Bishop Monk

Francis Godwin 1617-1633

Francis Godwin first came to prominence through his interest in historical and antiquarian studies.In 1590, he accompanied William Camden into Wales in search of antiquities for his revised edition of Britannia. Godwin’s most important work was A catalogue of the bishops of England, since the first planting of Christian religion in this island and the work led to his appointment as bishop of Llandaff in 1602. The work was translated into Latin and this achievement earned Godwin promotion to the wealthier see of Hereford in 1617.As a diocesan bishop, he was criticised for neglecting visitations – indeed he spent much time in his own writing, advocating the need for a definitive national history. The Man in the Moone is probably an early work, describing Gonsales, a Spaniard, who trains large swans or gansas, to carry an ‘engine’ to the moon, where he meets with all kinds of adventures. Godwin had far-sighted views on gravity and what it requires to launch a machine into space. He also discussed the motions of the planets, using views developed from those of Copernicus.Godwin died at the bishop of Hereford’s palace at Whitbourne and was buried in the chancel of the church there.



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