Aethelnoth Cild, also called 'of Canterbury', held extensive
estates in Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire
and Oxfordshire, totaling over 180 hides. His estates in Kent and eastern Wessex
alone had a value of £260. Harold provided
support to Aethelnoth in holding on to Merclesham and Hawkhurst in Kent. This
property had been taken from the canons of St Martin's Church at Dover for which
the canons claimed they were given an unfair exchange.
Aethelnoth was fortunate in retaining his holdings after
the conquest but in return he was responsible for providing a royal bodyguard
for the King. This bodyguard was to be either provided at Canterbury or Sandwich
at the Kings request.
Within three months of his coronation William returned to Normandy, a stay which lasted about six months. In his absence William left Odo and William Fitz-Osbern in charge as viceroys over the whole kingdom.
Aethelnoth's power and importance at this time posed a threat to William, as did other Earls of the kingdom. For this reason William took Edwin, Morkere, Waltheof, Archbishop Stigand, Aethelnoth and a number of other prominent men with him as his 'honoured guests'. Aethelnoth is not heard of again after he is taken to Normandy in 1067.