Papers relating to the Goff family of The Courts, Holt, Wiltshire

Item date: 19th and early 20th centuries
Grant Value: £460
Item cost: £920
Item date acquired: 2014
Item institution: Wiltshire & Swindon Archives
Town/City: Chippenham
County: Wiltshire

This is a small but varied collection mostly relating to Miss Moyra Goff (1897-1990) and her family, of The Courts, Holt, near Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire. The Courts is an eighteenth-century mansion which was donated to the National Trust, together with its grounds, in 1943 by Major Clarence and Lady Cecilie Goff. The gardens were redesigned by the Goffs and are currently open to the public, but the house is privately rented out. The archive includes a quantity of letters from the period of the First World War, including a letter from Victor Tait Perowne to Moyra Goff, containing a detailed description of the poet Siegfried Sassoon upon his arrival at Craiglockhart War Hospital, Scotland. Perowne describes  Sassoon as ‘nice looking in a Greek way’, but ‘talks a lot about himself in a bashful, modest, way and lives for hunting…’ 

The collection also includes a folder of material relating to the Second World War, and a quantity of printed and written ephemera relating to Moyra Goff’s campaign as a candidate for municipal reform, plus passports and an unpublished work of fiction by Miss Goff. There is also a small quantity of photographs of The Courts, dating from the 1940s onwards.  The collection includes the manor court book of Holt manor, 1821-1865, which is a very timely acquisition, as we are currently in the process of updating the Manorial Documents Register for Wiltshire.