Henry Goodcole

(3788 words)
  • Lynn Robson (Oxford University)

Henry Goodcole’s name is remembered not because he had a distinguished career as a clergyman in seventeenth-century Britain, but because he was an identifiable author in the vibrant (but largely anonymous) world of early modern crime and murder pamphlets. Between 1618 and 1637 Goodcole published seven pamphlets recounting stories of crime and conversion that he gathered in the course of his job as “Visitor” or “Ordinary” to Ludgate and Newgate prisons in London. His job was to preach and lead services in these two prisons and attend to the prisoners’ spiritual welfare.

Goodcole had privileged access to these criminals and early modern readers were eager for their stories. Their fascination was s…

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Robson, Lynn. "Henry Goodcole". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 June 2011
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=12163, accessed 13 October 2015.]