George Goring, the son of the 1st Earl of Norwich, was born in 1628. In 1633 his father-in-law bought him a commission as a colonel and fought at the Siege of Breda in 1637.
Goring commanded a regiment for Charles I in the Bishops' War in 1639. The following year he was appointed Governor of Portsmouth.
In 1641 Goring became involved in a conspiracy against Royalist officers and there were suspicions that in any future conflict he would fight for Parliament. However, just before the outbreak of the Civil War he declared for Charles I.
In September 1642 Goring surrendered Portsmouth to Parliamentary forces led by William Waller. Goring now fled to Holland where he assisted Henrietta Maria to buy weapons and to find recruits for the Royalist army. He eventually returned to England and took part in the battle of Seacroft Moor in March 1643. He was captured two months later but after being held at the Tower of London was released in exchange for the Earl of Lothian in April 1644.
In June 1644 Prince Rupert and his Cavaliers set out to rescue the Earl of Newcastle and his forces from the city of York. On 2nd July the Royalists confronted the Parliamentarians at Marston Moor. That afternoon Oliver Cromwell and his forces charged John Byron and his cavalry. His men, instead of pursuing Byron's cavalry, regrouped and returned to protect the infantry that had now come under attack from Goring and his cavalry. His charge was briefly successful and as a result replaced Henry Wilmot as Lieutenant-General of the Cavalry.
Goring's military reputation improved further after his performance at Newbury in October 1644. He was sent to the West Country but while there was involved in a series of disputes with Prince Rupert. Goring, who had a serious drink problem, was defeated by Thomas Fairfax at Langport in July 1645.
In November 1645 Goring went into exile. The following year he joined the Spanish Army of Flanders and took part in the siege of Barclona (1652).
George Goring died in Madrid in 1657.
Lord George Goring
Baron George Goring, later taking the title of the first Earl of Norwich, was a senior Royalist commander during the English Civil War. At the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644, Goring led the Royalist horse in a devastating charge that scattered Fairfax’s cavalry. Although the battle was lost, Goring gained a reputation as a highly skilled leader.
Born in 1608,, Goring developed a reputation as a gambler from an early age. But he also proved himself as a skilled soldier when fighting for the Dutch in Flanders. He was permanently lamed by a wound received at Breda in 1637, and returned to England early in 1639, when he was made governor of Portsmouth
Goring tried to appease both sides in the run up to the civil war. Although he told the Commons that he was loyal to them, he also made Portsmouth a base for Charles I. He was so impressive in the Commons that senior members of Parliament wanted to appoint him a senior role. Eventually however, Charles declared his loyalty to the king.
An a cavalry commander, Goring inspired he often crossed the line from bravery to recklessness.
Fairfax captured Goring in Wakefield in 1643, but he was released the next year as an exchange for Parliamentarian prisoners. He went on to command a cavalry unit at Marston Moor. Goring’s men defeated Sir Thomas Fairfax’s horsemen at the beginning of the battle,. However, Goring was outmatched by Oliver Cromwell.
Despite the Royalist defeat, Goring’s reputation as a skilled leader soared following the battle. In October 1644, he fought honourably at Newbury, but he became progressively more difficult to work with.
After Naseby, it was rumoured that Goring's periods of drunkenness became more frequent, and his troops – already infamously known as "Goring's Crew" – became even more unruly and undisciplined.
In November 1645, Goring fell ill and he returned to France. He was never to return to England. In 1646, Goring served the Spanish is the Neverlands. He died penniless in Madrid in 1657, aged 49.
1 "Sussex Family History Group (SFHG)". . East Sussex Record Office, Lewes.
2 East Sussex Record Office, Lewes.
3 Victoria County History, editor, <i>A History of the County of Middlesex</i>, 12 (London: Victoria County History, 1962), 3: 172-174.
4 <i>A History of the County of Sussex</i>, 8 (London: Victoria County History, 1953), 7: 94-98. . East Sussex Record Office, Lewes.
5 <i>A History of the County of Sussex</i>, 8 (London: Victoria County History, 1953), 6 Part 1: 34-53.
6 <i>A History of the County of Sussex</i>, 8 (London: Victoria County History, 1953), 7: 227-232.
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GORING, Sir George (1585-1663), of Danny Park, Hurstpierpoint Lewes, Suss. and Goring House, Westminster.
b. 28 Apr. 1585, 1st s. of George Goring&dagger of Danny Park, and Anne, da. of Henry Denny of Waltham Abbey, Essex bro. of Sir Edward*. educ. Sidney Sussex, Camb. 1600 travelled abroad 1609. m. by 1608, Mary (bur. 15 July 1648), da. of Edward Neville&dagger of Birling, Kent, 3s. (2 d.v.p.) 7da. (3 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1602 kntd. 29 May 1608 cr. Bar. Goring 14 Apr. 1628, earl of Norwich 28 Nov. 1644. d. 6 Jan. 1663.1 sig. George Goring.
Commr. sewers, Suss. 1610-at least 1641, Northants. 1633-at least 1634, Westminster 1634 2 freeman, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire 1617,3 Portsmouth, Hants 16354 steward, honour of Peverell, Notts. (jt.) 1618-38, (sole) 16385 j.p. Westminster 1621-at least 1641, Northants. 1628-at least 16416 commr. subsidy, Westminster 1621-2, 1624, Suss. 1624,7 Forced Loan, Suss. 16278 sec. of Council in the Marches of Wales 1630-41, 1661-d.9 commr. archery, London 1632,10 oyer and terminer, Wales and the Marches 1634-40, Surr. 1640,11 array, Suss. 1642.12
Gent. pens. by 1608,13 lt. 1616-3914 gent. of Privy Chamber to Prince Henry 161015 member, embassy to France 1616, agent Sept.-Oct. 1624, Jan.-Apr. 1625, amb. extraordinary 1643-416 surveyor of soap 162417 farmer of sugar impost 162618 vice-chamberlain to Queen Henrietta Maria 1626-8, master of the Horse 1628-at least 163819 commr. sale of French prizes 162720 farmer of wine licences 162721 commr. butter exports 1635, gold and silver thread 1636,22 tobacco licences 1636,23 cottages 1638, usury 163824 farmer of customs 1638-4125 vice-chamberlain 1639-44 PC 1639-44, 1660-d.26 commr. subsidy, peerage 1641,27 revenue inquiry 164228 capt. of the guard 1645, 1657-6129 commr. trade 1660-d.30
Goring came from a junior branch of a long-established Sussex family based at Burton, and was the second cousin of Sir William Goring*. His grandfather, a younger son, became receiver-general of the Court of Wards and purchased Danny Park in the parish of Hurstpierpoint, six and-a-half miles north-west of Brighton. His father also entered royal service, becoming a gentleman pensioner, and both father and grandfather were twice returned for Lewes, where the family owned property.31 His father died when Goring was still a minor and his mother purchased Goring’s wardship for £70.32
Both his father and grandfather and had speculated heavily in the Sussex property market, leaving the family heavily in debt. ‘At my first entrance into the world’, Goring told the rising favourite, Buckingham, in 1618, ‘I had not 100 marks by year free, nor many years after. I so sucked in debt from my cradle as I never knew what freedom was’.33 Inevitably, he made his way to Court, and in January 1607 starred in the masque written for the marriage of his cousin, the heiress of Sir Edward Denny*, to the Scottish courtier, James, Lord Hay, later 1st earl of Carlisle.34 Two months later his grandfather’s debt to the Crown, which still stood at nearly £12,000, was apparently written off by way of a grant to Sir George Fleetwood* and another of his father’s trustees and two of his kinsmen.35
Goring was well suited to the courtier’s life that now opened before him. Anthony Weldon, a hostile critic, dismissed him as ‘master of the game for fooleries’ at the Jacobean Court, but his survival and promotion in the more sedate Court of Charles I demonstrates his possession of more enduring qualities.36 Everybody agreed that he was a political lightweight, in the words of the Venetian ambassador ‘a man more given to joking than to affairs’, but nearly everybody liked him, ‘his frolic and pleasant humour’ reconciling ‘people of all constitutions wonderfully to him’, and he was a loyal friend. His most practical talent seems to have been for the less formal aspects of diplomacy, in which his wit and amiability could be given full play.37
Goring secured a position in the Household of Prince Henry in 1610, but may have been travelling abroad when his master died in November 1612, having obtained a licence to travel the previous June. He was certainly in Paris in early 1613, from where he went on to Heidelberg to see the reception of Princess Elizabeth, recently married to the Elector Palatine.38 On returning home, however, Goring found himself without Court position and so took pains to ingratiate himself with the lord treasurer, the 1st earl of Suffolk. In 1614 he arranged a match for Suffolk’s younger son, Sir Thomas Howard*, with a daughter of William Cecil&dagger, subsequently 2nd earl of Exeter.39 At the end of that year he secured an annuity of £100 and two years later Lord Howard of Walden (Theophilus Howard*) appointed him lieutenant of the gentlemen pensioners.40 He went with Hay on his mission to Paris in 1616, characterized by Chamberlain as one of the ‘three mignards’ of the embassy, the others being (Sir) Henry Rich* and Hay himself, and was rewarded with a further pension of £200 a year.41 In the following year he attended the king in Scotland, and may have taken the opportunity to attach himself to the newly created earl of Buckingham.42 His wife was a lady of the privy chamber to Queen Anne, and after the queen’s death in March 1619 he received a pension of £3,000 out of her jointure, followed by a grant of £2,000 p.a. for 20 years out of the pretermitted customs. He very much needed the money, telling Buckingham in the autumn that he hoped to pay off £7,000 of his debts within the week. At the end of the year he was sent to persuade Suffolk to acquiesce in the retirement from office of his sons following the earl’s fall from office. He carried out his commission, but pleaded earnestly with Buckingham for the family and for his sister-in-law’s husband, the disgraced Exchequer official (Sir) John Bingley*, who had been implicated in the corruption scandal which had brought down Suffolk.43
Goring was returned for Lewes to the third Jacobean Parliament, thanks presumably not only to his own interest, but that of his father-in-law, Edward, 1st Lord Bergavenny, who was one of the joint owners of the honour of Lewes. During the Parliament Goring and Bergavenny’s younger son, Christopher Neville*, were appointed trustees for the marriage settlement of Anne, another daughter of William Cecil.44
During the 1621 Parliament Goring made three recorded speeches and was appointed to one committee. Nevertheless, his impact on its history was far greater than this meagre contribution would suggest. He made his first speech on 2 Mar., following the flight of the monopolist (Sir) Giles Mompesson*. Goring stated that he had been standing behind Mompesson at a meeting of the investigating committee the previous evening, although he was not formally one of its members. Thinking Sir Giles was ill, Goring unsuccessfully moved the committee to give the patentee leave to go home. With remarkable frankness Goring admitted that ‘heretofore he would have been glad of his escape’, although he ‘now never intended, or desired it’.45
Goring seems to have regarded himself as much Buckingham’s representative in the Commons as his constituency’s. When Buckingham was mentioned on 15 Mar. by Randolph Davenport, a witness before the committee for courts of justice, Goring made haste to report the incident to his patron. Writing that day, he assured Buckingham that Davenport had ‘faithfully and clearly’ stated that when the marquess had been asked to intervene in a court case, ‘your lordships answer was that you would never write in any cause depending between party and party’, and that this testimony ‘was so recorded by all and again distinctly repeated’ by the chairman Sir Robert Phelips. Goring also reported that he had, ‘without your lordships licence’, tackled Sir Edward Sackville* about the latter’s alleged involvement in plotting against the favourite among the peerage, and passed on Sackville’s ‘sense of suffering in your [Buckingham’s] good opinion’.46
Goring’s final contribution to the proceedings of the first sitting came on 1 May, when he outbid all other contributors to the debate on punishing the Catholic lawyer Edward Floyd, accused of slandering the Elector Palatine and Princess Elizabeth, in the gruesomeness of his proposal. Referring to the prayer beads which had been found in Floyd’s possession, he suggested that he should be whipped at twelve stages and forced to swallow a bead at each. This was to be followed by cutting off his nose and possibly also his ears and tongue, cutting his cheeks, and then by hanging at the Tower, ‘and there is an end to him’. His hostility to Floyd may well have been exacerbated by concern for the Protestant cause in Europe. According to one account, he made reference to a recent massacre in the Valtelline, a strategically important valley in the Alps, where the year before the native Catholics had, with the help of Habsburg forces, slaughtered 600 Protestants.47
During the recess Goring was again ordered to accompany Hay, now Lord Doncaster, to France, but he successfully pleaded with Buckingham on 13 July that his private affairs made it very difficult for him to obey, having mortgaged his ‘chief house and lands for the payment of £6,000 within eight months’. Moreover, his wife was eight months pregnant, and ‘though she can dispense with a progress, yet will she not condescend to a voyage’.48
During the second sitting Goring made regular reports to Buckingham of proceedings in the Commons. On 27 Nov. he told his patron that the House had decided to debate the issues of supply, religion, ending the session, and an address to the king about those issues the following day. He was keen to defend his colleagues, assuring Buckingham that ‘the House is now in much better order and temper than yesterday’ and that ‘having disported themselves they will . let His Majesty see that it was nothing but their zeal that first transported them’. He argued that their ‘affections’ were ‘as great as ever was to any king’ and denied that they intended to ‘cross upon his prerogative or direct him in his councils’.49
Buckingham, however seems to have had other ideas, and having learnt from Goring that the Commons intended to petition the king, he instructed his client to propose an additional clause concerning the recovery of the Palatinate. Consequently on 29 Nov. Goring moved, in the words of his report to the marquess written that night, for the Commons to petition that, if the king of Spain did not ‘procure presently a general cessation of arms from the emperor in the Palatinate’ then ‘his Majesty will be pleased to declare unto them that he will not spare to denounce war as well against the king of Spain and any other prince or state that shall oppose or assist against his children’. Goring, no doubt aware that he was treading on dangerous territory, was worried that Buckingham might think that he had exceeded his instructions and assured his patron that these were ‘the very words, . I moved it and with as much circumspection in every kind for his Majesty’s service as my poor judgment could afford’. He also asked Buckingham not to believe any reports he might receive to the contrary. Goring went on to report that the motion ‘took wonderfully well, but the House was much distracted therewith’, particularly as it came from Goring, thinking ‘either . that I have undone myself at Court, or else that I had some underhand advice to do that I did’. In the margin he added that ‘His Majesty’s end is not known to any’, suggesting that he shared this last suspicion. The House referred this proposal to the sub-committee already established to prepare an address on recusancy and draw the session to an end, which Goring himself attended in the afternoon.50
When the draft petition was read at the committee on 1 Dec. the clause proposing war with Spain was no longer conditional on failure to withdraw from the Palatinate. Moreover, it included an additional proposal calling for Prince Charles to be married to a Protestant, which had not been part of Goring’s original motion.51 However, writing to Buckingham early on 3 Dec. Goring stated that the only event of any significance that had happened since his last report had been the decision of the Commons to send for Sir Edwin Sandys*, who had been absent since the start of the new sitting. He assured Buckingham that the petition would be ‘thoroughly debated’ and expressed the hope that it would be ‘pared of such things as may in likelihood most offend His Majesty’, but he still regarded the section concerning foreign policy as the ‘point which was from my motion’. He made no recorded contribution to the ensuing debate later that day, at the end of which he received his only committee appointment of the Parliament, as one of the councillors and courtiers chosen to deliver the address to the king.52
On the following day Goring was ordered to hand over the address to the chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Richard Weston*. However, that same day the Commons received James I’s outraged letter attacking the undelivered petition, and further plans to present it were shelved as Members sought to justify their right to debate foreign policy. Goring was one of the four Members who were appointed on 18 Dec. to inform the king of the Commons’ refusal to complete legislation.53
In April 1623 Goring was among the courtiers summoned to join Buckingham and Prince Charles in Spain. Shortly afterwards he was sent to report the progress of the marriage negotiations to the Prince’s sister, Elizabeth of Bohemia, now an exile at The Hague. He was back at The Hague at the end of the year to excuse the failure of the dukes of Buckingham and Richmond to attend the christening of Queen Elizabeth’s son, Louis. (Sir) Dudley Carleton*, ambassador to The Hague, wrote that his ‘good company’ greatly augmented their Christmas cheer.54
Goring was returned for Stamford in 1624 on the interest of his friend Cecil, but chose to sit for Lewes, though yielding precedence to Christopher Neville.55 On 3 Feb., before the Parliament met, he wrote to Carleton of his fear of ‘strange and dangerous practices for the breaking up of this meeting’ and his hope that the well-affected would prevent them.56 Goring made four speeches in the last Jacobean Parliament, and his ten committees included the committee of privileges (23 February).57 On 16 Feb. the king sent him to the House to announce the adjournment of the session on the death of the duke of Richmond.58 A week later he spoke in favour of the choice of the prince’s chaplain Isaac Bargrave, rather than James Ussher, as preacher at the House’s communion.59 On 26 Feb. he moved to defer consulting with the Lords about the recusancy petition, arguing that ‘our hasting of it may cross our desires to do more effectual business against them’. He urged the House to ‘first have a report and make some resolutions on what we heard from the prince and Buckingham’. He joked that they should wait until an imminently expected Spanish diplomat had arrived before expelling the Catholics from London ‘that then we may send our papists to guard him out of this land’.60 The House agreed to defer consultations with the Lords for a few days but, on Secretary Calvert’s motion, also postponed consideration of Buckingham’s narrative until the next day, when Goring spoke about the Spanish ambassador’s complaint to the king against Buckingham. He stated that ‘this indignity was threatened before the prince’s coming from Spain’ and was among those appointed to consider the dishonour allegedly done to the duke.61 He was also appointed to help confer with the Lords on 3 Mar. on the advice to be given to the king, and accompanied Buckingham on 16 Mar. when the duke went to hear James’s answer.62 Five of his remaining committees were for private bills, one of them for Sir Thomas Cheke*, another Cecil trustee (9 March). He was also among those appointed to consider bills to abolish trial by battle (22 Mar.) and to give statutory force to a defunct levy on Tyneside coal (29 April).63 On 7 Mar. he and Neville, under the command of the 18th earl of Oxford, searched the houses of John Borough* and Sir Robert Cotton*.64
Later in 1624 Goring was sent to France to assist his fellow-mignards, now Lords Kensington and Carlisle, in the negotiations for a French marriage for Charles, or rather to reconcile the quarrelling ambassadors themselves, as the Venetian ambassador reported: ‘he is a very discreet man and a friend of both’. Early in 1625 he was commissioned to take the garter to Carlisle, returning just after the king’s death. He made several more trips in connection with the marriage, and was one of the small party which went with Buckingham to escort the new queen back to England.65
Goring was re-elected for Lewes to the first Caroline Parliament. His only committee appointments were to consider a bill in mitigation of the sentence of excommunication (27 June) and to investigate two petitions, read on 10 Aug., complaining that the treasurers of the subsidies voted in 1624 were refusing to pay money on warrants from the Council of War. His only recorded speech was delivered on 5 Aug. when, reacting to perceived criticism of his patron, he unsuccessfully moved for a committee and ‘the duke to be called to it, that he may give satisfaction for any aspersions which shall be cast upon him’. According to Sir Francis Nethersole*, this suggestion was as unwelcome to Buckingham as to the Commons, but it is more likely that Goring was again acting on his patron’s instructions.66 He certainly remained in favour, and accompanied Buckingham to The Hague in October for the conclusion of the anti-Habsburg alliance.67
Re-elected at Lewes, Goring was named to seven committees in 1626, including the committee for privileges on 9 Feb., and made 13 recorded speeches.68 He acted as teller on 9 Feb. against the motion inviting Bargrave, now dean of Canterbury but temporarily out of favour at Court, to preach again at the House’s communion, but his side was defeated.69 On the following day he objected to (Sir) John Eliot’s slighting use of the word ‘courtier’ in his motion on supply and grievances, observing that Eliot ‘knows not so well "courtiers" as "courtiers" do him’. However, when Eliot started to explain himself, Goring hastily replied that ‘he took no exception but at the name’. According to one correspondent Goring also asserted that ‘courtiers were as honest men as any were in the House, and did interest themselves as much in the good of the state’, but this is not borne out by the diarists.70
Goring inevitably became closely involved in defending Buckingham, especially over the allegations relating to arrest of the St. Peter of Le Havre. On 23 Feb. he was added to the committee for investigation of the detention of English shipping in France. On 1 Mar. he seconded Pym’s motion for Buckingham to be heard by his counsel, stating that he ‘thinks good the duke does desire it’,71 and later the same day he was he was one of the four Members instructed to ask Buckingham to explain the renewed detention of the St. Peter.72 Three days later he was named to attend the conference with the Lords on the summons issued to the duke, following which he announced to the Commons that his patron had been given leave by the Upper House ‘to give satisfaction’ and that he wished to do so on the following Monday.73 When the attorney-general came to the Commons on 6 Mar., Goring told the House that ‘he comes to bring the duke’s answer’.74 Five days later he declared that he had ‘letters under good hands’ that the English shipping in France had been released, and when the St. Peter was again debated on 1 May he stated that the re-arrest had been due to ‘new proof, though it proved not current’.75
Goring was keen to hasten a vote of subsidies. When a message from Charles I calling for supply was read out on 11 Mar., Goring unsuccessfully opposed moves to set up a subcommittee to draft a reply, which he evidently considered a delaying tactic, moving ‘that here our answer may be made, punctual and profitable’. On 18 Apr., responding to arguments that grievances should come before supply, he stated that ‘we may not go less with His Majesty than with others’, and that he thought ‘the king cannot take this well at our hands’.76 On 2 May Goring warned his fellow Members that the attempts to bring down Buckingham were doomed to failure, stating that ‘His Majesty’s words [showed] that he will not make such a sacrifice’ as to lose his favourite. He held out the prospect of change in the duke, stating that ‘a heart so generous will reform itself by these cries’, but warned of ‘enemies abroad’ and moved ‘that we take such a way as may give His Majesty sure ease in this extremity, for he is in a great strait’.77 Two days later, responding to Hotham’s accusation that Buckingham supported Catholics, Goring called for a committee to ‘examine what the duke has done against this course and whether he have done more than others in his place have done’.78 On 9 May he spoke in defence of Richard Dyott, a fellow supporter of the duke who had been brought to bar for words spoken in debate.79 When the proposed Remonstrance against the duke was read on 12 June he took exception to the first clause, ‘concerning the dissolution of the Parliament at Oxford, making of sheriffs, and sending away Mr [John] Glanville*’, which he maintained ‘trenches upon the king’s honour more than upon the duke’s’. In a second grand committee debate on the same day he observed in support of supply that ‘nothing adds more to a prince than the reputation that he has in his subjects’ hearts’. 80
Goring was appointed on 15 Feb. to consider the bill to allow the trustees of the Sackville estate to sell lands. He was also among those named on 14 Mar. to consider the proposal of Sir Dudley Digges* for the financing of war at sea ‘by the voluntary joint stock of adventurers’, and the merchants’ petitions presented on 16 March. On 7 June he helped carry the Commons’ reply to the king’s message on the duke’s election to the chancellorship of Cambridge University.81
Soon after the dissolution Goring was appointed vice-chamberlain to the queen. In August he made a successful bid for the farm of the sugar imposts, and in 1627 he was granted control of the retail trade in wine. In a letter to Buckingham the following November he commented on the difficulty of raising money in the City, stating that, such was the distrust of the Court, that no wealthy Londoner would lend money to the government, whatever security was offered.82
Goring was elected a fifth time for Lewes in 1628. Although the borough returned two indentures, Goring was named in both and so was allowed to take his seat immediately. He was appointed to attend the conference with the Lords on 21 Mar. about the proposed fast. On 2 Apr. he seconded Sir Robert Phelips’ motion to defer further debate on supply and the following day he unsuccessfully moved for a fresh writ to fill the other seat at Lewes. He made no further recorded contributions to proceedings in the Commons before his ennoblement on 14 April.83 Carleton, as reported by Lord Houghton (John Holles*), claimed that those Members elevated to the Upper House at this time owed their promotion to the king’s desire ‘to put himself into his people’s hands’, as ‘they were the men that did most oppose their proceedings’.84
Goring remained in the queen’s service until 1639, when he became a privy councillor and vice chamberlain of the Household. He acquired several lucrative offices and developed commercial interests in which he took a more active concern than was common among courtiers, finally acquiring a share in the great farm of the customs in 1638. On the eve of the Civil War he had an annual income of £26,800. His affairs, however, remained in disorder, and he also had to cope with those of his equally extravagant elder son George, an unscrupulous but brilliant soldier who sat for Portsmouth in the Long Parliament before becoming a ruthless royalist general in the Civil War. Goring himself was most active as a diplomat during the first Civil War, and was created earl of Norwich in 1644. The refusal of Parliament to recognize this title accounts in part for the very common confusion between Goring and his son. During the second Civil War in 1648 Goring led the royalist forces in Kent and was subsequently captured after the fall of Colchester. He was tried by a specially constituted High Court of Justice and sentenced to death, but was reprieved by the Rump on 8 Mar. 1649 thanks to the casting vote of Speaker Lenthall. He subsequently joined Charles II in exile. He survived the Restoration, but died on 6 Jan. 1663, allegedly of a broken heart after failing to recover his interest in the great farm. He was buried eight days later in Westminster Abbey. His will, dictated to a servant four days before his death, was solely concerned the settling of his debts. His younger son, Charles, succeeded to the earldom and a leasehold estate worth, by his own account, no more than £450 per annum, and died without issue in 1671.85
George Goring (1608–1657) : Caroline Courtier and Royalist General
George Goring was in many ways the archetypal cavalier, often portrayed as possessing all the worst characteristics associated with the followers of King Charles I. He drank copiously, dressed and entertained lavishly, gambled excessively, abandoned his wife frequently, and was quick to resort to swordplay when he felt his honour was at stake. Yet, he was also an active Member of Parliament and a respected soldier, who learnt his trade on the Continent during the Dutch Wars, and put his expertise to good use in support of the royalist cause during the English Civil War.
In this, the first modern biography of Goring, the main events of his life are interwoven with the wider history of his age. Beginning with his family background in Sussex, it charts his successes at court and exploits in the service of the Dutch, culminating in his experiences at the siege of Breda in 1637, and his role in the Bishops' Wars. However, it is his key role as a royalist general during the Civil War that is the major focus of this book, which concludes with Goring's years of exile during the Republic.
This fascinating and illuminating account of Goring's life, character and actions, provides not only a fresh examination of this contentious figure, but also reveals much about English society and culture in the first half of the seventeenth century.
George Goring was born in 1608, the son of George Goring, 1st Earl of Norwich. He served as a colonel in the Dutch States Army during the Dutch Revolt, fighting in the 1637 Siege of Breda, during which he was wounded. Goring returned to England in 1639 and became Governor of Portsmouth, and he served in the Bishops' Wars before taking part in an army plot to liberate Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford from Parliamentary captivity in 1641 he was the one who betrayed the details of the plot to Puritan leader John Pym, leading to its failure and Strafford's execution for treason. However, in August 1642, Goring chose to side with King Charles I of England when the First English Civil War broke out. He served as a cavalry commander under William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle and defeated the Parliamentarian general Thomas Fairfax in the Battle of Seacroft Moor, but he was captured at Wakefield in May 1643. He commanded the Royalist left at the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644, and he later fought at the Siege of Taunton in 1645. On 10 July 1645, shortly after the Battle of Naseby, Fairfax defeated Goring at the Battle of Langport, and, in November 1645, Goring abandoned his forces and fled to France. He came to command English Royalist regiments in the service of the Spanish Army, and he converted to Catholicism before dying in Madrid in 1657.
Lord George Goring
Baron George Goring was a senior Royalist commander during the English Civil War. Goring commanded a detachment of horse at the Battle of Marston Moor and while he was considered a brave fighter he could not compare with the likes of his opponent at Marston Moor, Oliver Cromwell.
Goring was born in 1608. He was the son of one of Henrietta Maria’s favourite courtiers. As a young man he developed a reputation as a hard gambler but he honed his fighting skills fighting for the Dutch in Flanders. Goring was wounded in 1637 during the siege of Breda and had to return home. In 1639 he was appointed Governor of Portsmouth.
Goring was known to be a very ambitious man who was not too fussed about what he had to do to advance himself. Edward Hyde, 1 st Earl of Clarendon, wrote:
“He would, without hesitation, have broken any trust, or done any act of treachery, to have satisfied an ordinary passion or appetite and, in truth, wanted nothing but industry (for he had wit, and courage, and understanding, and ambition, uncontrolled by any fear of God or Man) to have been as eminent and successful in the highest attempt in wickedness of any man in the age he lived in, as before.”
In the build up to the start of the Civil War, Goring tried to keep in with both sides. He made Portsmouth a base for Charles I but told the Commons that he was loyal to their interests. His performance in the Commons was so good that senior Parliamentarian figures even discussed appointing him to their senior command. However, when Charles raised his standard, Goring declared for the King.
Goring spent a short time in the Netherlands at the start of the war but returned to fight for the King as a cavalry commander. He inspired his men but there can be little doubt that his bravery bordered on the reckless. In 1643, he was captured by Fairfax at Wakefield. In 1644 he was exchanged for Parliamentarian prisoners and led a cavalry unit at Marston Moor that fought on Prince Rupert’s left flank. In the initial opening phase of this battle, Goring’s men took on and defeated horsemen commanded by Sir Thomas Fairfax – a highly respected cavalry commander at the time. However, Goring could not press on his success and his unit was defeated by Oliver Cromwell. When the Royalist foot soldiers started to retreat at Marston Moor, so did what was left of Goring’s cavalry.
The defeat left a mark on Goring and he turned more and more to drink. However, his reputation was such that he was appointed Captain of the Horse in the west of England. In October 1644, he fought with bravery at Newbury but away from the battlefield, he became more and more unpredictable. He quarrelled with Prince Rupert and intrigued against him and disobeyed orders to join up with Rupert just prior to the Battle of Naseby.
Regardless of this Goring was still favoured by Charles and in May 1645 he was given the command of all the Royalist forces in the West of England – despite the loss of Taunton earlier in the year. In July 1645 his forces were heavily defeated at Langport and he was forced back to north Devon. His army suffered badly from desertion and lack of morale. In November 1645, citing ‘ill-health’ he left for France.
In 1646, Goring moved to the Netherlands where he was appointed Commander of the English Regiments serving the Spanish there. In 1650 he moved to Spain and spent the rest of his days there, dying in Madrid in 1657.
About George Goring, Lord Goring
George Goring, Lord Goring (14 July 1608 – 1657) was an English Royalist soldier. He was known by the courtesy title Lord Goring as the eldest son of the 1st Earl of Norwich.
The son of George Goring, 1st Earl of Norwich, Goring became famous at court for his prodigality and dissolute manners. He was married to Lettice Boyle, daughter of Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork, and his father-in-law procured for him a post in the Dutch army with the rank of colonel. He was permanently lamed by a wound received at Breda in 1637, and returned to England early in 1639, when he was made governor of Portsmouth.
Experience before the Civil Wars
He served in the Bishops' Wars, and already had a considerable reputation when he was involved in the "Army Plot" (1641). Officers of the army stationed at York proposed to petition the king and parliament for the maintenance of the royal authority. A second party was in favour of more violent measures, and Goring, in the hope of being appointed lieutenant-general, proposed to march the army on London and overawe the Parliament during Strafford's trial (1641). This proposition being rejected by his fellow-officers, he betrayed the proceedings to Mountjoy Blount, 1st Earl of Newport, who passed on the information indirectly to John Pym in April.
The 'Lieutenant-General of Horse'
Colonel Goring was thereupon called on to give evidence before the Commons, who commended him for his services to the Commonwealth. This betrayal of his comrades induced confidence in the minds of the parliamentary leaders, who sent him back to his Portsmouth command. Nevertheless he declared for the king in August. He surrendered Portsmouth to the parliament in September 1642 after the Siege of Portsmouth and went to the Netherlands to recruit for the Royalist army, returning to England in December. Appointed to a cavalry command by the Earl of Newcastle, he defeated Fairfax at Seacroft Moor near Leeds in March 1643, but in May he was taken prisoner at Wakefield on the capture of the town by Fairfax. In April 1644 he effected an exchange.
At the Battle of Marston Moor, Goring commanded the Royalist left, and charged with great success, but, allowing his troopers to disperse in search of plunder, was routed by Oliver Cromwell at the close of the battle. In November 1644, on his father's elevation to the earldom of Norwich, he became Lord Goring. The parliamentary authorities, however, refused to recognize the creation of the earldom, and continued to speak of the father as "Lord Goring" and the son as "General Goring".
In August Goring had been despatched by Prince Rupert of the Rhine, who recognized his ability, to join Charles I in the south, and in spite of his dissolute and insubordinate character he was appointed to supersede Henry, Lord Wilmot, as lieutenant-general of the Royalist horse. He secured some successes in the west, and in January 1645 advanced through Hampshire and occupied Farnham but want of money compelled him to retreat to Salisbury and thence to Exeter. The excesses committed by his troops seriously injured the Royalist cause, and his exactions made his name hated throughout the west.
He had himself prepared to besiege Taunton in March 1645, yet when in the next month he was desired by Prince Charles, who was at Bristol, to send reinforcements to Sir Richard Grenville for the siege of Taunton, he obeyed the order only with ill-humour. Later in April 1645 he was summoned with his troops to the relief of the king at Oxford.
Lord Goring had long been intriguing for an independent command, and he now secured from the king what was practically supreme authority in the west. It was alleged by the Earl of Newport that he was willing to transfer his allegiance once more to the parliament. It is not likely that he meditated open treason, but he was culpably negligent and occupied with private ambitions and jealousies. He was still engaged in desultory operations against Taunton when the main campaign of 1645 opened.
For the part taken by Goring's army in the operations of the Naseby campaign see English Civil War. After the decisive defeat of the king, the army of Fairfax marched into the west and defeated Goring in a disastrous fight at Langport on July 10, 1645. He made no further serious resistance to the parliamentary general, but wasted his time in frivolous amusements, and in November 1645 he obtained leave to quit his disorganised forces and retire to France on the ground of health.
His father's services secured him the command of some English regiments in the Spanish service. He died at Madrid in July or August 1657.
Clarendon says of Goring that he "would, without hesitation, have broken any trust, or done any act of treachery to have satisfied an ordinary passion or appetite and in truth wanted nothing but industry (for he had wit, and courage, and understanding and ambition, uncontrolled by any fear of God or man) to have been as eminent and successful in the highest attempt of wickedness as any man in the age he lived in or before. Of all his qualifications dissimulation was his masterpiece in which he so much excelled, that men were not ordinarily ashamed, or out of countenance, with being deceived but twice by him."
See the life by CH Firth in the Dictionary of National Biography Dugdale's Baronage, where there are some doubtful stories of his life in Spain the Clarendon State Papers Clarendon's History of the Great Rebellion and SR Gardiner's History of the Great Civil War.
1 <i>A History of the County of Sussex</i>, 8 (London: Victoria County History, 1953), 6 Part 3: 160-164.
2 <i>A History of the County of Sussex</i>, 8 (London: Victoria County History, 1953), 7: 94-98. . East Sussex Record Office, Lewes.
3 <i>A History of the County of Sussex</i>, 8 (London: Victoria County History, 1953), 7: 80-83.
4 <i>A History of the County of Sussex</i>, 8 (London: Victoria County History, 1953), 7: 179-181.
5 <i>A History of the County of Sussex</i>, 8 (London: Victoria County History, 1953), 4: 63-65.
6 <i>A History of the County of Sussex</i>, 8 (London: Victoria County History, 1953), 4: 4-6.
Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Goring, George (1608-1657)
GORING, GEORGE, Lord Goring (1608–1657), son of George Goring, earl of Norwich [q. v.], and Mary, second daughter of Edward Nevill, sixth lord Abergavenny, was born on 14 July 1608, and married, on 25 July 1629, Lettice, third daughter of Richard Boyle, earl of Cork (Lismore Papers, 1st ser. ii. 109). Goring early became famous as the most brilliant and prodigal of the younger courtiers. He is celebrated as ‘a jovial lad’ in two poems ‘On the Gallants of the Times’ (Wit Restored, Hotten's reprint, pp. 134, 137). Though he received a dowry of 10,000l. with his wife, his demands on his father-in-law for money were incessant (Lismore Papers, 1st ser. iii. 189, 195, 226). In 1633 Garrard wrote to Wentworth, ‘Young Mr. Goring is gone to travel, having run himself out of 8,000l., which he purposeth to redeem by his frugality abroad’ (Strafford Letters, i. 185). The persuasion of his daughter and the pressure of the lord-deputy induced the Earl of Cork to make further advances in order to purchase for Goring Lord Vere's post in the Dutch service, which gave him the rank of colonel and the command of twenty-two companies of foot and a troop of horse (ib. p. 166 Lismore Papers, 1st ser. iii. 213). Wentworth testified to his ‘frank and sweet, generous disposition,’ and warmly recommended him for the post, in which, Wentworth prophesied, he would ‘be an honour and comfort to himself and friends’ (Strafford Letters, i. 119). At the siege of Breda, in October 1637, Goring received a ‘shot in his leg near the ankle-bone’ (ib. ii. 115, 148). The wound lamed him for the rest of his life, and was one of the chief causes of his repeated complaints of ill-health during the campaign of 1645. At first it was rumoured that he was killed, and Davenant wrote a poem on his supposed death, a dialogue between Endymion Porter and Henry Jermyn, in which the latter observes that Sir Philip Sidney ‘in manners and in fate’ was his ‘undoubted type’ ( Davenant , Works, ed. 1673, p. 247). On the death of Lord Wimbledon, Goring, whose wound seems to have necessitated his return to England, was appointed governor of Portsmouth, 8 Jan. 1638–1639 (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1638–9, pp. 297, 335). The Earl of Cork seized the opportunity to write his son-in-law a long letter in which he congratulated him on his reconciliation with his wife, and adjured him to give up immoderate gaming (Lismore Papers, 2nd ser. v. 279). In the first Scotch war Goring commanded a regiment, and was with the Earl of Holland in the march to Kelso (ib. iv. 57, 69). Lovelace has a poem entitled ‘Sonnet to General Goring after the pacification of Berwick,’ in which he speaks of Goring's ‘glories’ as if he had already gained reputation as a soldier as well as a good fellow (Poems, ed. Hazlitt, p. 120). In the second war Goring, who had been seeking to re-enter the Dutch service, commanded a brigade as well as a regiment ( Peacock , Army Lists, p. 76 Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1640–1, p. 546). The disputes between king and parliament afforded an opportunity which he resolved to use for his own advancement. ‘His ambition,’ says Clarendon, ‘was unlimited, and he was unrestrained by any respect to justice or good nature from pursuing the satisfaction thereof. Goring would without hesitation have broken any trust or done any act of treachery to have satisfied an ordinary passion or appetite and, in truth, wanted nothing but industry (for he had wit and courage and understanding and ambition, uncontrolled by any fear of God or man) to have been as eminent and successful in the highest attempt in wickedness of any man in the age he lived in. And of all his qualifications dissimulation was his masterpiece’ (Rebellion, viii. 169). In March 1641 began ‘the first army plot.’ Goring took part in it, and, not content with the original project of petitioning, urged that the army should be brought up to London and the Tower seized. His aim was to obtain the post of lieutenant-general for himself. ‘If he had not a condition worthy of him,’ he would have nothing to do with the affair. An agent of the queen procured a letter from the officers in the north saying that they would ‘heartily embrace’ Goring as their commander ( Husband , Collection of Orders, &c. 1643, pp. 219, 222). Finding, however, that his brother-officers in London rejected his plans, he informed the parliamentary leaders of the plot through the Earl of Newport [see Blount, Mountjoy ]. The discovery of this treachery led to a quarrel between him and those he had betrayed. Wilmot charged him with perjury for breaking his oath of secrecy, on which the commons voted that Goring had done nothing contrary to justice and honour that he deserved very well of the Commonwealth (9 June), and prohibited him from fighting either Wilmot or Ashburnham (8 July) (Old Parliamentary Hist. ix. 334, 437). Goring was twice examined concerning the plot, but his real share in it appears more plainly in the letter of Henry Percy to the Earl of Northumberland than in his own accounts (Perfect Diurnal, p. 150 The Examination and Declaration of Col. Goring Husband , Collection of Orders, &c. 1643, pp. 215–32).
Though he did not altogether escape suspicion, the parliament now regarded him as irremediably attached to their cause, and sent him back to his command at Portsmouth with complete confidence. Before the end of the year, however, he ‘wrought upon the king and queen to believe that he so much repented that fault that he would redeem it by any service,’ and in January 1642, when the king first meditated a recourse to arms, Portsmouth played a large part in his calculations ( Gardiner , Hist. of England, x. 154). In November 1641 he was accused of corresponding with the queen and other suspicious acts, but cleared himself by a plausible speech in the House of Commons (ib. x. 73 Clarendon , v. 440). He obtained 3,000l. from the queen to reinforce the garrison, and a supply of money and his arrears of pay from the parliament. It was even intended to appoint him lieutenant-general of the horse under Essex. Finally, on 2 Aug., earlier than he had originally intended, he openly declared for the king (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1644, p. 179 Clarendon , v. 441). But in spite of the money Goring had received Portsmouth was weakly garrisoned and badly fortified and it was immediately blockaded both by land and sea. The surrender took place early in September 1642 the reasons are stated in a paper drawn up by Goring and his officers (Lismore Papers, 2nd ser. v. 107 Clarendon , Rebellion, vi. 2, 32). Goring now went to Holland, where he busied himself in recruiting for the king among the English regiments serving there. He returned to England in December and landed at Newcastle with a number of officers and veteran soldiers ( Husband , Collection of Orders, &c., 1643, pp. 797, 813). The Earl of Newcastle made him general of his horse, and he at once distinguished himself by routing Sir Thomas Fairfax at Seacroft Moor, near Leeds, on 30 March 1643 (Mercurius Aulicus, 4 April 1643). On 21 May, however, Wakefield was stormed by Sir Thomas Fairfax, and Goring, who was in command, taken prisoner. When the parliamentarians entered the town, he was in bed ill of a fever, but mounted his horse, headed a charge, and showed both courage and presence of mind (ib. 28 May Rushworth , v. 268). Most of the next nine months Goring spent in the Tower, but was finally exchanged for the Earl of Lowthian in April 1644 ( Dugdale , Diary, 2 April 1644). On 10 May he was despatched from Oxford with a regiment of horse, and, joining the cavalry of Lord Newcastle's army, made an unsuccessful attempt to raise the siege of Lincoln. He next made his way into Lancashire and united with Prince Rupert at Preston ( Robinson , Discourse of the War in Lancashire, p. 54 Rushworth , v. 620). At the battle of Marston Moor Goring commanded the left wing of the royalists, routed the cavalry opposed to him, and was himself routed by Cromwell as he returned to the field with his victorious troops. ‘If his men had but kept together as did Cromwell's, and not dispersed themselves in pursuit, in all probability it had come to a drawn battle at worst, and no great victory to be boasted on either side’ ( Cholmley , Memorials touching the Battle at York). Goring and his beaten troops fled into Lancashire, where they distinguished themselves by their plunderings ( Robinson , p. 56). His career up to this time had been unfortunate, but he had shown considerable ability as a leader, and was now called south to take a more important command. On 8 Aug. 1644, at Liskeard, Goring was declared lieutenant-general of the horse in the king's main army in place of his old enemy Wilmot ( Walker , Historical Discourses, p. 57). Clarendon seizes the opportunity to contrast the characters of the two, after the manner of Plutarch, and attributes to Goring the sharper wit and the keener courage, but less self-control and a greater love of de bauchery (Rebellion, x. 169). He imputes entirely to Goring's negligence the escape of Essex's cavalry when the foot were obliged to surrender. The notice of their escape and the order to pursue ‘came to Goring,’ according to Clarendon, ‘when he was in one of his jovial exercises … and he continued his delights till all the enemy's horse were passed through his quarters, nor did he then pursue them in any time’ (viii. 116). Though the charge has been generally accepted, it hardly deserves the credit it has obtained. No contemporary authority mentions Goring's drunkenness on this occasion, it is not proved that Goring was negligent in the pursuit of the parliamentary horse, and it is certain that they did not pass through his quarters. Goring gives a brief account of the pursuit in a letter to Prince Rupert (Sussex Archæological Collections, xxiii. 323). During the remainder of the campaign of 1644 his chief exploits were the beating up of Waller's quarters at Andover on 18 Oct., and a very gallant and successful charge at the second battle of Newbury ( Walker , Historical Discourses, pp. 106, 112 Diary of Richard Symonds, p. 141). On 6 Nov. 1644 Prince Rupert was appointed commander-in-chief, and though Goring professed the greatest affection for Rupert ( Warburton , Prince Rupert, iii. 16), he began from that moment to intrigue for an independent command. He owed his present post mainly to Digby, with whom he had now contracted a fast friendship, ‘either of them believing he could deceive the other and so with equal passion embracing that engagement’ ( Clarendon , Rebellion, viii. 95, 180). The results of these intrigues were in the highest degree disastrous to the king's cause. In December 1644 Goring was sent into Hampshire ‘upon a design of his own of making an incursion into Sussex, where he pretended he had correspondence, and that very many well-affected persons promised to rise and declare for the king, and that Kent would do the same’ (ib. ix. 7). A commission was at the same time granted to him as lieutenant-general of Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey, and Kent (21 Dec. 1644, Black , Oxford Docquets, p. 244). In pursuance of this design he advanced as far as Farnham, attacked Christchurch, and was repulsed, and then took up his winter quarters at Salisbury. He laid the blame of his ill-success on the defects of his army and the disobedience of his officers, and used these pretexts to obtain greater independence and larger powers ( Warburton , iii. 46, 52). In February he was ordered into Dorsetshire to assist in the capture of Weymouth, but negligently allowed it to be recaptured by the parliamentarians. In the same way he failed to prevent the relief of Taunton, though he succeeded in inflicting a number of trifling defeats on Waller. Some attributed these miscarriages to a fixed plan to make the presence of his forces in the west indispensable ( Clarendon , ix. 21). In March Prince Charles arrived at Bristol to take command of the west, and disputes at once began between Goring and his councillors. It was speedily discovered that Goring aimed at ousting Hopton from his command, and becoming himself lieutenant-general of the western army (ib. ix. 20). The history of the disputes between Goring and the prince's council, disputes which paralysed the western army throughout 1645, is told in detail by Clarendon in the ninth book of his ‘History of the Rebellion.’ This portion of his narrative was written in 1646, and is founded throughout on authentic documents. At the end of April Goring was summoned to Oxford with all his cavalry in order to cover the junction of Rupert and the king. Some of the king's advisers wished to strengthen the field army by retaining Goring's division, a course which might possibly have altered the fate of the campaign. Rupert, however, ‘was jealous of having a rival in the command, and feared Goring, who had the master wit, and had by his late actions gotten much reputation’ ( Walker , p. 126). Accordingly he was sent back to the west with authority which, thanks to Lord Digby, was greatly increased. Commissions were to run in his name, he was to have a seat in the prince's council, and the council was to have the power of advising, but not of ordering him ( Clarendon , Rebellion, ix. 31). On 14 May he was further authorised to command in chief all the forces in the west (ib. 43). Hardly, however, had Goring returned to the blockade of Taunton when he was summoned either to join the king or to raise the siege of Oxford (Cal. Clarendon Papers, i. 266). Goring promised to come as soon as he had reduced Taunton, and begged the king to avoid an engagement till he was able to join him, but his letter was intercepted by Fairfax ( Bulstrode , Memoirs, p. 125 Rushworth , vi. 49). After Naseby Fairfax marched west, and Goring was obliged to raise the siege of Taunton, and give battle at Langport in Somersetshire, where he was defeated with the loss of a large part of his infantry (10 July 1645). He then retired into North Devonshire, where he remained completely idle, making no attempt to reorganise his troops, and permitting Fairfax to capture fortress after fortress without opposition. His time was spent partly in ‘jollity’ and debauchery, partly in disputes with his subordinates and the prince's council. He demanded full power to command all forces in the west, and though the demand was not unreasonable, his conduct made it impossible to trust him so far. The remonstrances of the prince and his councillors were entirely unheeded, nor would he obey the king's orders to break through and join him at Oxford. At length, on 20 Nov., he wrote to the prince begging leave to go to France for two months for the recovery of his health. Without waiting for a reply he set sail for Dartmouth. He was really suffering in health, both from his old wound and from the effects of his debauches, but he also hoped to return in command of the foreign forces which the queen was endeavouring to raise ( Gardiner , Great Civil War, ii. 427). While he lingered in France the king's army in the west surrendered to Fairfax (March 1646). Goring now went to the Netherlands, and obtained the command of the English regiments in Spanish service, with the title of colonel-general, and a pension of six hundred crowns a month. This post was given to him on account of the services of Lord Norwich in promoting the treaty of 1648 between France and Spain ( Carte , Original Letters, i. 387 The Declaration of Col. Anthony Weldon, 1649, p. 28). He seems, however, to have found his command merely an empty title, and in March 1650 went to Spain in hope of obtaining some assistance for Charles II and his own arrears of pay ( Carte , Original Letters, i. 359). In 1652 he was at the siege of Barcelona (Sussex Arch. Coll. xix. 98). According to Dugdale, Goring while in Spain was ‘lieutenant-general under John de Silva, and finding him corrupted by Cardinal Mazarin he took him prisoner at the head of his army, whereupon that great don had judgment of death passed upon him’ (Baronage, p. 461). In 1655 he wrote to Charles II from Madrid apologising for four years' silence and offering his services ( Thurloe , i. 694). Sir Henry Bennet found him at Madrid in July 1657, very ill and very destitute, and the news of his death reached Hyde a month later (Cal. Clarendon Papers, iii. 317, 352). Dugdale, from whom many others have copied the story, represents him as assuming in his last days the habit of a Dominican friar (Baronage, p. 461).
Goring had undoubtedly considerable ability as a general he possessed courage and fertility of resource, and he had a keen eye for the opportunities of a battle-field. ‘He was, without dispute,’ says Sir Richard Bulstrode, ‘as good an officer as any served the king, and the most dexterous in any sudden emergency that I have ever seen’ (Memoirs, p. 134). There was ‘a great difference,’ adds Clarendon, ‘between the presentness of his mind and vivacity in a sudden attempt, though never so full of danger, and an enterprise that required more deliberation and must be attended with patience and a steady circumspection, as if his mind could not be long bent’ (Rebellion, ix. 102).
[Clarendon's Hist. of the Rebellion, ed. Macray Clarendon State Papers Warburton's Prince Rupert, 1849 State Papers, Dom. Memoirs of Sir Richard Bulstrode, 1721 Sir Edward Walker's Historical Discourses, 1705.]