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Philip Goodwin (c1605-1667)

Philip Goodwin was a Puritan clergyman. He matriculated at St John's College, Cambridge in 1623 and graduated four years earlier. He was appointed a curate in Hertford in 1633 and then as one in Watford in 1637 before becoming the vicar of Watford in 1643.

Throughout his career he was said to care for his parishioners, but his claim to fame is that he wrote a book on dreams called The mystery of dreams historically discoursed which was published in 1658. In it he suggested that people should 'pray for good sleep and good dreams' and saw dreams as a 'safe and instructive experience for the pastoral care of the soul' as they could contain messages from God. (Note 1)

In addition to being a vicar he was also recommended to two lectureships by Parliament, one of which he took (Pinner) and one he declined (Hemel Hempstead), in the last great age of lectureships. His parish had over 1000 people living there but, during the Civil War, this doubled as soldiers were stationed there. It had and maintained a strong tradition of Puritanism.

He clearly led a comfortable life as in his will of 1667 he leaves £400 and four houses to his children (John, James, Philip, Joseph, married daughter Sarah Walker) and his wife.



1. Janine Riviere has written a book called Dreams in Modern England which features Philip Goodwin. In addition,  Chapter 3 in her PhD is entitled: Philip Goodwin's The Mystery of Dreams and the pastoral care of the soul.

Evidence for haemophilia

He lived to be over sixty, so seems unlikely to be haemophiliac, although he would not have faced many situations where it would have cuased him problems.

Of his children, we know that Philip died in 1692 

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