Henry Goodcole, Visitor of Newgate: Crime, Conversion, and Patronage

Martin, Randall
October 2005
Seventeenth Century;Autumn2005, Vol. 20 Issue 2, p153
Academic Journal
This article investigates the personal and cultural relationships between Henry Goodcole's career as the first full-time Visitor, or chaplain, of Ludgate and Newgate prisons (1613-41), and his authorship and publication of half a dozen popular news pamphlets about serious London crimes between 1618 and 1637. This unprecedented but hitherto under-recognised body of work originated several new kinds of crime reporting and drew attention to the huge commercial potential of crime news which post-Restoration writers and publishers rapidly exploited in an expanding market for domestic journalism. Goodcole's pamphlets, which establish his historical position as England's first professional true-crime writer, display an official concern with validating the state's moral and legal authority as well as an emergent awareness of the origins of crime in social economic and gender disparities and of the internal contradictions of early modern patriarchy.


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