An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1809.
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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 episcopal officers.
Mr. Blomefield places Gnatingdon in Suffolk, (fn. 3) but it is plain, he was therein mistaken: and it is now corruptly called Eaton.