Weeke local History - Godwin Family


Godwin Family

The Godwin family took over some of the lands previously farmed by the Complin family starting during the 1640s.

The first Godwin family member was William Godwin. In his will dated 1660 he is described as a ‘Yeoman’. His will shows a family that was already establishing itself in Weeke. He specified that 20s should be distributed to the poor in the parish. In addition he also bequeathed 20s to the church.

Most of his lands were bequeathed to his eldest son, Richard including lands in Headbourne Worthy. He requested that Richard pay his mother, William’s wife Joanne an annuity of £20 per annum. He gave lands called Sturbridge Meads in North Stoneham to his second son Nathaniel, and requested he pay his mother a £10 annuity per annum.

His three daughters, the wives of William Wake, Ralph Parr and Gilbert Beare were to be given £20. William Wake was indebted to William Godwin for a bond of £100 and the will released him from this commitment. For each of his grandchildren he bequeathed £5 each.

The rest of William’s goods and chattels were to be assigned to Joanne, his wife and his youngest son Thomas, who was also bequeathed some land.

The will indicates that he had a significant wealth although he was described in his will as a yeoman.

There seems to be a gap that needs further investigation concerning Richard, William’s son and the recording of John Godwin in Weeke in early 1700s. It is probable that his first marriage to Lucy (maiden name unknown) was in Kingsworthy on 4th October 1706. They had several children that died in their early years. Lucy died in 1719 and John remarried Elizabeth and then had several children, Elizabeth and Mary (1721), Thomas (1723), George (1726) and several other births that died in childhood. John died in 1833 and so when he came of age Thomas took over the family assets.

It is likely that Thomas built the mansion that is now referred to as Weeke Manor, since Pevenser described its style as ‘eighteenth century’. It does not appear that Thomas married and did not have any heirs. His long will in 1776 indicates he had three servants and was described as ‘esq’ in the burial register. So it would appear that the family business had been very successful during Thomas’s life.

He left the estate to his niece Elizabeth Long Godwin, the daughter of his brother George who had already died. Trustees were in charge of managing the estate until Elizabeth came of age.

Elizabeth married Joseph Hollis who had been born in Lyndhurst in 1763 went to Oxford and became ordained. They married in 1803 and their only daughter was born in Weeke in 1804 and named Elizabeth Godwin Hollis. The family did not live in Weeke since Joseph‘s role as a vicar resulted in the family being resident in several parishes over the years.

This was the beginning of the break up of the Godwin estates. Leases for several areas of Weeke were sold to William Burnett, but some lands continued to be held by Elizabeth Hollis until her death in 1847 after she had been widowed and returned to live in Weeke.

Her daughter remained the owner of part of the estate until she died in Weeke in 1880.

Release 1.0 last update 03/05/19

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