Gretton History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Gretton is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Gretton family lived in "the Seigneurie of Gurdon near Cahors, on the border of Perigord: a Gothic race, very early seated in Hampshire. Adam de Gurdon 'the Kings Servant,' received from Coeur de Lion half a knight's fee in Selborne and Ostede, and a grant of the lordship of Tisted from his successor. Henry III gave by charter 'free chase of hares and foxes in and without the forest,' to another Adam de Gurdon. " [1]

Early Origins of the Gretton family

The surname Gretton was first found in Gourdon, an arrondissement of France before the Norman Conquest. [2]

"The Seigneurie of Gourdon near Cahors, on the borders of Perigord, was the patrimony of this Norman adventurer. His descendant, Sir Adam de Gurdon, Knt., living temp. Henry III., was in that monarch's reign Bailiff of Alton: but joining the Mountford faction, he suffered outlawry, which was not removed until the following reign, when Sir Adam received the custody of the forest of Wolmer. From this celebrated knight, whose lands at Selborne, Hants, known still as Gurdon manor, belong to Magdalen College, Oxford, sprang the Gurdons of Assington co. Suffolk, and the Gurdons of Letton, co. Norfolk. " [3]

William de Gourdon founded Gourdon Abbey in 1240. After the Conquest, "Aimeric de Gourdon, 13th century was a benefactor to the church, and had grants from King John in England. In 1231 Henry III. granted to Ralph Mareschal part of the estate of Sir Adam de Gourdon (d. 1305.) " [2]

While we could find no villages named Gourdon in Britain, one may presume that Girton in Cambridgeshire and Nottinghamshire would be the likely related villages. Girton Cambridgeshire dates back to c. 1060 when it was listed as Grittone and a few years later is listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Gretone. [4]

Girton, Nottinghamshire similarly dates back to the Domesday Book with the same spelling. Both literally mean "farmstead or village on gravelly ground," from the Old English words "greot" + "tun." [5]

Girton College of the University of Cambridge derives its name from the nearby village. One branch of the family held a family seat at Assington in Suffolk since early times. "Assington Hall was purchased by Robert Gurdon, in the reign of Henry VIII., from Sir Piers Corbet, and has ever since been the residence of that family." [6]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list: Bartholomew Gurdon in Norfolk; Thomas Gurdon in Oxfordshire; and Roger Gurdon in Cambridgeshire. [7]

Early History of the Gretton family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gretton research. Another 79 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1455, 1487, 1544, 1623, 1571, 1649, 1621, 1622, 1595, 1679, 1640, 1660, 1606 and 1669 are included under the topic Early Gretton History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gretton Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Gretton has been recorded under many different variations, including Gurdon, Girdon, Gurton, Girton, Gerdon, Girtin, Gretton, Gritten and many more.

Early Notables of the Gretton family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Gurdon (c. 1544-1623), an English landowner and politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1571; Brampton Gurdon (died 1649), an English country gentleman and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1621 to...
Another 45 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gretton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


New Zealand Gretton migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Gretton Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Vawdrey Gretton, aged 29, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1840
  • Elizabeth Gretton, aged 25, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1840
  • Mr. Henry J. Gretton, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Light Brigade" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 26th August 1868 [8]

Contemporary Notables of the name Gretton (post 1700) +

  • William Gretton (1736-1813), English Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, son of John Gretton of Bond Street, London [9]
  • Baroness Jennifer Ann Gretton D.C.V.O., D.St.J., J.P., D.L. (b. 1943), born in St Ives, Cornwall, British former Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire was appointed Dame Commander of the Royal Victorian Order on 17th June 2017


  1. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3
  2. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  5. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  6. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  7. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  9. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 30 June 2020


Houseofnames.com on Facebook
Shipping
Fastest Delivery Possible

Digital Products on Checkout, all other products filled in 1 business day

Money Back
Money Back Guarantee

Yes, all products 100% Guaranteed

Support
BBB A+ Rating

The Best Rating possible

Payment
Secure Online Payment

Entire site uses SSL / Secure Certificate