Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Goad, John

GOAD, JOHN (1616–1689), head-master of Merchant Taylors' School, son of John Goad of Bishopsgate Street, London, was born in St. Helen's parish there on 15 Feb. 1615-16. After a preliminary training in Merchant Taylors' School he was admitted to St. John's College, Oxford, in 1632, of which he became a fellow (B.A. 1636, M.A. 1640, B.D. 1647). In 1643 he was presented by his college to the vicarage of St. Giles, Oxford, and during the siege performed divine service under fire of the parliamentary cannon (Wood, Athenæ Oxon., ed. Bliss, iv. 267). On 23 June 1646 he was presented by the university to the vicarage of Yarnton, Oxfordshire, which 'with much ado' he contrived to retain until the Restoration. Wood's brother Christopher went daily to school to Goad while vicar of Yarnton in 1649, and Wood himself received instruction from him, and found him 'an exceedingly loving and tender man' (Autobiography, ed. Bliss, pp. xvi, xvii).

In 1660 he accepted the head-mastership of Tunbridge school, Kent, but was appointed head-master of Merchant Taylors' School on 12 July 1661. He was very successful in this position until the agitation at the time of the 'popish plot.' He was charged in March 1680-1 with certain passages that 'savoured strongly of popery' in a 'Comment on the Church of England Catechism,' written for the use of his scholars. The grand jury of London presented a complaint to the Merchant Taylors' Company respecting the religious doctrines taught in their school. His principal opponent was Dr. John Owen, who succeeded in obtaining Goad's place for his nephew, John Hartcliffe. After hearing Goad's defence the company decided on 13 April 1681 that he was 'popishly and erroneously affected.' He was dismissed, but in recognition of his past services they voted him '70l. as a gratuity, including the 10l. by him paid for taxes, trophies, and chimney money' (Wilson, Hist. of Merchant Taylors' School, ii. 379-81). Goad's friends protested against his dismissal as the work of a factious party. Full particulars are given in the postscript to 'Contrivances of the Fanatical Conspirators in carrying on the Treasons under Umbrage of the Popish Plot laid open, with Depositions,' London, 1683, fol., written by William Smith, a schoolmaster of Islington, who describes Goad as a person of unequalled qualifications for the post.

He now took a house in Piccadilly, and; opened a private school, which was resorted to by many of the 'genteeler sort' of his previous scholars. This school he continued until shortly before his death. In the beginning of 1686 he openly declared himself a Roman catholic, in accordance with convictions formed many years previously. Indeed Wood states that he had been reconciled to the Roman communion as early as December 1660 in Somerset House by a priest in the household of Queen Henrietta Maria, then lately returned from France. Mr. Gillow argues that the sermons which he published after this date are inconsistent with this story (Dict. of English Catholics, ii. 501). Goad died on 28 Oct. 1689, and was buried near the graves of his relations in the church of Great St. Helen's in Bishopsgate Street Wood says he 'had much of primitive Christianity in him, and was endowed with most admirable morals.' His works are:

  1. Several printed sermons, some of which were preached at St. Paul's.
  2. 'A Treatise concerning Plagues, their Natures, Numbers, Kinds, &c.,' which was destroyed in the press during the great fire of London in 1666.
  3. 'Genealogicon Latinum. A previous Method of Dictionary of all Latin Words … &c., for the use of the Neophyte in Merchant Taylors' School,' 2nd edition, London, 1676.
  4. 'Comment on the Church of England Catechism.'
  5. 'Declamation, whether Monarchy be the best form of Government.' Printed at the end of 'The English Orator or Rhetorical Descants by way of Declamation,' by William Richards of Trinity College, Oxford; London, 1680, 8vo.
  6. 'Astro-Meteorologia: or Aphorisms and Discourses of the Bodies Cœlestial, their Natures and Influences, Discovered from the Variety of the Alterations of the Air, temperate or intemperate, as to Heat or Cold, Frost, Snow, Hail, Fog, Rain, Wind, Storm, Lightnings, Thunder, Blasting, Hurricane, &c. Collected from the Observation … of thirty years,' London, 1686, fol. This work gained him great reputation. The subject of it is a kind of astrology, founded for the most part on sacred authority, reason, and experiment.
  7. 'Diary of the Weather at London from July 1, 1677, to the last of October 1679,' Bodl. Libr. Ashmol. MS. 367.
  8. 'Astro-Meteorologia sana; sive Principia Physico-Mathematica, quibus Mutationum Aeris, Morborum Epidemicorum, Cometarum, Terræ Motuum, aliorumque insigniorum Naturæ Effectuum Ratio reddi possit. Opus multorum annorum experientia comprobatum,' London, 1690, 4to. Anonymously edited after Goad's death by Edward Waple, archdeacon of Taunton and vicar of St. Sepulchre's, London; with portrait of the author, engraved by R. White, prefixed.
  9. 'Autodidactica: or a Practical Vocabulary, being the best and easiest Method yet extant for young Beginners to attain to the Knowledge of the Latin Tongue,' London, 1690, 8vo.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iv. 711, Fasti ii. 362; Dodd's Church Hist. iii. 461; Robinson's Register of Merchant Taylors' School, i., hist, sketch p. xiv and p. 116; Kennett's Register, p. 837; Granger's Biog. Hist. of England, 1824, v. 53; Catholic Miscellany, v. 153.]

T. C.