Thomas Godwin (1517–1590), Bishop of Wells (1584–1590)

Image credit: The Bishop's Palace & Gardens

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Godwin was a school master and licensed medical practitioner and when Elizabeth I became Queen, he was admitted to Holy Orders. He was Dean of Canterbury prior to becoming Bishop of Bath and Wells. With Godwin's ascent the City of Wells received its Great Charter of Incorporation from the Crown, creating it a borough in its own right, independent of the Bishops. His son Francis was Bishop of Llandaff, and Bishop of Hereford and was a renowned Ecclesiastical Historian. He married twice, his second wife was from Wells and she was disapproved of by Queen Elizabeth and Raleigh. He owned the Manor of Banwell and had to prevent Raleigh from taking it by giving him another.

The Bishop's Palace & Gardens



Thomas Godwin (1517–1590), Bishop of Wells (1584–1590)




oil on canvas


H 100 x W 76 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

acquired, 1827–1829

Work type



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Normally on display at

The Bishop's Palace & Gardens

Wells, Somerset BA5 2PD England

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