This passage is reproduced from ‘Her Master’s Voice’ by Anne Edgar. All rights reserved
Godfrey the highwayman
There was one ‘gentleman’, Mr Godfrey, who was hanged at Godfrey’s Grave. My father used to tell me that he was a Highwayman and that he lived on the other side of Forstall Road, going down towards those marshes, at the back of Snowdown, where Mr Bones used to live. Going down the back there.
That Godfrey kept his horse down there. Of course, all Highwaymen had to keep in with the people about. Otherwise they told on him, you see. It was a good place to go. because he could go up into the woods, and preyed on the people going along the A2 – the coaches. So Godfrey rewarded everybody.
He had lots of ways of coming back home. He could come back via the Potteries or come back way through the marshes, and round there. He was finally caught and hanged.
Well my father couldn’t resist letting him ride Black Bess to York! And do a lot of other things which as I grew older and read I realised was a lot of lies, and Father had been ‘romancing’. (Amy Robsart was supposed to have fallen out of the Tower!). Father told very good stories – a little of no good.
But what was interesting, was when I went to Waterham we built on a sitting room (and so had a building site).
Old Dr Selby, my sisters-in-law’s father, was Medical Officer of Health for the Swale. Theer were some boards outside, and he and Mrs Selby arrived to pay a call. Old Dr Selby was about 6 foot 1″. He had his black suit on and he had mud up to his knees.
I said, “Good gracious! Did you fall into the foundations?”
And Mrs Selby said, “No, trust Prideaux to get in a mess!”
I can hear her now.
He’d been called in because when they got the water done (waterpipes, so that the corner could be widened for the bus) and they’d got to (the bit now called) Godfrey’s Grave, a body (thought to have been a childs), had been dug up.
Father had always said that Godfrey was a dwarf and a huchback, and that didn’t hold true to Dick Turpin, so I was rather doubtful about that.