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Godfrey was the eldest son of William E. Tallents (1780-1837), and Elizabeth Tallents, née Tomlinson. He trained as a lawyer and in 1834 was appointed a Master Extraordinary in the Court of Chancery. He then joined the Newark law firm which had been established by his grandfather Philip Tallents (1741-1789) and continued by his father.
During all of Godfrey Tallents's time as a Newark solicitor, the other senior partner in the firm was Thomas F.A. Burnaby (1808-1893). In 1865, the firm took on both partners' sons, William E. Tallents junior (1842-1918), and Frederick Burnaby.
Godfrey Tallents took on a number of public offices, including Clerk of the Trent Navigation Company from 1841. He was elected to Newark Town Council in 1841 and was Mayor in 1843. In 1853 he became Under-Sheriff of Nottinghamshire, and in 1876 of Lincolnshire.
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