Monument to Bishop Harvey Goodwin (1818-91) by Sir W. Hamo Thornycroft. 1895. Bronze effigy with supporting angels at the head, and mitres at the feet, under a rich oak canopy. Carlisle Cathedral. The inscription on the bronze tablet here tells us that this is in memory of the fifty-eighth Bishop of Carlisle, who was previously at Cambridge and Ely, and that he was "a proved leader of men," and "learned, eloquent, wise, untiring," in his ministry. Bishop Goodwin had in fact been a Second Wrangler at Cambridge, a Fellow of Gonville and Caius, and written a textbook on Mathematics which reached its fourth edition in 1853, aimed at Cambridge students. Five years later he had become Dean of Ely Cathedral, and was Bishop of Carlisle from 1869-91. Despite his early involvement with the Cambridge Camden Society, he was no stickler for ritual. C. King Eley describes him as having been a "very politic bishop" who uttered in one of his sermons "words to the effect that 'he was as high as the church was high, as low as the church was low, and as broad as the church was broad'" (87).

Bishop Goodwin seems to have been a humorous man. P. C. Hammond tells us that "[a]mong other works, Goodwin wrote A Guide to the Parish Church (3rd edn, 1878), which proved popular. To avoid wandering eyes and wandering thoughts he advised the worshipper to keep his eye on his prayer book and never mind the colour of Mrs A's bonnet." He also quotes from Goodwin's sermon at Westminster Abbey on the Sunday after Darwin's burial, when he asked memorably, "Who has not read with wonder and delight the volume upon earth-worms?" — but said he found his own faith unshaken by Darwin's findings. Goodwin published several series of his sermons, and these too proved popular.

Bishop Goodwin, late nineteenth-century mezzotint after George Richmond, NPG D34603 © National Portrait Gallery, London.

Here is a longer excerpt from one, preached in St Edward's Church, Cambridge, where some members of his congregation would have been expecting to enter the ministry themselves. The excerpt shows something of his style, pragmatism and pastoral care for the souls of all his parishioners:

some persons come to Church because it is customary, and some to exhibit their Sunday clothes, and some to stare and look about them, some for mere amusement, some because they are compelled, and some I fear occasionally with still less godly purposes; and we must take things as we find them, we must acknowledge the fact, that our congregations are of this mixed kind, and act accordingly; we must endeavour to speak so plainly and practically concerning duty towards God and man, as by God's grace to touch the conscience if possible, and lead those, who come to this holy place without the fear of God in their hearts, to pray earnestly that they may be able to go and sin no more. Hence it is very possible, that there may be present sometimes in a Christian congregation, met together for the avowed purpose of confessing sin, and asking God's grace for the time to come, and hearing His word, persons to whom it may be of advantage that we should press upon them the force of the command, "Thou shalt not steal." [325-26]

The last words come as something of a surprise! There was nothing self-righteous, pompous or overbearing about Bishop Goodwin, and Thornycroft has given him some characterful angels to match his own nature.

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Eley, C. King. Bell's Cathedrals: The Cathedral Church of Carlisle: A Description of Its Fabric and A Brief History of the Espicopal See. London: George Bell & Son, 1900. Internet Archive. Uploaded from Robarts Library, University of Toronto. Web. 18 July 2014.

Hammond, P. C. "Goodwin, Harvey (1818–1891)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online ed. Web. 18 July 2014.

Harvey, Rev. Goodwin. My Duty towards God, and My Duty towards My Neighbour: being a fourth series of parish sermons, preached in the parish church of S. Edward, Cambridge. Cambridge: Deighton, Bell, & Co. / London: Bell & Daldy, 1856. Internet Archive. Uploaded” by Trinity College, University of Toronto. Web. 18 July 2014.

Last modified 18 July 2014