From the Seigneurie of Gurdon near Cahors, on the border of Perigord: a Gothic race, very early seated in Hampshire. Adam de Gurdon "the King's 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 (the name continued in the family for many descents), who took part with the rebel barons, and was outlawed. "Somewhere between Alton and Farnham, in a wooded dell, not far from the high road which lies a few miles off on our left beyond Long Sutton, was the scene of the fight between Prince Edward and Adam de Gurdon, one of the outlawed followers of Simon de Montfort, who had to shift for themselves as they best might. The Prince, then attending the Parliament at Winchester, heard of the fame of the outlaw, and fired with the desire of measuring swords with so brave a soldier, sought him out among the thickets of his retreat, and challenged him to fight. So nearly were they matched that for some time the fortune of the contest seemed doubtful. In a pause of the fight, the Prince offered Adam his life and advancement, if he would give up his arms. The offer was accepted. Adam was sent that same night under safe escort to the Queen at Guilford. The Prince restored to him his inheritance, and ever after cherished him as his faithful follower."—Woodwards Hampshire. On his accession in 1272 the new King accordingly appointed Sir Adam Keeper of Woolner Forest, and we subsequently find him a great landowner in Somerset, Dorset, Sussex, and Cambridge. His residence was in Hampshire, at a house called The Temple, that overlooked the forest. He was three times married. By his first wife he had no children; by the second two sons; and by the third a daughter, Joan, the wife of Richard Achard, to whom he bequeathed Selborne[1] and his Hampshire property. Her two brothers were, it is said, passed over on account of their mother's misconduct (the pedigree declares she was divorced), and virtually disinherited. Of the elder, who removed into Wiltshire, there is no further account; but the second, Robert, settled in London, where he died in 1343, and his son engaged in trade. Eighth in descent from him was John Gurdon, Sheriff of Suffolk in 1585, who married Amy Brampton, the heiress of Letton in Norfolk, which from that time forth has been the seat of the family. A younger branch is seated at Assington in Suffolk. They bear Sable three leopards faces, jessant fleurs de lis Or.

The Scottish Gordons have no connection with this house, as (according to Douglas) they derive their name from Gordon in Berwickshire, granted about 1130 to a family of Anglo-Norman origin. Nevertheless, there is a curious coincidence in the Christian names as well as the surname; for in the time of Edward I. we find Sir Adam de Gordoun, "a knight of great renown," among the last to resist the bond of fealty and submission to the English King, although his estates lay close to the Border. The arms are entirely different.

  1. This estate still bears the name of Gurdon Manor, and now belongs to Magdalen College, Oxford.

-- Cleveland

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