History of Hatfield
Hatfield has had a very long and varied history. In AD 970, King Edgar gave the land to the Abbey of Ely. After 1066, the Bishops of Ely became the land owners. With the dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry VIII in the 1530s, Hatfield then became the property of the crown. Shortly after the death of Queen Elizabeth 1 in 1603, King James I paid a visited to the Earl of Salisbury at the Earl's Manor of Theobalds. The King was so taken with Theobalds that he exchanged his Manor at Hatfield for Theobalds, where today the Cecil family still reside.
It has been said that the fairs held at Hatfield, and elsewhere in the eastern counties on the feast of St. Etheldreda (Audrey), gave a new word to the English language: "tawdry".