Godart History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Godart is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. Godart is a name that comes from the Germanic personal name Godhard, which is composed of the elements god, which means good, and hard, which means brave or strong. [1]

Not all of the family emigrated to England as the Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae lists "Reinald, Reginald, Roger Godard or Godart, Normandy, 1180-98." [2]

The name is derived from the Germanic personal name Godhard, which is composed of the elements "god," which means "good," and "hard," which means "brave" or "strong." [1]

Another source claims the name was "derived from an occupation. 'the goatherd'; Anglo-Saxon 'gat' and 'herd,' as in cowherd, shepherd. Gothard in Yorkshire is undoubtedly the descendant of some old goatherd who took his surname from the occupation." [3]

Regardless of the two aforementioned entries, we must look to the Domesday Book of 1086 for the first record of the family. For it is there that "Godardus appears a personal name. The ancestor of the Goddards of Cliffe and Swindon are said to have been seated in Wiltshire before temp. Rich. II." [4]

"The ancient name of Goddard, which was represented by Godard in Domesday, is, with the exception of its representatives in Derbyshire, now mostly confined to the southern half of England. It is most numerous in Berks, Suffolk, Hants, and Dorset, and is also established in Norfolk, Middlesex, and Wilts. In the 13th century it occurred as Godard in Bucks, Middlesex, Cambridgeshire, and other counties. Probably some of the Berkshire Goddards are of Wiltshire origin." [5]

Early Origins of the Godart family

The surname Godart was first found in Wiltshire at Berwick-Bassett, a parish, in the union of Marlborough, hundred of Calne, Marlborough and Ramsbury. "The ancient manorhouse [of Berwick-Bassett], many ages since the residence of the Goddard family, is still remaining." [6]

" Wiltshire has long been one of the principal homes of the Goddards. The ancestors of the Goddards of Cliffe and Swindon are said to have been seated in the county before the reign of Richard II. " [5]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 include: Godard de Thurton, Norfolk; Simon Goddard, London; and John filius Godard, Cambridgeshire.

The Yorkshire Poll Rolls of 1379 list Symon Godhird; Alicia Goderd; Symon Godhird; and Johannes Gaytbyrd as all holding lands there at that time. [3]

Another source notes that Godardus de Clakesbi was listed in Lincolnshire c. 1160-6, Robert God(d)ard was listed in the Curia Regis Rolls for Hampshire in 1208, Wlfrich Godard in Norfolk in 1221, and Symon Godhard was listed in Cheshire in 1299. [7]

Up in Scotland, the name is now rare, but Robert filius Godardi was one of an inquest made at Peebles, 1262 and William Godarde, was a charter witness in 1320. [8]

Early History of the Godart family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Godart research. Another 303 words (22 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1559, 1200, 1208, 1221, 1299, 1470, 1472, 1480, 1493, 1734, 1645, 1671, 1651, 1617, 1675, 1617, 1632, 1640, 1643, 1646, 1615 and 1634 are included under the topic Early Godart History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Godart Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Goddard, Goddart, Godard, Godart, Godarte, Godert, Godderd and many more.

Early Notables of the Godart family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Goddard ( fl. 1645-1671), English engraver, "one of the earliest English engravers, is known for a few portraits and book illustrations of no great proficiency. He engraved a portrait of Martin Billingsley, the writing master, in 1651." [9] Jonathan Goddard (1617-1675), was an English physician, Army Surgeon to the forces of Oliver Cromwell, an active member of the Royal Society. He was the "son of Henry Goddard, shipbuilder, of Deptford, was born at Greenwich about 1617. In 1632, at the age of fifteen, he entered at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, where he...
Another 97 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Godart Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Godart family

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Godart name or one of its variants: John Goddard landed in Dover, Massachusetts in 1632 and William Goddard purchased land in Watertown in the same state in 1635. By the mid-1800's the Goddard name was found in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and as far west as San Francisco..


Contemporary Notables of the name Godart (post 1700) +

  • Roch Godart, French Brigadier General during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars from 1789 to 1815 [10]


The Godart Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Cervus non servus
Motto Translation: A stag not enslaved.


  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York, Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  5. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  6. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  7. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  8. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  9. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  10. ^ Generals Who Served in the French Army during the Period 1789-1815. (Retrieved 2015, March 6) Roch Godart. Retrieved from http://www.napoleon-series.org/research/c_frenchgenerals.html


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