The Feuding Goddards
published by GAE, January 2010
Research for this article began because I joined the Friends of Newtown Road Cemetery, in Newbury. There were plans suggested to demolish the gravestones,clear the ground and make it into a park. I knew that there were several Goddard graves in the cemetery and had shown the grave of Richard Goddard 1797-1875 to Sue Knight of Canada, his three times great grand daughter when she was over here for a visit.
There have been Goddards in West Berkshire since before written records were kept, so to cut a long story shorter I will begin with Richard Goddard of Thatcham who married Catherine Williams of Greenham on 15 August 1792. They set up home in nearby Brimpton and had ten children before Richard's untimely death in 1805 when Susanna the eldest child was twelve and the youngest Jane was a baby.
Despite a fatherless upbringing all the children survived to adulthood and were able to read write and calculate. Aldermaston the next village boasts that it has had a school for two hundred years and one can suppose that the children attended.
In fact, Richard the fourth child of the family, born in 1797, married Ann Whistler on November 23 1823. It is not known what occupation he had early in his life, but he was a schoolmaster at Aldermaston from 1824 to 1831, according to the declarations made in the parish register at the baptisms of the children. He next tried his hand at being a publican at The Pineapple an inn at Brimpton, which was owned by the other, and distantly related Goddard family who owned and farmed the Blacknest estate. With the death of William Goddard of Blacknest in 1838 the lease of the Pineapple Inn from Wihcester College was terminated and it is perhaps at this point that Richard had to leave. According to the 1841 census Richard was a “land measurer”, perhaps for the officials undertaking a survey for the recent Enclosure Acts. Sometime later he moved to the New Inn in the Cattle Market in Newbury, right in the middle of town. It was here that his wife Ann died from complications after childbirth in 1846. With ten children and a business to run, Richard looked for another wife and married Ann Patience Dicks living at the time in nearby Bucklebury.
Richard born 1830 see above
William born 1831 in Aldermaston. Unmarried in 1851 census. Nothing further known
John born 1834. Died in Berkshire Lunatic Asylum in 1882 aged 48
Francis born 1836. Died in Croydon in 1880 aged 46
Thomas born 1839. Went into the Navy. Died in Essex in 1898 aged 58
Alfred born 1840 in Kingsclere. Died in Croydon in 1920 aged 79.
Henry born 1845 in Newbury. Died in Greenwich in 1876 aged 33.
James born 1845 and died in 1846 in Newbury
Ann born in 1825 in Aldermaston married Robert Rolfe and died in Newbury in 1881 aged 56.
Jane born in Aldermaston in 1825 married William Webb, a soldier. She travelled with him to Malta, Barbados and Aldershot. William died in Ireland in 1867. Jane died in 1894 in Croydon aged 69.
Catherine married Thomas Earley of Chaddleworth, Berks in 1862
and a son by Ann Patience Dicks Goddard
Edwin the son of Ann Patience Dicks Goddard left Newbury. Died Lambeth in 1906 aged 57.
The fifth child of Richard and Catherine was William, born in 1799. Little is known about him except that his wife's name was Ann. William and Ann had the following children baptised at Brimpton
George, was baptised on 20th August 1837. The children of William and Anna must have had an education, for although George began his working life as a “farm servant” and in 1851 was living in Doddington, Kent. In 1861, probably as soon as he was old enough, he had joined the embryonic police force and was a constable in Pembroke. From there he moved to the Berkshire County police and worked in the Faringdon, Ashbury and Abingdon area. He married there and two children, Edwin George (1865) and Ernest William (1868) were born; the first in Abingdon and the second in Ashbury.
In 1868George applied to join the Newbury Borough Police. He stated that he was 27 and married. He had served in the Metropolitan Police for five years before spending two years in the Berkshire police. Despite his having lowered his age a little and exaggerated his experience, he was appointed on 13 October 1868. I have relied heavily on the research and findings of Richard Godfrey and his book Newbury Borough Police 1836 to 1875. Mr Godfrey says that “Sergeant Goddard comes across as a hard working, honest, industrious and “streetwise” officer...However, on the debit side, he seems to have been a stickler for doing things by the book, somewhat head-strong, unbending and showing little sign of flexibility.”
There were then in 1870 two related Goddard families in Newbury. George in the police force and Richard as the publican at the New Inn. By now Richard was looking to hand over the pub to his son Richard. He too had been in the police force; in the 1851 census he was a policeman in Walworth and in 1861 he was at Croydon and had married a wife named Selina or Sebrina..
The gossips of Newbury must have been busy when on 30 June 1870 the Newbury Weekly News gave an account of the court case involving Richard senior who was charged with “Neglecting to maintain his wife” the former Ann Dicks “who had become chargeable to the common Fund of the Newbury Union.” Richard explained to the court that he was handing over the license of the pub to his son, was moving out and had rented two rooms in town. His wife had refused to come with him and had moved into the household of the police sergeant George Goddard. Richard alleged that the policeman had even visited the pub when he was out and removed goods -presumably on behalf of Mrs Ann Goddard. It all appeared to be a marital disagreement carried out to extreme lengths, but it must have given some amusement to the townspeople of Newbury. The two magistrates sitting on the case could not agree which side to support, so they merely impressed to Richard that he must provide maintenance for his wife. In the 1871 census Richard was still living at the pub, but declared himself to be a widower. His wife was still living in the other Goddard household!
1871 census Railway Terrace, Newbury
George Goddard aged 34 Married Police Officer born Brimpton
Elizabeth A. Goddard wife aged 31 born Southampton
Edwin George. Goddard son aged 6 born Ashbury, Berks.
Ernest William Goddard son aged 4 born Abingdon, Berks.
Walter H. Goddard aged 2 born Newbury
Elizabeth A. Goddard 7 born Newbury
Ann Goddard wife's mo., married aged 59 wife of a publican born Crockerton, Wilts.
Presumably the census taker could not find a way of recording the involved status of estranged wife of my uncle..
Controversy and George Goddard were never far apart. He appeared in the newspapers again when he arrested a man named Fisher, lost him at the police station; recaptured him the next day, lost him on the way to the police station and found him again the next day in a pub in West Mills. He asked the publican to help detain him, but he asked to see Sergeant Goddard's warrant. Refused assistance the sergeant attempted to take his prisoner to the police station alone, but was knocked down on the way by a friend of the prisoner, who again escaped. The sergeant summonsed the publican for not assisting the police; while the publican accused the sergeant of perjury. Both cases were dismissed. There were widely expressed opinions in the town of Sergeant George Goddard, both for and against. Those in support of him made a collection and presented him with a handsome watch and a testimonial of their approval of his work. On the death of the late Superintendent of Police, George was promoted in his place.
Newbury had over the years been mentioned in the national press because of the high ratio of pubs to inhabitants. The local temperance movement in the town was strong. They held tea parties for the ladies, Sunday schools for the children and entertainments and processions to entertain all It appears that George Goddard supported the movement. When the local authorities sent in a report to the government stating their findings of the present situation regarding pub opening hours and the effect it had on drinking, George disagree and sent a letter to The Times expressing his opinions. It was not well received in Newbury.
The Superintendent next drew attention himself when he and his cousin Richard Goddard, junior, now the license holder at the New Inn, clashed on Saturday August 1st 1874. The Superintendent was patrolling in Cheap Street, which leads to the railway station. About 11.45pm he saw three railway workers come off shift and walk into town looking for a drink. He saw them try to rouse someone at The Pigeons and the Weaver's Arms, but both were closed. He suggested that they try the New Inn as he had seen a light in there. The light had now gone out, but he and the workers hammered on the door until the light was lit again and Richard opened up.. They entered and found three men sitting at a table with drinks in front of them. The landlord stated they were lodgers and friends of lodgers and no money had been taken. George said he did not believe him and the publican was charged with “allowing intoxicating liquor to be consumed on his premises” outside regular opening hours. However in court the charge was dismissed and there were cheers from the supporters of Richard the publican. However, there remained the question of who was to pay the fees of the solicitor whom George had engaged to give the police's case, perhaps because he was too closely involved. After discussion the court agreed that the police had been correct to bring the case and the solicitor's fees were paid.
However, the Superintendent had his enemies. The letter to The Times still rankled. There was a suggestion that he was too strict in observing the drink laws. His supporters countered this with the assertion that his problem was that he could not be bribed by the publicans to turn a blind eye to infringements. However, a series of minor misdemeanours were alleged:
one; that during the court case against Richard Goddard, innkeeper, that Superintendent Goddard had told the Prosecuting Solictor that if he did not sit down he would be thrown out of court
two; a complaint from a Mr Hayward that the Superintendent had tried to extract money from him
three– Mrs Goddard had taken left over food after catering for a party paid for by a Mrs Gilmore
four- the Superintendent had threatened to take away the license of a publican named as Mr Collins
five; that he had kept for himself seven shillings of the half sovereign given by Rev. Banting for extra duties done by the police, and given only 1s 6d to the two constables who were there at the time.
The committee appears to have considered the accusations too trivial to warrant action against the superintendent, but finally a hasty decision was made to dismiss him. He was asked to resign. He refused. Cooler heads on the Watch Committee now began to regret their decision as the time of the Michaelmas Fair was upon them and a strong police presence in the town was essential. Still in his post the Superintendent carried out his duties as scrupulously as ever. Finally at some time he must have been given a letter of dismissal for when the Borough Police was amalgamated with the County Police early in 1875 he lost his position. In the 1881 census he was working as a coal merchant in Newbury. By 1891 he was a greengrocer in Reading. By 1901 he was retired and living with his married daughter at South Stoneham in Hampshire.
At the New Inn, Richard senior died on October 29th 1875 of natural causes.. He had been living at the Church Almshouses; a service was held in St John the Evangelist Chruch and he was buried in the nearby Newtown Road cemetery.. Which is where this story began.
Richard junior and his wife Selina/Sebrina had no children. He died aged 57 in 1887, but was not buried in the Newtown Road Cemetery, Newbury. Several of his brothers and sisters had moved to Croydon, perhaps because they knew the place from the time that Richard was a policeman there.
Of George's numerous children we know that one lived and died in Newbury. Ernest William Goddard, his son, was buried in the cemetery near where his uncle rests in 1924 aged 68.
None of those whose stories have been uncovered by this research for the proposed cemetery handbook could have dreamed that one day their family disagreement would be uncovered and printed for all to see.
Thanks to Phil Wood, local historian for suggesting there was story to be told; to Richard Godfrey for his book Newbury Borough Police 1836-1875 and a big thank you to Sue Knight of Canada, a descendant of Jane Goddard Webb for allowing me to consult her copious and detailed notes about her family.