The name Etton means the farming settlement of a man called Eata. The –ton suffix indicates that it was of Anglian origin and the settlement existed at the time of the Doomsday Survey, when it was referred to as Ettone. Its origins, therefore, would appear to be due to a North German family settling and farming here, during or after the end of the Roman occupation of Britain.
One of the earlier records dates from 1170 and is a charter granting the supply of spring water to a mill pond belonging to Thomas de Etton, which is the first record of the Etton family. The Village pond is of ancient origin too, with the earliest reference being in the Charter of 1140. The medieval village was in fact larger than the current one. Earthworks to the North of Church Farm and in the former parkland of Low Hall suggest the existence of former, probably medieval, buildings.
In the late 18th century the Enclosure Awards show subdivisions of plots to the east of the rectory on the north side of Main Street in traditional medieval strip plots. During the end of the medieval period, Etton suffered from a decline and by the 17th century the open fields of the village were closed. The maps of the village dating before Enclosure (1771) show a village whose present shape is readily identifiable, though New Street is as it name indicates, is not yet shown. The 19th century perhaps best demonstrates the village’s self-sufficiency.
Etton Mill, first recorded in 1807 worked until 1890, Bulmer’s Directory of 1892 records the following occupations: huntsman, corn miller, carrier, blacksmith, saddler, cobbler, butcher, grocer, wheelwright and joiner, station-master, market gardener, parish clerk/registrar, tailor and draper, publican, postmaster, schoolmaster and rector.
The population has followed the typical pattern of slow growth of all the villages in the area which have not been subject of suburban housing expansion. Indeed it has
fluctuated and is now at its lowest level in approximately 200 years.:
1377 - 174 poll tax payers
1672 -68 households paying hearth tax
1743 -55 families
1764 - 41 families
1801 - 321 (pop)
1891 - 398 (pop)
1901 - 422 (pop)
1931 - 374 (pop)
1951 - 556 (pop)
1971 - 301 (pop)
1981 - 280 (pop)
2001 - 285 (pop)
The east end of the village appears to have been where a major manorial site was based. Visible today are several earthworks, a mound and Low Hall, which incorporates stretches of 17th century brickwork. Parts of Etton became parkland relatively early, especially the eastern half, which is still dominated by the remains of it. There is distinctive difference between the western end with its long and narrow plots and densely built up streetscene and the eastern part with the large houses which are set in a park-like landscape.