30 years ago

From the West Sussex County Times of Friday, December 24, 1982.

A Lower Beeding woman who ranked among the top ten Highland lairds in Scotland and died aged 85, in May, left an estate worth nearly £5m.

Miss Catherine Edith Godman, of South Lodge, had owned the 100,000 acre Benmore section of the Bainsgowan Estate, in Ross and Cromarty. With her sister Eva, who died 17 years ago, she bought the land for £420,000 in 1961 and later re-sold.

The estate included three licensed hotels, 53 miles of salmon river, several grouse moors, and a deer forest. Miss Godman lived all her life in Lower Beeding, inheriting the South Lodge estate when her father died, which included many acres of gardens and farming land.

Details just published reveal her estate valued at £5,008,756 gross, and £4,997,971 net.

In her will, Miss Godman directed her trustees to offer her collection of valuable Islamic pottery to the Inland Revenue to satisfy payments of Capital Transfer Tax, due on her death.

It also provided that the collection should be given to the British Museum, of which her father was a trustee. Any excess from the valuation should be paid to the museum.

The pottery is valued by Christies at between £3m and £5m.

Miss Godman was probably best known for her love of horticulture and wildlife, and her association with the Girl Guide movement in Sussex.

She was the Guides’ joint county commissioner between 1945 and 1960 and was awarded the OBE for her services to the movement. She took over from her mother who was the county representative between 1919 and 1944.

Miss Godman took an avid interest in pastimes such as fishing and shooting, and in the horticulture field allowed her gardens to be viewed by the public, with donations going to local charities. She died on May 18 when travelling to the Chelsea Flower Show, collapsing while waiting for a taxi.

Contracts for the new Broadbridge Heath bypass have been extended – but the road should be open within the next few weeks.

Assistant county surveyor Eric Hinkley explained that, due to some additional work which had to be carried out by the contractor, the deadline for the scheme to be completed had been extended to January 26, 1983.

Originally the contract was due to expire at the beginning of the month. Mr Hinkley said: “It is almost complete now but they are not going to open it before Christmas.

“The contractors are taking an earlier break than the rest of the construction industry and coming back earlier hoping to open the bypass before the middle of January.”

Recently, the first of the Laing Homes to be completed at Broadbridge Heath were occupied by their new owners, despite the bypass being incomplete.

When the scheme first began there was an undertaking that this would not happen. Mr Hinkley said: “We did say to start with that, so far as other development was concerned, we did not want to see occupation taking place until the bypass was complete and we were diverting traffic out of the village.

Sheltered housing for 42 people at Henfield’s Red Oaks gardeners’ home has been given the go-ahead.

Horsham District Council’s area two planning committee approved the scheme.

The Gardeners’ Royal Benevolent Society is to build a two-storey extension to the existing home.