Select Goodwin/Godwin Miscellany



Here are some Goodwin/Godwin stories and accounts over the years:

Famous Godwins

Saint Godwin of Stavelot was a Benedictine abbot at the monastery of Stavelot-Malmedy in Belgium.  He died in 690.  His feast day is October 28.  Godwin (or Godwine) was the Bishop of Lichfield around 1010.  But the most famous Godwin, who emerged a little later, was the Godwin, son of Wulnoth, who became the Earl of Wessex.
 
Godwin had risen from the lower ranks of the Anglo Saxon aristocracy to become a favorite of the king, Canute, who made him Earl of Wessex in 1018.  He survived Canute's death in 1035 and emerged as a kingmaker, resisting the Norman incursions, in the subsequent reigns of Harold Harefoot, Harthacanute, and Edward the Confessor.  Godwin died in 1053 and his mantle passed onto his son Harold Godwinson and his feuding siblings.  Harold, the last Anglo Saxon king of England, held the crown for just nine months before being famously killed by an arrow in the eye at the Battle of Hastings.

Frank Barlow's 2003 book The Godwins: The Rise and Fall of a Noble Dynasty tracks the history of this feuding family that, but for Hastings, might have created an Anglo Saxon dynasty in England.


Reader Feedback - Godwin not Goodwin

I noticed your site doesn’t have the Saxon surname Godwin in the list, only the derivative Goodwin.  Goodwin was used long after Godwin in early England.  Godwin shows up centuries earlier than Goodwin.  Because the “God-“ portion of the surname was pronounced in Saxon like “Good-,” and because many people back then were illiterate, the erroneous spelling of Goodwin sprang up and has been interspersed within Godwin families throughout time. 

I myself am a Godwin, a direct descendant of Lord Hugh Godwin of Godwin’s Bower who was born around 1300.  He was my 18th great grandfather. 


Regards,
Tony Godwin (tgodwin@sw.rr.com)



Early Godwins as Surnames

1177
William Godwin
Norfolk
1206
William Goodswein
Lincoln
1239
Nicholas Godwyn
Cambridgeshire
1296
Richard Godwynn
Yorkshire
1320
Roger Gudswen
Norfolk
1327
William Godewaynes
Worcester
1379
William Godwin
Yorkshire


Early Goodwin Marriages in Norfolk


Groom
from -
Bride
from -
1479
Jo Goodwyn
Loddon
Joanne Newman
Loddon
1554
Valentine Goodwyn
K. Lynn
Margaret Miller
Thornham
1556
John Goodwyn
Suffolk
Dorothy Lee
Norwich
1558
Robert Rowse
Suffolk
Joan Goodwyn
Bedingham
1560
Roger Guner
Hackford
Elizabeth Goodwyn
Norwich
1561
Thomas Sparrow
Norwich
Agnes Goodwyn
Norwich
1563
Robert Barber
Suffolk
Helen Goodwyn
Norwich
1569
William Leggat
Brysyard
Etheldreda Goodwine
Easton



Reader Feedback - Goodwins in Bedfordshire

My surname is Goodwin.  My family’s is the oldest grave in the churchyard in Great Barford in Bedfordshire, dating back to 1642.  It is along with the Pitts family the oldest family name in the village.  I would add that the graveyard is on its "second usage" for want of better words. 

The vicar in the 1960 traced our family tree back even further to Norman times using the Domesday Book. The name has changed from Godwin, Godwyng, Goodwine, and Goodwing to Goodwin.  The oldest part of the church dates back to 1066.  Apparently there are cottages in the village built with beams from the ships that came up the river Ouse.

Trevor Goodwin (trevorgoodwin54@hotmail.com)



Goodwins and Godwins

UK.  The following was the geographic distribution of Goodwins and Godwins at the time of the 1891 UK census:

UK 1891 Census (numbers)
Goodwins
Godwins
Total
Godwin %
Yorkshire
    950
    50
  1,000
     5%
North West
  4,700
   700
  5,400
    13%
South West
    400
 1,200
  1,600
    75%
London
  2,250
   750
  3,000
    25%
South East
  2,100
   150
  2,250
      7&
Elsewhere
  5,600
 1,150
  6,750
    18%
Total
 16,000
 4,000
 20,000
    20%

The main cluster of Godwins were in the west country, in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, and Hampshire.


US
.  The US showed the following distribution of Goodwins and Godwins at the time of its 1920 census.

USA 1920 Census (numbers)
Goodwins
Godwins
Total
Godwin %
North
  4,100
   500
  4,600
    11%
South
  3,900
 1,400
  5,300
    27%
West
  3,000
   300
  3,300
      9%
Total
 11,000
 2,200
 13,200
    17%

Here there were some Godwin clusters, most conspicuously in North Carolina and in nearby southern states.


Australia.
  The following were the results from Australia, from a smaller sample.  The numbers here come from the various Goodwins and Godwins recorded as incoming convicts and immigrants in the 19th century.

Australia Arrivals (numbers)
Goodwins
Godwins
Total
Godwin %
As convicts
   51
     18
   69
    25%
As assisted immigrants
   93
      6
   99
      6%
Other immigrants
   65
      3
   68
      3%
Total
  209
     27
 236
    12%

If statistics mean anything, then the Godwins were the more criminally minded.  However, the overall totals probably underestimate the Godwin share.

Wiiliam Goodwin of Earl Soham and His Diary

William Goodwin of Street Farm in Earl Soham, Suffolk was a surgeon who kept a diary between the years of 1785 and 1820.  

Earl Soham at that time was a smuggling place and Goodwin would meticulously record the contraband passing from Sizewell Bay:
- in the summer of 1785, for instance, he noted that, in less than a week, twenty carts had passed through,
  carrying 2,500 gallons of spirits;
- in February of the same year, five carts carrying 600 gallons passed in the course of just one morning;.
- on the 23rd of February, though, the smugglers were not so lucky and they lost six carts loaded with
  spirits to the preventive services.

This extract in 1789 commented on the cold winter that year:

"January 11, 1789.  The severe frost with deep snow still continues.  The Thames above Putney has stalls and public diversions exhibiting on it daily.  The drought has lasted so long and the springs so frozen up that water is sold by the pail in Norwich and by the pint in some places.  The game are in distress.  Uncommonly a hare took refuge in a copper hole and a partridge in my house.  Another was unable to fly and brought in." 



Goodwin Neck in Virginia

One of the most beautiful spots in the Tidewater area of Virginia is the ancestral home of the Goodwin family.  Goodwin Neck encompasses the present village of Dandy, located in York county near to historical Yorktown.  The area was part of the land granted to John Chew in 1636 and then sold by his heirs to James Goodwin in 1668.

James Goodwin, the son of a salt merchant in London, came to Virginia in 1650.  He farmed mainly corn and tobacco on this 1,200 acre site.  He was also a magistrate in York county, a speaker in the House of Burgesses, and a major in the militia.  He married, the story goes, a sickly woman, the last of the maidens brought to the colony to be taken as wives.

Goodwin and his wife Rachel raised five sons and two daughters before she died in 1666 at the age of 36.  He subsequently married an Elizabeth who inherited the estate on his death.  The Goodwin homestead was an imposing two-storey structure facing Goodwin Island on the Thorofare.  People continued to remember the house long after it was torn down in the early 1900's.  
  


The Goodwin Mansion and Park in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

The descendants of New Hampshire Governor Ichabod Goodwin owned a plot of land, Goodwin Field, across from their mansion on Islington Street.  The city struck a private deal was struck with these Goodwins. The city could build a park and raise a monument; but the land would have to remain public for all eternity.

Most people get confused at this point in the story because the stately Goodwin Mansion no longer looks out over Goodwin Park.  There's a one-story brick furniture store there now.  The historic house was transported to Strawbery Banke Museum on the other side of town in 1963.  Built during the War of 1812, this Federalist building in all its gubernatorial splendor has been preserved for public viewing at its new location.  Good for the South End, but not so good for the once exclusive tree-lined Islington Street.

On July 4 1888, Mayor Eldrege erected his 42-foot Civil War statue in the new Goodwin Park.  Ichabod Goodwin's face was hastily designed into the monument, with the obligatory relief of Abraham Lincoln on the other side.  The town turned out in full for the inaugural celebrations, with an estimated 5,000 outsiders coming in by trains that ran hours late.


Eli Goodwin in Saskatchewan


Eli was the first of the Goodwin family to leave Ontario and take up the Government's offer of free land grants for all those willing to take up the challenge of homesteading in this vast prairie land.  It was prior to 1909 that Eli set off from Palmerston in Ontario to Colgate in Saskatchewan where he filed for his homestead.

He relied on the mercy of his neighbors to aid him in getting his land broke by using their oxen and implements.  Gradually he was able to buy his own oxen and later these were replaced by mules and then by beautiful horses.  He did not receive a formal education.  So he surrounded himself with maths and literature books.  One of his accomplishments was the memorizing of Rudyard Kipling's poem If

After eighteen years of living alone and at the age of 47, he married Beryl Waldon in the fall of 1927.  They had four children.




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