Lewes History Group talk: The Godlees of Bear Yard, Cliffe: An Intimate Family Portrait – Monday 14 October 2019, 7:00 for 7:30pm

Joanna Hodgkin

It’s not often that you get to know a family who lived 200 years ago. Especially a family that was neither wealthy, aristocratic nor particularly famous. However, Joanna Hodgkin has uncovered archives that have enabled her to create a unique behind-the-scenes portrait of an unusual and colourful family in the turbulent years after the Napoleonic Wars.

The Rickmans and Godlees of the Bear Yard, Cliffe were remarkable in that they wrote copiously – letters, journals and poems – and have left us a unique window into their world. Fascinating glimpses of everyday life are interspersed with disaster and celebration, heartache and triumph.

During the 1820s John Godlee’s business teetered on the brink of collapse, forcing his children, Mary Ann and Sarah, Burwood and Rickman, to shoulder the responsibility for the family. How the siblings met these challenges, while still finding time to enjoy themselves whenever possible, provides a vivid picture of a vanished world. The Godlees and the Rickmans were members of the Society of Friends, but very different from the stereotypical image of the early nineteenth century Quaker.

Joanna is an author of fiction under the name Joanna Hines, and non-fiction under her maiden name, Joanna Hodgkin.

All are wSarah Godlee Rickman silhouetteelcome from 7.00pm for free refreshments and updates on the Group’s activities. The talk will begin promptly at 7:30pm and will finish by 9.00pm.

There is an entry fee for these meetings, payable at the door, of £1 for members, and £3 for non-members.

Venue: The King’s Church building on Brooks Road, Lewes, BN7 2BY. (Between Tesco car park and Homebase)

Silhouette of Sarah Godlee Rickman


See the Meetings page for a list of  forthcoming monthly talks organised by the Lewes History Group.

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