Godeart History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Godeart was carried to England in the enormous movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. It 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 Godeart family

The surname Godeart 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]

In Lancashire, we find the first evidence of the Gadder variant. John le Gadder was listed here in the Assize Rolls of 1285. Later in Northumberland, Henry Gadere was listed in 1371. This variant may have been a trade name from the Middle English "gadder" for "a maker of goads" which was a spiked stick used for driving cattle or oxen. [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 Godeart family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Godeart 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 Godeart History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Godeart Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Goddard, Goddart, Godard, Godart, Godarte, Godert, Godderd and many more.

Early Notables of the Godeart 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 Godeart Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Godeart family

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Godeart or a variant listed above were: 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..



The Godeart 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


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