This interesting surname, found recorded variously in England, France, Germany and Switzerland, is of Germanic origins. Composed of the pre 7th century elements "god", meaning good, and "hard", hardy or brave, the name has always had a popular following. It was introduced into Britain by the Normans after the Invasion of 1066, and was highly popular in Europe as a result of the fame of St. Goddard, an 11th Century bishop of Hildesheim, who founded a hospice on the pass from Switzerland to Italy that bears his name. The name is recorded as a surname in variant forms throughout Europe; such as Godard and Godart in England; Goudard and Godar in France; Gotthard, Godehard and Goddert in Germany; and Goedhard and Goedhart in Holland. The personal name was first recorded in Lincolnshire in circa 1160 - 1166, with one Godardus de Clakesbi, and early recordings of the surname include; Wlfrich Godard of Norfolk in 1221; and Andres Gotthard of Scweidenitz, Germany, in 1274. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Goddard, which was dated 1208, in the "Curia Rolls of Hampshire". This was during the reign of King John of England, 1199 - 1216. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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