Stopham now consists of a church and a few cottages on a hilly cul-de-sac northwest of Pulborough. It is in beautiful countryside and has beautiful views. Stopham church is mostly Norman, with some possible Saxon work in it. Stopham Manor House is next to the church, and was probably built in the 15th century. Half a mile to the south is Stopham House, an old house that was rebuilt in the 18th century. Stopham Bridge is the best medieval bridge in Sussex, built in 1423, although the centre arch was raised in 1822.



John Goddard and Clemence Gardener

John Goddard married Clemence Gardener on the 5th July, 1601 at Stopham. He was buried on the 3rd October 1648.


John, baptised 21.10.1601, buried 9.5.1651
Elizabeth, baptised 4.5.1603
Henry, baptised 9.10.1608, buried 26.6.1610
Rose, baptised 25.9.1614
William, baptised 6.7.1618, buried 9.5.1663

Note: John was born during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Not long before he was born Columbus had set sail for America and during his childhood Sir Francis Drake had annexed Virginia. Plague was rife throughout Europe, and only three years before his marriage 15,000 people had died of it in London. Shakespeare was writing and producing his plays. it was a period of great exploration and colonisation. Elizabeth died in 1603 and was succeeded by James 1st. Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605.

A John Goddard, son of Hery (Harry) was baptised on the 16th September, 1573 at Wisborough Green, which is the parish to the north of Stopham. There’s no means of knowing (yet!) whether this is our John, but there was a large family of Goddards in Wisborough Green who seem to have migrated southwards. It’s interesting to note that John married Clemence Gardener, a local girl. It’s not yet known what John did for a living. In all probability he worked on the land in some capacity or another. In 1644 a John Goddard was a Churchwarden at Stopham, this could have been John or his son John, but I feel that it is more likely the father.

John actually lived through the reigns of Elizabeth, James I and Charles 1. It was a time of great political scheming, and a lot of religious persecution, ending up with the Civil War which started in 1642. One wonders how much of the upheavals of the political world invaded the quiet backwater of Stopham. In 1641 all men over the age of 18 had to sign a declaration that they accepted the Protestant faith, and John, and his sons John and William all signed. They were the only adult male Goddards in Stopham at that time, (and there was none in Wisborough Green). Did the later Civil War affect them at all? One wonders if they knew what each side stood for, London must have been a very remote place. There must have been quite a number of the family living in a fairly small village. John’s sons had married and were living locally, and he had eight grandchildren before he died. John was buried on the 3rd October, 1648. Clemence had predeceased him, and was buried on the 2nd June, 1642.

 The children

Daughter Elizabeth married John Shory on the 19th May, 1633. Henry was buried on the 25th June, 1610 at the age of only 2. I don’t yet know what happened to Rose. William married Elizabeth Taylour on the 5th December, 1644, and went on to have seven children. He was buried on the 9th May, 1663, and was ‘Clarke’ of the Parish of Stopham. William’s son John remained in Stopham, married twice, and had nine children. One of his other sons, William, either fell on hard times, or was the black sheep of the family. In the parish register in 1692, when he would have been 40, the entry reads: ‘Upon a meeting of the parish of Stopham, it is agreed if William Goddard shall be kept by turns by all of, or belonging to the said Parish; every farm of £20 a year being to keep him a week, and so in proportion for all the rest’. He was buried in 1719, and the note in the register describes him as being relieved by the parish, so they had to support him for a long time.

Continue to the next page

Go back to the previous page