Goddard family

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The Goddard family were a prominent landed family chiefly living in the northern region of the English counties of Wiltshire and Hampshire and the western part of Berkshire, between the Tudor period and the late modern era.

The Goddard family were established at Upper Upham House, near Aldbourne, from at least the late 15th century. From 1563 until 1927, the family were lords of the manor of Swindon, living on the Goddard Estate in The Lawns. Other important manors included Clyffe Pypard and Ogbourne St George in Wiltshire, Standen at Hungerford in Berkshire and Stargroves at East Woodhay in Hampshire.

Wiltshire Goddards[edit]

The Lawns estate in Swindon[edit]

The Lawn c. 1900

Thomas Goddard's purchase were said to include profits of the fairs and the weekly market, 60 messuages, 40 cottages, 2 water mills, 100 gardens, 100 orchards, 600 acres (2.4 km2) of land, 200 acres (0.81 km2) of meadows, 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) of heath, 30 acres (120,000 m2) of woods, 120 acres (0.49 km2) of pasture and one dovecote.[1]

The estate included the area known today as the Lawns, and was bounded by the High Street and the site of Christchurch. The manor house was rebuilt around 1770; it is probable that this was on the site of a mediaeval building. It was known as Swindon House until 1850, and later as the Lawn.

The family home was a double-cube fronted building of brick with stone dressings and a baluster parapet. To the east of this was a five-bedroom dining block that looked out onto the gardens.[1] When last occupied by the family, the Lawn had an outer and inner hall on the ground floor (giving access to a lobby and drawing room), a dining room with adjoining study, billiard room, library and gun room. There were two staircases leading to the various bedrooms, some with adjoining dressing rooms and also the nursery and servants' quarters.

The grounds included an arboretum, lawns, artificial lakes and ornamental gardens and was used for entertaining, garden parties and fêtes. During cold periods the frozen lakes were used by the family and local residents for ice skating.

The last of the male line, Major Fitzroy Pleydell Goddard, a diplomat, died in 1927. His widow, Eugenia Kathleen, left Swindon in 1931. Subsequent to this, the house remained empty until it was occupied by British and American forces during World War II. Damaged by the military, it was bought from The Crown by Swindon Corporation in 1947 for £16,000. The sale included 53 acres (210,000 m2) of land, the Manor house and the adjacent Holy Rood Church.[1]

The house itself was derelict by 1952 and demolished. The Manor grounds were opened as parkland and remain so. Today; the wood, lake, sunken garden, elements of the walls and the gateposts at the entrance to Lawns are all open to the public. The site of the former stables are now the Planks auction house.

Part of the gardens at The Lawn, 1920

Lords of the manor of Swindon[edit]

Thomas Goddard of Upham acquired the manor of Swindon in 1563 and his descendant family were Lords of the Manor until the 20th century.

In the following list, descent is from father to son unless noted.[1]

  • 1563–1567 Thomas Goddard
Originally from Upham, a small village south of Swindon, Thomas Goddard acquired the Manor of Swindon in 1563 from the Crown. He also purchased the Crown Inn later, re-named the Goddard Arms, which become Swindon's de facto Town Hall, Courthouse and Council rooms until the mid-19th century.
  • 1568–1614 Richard Goddard
  • 1614–1641 Thomas Goddard
Granted the right to hold markets and fairs in the town in 1626 from the King.
  • 1644–1650 Richard Goddard
  • 1651–1683 Thomas Goddard (minor until 1669 with his mother as guardian until 1656 and Thomas Bowman until 1669)
  • 1683-???? Thomas Goddard
Converted one of the estate's alms houses into the town's first Market House in 1703.
  • ????-1732 Richard Goddard
  • 1732–1742 Pleydell Goddard (brother of Richard Goddard)
  • 1745–1754 Ambrose Goddard (cousin of Pleydell Goddard)
  • 1757–1770 Thomas Goddard (eldest son of Ambrose Goddard)
  • 1771–1815 Ambrose Goddard (youngest son of Ambrose Goddard)
Director of the Wilts and Berks Canal, donated site for Christ Church
  • 1852–1895 Ambrose Lethbridge Goddard
Born 9 December 1819, died 15 November 1898. Deputy-Chairman of the Midland and South Western Junction Railway.
  • 1895–1927 Fitzroy Pleydell Goddard
Army Major and diplomat; High Sheriff of Wiltshire in 1907.

MPs for Cricklade[edit]

  • Thomas Goddard (b. 9 August 1777 d. January 1814) is recorded as being the Member of Parliament for Cricklade from 1806–12.
  • Ambrose Goddard (b. 9 October 1779 d. 29 November 1854) 1837–41.
  • Ambrose Lethbridge Goddard (Lord of the Manor) 1847–68 and 1874–80 (serving alongside Sir Daniel Gooch).

Hampshire Goddards[edit]

The Goddard family owned the Stargroves estate at East Woodhay from 1565 until about 1830.

Berkshire Goddards[edit]

Manor House and Church, Clyffe Pypard. Painted about 1754. The young couple on the lawn are intended for Edward Goddard and his bride Johanna, who were married 27 August 1754.

In the 1550s, Standen Manor in Hungerford was bought by John Goddard of Upper Upham House and it became one of the family's favourite homes.[2] The family purchased Clyffe Pypard Manor in Wiltshire around the same time and divided their time between the two.[2] They were associated with the place for about 150 years.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Child, Mark (2002). Swindon : An Illustrated History. United Kingdom: Breedon Books Publishing. ISBN 1-85983-322-5.
  2. ^ a b c Ford, David Nash (2002). "Standen Manor". Royal Berkshire History. Nash Ford Publishing. Retrieved 15 November 2010.