In 1544, five years after the nuns had given up the Abbey at Polesworth, Henry VIII sold the village to Francis Goodere, of Hertfordshire. With the Abbey sliding into decay, Goodere had much of it demolished, using the stone to build Polesworth Hall on the site of the former Abbess' dwelling. His son, Henry, later completed the task (the site is now occupied by the present vicarage). The Abbey Church remained and continued to be used by the villagers, whilst John Bower, the Nun's former priest, became the Goodere's chaplain.
In 1571, Henry Goodere was imprisoned in the Tower of London. His association with Mary, Queen of Scots, during her internment in Coventry had brought him under suspicion of treason against Queen Elizabeth I. However, Henry successfully protested his innocence and he was released in 1572. He was subsequently knighted and, in 1588, promoted to colonel in the Queen's Bodyguard.
Upon Sir Henry's death, in 1595, the estates at Polesworth passed to his daughter, Frances. Her husband, also called Henry Goodere, was the son of Sir Henry's brother, Sir William Goodere, of Monk's Kirby, near Rugby. The younger Henry was, in 1603, elected MP for Porthpean and West Looe and made "one of the Gentlemen of his Majesty's Privy Chamber" by James I. On July 19, 1603, he was knighted.
A close friend of the poet John Donne (famous, not least, for having written "no man is an island"), the second Sir Henry was actively involved in the artistic life of England, gathering about him the foremost poets, writers and playwrights of the day (indeed, in his book, The Life and Letters of John Donne, Edmund Gosse describes Sir Henry as a "very open-minded country gentleman"). This group became known as the Polesworth Circle. Among its beneficiaries were the local poet, Michael Drayton, and, according to some sources, William Shakespeare.
Sir Henry's lifestyle proved to be extravagant and, ultimately, unsupportable. He died in March, 1627, near penniless. Polesworth was left his eldest daughter, Lucy.