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.
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.