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He had gained the B.A. at Oxford and been ordained a Roman Catholic deacon during the brief reign of Queen Mary I of England, but had then become a Protestant on Elizabeth I's accession. Payne re-converted him to Roman Catholicism shortly after Payne's arrival in England in April 1576. Payne then sent Godsalf to Douai, where he arrived on July 15, 1576 to be prepared for the Catholic priesthood, which he then received at Cambrai on December 22 before coming to England in June 1577.
After being examined by Walsingham at Greenwich, they were committed to the Tower of London on July 14. Godsalf did not give in but spent several years in prison, after which he was released from the Marshalsea in September 1585 and banished, dying in Paris in 1592.