Open main menu

GOADBY, ROBERT (1721–1778), printer and compiler, of Sherborne, Dorsetshire, was born in 1721. He was an indefatigable bookmaker. His greatest production was the ‘Illustration of the Holy Scriptures,’ in three large folio volumes (1759). Goadby also compiled and printed a popular book entitled ‘The Christian's Instructor and Pocket Companion, extracted from the Holy Scriptures,’ which was approved by Bishop Sherlock. ‘Apology for the Life of Bamfylde Moore Carew’ [see Carew, Bamfylde Moore] was printed by Goadby in 1749, and has often been reprinted. Goadby and his wife have both been claimed as the author. Nichols says that Goadby was a man of modesty and integrity. His publishing business was large for a small provincial centre, and his ‘Sherborne Mercury’ was an influential journal in the south-west of England. Goadby was a strong whig, and made many enemies as well as friends by his plain speaking, though personally he was much respected. He was a great lover of botany and natural history, and bequeathed an endowment providing for the preaching of a sermon on the first Sunday of May in every year in Sherborne Church on the beauties of nature. As the endowment became too valuable for its purposes, provision for the poor was made with the surplus. He was a deeply religious man. Every morning before breakfast he walked from his house to the spot he had chosen for his grave, so that he might ‘keep mindful of his latter end.’ He died of atrophy after a long and painful illness on 12 Aug. 1778. Other works published by Goadby, besides those mentioned already, were ‘The Universe Displayed,’ ‘A Rational Catechism on the Principles of Religion drawn from the Mind itself,’ and ‘Goadby's British Biography.’ Goadby was at one time connected with ‘The Western Flying Post.’

[Nichols's Lit. Anecd. iii. 723–6; Dr. Beard's art. in Unitarian Herald, July 1873, where there is much biographical and bibliographical information.]

J. B-y.