Gothard History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Gothard family migrated to England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The surname Gothard is based on 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 Gothard family

The surname Gothard 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 Gothard family

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

Gothard Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Gothard include Goddard, Goddart, Godard, Godart, Godarte, Godert, Godderd and many more.

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


United States Gothard migration to the United States +

In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Gothards to arrive on North American shores:

Gothard Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Johann Gothard, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1804 [10]

Australia Gothard migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Gothard Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

Contemporary Notables of the name Gothard (post 1700) +

  • Steve Gothard, American Libertarian politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Idaho 1st District, 2002 [13]
  • Arthur Gothard, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Indiana, 1956 [13]
  • Mr. David Victor Gothard C.B.E., British former Director Riverside Studios, was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire on 29th December 2018 for services to Cinema and to Drama by her Majesty The Queen [14]

HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. Edwin Gothard (1908-1941), Australian Acting Petty Officer Telegraphist from South Caulfield, Victoria, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [15]


The Gothard 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. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bussorah-merchant
  12. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 2nd December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/camden
  13. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 23) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  14. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, www.thegazette.co.uk/honours-lists
  15. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp


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