Village History
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Herbie Goddard

Leydene gardeners

Ernest Christmas on the left of this photograph of the Leydene House gardeners building the driveway. The man next to Jeremiah is Curly Adams, and the man in the middle smoking a pipe is Jack Cook.


Following the account given by Loni Marcotte of her East Meon ancestors (Lost & Found/Christmas/Barratt) we have been given more information about Jeremiah Christian’s family and descendants.Jeremiah Christmas’ most notable offspring was Herbie Goddard, the unofficial “Mayor of East Meon”.

Hazel told the story of Jeremiah’s wife Ellen walking her two infant sons five miles to Petersfield (and back). A robin hopped all the way just behind them, a possible harbinger of the death of the two boys – Freddie died just two days after that journey. Their other brother and one sister also died in infancy; they were survived by six girls, including Nellie.

In 1924, a fatherless boy, 16 year-old, Herbie Goddard, arrived at Upper House, Oxenbourne, and was employed by the farmer Philip Berry. Nellie Christmas was working as a housemaid. In 1929, Herbie travelled north to join an industrial engineering firm near Manchester. Two years later, he returned to East Meon and worked as chauffeur for the architect, Morley Horder (see Court House). In 1933 he married Nellie.

They moved to Barnards at some point before WWII; during the war, the house was designated as suitable for lodging 10 and a half people, including two land girls both of whom married local lads. Herbie was a member of the auxiliary fire service.

After the war, Herbie managed the petrol station and garage business in the coach yard next to Glenthorne; later, he bought it. He was later helped in running the garage by his son-in-law Chris Pamplin and daughter Hazel. They looked after many of the local farm vehicles, in return for which they were often paid in produce such as eggs – which were, in turn, sold in the shop attached to the garage.

Herbie joined the Parish Council on which he served for 37 years and was Chair for 16. He was also Church Warden, a member of the Horticultural Society and, during the war, a fire warden. He was known as the unofficial Mayor of East Meon and among his achievements was the building of the Village Hall, of which he was Chairman. When Herbie was planning the new Village hall, Hazel remembers fund-raising by creating a mile of pennies – a strip of till-roll stretched along the high street; motorists were stopped and asked to donate pennies.

Click here for a collection of newspaper articles collected by Hazel Pamplin recording Herbie’s public life in the village.