The Goddard family tree can be traced back to John Goddard who married Clemence Gardener in 1601. Due to the size and complexity of the tree, I have drawn it up in two sections.
Download a pdf here of the tree from 1601 until 1807Goddard Family Tree from 1601
The second section, which covers 1807 until the present can be downloaded here:Goddard Family Tree from 1807 to the present
The research began in 1971, when my mother and father went to Angmering to while away a wet winter afternoon. My father had commented that his grandfather’s family had come from that village, and so they went to see what they could find out. They found a lady verger who was not very pleased at being disturbed, but who took them into the church, opened a large wooden chest, and said that all the parish records were in there. They sat engrossed, finding Goddard written in almost indecipherable writing on all sorts of scraps of what they later found out were parchment. They were completely unprepared, of course, and had nothing to make notes on. When they returned the key to her, having had a wonderful hour or so of discovery, she commented that she didn’t know why they bothered to sit in a draughty church, when there were copies of all the records at Chichester Record Office. Such was their ignorance that they hadn’t realised that there was a Record Office. So began their search, which gave them much interest, frustration and pleasure over the years.
The earliest Goddards
It is quite likely that the Goddards originate from Danish Vikings who invaded the Caux district of Normandy in about the year AD 880 and settled there. Their settlement eventually became known as Goderville, which is just inland from Fecamps.
At the Norman invasion of England, knights from Goderville castle fought for William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings, and were rewarded with manors and land in Wiltshire and East Anglia. They were given further lands between 1231 – 1370 when they supported the Barons, and John of Gaunt gave them Upham House and Aldbourne Chase in 1370. At the end of the 16th century Henry VIII gave re-possessed monastic lands in Wiltshire to Goddards enabling many of the families on the fringes of court to send their sons into the army, the church, parliament and the law. Not all Goddards, of course, had the benefit of Royal patronage. Many were farmers and merchants, and most were probably simple peasants.
During the 1800’s the Goddard lands in Wiltshire were divided with the building of the Wiltshire-Berkshire canal, and the Great Western Railway, leading to the ultimate destruction of Goddard feudal power in Swindon.
From the 17th century onward a number of Goddards sailed to settle in America. A John Goddard landed in Massachusetts in 1632, and a William Goddard purchased land there in 1635. Many of their descendants in America can trace their line back to these and other early immigrants.
From the centre of Goddard settlement in Wiltshire, it is possible to trace their progress through surrounding counties. A large number settled in Hampshire and other surrounding counties and eventually moved into Sussex. It was my mother’s desire to prove that our family in Angmering came from a John Goddard, son of Hery, who was baptised at Wisborough Green, which is just south of the Surrey border, and just north of Stopham. The details of this family are given here, but my mother has always emphasised that it has not been possible to prove conclusively that the Robert who married Abigail in 1728 is actually the son of Phillip of Stopham, however it would seem more than likely that this is the case.
I am very indebted to my parents, particularly my mother, for the years of patient research that they undertook in order to make this possible. It must have been quite difficult to write a family history when there is virtually no documentation at all, apart from the parish records.