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Goodears - and Diggles

of the Fylde

also Goodeare, Goodere, Goodhere, Goodhear, Goodier, Goudier etc

For convenience in a family tree program it is easier to store the whole family under one version of the spelling.
'Goodier' is perhaps the commonest form now but 'Goodear' is used here as commoner in the Fylde at the relevant time. Whatever your choice, do record whatever spelling you come across!

One name that identifies this line of the Goodear family, especially with all the variants of spelling involved, is the alternative name of Diggles (or Digles) though not usually associated with the spelling 'Goodier'.
. It is not known why this other name was used. It could originally have been a nickname, or a throwback to an illegitimate birth, or perhaps an alias to conceal the identity of Catholics during penal times when the penalties for attending Catholic services were at the least fines and at the worst, death.

The name 'Digles/Diggles is included below wherever it is used for that person in a record.

There is some confusion over place-names around Kirkham and Lea. There are two distinct parts to 'Lea', the larger area has been swallowed up by Preston but the area referred to here is now known as 'Lea Town'. It was never part of Kirkham but the various civil divisions recorded in the census have confused the issue to some extent, especially 'Lea by Kirkham'.
___ Clifton Hall at Clifton, the next small village, and the surrounding land, was owned by the Clifton family of Lytham. It was at the domestic chapel here that the Catholics were first baptised and married. This chapel was succeeded by another in a farmhouse nearer to the R. Ribble until the present church was built in Lea Town itself. In the Catholic records it is known as 'Salwick and Lea.' The church does have its own graveyard but before that the Catholics of Salwick and Lea seem to have been buried in the churchyard of Kirkham parish church.

It should be added that the Catholic records were always in Latin till the middle of the 20th century so names should usually be anglicised. 'Helena' or 'Helen' usually represent 'Ellen' which was far more common. Children were also frequently baptised in the parish church - perhaps it was sometimes more convenient, especially in bad weather with the frequent problems of local flooding - but in earlier times there was no priest available or no records were kept at all or have not survived. Until the repeal of Hardwick's Marriage Act Catholic couples were obliged by law to marry in the parish church or their children would be held to be illegitimate.

The earliest known members of this line of the Goodear family have been traced to:

1. John Goodier & Isabel

John was born in 1678 in Esprick and his death is recorded as the 13 May 1768. Isabel was born in Woodplumpton about 1689. These dates, although credible, have not been verified, being given on the IGI without sources. Their children were:

  1. Joseph Goodier b.1711 Lea, bur. 14 Dec 1746 Lea/Kirkham
  2. William Goodier b. abt 1713 at Treales (pron. 'Trales', nr Kirkham)
  3. Ann Goodier b. abt 1715 at Treales
  4. Christopher Goodier chr. 30 Aug 1717 at St Anne's, Woodplumpton
  5. Ellen Goodier b. abt 1719 in Kirkham
  6. a dau. abt 1721 in Kirkham
  7. a son abt. 1721 in Kirkham
  8. Elizabeth Digles* b. bef. 1731 in Treales, m. Cuthbert Catterall on 8 Apr. 1749 at St Michael's-on-Wyre.
  9. John Goodear* b. bef 1738 in Lea, m. Elizabeth Horn 4 Nov 1738 in St Michael's-on-Wyre

*Members of the Catterall (Catterel) family of Weeton, perhaps related, appear in the Westby records later. This record is as follows in the St Michael's records:

'Cuthbert Cattral (Ins) & Eliz (sic) Digles otherwise Goodear Treals p Kirkham Lic'

In full: Cuthbert Catterall of Inskip married Elizabeth Diggles otherwise known as Goodear, of Treales in the parish of Kirkham. Being married by licence was a common practice among Catholics who were thus able to avoid having to attend the parish church for the three preceding Sundays to hear the banns read out.

The record for John and Elizabeth Horn is similar:

John Goodear Lea p Preston & Elizabeth x Horn, Wood tp banns wit John Goodear RB

In full: John Goodear of Lea in the (i.e. Anglican) parish of Preston m. Elizabeth nee Horn of Woodplumpton, of this parish (i.e. St Michael's) by banns. The witnesses were John Goodear and the parish clerk, Richard Baines. That part of Lea where John lived was obviously part of the parish of St John's, Preston's only parish church at the time. Catforth, apparently part of Woodplumpton was on the other hand, in the parish of St Michael's. (The far-reaching boundaries of St Michael's parish, stretching round Woodplumpton and even into part of the northern outskirts of Preston, go back to gifts of land to the monks of that area in Norman times.)


2. Joseph Goodear & Elizabeth

The evidence for this family also comes from the IGI without sources. Only two children have been listed but there must have been more as suggested by the godparents in the next generation. The two were:

  1. John Diggles or Goodear, b. 1737 at Bryning Hall m. Elizabeth Tootle in 1762
  2. Richard Diggles or Goodeare 1741-1809 m. Alice Wilson on 29 Sep 1777 at St John's, Preston

Bryning Hall was probably a typical larger Fylde farmhouse, but the name also refers to the hamlet around it. The confusion over this is similar to that over Lea and Cottam, perhaps arising from its use as a secret Mass centre at some time and therefore also a centre for baptisms. This was also the case with Cottam Hall, owned by the Haydock family, and gives a misleading impression of the number of people resident there! (This also occurs in the Shepherd family records of Salwick and Bryning.)


3. John Goodear & Elizabeth Tootle (Tootell)

This family can be identified through two main sources. The earliest is the Return of Papists of 1767 which lists the parents as known Catholics ('Papists') and the names and ages of the children, adding William and John to the others born later. This is followed by the transcripts made by the Catholic Record Society (CRS) which give baptismal and/or birth dates along with the names of the godparents. The spelling of the names is not consistent (see especially Isabel!) and the 'original' spellings are given here as recorded. This is not due to an 'inability to spell' - it was not considered important. The family may eventually have appeared to split into two distinct strands simply because neighbouring missions like Cottam and Newhouse began to favour one spelling over another. This applies to both names: Goodere, Goodear, Goodier, Goudier etc and to Tootell, Tootle, etc. Unfortunately some 'trees' on the IGI are inaccurate because 'Goodear' and 'Goodier' in particular have been treated as separate families, and the importance of religious adherence has been ignored!

The Return of Papists gives the following information:

John Goodear
Elizabeth Goodear

9 yrs
in Woodplumpton

b,1731) in Woodplumpton
b.1742) since 1758
b. 1764)Woodplumpton
b.1762) "
b. 1766) "

Altogether John and Elizabeth had 10 or 11 children. As only the father's name was given in the earlier records (listed by the IGI), the first three would be guesswork, but the Return of Papists fills in the gaps, with the information that he was a farmer in Woodplumpton and that his wife was called Elizabeth. There was no Catholic chapel in Newhouse till 1774 or in Cottam till 1785 so they had to be baptised at St Anne's Woodplumpton, the parish church. On the other hand there had long been a domestic chapel at Westby and the registers there begin in 1763.

N.B. As Elizabeth - if still alive - was over 60 yrs of age by 1800, no children born after that could belong to this family!

  1. Elizabeth (Betty) Goodere chr. 25 Nov 1762 Woodplumpton, 'father John Goodere' (IGI Batch No. P005762)
  2. William Goodere chr. 1 Aug 1764, Woodplumpton, 'son of John Goodere' (IGI Batch No. P005762) and in the 'Return'
  3. John Goodear chr. 3 Sep 1766 Woodplumpton ((in the 'Return' and also the IGI Batch No. P005762)
  4. Ann Goodear b. 1766 Westby - see note below*
  5. Elizabeth Goodear/Goodhear b. 25 Apr 1768 chr. Westby, parents given as Goodier, 'of Bryning Hall' sps. James Highton, J.Crookal; m. James Billington
  6. Isabell Goodear, chr. 23 Jan 1770, Westby, dau. of John & Betty Goodier 'of Bryning' sps. Thomas Goodier, Margaret Goodier
  7. Christopher Goodear, chr. 23 Apr 1772, Westby, son of John & Betty 'of Bryning' , sps. Will. Crookal, Ellin Tootal, m. Margaret Stewart (list of children below)
  8. Mary Digles (Goodear), chr.25 Mar 1777, St Mary's, Newhouse, sps. James Livesey, Jane Tootell
  9. Margaret Goodear chr. 17 Sep 1779, St Mary's, Newhouse, sps. Joseph Diggles, Margaret Diggles
  10. Catherine Goodier chr. 1 Feb 1783, Salwick & Lea, dau. of John [G.] '& Elizabeth Toutle, Catholics of Catforth', sps. John Carter, Anne Gradwell

1,2 & 3.The first three children appear in the Return of Papists of 1767, with their ages correct according to the other records found: parents John and Elizabeth were 36 and 25, and the three children were 5, 3, and one, backing up the data in the parish records. Betty (Elizabeth) must have died soon after, as the next child, born 1768 was another Elizabeth who married James Billington and is an ancestor on the main line of this study.

5. Elizabeth Goodear and James Billington were married on 19 Apr 1784 at St Anne's, Woodplumpton.

Briefly, Elizabeth was born at 'Bryning Hall' near Kirkham, the daughter of John Goodear and Elizabeth Tootle. She was baptised at Westby Hall, between Kirkham and Lytham, on 25 Apr 1768 which of course makes her only 16 at the time of her marriage. (Though technically 14 was the earliest age allowed in the Catholic church such early marriages are unusual at this date and in England) James and Elizabeth had 8 children most of them baptised at St Andrew's Cottam where they are easily identified with the mother's name of Goodear (variants - Goodier, Goudier, Goodhear, Goodere etc, sometimes two different spellings in the same record!)

Go to the Billington family to continue on the 'main' line

6. Isabel Goodear m. Richard Hardman 16 Feb.1792 at St Michael's-on-Wyre

7. About two years spent in Westby. Christopher m. Margaret Stewart (details below)

8, 9 & 10 The move to 'Newhouse' may have been a return to the first one or to a larger or smaller farm but basically back to the Woodplumpton area. Christenings only began in the chapel at Cottam the year after Catherine was born. Catforth, where Catherine was born is quite a distance from St Mary's, Newhouse, but it wouldn't necessarily mean a move if John and Elizabeth decided to attend the chapel at Salwick which opened in 1775.


An 'Elisa Godier' from the previous generation but unidentified, was a godmother in 1769

*An Ann Goodere baptised in Woodplumpton (Batch no.P005762) appears to have been the daughter of a Christopher Goodere). The one born in Westby is only recorded - a reference to the Diggles name - by 'a member of the LDS church' (as they usually describe their informants, whether they are or not) with no evidence to back it up.(Film no.459224) and unless she was John's twin she would not 'fit' here in this family. Nor is there any record of an Ann in the Catholic christenings at St Anne, Westby, between 1763 when it begins, and 1768, the birth of the second Elizabeth.

Christopher Goodier m. Margaret Stewart (Margaret was also recorded as Stuart and Steward - which variant, if included, is given after the child's name in the following list. The spelling of Goodear/Goodier here depends on the local priest!). Their 7 children, all baptised at Newhouse apart from Margaret, were:

  1. Elizabeth Goodear (Stuart) chr. 30 Sep 1801 at Newhouse sps. Thomas Wilcock, Elizabeth Goodear
  2. Margaret Goodear ('dau. of Cuthbert Goodear and Margaret Stuart of Catforth') chr. 22 Sep 1803 at Salwick & Lea sps. Robert Rushton, Margaret Goodear
  3. Maria Goodier b. 19 Oct, chr. 20 Oct 1805 at Newhouse, sps. Richard Corm, Margaret Corm
  4. John Goodier b. 25th Jun chr. 28 Jun 1807 at Newhouse, sps. Richard Hardman, Mary Hardman
  5. William Goodier b. 23 Sep. chr. 24 Sep 1809 at Newhouse, sps. John Hardman, Elizabeth Carter
  6. George Goodier (twin)(Steward) b. 26 Sep. chr. 29 Sep 1811, sps. James Hathernwaite, Anne Gregson
  7. Hugh Goodier (twin)(Steward) b. 26 Sep. chr. 29 Sep 1811 sps. James Hatherwaite, Catherine Hatherwaite

The naming of Margaret's father as Cuthbert only occurs here and is an obvious mistake.

The twins, George and Hugh, are described as 'vulgo Diggles' - commonly known as Diggles - their parents being Christopher a Catholic and Margaret, a Protestant. The name 'Hather(n)waite has numerous variants, Hawthornthwaite, Hathornthwaite, Haythornwhite, Hathornwhite etc, and can only be regarded as a 'phonetic' spelling at this time. There is only one James here, not two!)

'Strays', not of this family, are worth mentioning here without comment but as in the records of Cottam:

There was a Margaret Goodear who married another James Billington in 1784 - neither of them the same family, and they don't appear to be Catholics whereas Elizabeth (Goodear) and James (Billington) above definitely were.