Francis Godolphin (1605–1667)

Sir Francis Godolphin KB MP (25 December 1605 – 22 March 1667), of Godolphin in Cornwall, was an English nobleman, landowner, politician, and Member of Parliament. His chief claim to fame is that he was the dedicatee of Hobbes' Leviathan.

Francis Godolphin

Sir Francis Godolphin (1605–1667)
Born25 December 1605
Died22 March 1667
Spouse(s)Dorothy Berkeley
ChildrenSir William Godolphin, 1st Baronet
Sidney Godolphin, 1st Earl of Godolphin
Dr. Henry Godolphin
Parent(s)Sir William Godolphin (1567–1613)
Thomasine Sidney


Godolphin was the eldest son of Sir William Godolphin (1567–1613) and brother of the poet Sidney Godolphin, both of whom were also members of Parliament. He succeeded his father in 1613, inheriting estates which included the lease of the Scilly Isles.


He represented Helston in the Parliament of 1625–6, again in the Long Parliament and was appointed High Sheriff of Cornwall in 1638.

Being a Royalist, when the Civil War broke out he returned to Cornwall, where he secured the Scilly Isles for the King and raised a regiment of which his brother, William, took command. In consequence, he was disbarred from sitting in Parliament in January 1644, and his estates were sequestered. However, after the capture of the King he negotiated an honourable capitulation of the Scilly Isles to Parliament, the House of Commons voting "that Mr Godolphin, governor of Scilly, upon his surrender of that island, with all forts &c, should enjoy his estate and be free from arrest for any acts of war".

He was elected once more for Helston in the Convention Parliament of 1660, and following the Restoration he was knighted at Charles II's coronation. He died in 1667.

Marriage and children

Sir Francis married Dorothy Berkeley, a daughter of Sir Sir Henry Berkeley of Yarlington in Somerset, MP for Ilchester, by whom he had at least 16 children, including: Several sources have confused The Second daughter Ursula Godolphin (1643–1701) with her Great aunt Ursula Godolphin (1575-1601) when in fact She was the wife of John Crudge, he was Deputy Governor of Scilly & they were the parents of William Crudge, (1660–1720) Deputy, Commissary of Musters, Who married Catherine Mumford, her Great aunt was the wife of John Grudge and they were the parents of Frances Grudge.

  • Jael Godolphin, third daughter, who married Edward Boscawen (1628–1685) of Cornwall, MP.


  1. Inscription on ledger stone, King's Nympton Church, Devon



  • D Brunton & D H Pennington, Members of the Long Parliament (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1954)
  • Cobbett's Parliamentary history of England, from the Norman Conquest in 1066 to the year 1803 (London: Thomas Hansard, 1808)
  • Willis, Browne (1750). Notitia Parliamentaria, Part II: A Series or Lists of the Representatives in the several Parliaments held from the Reformation 1541, to the Restoration 1660 ... London. p. 1.
  • Burke's Extinct Peerage (London: Henry Colburn & Richard Bentley, 1831)
  • Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Francis Carew
Thomas Carew
Member of Parliament for Helston
With: Francis Carew
Succeeded by
Sidney Godolphin
William Noy
Preceded by
Sidney Godolphin
William Godolphin
Member of Parliament for Helston
With: Sidney Godolphin 1640–1643
Second seat vacant 1643–1644
Succeeded by
John Penrose
John Thomas
Preceded by
Anthony Rous
Alexander Penhellick
Member of Parliament for Helston
With: Thomas Robinson
Succeeded by
Thomas Robinson
Sir Peter Killigrew
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sidney Godolphin
Governor of the Isles of Scilly
Succeeded by
Sidney Godolphin
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