Whatton – Early Settlement

Gregg Redford

Whatton is an ancient settlement, artefacts have been found on the border of Aslockton and Whatton indicating that there was a settlement in Whatton in the late iron-age. The actual settlement wasn’t found but is thought to be located under the A52, It is of interest that the ‘finds’ were dated up to the 1st Century BC and did not extend into the Romano-British period (1st to 5th Century AD). Whilst evidence has yet to be found it is entirely probable that there was a Romano-British Settlement in the Parish, indeed Roman artefacts have been found south of the A52.

Names used in the parish, supported by the Domesday record provide evidence of early Saxon and (later) Danish settlement in the 5th to 11th centuries. The ENGLISH PLACE NAME SURVEY (‘EPNS’) of 1948 proposed the name WHATTON is a contraction of Wheat with the Saxon suffix of Ton meaning farm of settlement. Unfortunately the EPNS based their opinion on the modern spelling, the actual 11th century was WATONE, the tone suffix is indeed Saxon, but the wa appears to be a contraction of the Danish for water.

The bridge that carried the Nottingham to Grantham Road over the SMITE (at the start of what is now the bye-pass) was called the COCKERBECK bridge, COCKERBECK is a combination of EARLY SAXON AND DANISH meaning winding stream. The name of the river itself, the SMITE is thought to be of Danish origin..

Whatton was in an area of England called DANELAW, which was part of the NORTH SEA EMPIRE which also included Norway, Denmark and parts of Sweden. The other parts of what is now England were chiefly Mercia and Wessex. On the death of Edmund Ironside, England was unified under CNUT (aka Canute).

In the DANELAW are, MANORS were known as SOKES and WAPENTAKES were the equivalent of the Saxon HUNDREDS. We know from the Domesday entry that WHATTON was held by ULF FENWICK who was a JARG the Danish eqvivalent of a Saxon EARL.

The SOKE of WHATTON consisted of broadly the same area as the modern parish, but in addition also held jurisduction over the southern part of ASLOCKTON and the majority of HAWKESWORTH.


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