This page is dedicated to the history of the Godsafe, Godsave and Godsalve families, principally from Essex 

The Godsafe family of names (including, to some extent, Godsave, Godsalve, Godshalf, Godsaff and Godsiff) has a long and interesting history, although it seems likely that several of the known lines may have derived their origins independently, from a variety of sources. Although in mediaeval times the names occurred throughout the country, by Tudor times they appear to have achieved a particular concentration in the county of Essex. Interestingly, Roger God-Save-Ladies appears in the Essex Domesday, holding lands around Hinckford Hundred, and although there are no known mediaeval references to the family in the area, there were Godsaves recorded in the same location by Tudor times, suggesting that there could have been some continuity of occupation in the area. There was also a notable Godsalve family in Norwich in the early 16th century (Sir Thomas Godsalve and his son John were famously painted by Holbein in the 1520's and 1530's), and it is possible that this line had some connection to the Essex one.

By Tudor times, a branch of the Godsafe family appears to have been established in the area a few miles to the west of Chelmsford in Essex, notably the parishes running from Great Waltham through Writtle, Roxwell, Willingale Doe and Blackmore to Doddinghurst. Although the overall structure of the family remains somewhat unclear, and research continues to clarify the picture further, it has been possible to construct a tentative tree for the early part of the family, beginning with the Thomas Godsafe who appeared as a juror at Brentwood Assizes in 1555/56. The principal surviving branch of the family springs from Thomas's possible grandson John Godsafe (b.c.1596), butcher, who moved from Roxwell to Willingale Doe in the early 17th century. Several of John's grandchildren appear to have left Willingale for Roxwell and Doddinghurst, with his great-grandson John being baptised at Doddinghurst in 1692. It is possible that the Richard Godsafe (b.c.1713) who later appears in Willingale Doe was the son of this John, there being no other currently known suitable local families.

This Richard Godsafe forms the start of the second, later tree summarised here. He appears to have married twice, to Susan Wright in 1733 (Fyfield), and then to Elizabeth Collins in 1744 (Willingale Doe). The Daniel Godsafe (b.c.1740) who is ancestral to a number of descendant researchers has been tentatively assumed to be a son of Richard's first marriage, although this is only really a working hypothesis and it may well be that a better explanation of his origins arises. Richard's second marriage certainly gave rise to a number of local descendant lines, and these are also documented here.



Anyone interested in further details of this branch of the Godsafe family, or who is able to provide additional details relevant to this branch, is invited to contact the coordinator for this page Ian Hall.


This page was last updated 16 May 2007 About this website ...