Jane Godwin, Shadrach Godwin's daughter
I had a message from 'Gill' who was researching Shadrach Godwin on the internet, found a reference to him on the Grovehill Chronicle website and has discovered that she is distantly related to him and also linked him to a local farming family.
In her research on the Godwin family she was very kindly welcomed by the verger of St Mary's Church to see the painted glass windows that Jane Godwin had contributed to the church and documents relating to the sale of Grovehill House.
Gill has found family connections with Hemel Hempstead and also Flamstead, Trowley Bottom, Gaddesden Row, Little Gadddesden and Markyate. Astonishingly as she walked round the church she discovered a grave of one of the Godwin family at Little Gaddesden.
Godwin's daughter gave a gift to renew the 13th Century colouring of the roof and walls of the chancel in St Mary's Church and has a memorial there.
It is recorded in 1873 that Squire Shadrach Godwin who owned Grove Hill (not Grovehill!) had 641 acres of land, second only to Astley Cooper who owned 1747 acres. It seems that he was a fair employer as it is recorded that he held a supper for his employees at the Kings Arms.
When the railway company building the line from Hemel Hempstead to Harpenden wanted to buy land from Shadrach Godwin he asked a very high price. He might just have been an astute negotiator but it seems he rated the loss of productive land much higher than the price offered. The company suggested a station for his use but he replied that he would be expected to pay a toll for use of it; all this even there might have been considerable advantages to access the railway for the transport of his produce.
It was agreed that a significant cutting should be made to reduce the noise and annoyance of the trains with an iron bridge supported by brick piers for access; also substantial fences to keep the animals from straying on the line, and compensation for loss of timber and crops.
Even at this stage Godwin asked for time to gather his crops, holding up the work even further.
The Godwins had their own halt on the Nickey Line, named on maps as Godwins Halt and I believe that you can see the remains of some of the bridge structure in the wood behind the Sky garage. Godwin's Siding was built to bring in coal and farm supplies and was eventually used by the Hemel Hempstead Engineering Company.
In 1890 a sale took place of the Grove Hill Estate, including Grove Hill, Two Beeches House, eight cottages in High Street Green, Lovetts End Farm, The Haywood in Eastbrook Hay and Yew Tree Farm.
One of the Shadrach Godwins had two brothers:
No prizes given for guessing their names!