Godden, Thomas (DNB00)

GODDEN, vere Tylden, THOMAS, D.D. (1624–1688), controversialist, son of William Tylden, gentleman, of Dartford, Kent, was born at Addington in that county in 1624, and educated at a private school kept by Mr. Gill in Holborn. He was entered as a commoner of Queen's College, Oxford, on 3 July 1638, his tutor being Randall Sanderson, fellow of that society. Removing to Cambridge, he was on 3 July 1639 admitted a pensioner of St. John's College in that university. He was admitted as a Billingsley scholar of St. John's on 4 Nov. 1640, on the recommendation of John Williams, bishop of Lincoln, and he graduated B.A. in 1641–2. During his residence at Cambridge he formed an acquaintance with John Sergeant [q. v.], who became a convert to catholicism, and converted Godden. They both proceeded to the English College at Lisbon, where they arrived on 4 Nov. 1643. After eight months spent in devotional exercises, they were on 20 June 1644 admitted alumni. In due course Godden was ordained priest, and he lectured on philosophy in the college from 1650 till January 1652–3. After having been successively professor of theology, prefect of studies, and vice-president, he was on 29 June 1655 appointed president of the college, in succession to Dr. Clayton. In April 1660 he was created D.D. He became renowned for his eloquence as a preacher in the Portuguese language.

In 1661 he was appointed chaplain and preceptor to the Princess Catharine of Braganza, the destined consort of Charles II, and the year following he accompanied her to England, and had apartments assigned to him in the palace of Somerset House. In 1671 he was engaged in a controversy with Stillingfleet, upon the question whether salvation was attainable by converts from protestantism, as well as by persons bred in the catholic religion. In 1678 Godden was accused of complicity in the murder of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey [q. v.] His lodgings in Somerset House were searched, and his servant, Lawrence Hill, was executed as an accomplice in the crime on the false testimony of Miles Prance, who swore that the corpse was concealed in Godden's apartment. Godden escaped to the continent, and retired to Paris. In the reign of James II he was reinstated in Somerset House, where he was almoner to the queen dowager and chaplain as before. On 30 Nov. 1686 he and Dr. Bonaventure Giffard [q. v.] attended a conference held before the king and the Earl of Rochester concerning the real presence, and defended the catholic doctrine in opposition to Dr. William Jane, dean of Gloucester, and Dr. Simon Patrick, who appeared on the protestant side (Macaulay, Hist. of England, ed. 1858, ii. 149). He died in November 1688, while the nation was in the throes of the revolution, and was buried on 1 Dec. in the vaults under the royal chapel in Somerset House (Luttrell, Hist. Relation of State Affairs, i. 482). Dodd says that he was equal in learning to his Anglican opponents, ‘but much superior to them in his modest behaviour, which gained him great applause, even from those of the adverse party’ (Church Hist. iii. 470).

He was author of: 1. ‘Catholicks no Idolaters; or a full Refutation of Dr. Stillingfleet's Unjust Charge of Idolatry against the Church of Rome,’ London, 1671 and 1672, 8vo. This was in reply to ‘A Discourse of the Idolatry practis'd in the Church of Rome,’ 1671, by Stillingfleet. 2. ‘A Just Discharge to Dr. Stillingfleet's Unjust Charge of Idolatry against the Church of Rome. With a Discovery of the Vanity of his late Defence. … By way of Dialogue between Eunomius, a Conformist, and Catharinus, a Non-conformist,’ 3 pts., Paris, 1677, 12mo. Stillingfleet replied with ‘Several Conferences between a Romish Priest, a Fanatic Chaplain, and a Divine of the Church of England, …’ 1679. 3. A Treatise concerning the Oath of Supremacy. Manuscript (Memoirs of Gregorio Panzani, p. 326). 4. ‘A Sermon of St. Peter, preached before the Queen Dowager … on 29 June 1686,’ London, 1686, 4to, reprinted in ‘Catholick Sermons,’ 1741. The publication of this sermon gave rise to a controversy on the questions of St. Peter's residence at Rome and the pope's supremacy. 5. ‘A Sermon of the Nativity of our Lord, preached before the Queen Dowager … at Somerset House,’ London, 1686, 8vo.

[Addit. MS. 5870, f. 99; Baker's Hist. of St. John's (Mayor), i. 525, 526; Cath. Mag. v. 621, vi. 59; Cooke's Preacher's Assistant, ii. 141; Dodd's Certamen Utriusque Ecclesiæ, p. 16; Gillow's Bibl. Dict. ii. 503, iii. 307; Jones's Popery Tracts, pp. 126, 127, 257, 423, 453, 466, 483; Luttrell's Hist. Relation of State Affairs. i. 391; Mayor's Admissions to St. John's Coll. p. 48; Panzani's Memoirs, p. 338; Tablet, 16 Feb. 1889, p. 257; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iv. 93, 674.]

T. C.