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Gatland

 

About the study

My 11th great grandfather, Gerard Gatland, was born in Cuckfield, Sussex, England about 1502 and this is where my research of the Gatland surname begins. The Gatlands were church wardens, innkeepers, clockmakers, yeomen, and immigrants to the “New America” where the surname changed to Gatlin.

Variant names

The other variants of Gatland are Gatlin, Gatling. Using Soundex, other variants could be Catlin, Catling, Catlyn, Catlyne, Catlyng Gateland Gatelond, or Gaither.

Name origin

Name Origin Research states the Gatland surname is derived from the Anglo-Saxon pre 9th century words 'geat,' which means 'gate' and 'land,' land. From this description it is implied they resided at a fenced enclosure with 'geat' referring to a whole area and not just a 'gate,' resulting in Gatland.

Maisie Wright confirms this in her book, 'Cuckfield--an old Sussex Town described the Anglo-Saxon's clearing the forest land to hunt as a 'park.' They appointed forest keepers to look after it. From the Norman Conquest until the end of the middle ages, England was ruled under the feudal system where the whole land belonged to the King. He granted land to nobles or barons as tenants in return for their armed services. The 'villeins' worked the enclosed land for the Lord of the Manor and the common land for themselves.

History of the name

According to Name Origin Research the Gatland surname is derived from the Anglo-Saxon pre 9th century words 'geat,' which means 'gate' and 'land,' land. From this description it is implied they resided at a fenced enclosure with 'geat' referring to a whole area and not just a 'gate,' resulting in Gatland.

Maisie Wright in her book, 'Cuckfield--an old Sussex Town, described the Anglo-Saxon's clearing the forest land to hunt as a 'park.' They appointed forest keepers to look after it. From the Norman Conquest until the end of the middle ages, England was ruled under the feudal system where the whole land belonged to the King. He granted land to nobles or barons as tenants in return for their armed services. The 'villeins' worked the enclosed land for the Lord of the Manor and the common land for themselves.

In the sixteenth century when my 11th great grandfather, Gerard Gatland, was born in 1502, the population of England was about 2-1/2 million. The reign of Henry VII provided a kind of peace and stability to enable a new class of gentry and merchants to the new learning of the Renaissance. Schools were founded and one of these new grammar schools was at Cuckfield, the township of Gerard. Monies and land were left by various benefactors to support the school. During the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI Latin was taught to the students and was the international language in which most literature and all legal documents were written.

Also during this Renaissance there was a revolt against the religion of the middle ages, known as the Reformation. The unity and authority of the Church of Rome in Western Europe came to an end. With this breaking away from the church in Rome, Henry VIII gave the revenues of the Priory of St. Pancras at Lewes to Thomas Cromwell which brought to an end a connection of over 400 years with the monks of Lewes as the tithes of Cuckfield were now paid to Cromwell. In 1538 Thomas Cromwell appointed Churchwardens as local registrars of baptisms, marriages and burials.

Many other changes were brought about in the sixteenth century that created "€œan exciting"€ time for Gerard and his descendants to be educated and prosper.

As early as the 13th century there are records of iron working in Sussex but iron became a major industry when Frenchmen introduced the blast furnace in the 15th century. In Elizabeth I'€™s reign, the iron works reached its height. Ironmasters grew rich on providing guns for Elizabeth I'€™s wars against Spain. As they provided weapons, their wealth began to diminish. What part the Gatlands had in iron making is not revealed in the sketchy records. In some records, their occupations were listed as "€œyeoman"€ which one lead one to think they were involved in the iron works industry. For example, Thomas Gatland who was born about 1530 was a yeoman which fits in the timeline. Through baptismal, burial, marriage and will records it seems that they were primarily involved in being Churchwardens and tradesmen throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

The seventeenth century brought about the London Company seeking new land to make its iron products. Many who lived in England came to the Isle of Wight in the "€œNew America"€ to replicate the industries at home in England. The land in the new country was not good for making iron and subsequently brought about a tobacco trade for England. John Gerard Gatland, born about 1611, was one of the immigrants to America where the surname changed to Gatlin. History records that John served as a Captain for Nansemond County, Virginia in Bacon'€™s Rebellion

While John ventured to America, his cousin Henry Gatland, born about 1611, remained in Cuckfield to marry and have children. He and his wife Anne built the Pilsty(e) Farmhouse which still stands with their initials carved in the door posts.

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