n the reign of William the Conqueror (1066-87) his
new kingdom was thoroughly and minutely surveyed
in the Domesday Book of 1086, where “Nortwalde”
figures as part of the Hundred of Grimshoe. The king was interested in every detail, every piece of land, every man, freeman or slave, every plough-team and every other farm animal. The entry for Northwold confirms that “St. Etheldreda had the jurisdiction and the patronage.”
This confirms beyond any doubt the church’s already ancient link with Ely Abbey. The fact that Ely had the patronage (the right to choose and appoint a Rector) in 1086 can only mean that a Saxon church was still standing. There is every reason to believe that it survived for some 140 years after the death of the Conqueror, for we know that a new church was built in or about 1229.