(The Goodes family first came to the notice of the History Society via an email from David Foxley, the great great grandson of David Goodes. It is mainly with the information that he provided that we have been able to write this article and we are very grateful for his help. We also thank Mr Foxley for allowing us to use the images included in this article).
David Goodes was the founding father of the Goodes family of Wistow. He moved here sometime between 1851 and 1861 and remained in Wistow, probably in the same house, until his death in 1907. He was a boot and shoemaker, living in Mill Road with his wife, Sarah, and their large family.
Using census information we can track David Goodes movements until he arrived in Wistow in time for the 1861 census. David was born in Ellington near Grafham Water in 1826. His father John Goodes died in early 1841 when David was just fifteen years old and the 1841 census shows David living in Rectory Lane, Ellington with Mary, his widowed mother, two sisters, Elizabeth and Mary, and a brother named Thomas.
Following the death of David’s father, Mary Goodes married William Smith, a farm bailiff also born in Ellington. In the 1851 census David’s sister Elizabeth was a milliner and dressmaker in Sawtry and his brother Thomas was a cordwainer (another word for leather shoe maker) living at the Dolphin Inn, High Street, St Mary’s, Huntingdon. Later that year he married Selina Webb, the daughter of the publican of the Dolphin, and six months later their first child Thomas, was born. They emigrated to Canada, somewhere near Niagara Falls, before the 1861 census and were married for sixty five years raising six children. We lose sight of David’s other sister Mary after the 1841 census.
In 1851, ten years after his father’s death, David was married and living in Sawtry with his wife, Sarah (nee Taylor, born in 1829), and her parents, both of whom were described as school teachers. Another ten years pass and the 1861 census shows us that he is living in Mill Road, Wistow and there he stayed because in the 1881 census his widowed mother in law, Ann Taylor, was living in Wistow with David and Sarah. David’s last appearance was in the 1901 census, just a few years before he died. Sadly his wife, Sarah, had died much earlier in 1886. Her grave can be seen in the churchyard but it is quite worn and much of the inscription has fallen off so it is not possible to know for certain if David is buried with her.
Sarah Goodes’ gravestone with her great great grandson, David Foxley, holding up the fallen inscription
As mentioned earlier, David and Sarah had a large family, which was not uncommon in Victorian times. They had nine children and gave them some fairly unusual names. There was Virtue, Zeno Thomas, Enos Original, Ambrose, David Horatio, Rosina, Selina, Mary Elizabeth and Elizabeth A.
All of the daughters eventually moved away from Wistow, although Rosina lived here well into the twentieth century. Virtue moved to London, as did Mary Elizabeth. Selina became the second wife of William Brown, a widower twenty five years her senior, who worked in the shoe trade in Raunds near Wellingborough. It is likely she met him through connections with her father David, who was also a shoemaker. Elizabeth Ann went to work in London and married a gardener from Oxfordshire called John White. They had three daughters, Hilda, Mabel and Lilian, who lived their entire lives in a block of cottages on the Great North Road in Finchley. Hilda White married a Jack Gray, and one of the others married a fellow also called Brown.
We don’t know why but at the time of the 1861 census one of David and Sarah’s daughters, Mary Elizabeth, was being raised in Wistow by her grandmother, Mary Smith and in 1878, when Mary Elizabeth was about 23 years old, she gave birth to a daughter Ethel ‘out of wedlock’. It seems that Ethel was living with her grandparents David and Sarah Goodes at the 1881 census. Then in 1885 Mary married George Middleton, a scaffolder from Stepney and they went to live in Finchley with Ethel being listed as George’s stepdaughter. Ethel married a Charles Seares in London and they had three daughters named Muriel, Constance and Lillian.
Of David’s sons, Ambrose was listed as an unemployed carpenter in Wistow in 1881 but he eventually moved to live with his sister Mary Elizabeth and her husband George in Finchley, where he was employed as a gardener. David Horatio went to Doddington and became a postman until his death in 1907, which incidentally is the same year as his father died. Enos Original was still living in Wistow in 1901, but is missing from the census in 1911. He may have lived a long life somewhere else because there is no death record for him before 1938, which is as far as available records go at present. Zeno Thomas was the last male member of the family known to be living in Wistow.
David Horatio had a son Dennis who, like his great uncle Thomas, emigrated to Canada in April 1912 on the Laurentic, a sister ship to the Titanic, which was involved in the search for wreckage and bodies. Dennis served in the Canadian army in WW1 and emigrated to the USA in 1923. At the time he was described as a gardener. In 1933 when he applied for US citizenship, he was recorded as being in the seed business. He must have been fairly successful as he made three return trips to Europe in 1936, 1949 and 1957.
We return to the remaining Wistow residents. Rosina didn’t live in Wistow continuously. She had a break when she left to work as a domestic servant in Enfield in the household of Mrs Kircaldie, the wife of a Colonial Broker. She returned when she became the second wife of William Gifford, a draper and grocer who lived and ran his business from the house now known as The Old Post Office in Bridge Street. William’s first wife was called either Ann Burrows or Ann Goodman (it has not been possible to separate the names in the records). Ann died in 1884 and William married Rosina in Barnet, near Enfield, in 1886. They had two daughters, Rose and Lilian. William Gifford was the grandson of Thomas Meadows, a long standing resident of Wistow, farmer and in 1832 the owner of the William IV public house in Bridge Street. William makes his first appearance in relation to Wistow in the 1851 census aged nine when he and his brother, Thomas aged seven, were recorded during a visit to their grandfather. He moves to Bridge Street prior to the 1871 census and stays there until his death in 1911.
It seems that William Gifford’s property did not automatically go to his widow, Rosina. A conveyance document dated 14/11/1914 found in the deeds of Bridge House, formerly The Oddfellows Arms, states the following:
Conveyance of property from John James Bryant (Draper of St Ives) and Arthur Cope (Farmer from Wistow) executors of William Gifford’s (shopkeeper) will to Rose Gifford (widow) for £290. The property was Dwelling house and shop with outbuildings and appurtenances in Bridge Street then in the occupation of R Gifford.
Also the Messuage of Tenement adjoining formerly used as a Public House and known as the Oddfellows Arms with the outbuildings and appurtenances then in occupation of Zeno Goodes.
Bridge House on the left and part of The Old Post Office
Rosina continued to run the drapers shop in Bridge Street and is remembered by both Harold Lindsell and Peggy Glover (see their Memories articles also in Wistowpedia). Rosina Gifford nee Goodes died on 24th January 1944, Probate was granted to Lilian and Rose Gifford on 16th March 1944 and on the 27th Assent in favour of Lilian and Rose was given. Then on Christmas Day that same year Lilian died leaving just Rose. David Foxley has told us that he never met Lilian Gifford, but “Aunt” Rose, who would have been his third cousin, lived close to his family in Peterborough when he was a youngster and visited regularly. She was a very accomplished pianist and organist, who played in several churches and chapels around Peterborough. At the time of the 1901 census Rose was a boarder in at a school in St Ives that seemed to specialise in the teaching of English and Music. Although talented enough to do so, Rose did not teach music but worked instead as a lady’s companion and she died just before Christmas 1962, at the start of that terrible winter.
Rose Gifford, daughter of William Gifford and Rosina Goodes
(Taken by a St Ives photographer, possibly while she was in school there)
We return to Zeno Thomas, Rosina’s brother, and the last person with the name Goodes known to have been living in Wistow. Zeno (often wrongly transcribed as Leno) Thomas Goodes was listed in several censuses (1891, 1901 and 1911) as a publican and pig dealer, living either in Mill Street or Church Street. He was born in 1857 and married Frances Rebecca Crawley, who was born in 1858 and died of kidney cancer in 1906. They had two daughters, Sarah Ann and another Rosina.
Rosina, David Foxley’s grandmother, moved first to Ramsey on her marriage to George William Rowell in Wistow Church on 21st July 1909, and then to Peterborough. So far as he can recall, his mother said that Zeno only once came to visit them in Ramsey, and she never mentioned seeing him again. Sarah Ann, always known as Annie, went to live in London with her aunt Virtue sometime before the 1901 census and returned to Wistow when her mother died in 1906. It is not known how long she stayed in Wistow, but she moved to Lancashire (alone) to work in the hosiery trade before Zeno’s death in 1937. It appears that Zeno did not get on very well with his immediate family and David Foxley suspects that Annie did not stay looking after her apparently disagreeable father for very long.
Rosina Goodes, Zeno’s daughter, taken in the family home before her marriage in 1909
Rosina Goodes and her grandson David Foxley
Sarah Ann (Annie) Goodes
Annie Goodes and Edie Hayes (Virtue’s daughter)
Zeno was described as a publican in Rosina and William Rowell’s marriage certificate. The Kelly’s directory of 1903 records a Thomas Goodes at the Plough Inn. This is certainly Zeno Thomas Goodes and he was obviously a publican at the Plough Inn for quite a few years, at the very least between 1903 and 1909.
The Plough Inn
Here’s what the census’ say of Zeno Thomas:
1861 Zeno is three years old
1891 Goodes family in Church Street
Leno T (agricultural labourer) 33; Frances (wife) 33; Sarah A (daughter, scholar) 9;
Rosina (daughter, scholar) 7
1901 Goodes Family in Church Street
Zeno (Pig Dealer/cattle w) 44; Francis (wife) 44; William Crawley (lodger, agricultural labourer/herdsman) 28
1911 Goodes Family
Zeno Thomas, widower 54, dealer pigs, from Wistow, Hunts; Sarah Ann, daughter 27, single from Barham Hants; Arthur Crawley 37, single, boarder, farm labourer from Leighton Hunts
(William and Arthur Crawley are probably related to Frances in some way. Arthur seems to be her nephew as her brother Charles Crawley had a son called Arthur).
We know from the earlier conveyance document that by 1914 Zeno Goodes was living next door to his sister, Rosina Gifford, in the property she owned next to her shop in Bridge Street. At that time it was referred to as the cottage formerly known as The Oddfellows Arms and today is called Bridge House. The Oddfellows Arms had erstwhile been used as a beer house or pub, certainly in the 1861 census it was a beer house run by a widow called Eliza Wilkinson. In 1871 Thomas Peach was described as a publican at the Oddfellows Arms and by 1881 George Harding was the publican. By 1891 the house had ceased to be used as a beer house because the Hardings still lived in the cottage but were no longer described as publicans.
David Foxley, Zeno’s great grandson, tells us that Zeno Goodes died on Aug 19th 1937 in Eaton Socon at a place called White House, even though he was listed as living at Bridge Street, Wistow and described as a cattle dealer. He was puzzled by this because, although Eaton Socon is not too far from Wistow, he could not think of a connection that Zeno might have there. On further investigation he discovered that White House is listed as the current name of what was previously the St Neots Union workhouse. Many workhouse buildings were “rebranded” as old people’s homes, so we can only assume that Zeno was unable to look after himself and was taken into care before his death.
This glimpse into one family’s history gives us an insight into some aspects of Victorian life.
People were willing to move in order to find work with London being the same magnet that it is today. Some were adventurous enough to take the plunge and emigrate to Canada like David’s brother Thomas and his grandson, Dennis. David Goodes travelled the short distance from Sawtry to Wistow; some of his children moved a bit further to places such as Doddington, Barnet and London and his granddaughter Sarah Ann was brave enough to move on her own to Lancashire to seek employment.
On the whole people lived where they worked and David Goodes was able to make a living as a shoemaker in a small rural village such as Wistow. Also people would turn their hands to anything in order to make a crust and remain in the village. For example Zeno Goodes was at times both a publican and a pig dealer.
Family bonds were important and kept families together wherever they lived. The stigma of illegitimacy did not stop Mary Goodes’ grandmother and parents from supporting her and her child. We know too that Ambrose lived in Finchley with his sister Mary Elizabeth; Sarah Ann lived in London with her Aunt Virtue and the Crawleys boarded with their aunt Frances, Zeno’s wife. Also the bonds were strong enough to pull people back to Wistow. The older Rosina Goodes returned to marry William Gifford and Sarah Ann came back to live with her father, Zeno, after her mother died. Although the younger Rosina Goodes didn’t see her father often after she married, despite only living in Ramsey then Peterborough, she still maintained contact with her cousin Rose Gifford and the ties lasted two generations down to her grandson, David, who knew his “Aunt Rose” until she died in 1962.
We hope you have enjoyed this look into the lives of some previous Wistow residents.
The following email was sent to the Wistow History Society and has cleared up the details of Sarah Goodes gravestone. Thank you to Sharon Waters for this information.
I have just been looking at the village history page on the Wistow website. The information there is very interesting. Just in case you are interested I can tell you that the gravestone for Sarah Goodes that you have a picture of was only for her – the inscription read
A mother from our households gone
Her voice we love it still
A place is vacant at the hearth
Which we can never fill