 1708 to 1710, and for Tregony in Cornwall from the latter date until he was elevated to the upper house as second Earl of Godolphin on the death of his father on 15 September 1712.

He was again cofferer of the household 1714–23, groom of the stole, and first lord of the bedchamber 1727–35. He was named high steward of Woodstock 18 March 1728, and the same day appointed Governor of the Scilly Islands.

On 23 January 1735 he was created Baron Godolphin of Helston in Cornwall, with special remainder, in default of his own issue, to the heirs male of his deceased uncle, Dr. Henry Godolphin, dean of St. Paul's. During the king's absence from Great Britain in 1723, 1725, and 1727 he acted as one of the lords justices of the United Kingdom. Finally, as lord privy seal, he was in office from 14 May 1735 to 25 April 1740. The pocket borough of Helston, not far from his ancestral home, Godolphin House, was under his patronage for many years, and sent his nominees to parliament. In return for this complaisance he rebuilt Helston Church in 1763, at an expense of £6,000, and it was also his custom to pay the rates and taxes for all the electors in the borough. It is said that he only read two works, Burnet's History of my own Time and Colley Cibber's Apology. When he had perused them throughout he began them again. He died on 17 January 1766, and was buried in Kensington Church on 25 January, when the earldom of Godolphin, viscounty of Rialton, and barony of Godolphin of Rialton became extinct; but the barony of Godolphin of Helston devolved upon his cousin Francis Godolphin, 2nd Baron Godolphin of Helston.

Godolphin married, in March 1698, Lady Henrietta Churchill, eldest daughter of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough and Sarah Jennings. She was born 20 July, and baptised at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London, 29 July 1681. On the death of her father, 16 June 1722, she became Duchess of Marlborough, and dying 24 October 1733 was buried in Westminster Abbey on 9 November. She acquired much notoriety by her attachment to William Congreve, the dramatist.

Godolphin was one of the founding Governors of the charity called the Foundling Hospital, created in 1739. The charity aimed to tackle the problem of child abandonment in London by providing an orphanage where parents could leave babies they considered themselves incapable of raising. He also had the distinction of owning one of the founding thoroughbred sires, the Godolphin Arabian. Among his protegés was the physician and humourist Messenger Monsey, for whom he obtained the position of physician to Royal Chelsea Hospital.



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Parliament of England
Preceded by
Charles Godolphin
Sir John St Aubyn, Bt
Member of Parliament for Helston
With: Charles Godolphin
Succeeded by
Charles Godolphin
Sidney Godolphin
Preceded by
Henry Trelawny
Sir Henry Seymour, Bt
Member of Parliament for East Looe
With: Sir Henry Seymour, Bt
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Seymour, Bt
George Courtenay
Preceded by
Charles Godolphin
Sidney Godolphin
Member of Parliament for Helston
With: Sidney Godolphin
Parliament of England abolished
Parliament of Great Britain
New title Member of Parliament for Helston
With: Sidney Godolphin
Succeeded by
Sidney Godolphin
John Evelyn
Preceded by
Sir Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Bt
Sir Edward Norreys
Member of Parliament for Oxfordshire
With: Sir Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Bt 1689–1710
Sir Robert Jenkinson, 3rd Bt 1710
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Jenkinson, 3rd Bt
Francis Clerke
Preceded by
Anthony Nicoll
Thomas Herne
Member of Parliament for Tregony
With: John Trevanion 1710
George Robinson 1710–1713
Succeeded by
George Robinson
Edward Southwell
Political offices
Preceded by
Henry Carew
Teller of the Exchequer
Succeeded by
Thomas Coke
Preceded by
Sir Benjamin Bathurst
Cofferer of the Household
Succeeded by
Samuel Masham
Preceded by
The Lord Masham
Cofferer of the Household
Succeeded by
William Pulteney
Preceded by
The Viscount Lonsdale
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by
The Lord Hervey
Court offices
Preceded by
The Lord Granville
Lord Warden of the Stannaries
Succeeded by
Hugh Boscawen
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Earl of Abingdon
Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire
Succeeded by
The Duke of Marlborough
Preceded by
Sidney Godolphin
Governor of the Isles of Scilly
Succeeded by
The Duke of Leeds
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Sidney Godolphin
Earl of Godolphin
Peerage of Great Britain
New creation Baron Godolphin
Succeeded by
Francis Godolphin
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