The Four Georges

We tend to concentrate on the Tokes when talking about the history of
Godinton, as this family owned the estate for 400 years. However, I
would like to shed a little light on George Ashley Dodd,who purchased
the estate in 1896 and was responsible for carrying out the most
extensive structural alterations for 100 years, employing architect
and garden designer Reginald Blomfield to remodel the gardens and
parts of the house, as well as adding the west wing. We are fortunate
to have in our collection a book relating some of the history of the
Dodd family, written by George Ashely Dodd’s granddaughter. This
contains a fascinating insight into the Dodd family, of which there
were four Georges.

The first George was a coach builder and investor in property, he was
born in 1757 and lived to the age of 77, accumulating an estate to the
value of £58,000 on his death. The second George was born in 1790 and
went on to become a Gentleman of his Majesty’s Privy Chamber and MP
for Maidstone – allegedly bribing the electorate with legs of muttons
in return for their vote! Another family story tells that George
number two allowed his wife Georgina to travel to France by herself,
where she met Louis Napoleon and later started an affair, giving birth
to daughter Georgina Violet in 1855. The third George (Ashley Dodd of
Godinton) was born in 1841 and educated at Harrow and Oxford, later
becoming J.P. for Middlesex and High Sheriff of Kent in 1911. In 1871
he married Marguerite Augusta Edwards, who brought a good dowry to an
already rich man and together they had 3 children, including George
Lawrence (the fourth George) in 1876, settling at Godinton in 1896.
One of George’s godparents was HRH George Duke of Cambridge,
commander-in-chief of the Army. George Lawrence was educated at Eton,
winning the middleweight boxing belt, then went on to Sandhurst before
joining the 2nd Grenadier Guards. During his service, the story goes
he was sent to a London House where the Prince of Wales, later King
Edward VII, was visiting a lady within – for this he was given a pearl
and diamond tie pin, which his daughter still owns. However, he later
had to resign his commission after quarrelling with a superior office
and knocking him down. His furious parents sent him off to
agricultural college in Canada.

Of course, we are unable to verify any of this information, but it
helps to build a picture of another of our Godinton families.