Memorial planned for Southwold trader

A MEMORIAL is one idea being considered by town councillors as a lasting tribute to a merchant who left a huge part of his estate to Southwold.Wool, fish and salt trader William Godell bequeathed in his will of 1509 the common, marshes, harbour to the Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of Southwold.

A MEMORIAL is one idea being considered by town councillors as a lasting tribute to a merchant who left a huge part of his estate to Southwold.

Wool, fish and salt trader William Godell bequeathed in his will of 1509 the common, marshes, harbour to the Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of Southwold.

His name has been echoing around the town recently over the dispute over the ownership of the town's Harbour Caravan and Camping Site on Ferry Road after Waveney District Council announced it would be selling it on a 99-year lease.

Steve MacFarlane, one of the opponents of the plan, claims the will still holds true and that it was confirmed by the 1933 Pier and Harbour Orders Act.


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He said: "I think we should never forget William Godell. Beyond any on person, corporation or company, William Godell has done more to create and preserve Southwold as we all know it today."

However, the town council were legally advised that the land was transferred freehold to it under the 1972 Local Government Act and pulled out of a legal bid with Southwold Harbour and River Preservation group and the Southwold Caravan Owners Association to find out who owned the land.

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Current suggestions from residents include renaming the town's circular walk Godell's Way, starting up a bursary in his name to help students from the town with their studies or instigating an apprenticeship in his honour.

Town councillors will be looking into these ideas and consulting with residents over the next two months.

David de Kretser, curator of Southwold Museum, said: "It's fair to say how fortunate Southwold was in the early 1500s to have a wealthy merchant living and trading from here, who has willing leave a very significant part of his estate to the people to the town. He was a very significant Southwold citizen without any question."

It is believed his body is buried somewhere in St Edmund's Church but the only landmark to his memory is the incorrectly spelt Godyll Road which runs alongside the common, parallel to the harbour.

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