THE VENERABLE DR. CHARLES GODDARD (1770-1845)
Civil Servant and Chaplain to Queen Victoria
published by GAE, July 2003
A study of the career of Charles Goddard, for 27 years a civil servant in what would today be described as the Foreign Office and then for 31 years a clergyman, illustrates very well the importance of patronage in 18th and 19th century professional life.
Charles was born in Westminster in 1770, the only son of Charles Goddard, city gent. At the age of 17 he went up to Oxford, matriculating at Christ Church College. Anthony Russell tells us: "The entrance to all professions was through the university, and it has been said of the eighteenth century universities that they had more to do with socialization and lifestyle than with learning". Charles was described as a protégé of the Grenville family, one of the most prestigious political families during the reign of George III and the Regency in the later half of this reign. George Nugent Temple Grenville (1753-1813) was the first Marquis of Buckingham, and himself a graduate of Christ Church, Oxford. He went on to become Secretary of State under Pitt and a member of the King's Privy Council. The family home in London was Buckingham House in Pall Mall, eventually to become Buckingham Palace.
Being a protégé of the Grenvilles, it is not surprising that Charles left Oxford to become collector and transmitter of State papers in the Secretary of State's office (foreign department), a post he held for 27 years. Government departments such as this bore little resemblance to their modern counterparts. In 1745 the total establishment of the Secretary of State's office, including messenger and doorman, was 26. After the Napoleonic Wars the position had changed little. However, despite this small size, the office was involved with many very interesting events concerning the country's links with the Americas, India, France, Ireland, etc.
In 1814, aged 44, Charles left the civil service and went into the Church. His time in the civil service seems to have provided him with useful contacts for his new profession. Three years after his ordination into the church he was appointed archdeacon of Lincoln. At this time clergy often held more than one post at a time. From 1821 until 1836 Charles was also Rector of St James, Garlick Hythe, in Upper Gower Street, London. St James is today the Head Quarters of the Prayer Book Society, so I think we can assume its churchmanship has not changed too much in the intervening 180 years. In 1829 there is also a record of his being Rector of Bexley in Kent, and from 1836 he was Rector of Ibstock-cum-Hugglescote and Donnington-in-the-Heath near Ashby-de-la-Zouche in Leicestershire. He obviously felt that 'learning' was more important for his second career than it was for his first. In 1821, 35 years after leaving Oxford, he collected his MA and in the same year the University awarded him his BD and his DD. The archdeacon was no longer simply Venerable, he was now the Venerable Dr Goddard.
Thanks probably to his connections with the Grenvilles, the Venerable Dr. became a Chaplain in Ordinary to George IV, Victoria and, presumably, William IV in between. Similar patronage was also probably involved in acquiring for him the chaplaincy of the Bishop of Rochester, in whose diocese he will have been as Rector of Bexley. When the Bishop of Sodor and Man was translated Bishop of Rochester in 1827, one of his first moves was to appoint Charles his chaplain. He held both the Royal and Episcopal chaplaincies for the rest of his life. I
n the same year that Charles entered the Church, 1814, he and his wife Isabella had their first son, George Frederick (see Newsletter 65). George had three elder sisters, so we may surmise that Charles probably got married in his late thirties. As George also had six younger sisters and a younger brother we may also surmise that Isabella was rather younger than Charles! George, like his father, went to Oxford. However, he went straight into the Church from university. Firstly, he served as a curate in one of his father's parishes, Ibstock-cum-Hugglescote. From there he moved to a series of parishes, all in the gift of the Bishop of Rochester. Upon his father's death in 1845 the Bishop appointed him to succeed his father as his chaplain. However, it was obviously not so easy to obtain a senior Royal chaplaincy. George had to be content as chaplain to HRH the Duke of Cambridge, the only son of the seventh son of George III.
by Stephen of Buckhurst Hill