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Thomas Godwin (1587-1642)
Born: 1587 probably at Wookey, Somerset
Chief Master of Abingdon School
ied: 20th March 1642 at Brightwell, Berkshire

Thomas was the second son of Anthony Godwin of Wookey in Somerset. After a grammar school education, he entered Magdalen Hall, Oxford in 1602, at the early age of fifteen. He proceeded to his degree of BA in 1606 and to that of MA in 1609. On leaving the university, he was appointed chief master of Abingdon School in Berkshire, where he remained for several years. In 1616, he took his degree of BD and, at this time, as well as some years previously, he is mentioned as chaplain to James Montague, Bishop of Bath and Wells. He then resigned his scholastic work, with which he was exhausted, and obtained, from Dr. Montague, the rectory of Brightwell in Berkshire. While at Brightwell, he further proceeded to his degree of DD in 1606. Godwin died on 20th March 1642 and was buried within the chancel of his church, where a monument was erected to his memory by his wife, Philippa Tesdale.

His published works consist of: 1. 'Romanae Historiae Anthologia. An English Exposition of the Roman Antiquities, wherein many Roman and English Offices are parallelled, and diverse obscure Phrases explained' (1614). This work was published for the use of his school at Abingdon. 2. 'Florilogium Phrasicon, or a Survey of the Latin Tongue.' 3. 'Synopsis Antiquitatum Hebraicarum ad explicationem utriusque Testamenti valde necessaria' (1616) dedicated to James Montague, Bishop of Bath and Wells and Dean of his Majesty's Chapel. 4. 'Moses and Aaron. Civil and Ecclesiastical Rites used by the ancient Hebrews observed, and at large opened for the clearing of many obscure Texts throughout the whole Scripture' (1625). 5. 'Three Arguments to prove Election upon Foresight of Faith'. This work, while in manuscript, fell into the hands of Dr. William Twiss of Newbury in Berkshire, who promptly challenged the writings of Godwin. A warm dispute ensued between the two, in which, according to Samuel Clarke, "Dr. Twiss promptly whipped the old schoolmaster".

Edited from Leslie Stephen & Sidney Lee's 'Dictionary of National Biography' (1890).


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