Percival Golding – Confirming the 17th Earl of Oxford’s Birthdate as regards a lawsuit

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CHANGES are listed at the end of the page. Updated 2013.06.30

Percival Golding (1579-1635) is the son of Arthur Golding (1536-1606). Both are possibly my 9th and 10th great grandfathers.

Percival married to Emily Farmer 1580-1640
— Offspring:  Gideon, Percival Jr, (John) William (Leftwich or Leftridge)

The Goldings were traditionally Catholics until the birth of Arthur, Percival’s father. Arthur played a unique role in the new English Protestantism as one of the leading publishers of Protestants texts — Arthur did not write, he translated from both French and Latin.

This was a time of great change and something as simple as baptisms and christenings carried great importance in a world where being Catholic was now considered a severe liability. It appears that there was concern over whether the 17th Earl of Oxford had been secretly christened as a Catholic or was christened as an Anglican Protestant. Many of the new Protestants also were in protest against the Church of England. These included Hugenots, Puritans and such.

>>> It may well be that Percival belonged to these non-Church of England Protestants. There is almost no record of Percival’s existence, despite the fact that he lived within the inner cricle and was close to the de Vere family.

Goldings married into the House of de Vere (Arthur’s half-sister Margaret ‘Margery’ married John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford), a very famous royal line as things go … a line certainly very personally popular within Elizabeth I’s royal court (royal court and tennis court … yes, tennis; there was a famous spat over the tennis court in 1578 involving Edward de Vere, who was a ward of Queen Elizabeth I at the time).

Just as Arthur had been called upon earlier to defend the honor and veracity of the House of de Vere’s bloodline as regards the 16th Earl of Oxford and his second wife (Arthur’s sister), now Arthur’s son Percival played an key role in documenting the birth and death of the successor de Vere son Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford and Shakespeare.

Here is an excerpt of the defense in modern English that Percival Golding wrote above in his own hand:

“Edward de Vere, only son of John, born the twelfth day of April, Anno 1550, Earle of Oxenford, High Chamberlain, Lord Bolebec, Sandford and Badlesmere, Steward of the Forest in Essex, and of the Privy Council to the King Majesty that now is. Of whom I will only speak what all men’s voices confirm: He was a man in mind and body absolutely accomplished with honorable endowments. He died at his house at Hackney in the month of June, Anno 1604, and lieth buried at Westminster.”

This was also a time when calendar dates were out of sync with the earth’s rotation by approximately 11-12 days … and for whatever reason the date of Edward de Vere’s christening and death seems to be important and somewhat controversial. I admit to not comprehending the controversy fully … but I believe the situation to be that Edward was the only successor to the de Vere line and if he were Catholic the monarchy would have had little qualms in taking his lands. As a ward of Queen Elizabeth I there had already been a loss of lands significant enough to keep de Vere in debt most of his life (it seems that he accrued debt while a ward but lost the means to pay the debts when his lands were reassigned).

Perival’s only known published work

1606 – Sleidan’s Latin Abridgment of the Chronicle of Sir John Frossard was printed in 1608 and the translator’s name is given on the title-page both as P. and as Per. (i.e. Percival) Golding. It had long been thought that the translation was by Percival’s father. Latin and French continued on in the family as at least one of Percival’s sons earned his living after immigrating to Barbados as a schoolmaster and Latin teacher.

From the publisher’s description of the 1606 publication:

Golding, P., An epitome of Frossard: or, a summarie collection of the most memorable histories contained in his Chronicle, chiefly concerning the state of England and France, wherin the famous warres and conquests of king Edward the third, with the honorable atchievements of the Blacke Prince and other his sonnes, both in Fraunce, Spaine and Portugall, are compendiously described, Londres, printed by Tho: Purfoot, for Per: Golding, 1608, 215 p.

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2013.06.30 – I significantly reworked the first few paragraphs. My discussion of the divide in the family’s religion was awkward. I also updated his son William’s name as (John) William (Leftwich or Leftridge), who is another soul that has been difficult to track down; can find no record of his existence.