Near to the town of Sedgeford, there was a village, or hamlet at
the Conquest, called Nettington, and afterwards Gnatyngdon.
At the survey it was the lordship of Godwin Halden, who being a
freeman, held it in King Edward's reign, under Guert, and after under
Ralph, and now of the King; it contained one carucate of land, 2
borderers, and one socman had an acre, valued before the Conquest
at 10s. now at 20s. per ann. (fn. 1)
This Godwin Halden, held also at the survey the manor of Halesdon, in the hundred of Taverham, which Stigand held before the
Conquest, the manor of Oxnede in South Erpingham hundred, held
before the Conquest, by Ailldig, a freeman under Guert, also the manor of Barnham in Fourhow hundred, held by a freeman before the
Conquest; so that all these were of the gift of the Conqueror, to
Godwin, on the expulsion of the former lords and owners, who held
them in King Edward's reign.
Godwin Halden, by his name, seems to be an Old English Saxon,
or Dane, and how he came to be in such favour, and to merit so
much from the Conqueror, is not known; it is however worthy of our
remark, and notice, that if he was an English Saxon, &c. he is the
only one I have yet found in Norfolk, that was allowed to keep his
land at the Conquest, and hold it at the survey.
This, soon after, was in the see of Norwich, and granted by Herbert, the Bishop, to the priory, of Norwich, and was probably one of
the beruites in Sedgford before mentioned.
In the reign of Edward II. Robert, prior of Norwich, brought an
assise against Robert Cheyne, Thomas de Secheford, Richard Perkin,
vicar of Secheford, &c. for unjustly disseising him and the convent of
the manor of Gnatyngdon, and a free-tenement which Nicholas, formerly prior, was seized of, and his right was allowed; (fn. 2) it appearing
that Bishop Turbus had confirmed to them this lordship with the
foldage, and that the inhabitants of this place should be distinct in
their customs, from those of Secheford, and that the lands of Geff.
Mareschal of Gnatyngdon should be free and quit of all dues from the
Mr. Blomefield places Gnatingdon in Suffolk, (fn. 3) but it is plain, he
was therein mistaken: and it is now corruptly called Eaton.