Earl of Sefton
Earl of Sefton was a title in the Peerage of Ireland created in 1771 for the 8th Viscount Molyneux. The Earls of Sefton held the subsidiary titles Viscount Molyneux, of Maryborough in the Queen's County, in the Peerage of Ireland, Baron Sefton, of Croxteth in the County Palatine of Lancaster, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom; the Molyneux's powerful allegiances led to an acquisition of lands and wealth throughout the period 1100–1700 when the family were Lords of the manor at Sefton. All three titles became extinct upon the death of the 7th Earl in 1972; the seat of the Earls of Sefton was Croxteth Hall near Liverpool. It was bequeathed to the City of Liverpool by the 7th and last Earl of Sefton and his wife, the former Josephine Gwynne Armstrong, the last member of the Molyneux family to live at Croxteth; the American-born Countess of Sefton, nicknamed "Foxy" and a fashion model of great beauty, was a lifelong friend of the Duchess of Windsor. Another seat of the Earls of Sefton was the Abbeystead estate in Lancashire owned by the Duke of Westminster.
Abbeystead was used as a hunting and recreational estate by the Earls of Sefton. Despite being part of the Peerage of Ireland, the earldom referred to Sefton in Lancashire; the ancestors of the Molyneaux family who arrived in England around the time of the Norman Conquest of 1066 bore the name "de Molines". They came from Molineaux-sur-Seine, near Rouen, in Normandy where they were guardians of Château de Robert-le-Diable known as Château de Moulineaux, they were granted lands in Lancashire. They can be shown to have held a large moated manor and St. Helen's Church at Sefton without interruption from about 1100 to 1700 before they moved to Croxteth Hall. Of the Molyneux family, Sir Richard and Sir William Molyneux, knights of the Crusades, are entombed within the church, are its oldest inhabitants, their effigies now lie beneath an arch moulding set into the wall in the Molyneux chapel, outside of the 14th-century church walls. The senior branch of the family had been staunch Catholics and Royalists through the worst times until Charles Molyneux, 8th Viscount Molyneux, was rewarded for converting to the Protestant faith.
The youthful second and third Viscounts fought on the Royalist side both politically and militarily. Although Liverpool Castle had been dismantled in 1660-1678, Caryll Molyneux, the 3rd Viscount, had used it for storing arms. During the reign of King James II, he was outlawed by Parliament for supporting the deposed king in 1688 to 1689. Control of the Castle passed out of Molyneux hands after Caryll had again been suspected of participation in a Jacobite plot. William, the 7th Viscount, was a Jesuit, there were in his time not less than seven Molyneux in the Society of Jesus alone. Over the centuries, several deviations of the name Molyneaux have emerged; as the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin literate people changed the spelling of their names. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names as they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person; the variations of the name include Molinex, Mullenneix, Molinieux, Molineaux, Mollineaux and several others.
Many variations were due to misspellings in American or other country's immigration services. Although Anglo-Norman surnames like Molyneaux are characterized by many spelling variations, the form Molyneux has prevailed with the modern trend towards standardisation. Sir Richard Molyneux, 1st Baronet Member of Parliament for Lancashire Sir Richard Molyneux, 2nd Baronet Richard Molyneux, 1st Viscount Molyneux Richard Molyneux, 2nd Viscount Molyneux Caryll Molyneux, 3rd Viscount Molyneux William Molyneux, 4th Viscount Molyneux Richard Molyneux, 5th Viscount Molyneux Caryll Molyneux, 6th Viscount Molyneux William Molyneux, 7th Viscount Molyneux Charles William Molyneux, 8th Viscount Molyneux Charles William Molyneux, 1st Earl of Sefton William Philip Molyneux, 2nd Earl of Sefton Charles William Molyneux, 3rd Earl of Sefton William Philip Molyneux, 4th Earl of Sefton Charles William Hylton Molyneux, 5th Earl of Sefton Osbert Cecil Molyneux, 6th Earl of Sefton Hugh William Osbert Molyneux, 7th Earl of Sefton Molyneux Baronets of Teversal Manor Molyneux of Castle Dillon, County Armagh Family tree of the Earls of Sefton History and biographical, of the Molyneux families.
N. Z. R. Molyneux. 1904. C. W. Bardeen. Syracuse, New York. International Molyneux Family Association
Todmorden is a market town and civil parish in the Upper Calder Valley in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, England. It is 17 miles north east of Manchester and in 2011 had a population of 15,481. Todmorden is at the confluence of three steep-sided Pennine valleys and is surrounded by moorlands with outcrops of sandblasted gritstone; the historic boundary between Yorkshire and Lancashire is the River Calder and its tributary, the Walsden Water, which run through the town. The administrative border was altered by the Local Government Act 1888 placing the whole of the town within the West Riding; the town is served by Walsden railway stations. The name Todmorden first appears in 1641; the town had earlier been called Tottemerden, Totmereden or Totmerden. The accepted meaning of the name is Totta's boundary-valley a reference to the valley running north-west from the town. Alternative suggestions have been proposed, such as the speculation "maybe fancifully" that the name derives from two words for death: tod and mor, meaning "death-death-wood", or that the name meant "marshy home of the fox", from the Old English.'Tod' is an informal, shorthand name for Todmorden used in everyday conversation.
In 1898 Blackheath Barrow—a ring cairn monument situated above Cross Stone in Todmorden—was excavated and proved to be a site of "surpassing archaeological interest", according to J. Lawton Russell, one of the men who carried out the excavation. Various Bronze Age items were discovered, including sepulchral urns, a human skull and hands. Russell contended that Blackheath Barrow was a religious site intended for the "performance of funeral rites", as there was no evidence that it had been settled for domestic use. Of particular interest were the four cairns, positioned at the cardinal points of the compass, it has been suggested that this indicates "a ritual evocation of the airts, or spirits of the four directions, with obvious correlates in relation to spirits in the land of the dead"; the various finds from the 1898 dig are now housed on permanent display. The earliest written record of the area is in the Domesday Book. Settlement in medieval Todmorden was dispersed. Most people living in scattered farms or in isolated hilltop agricultural settlements.
Packhorse trails were marked by ancient stones. For hundreds of years streams from the surrounding hills provided water for corn and fulling mills. Todmorden grew to relative prosperity by combining farming with the production of woollen textiles; some yeomen clothiers were able to build fine houses. Though, the area's industry turned to cotton; the proximity of Manchester, as a source of material and trade, was undoubtedly a strong factor. Another was that the strong Pennine streams and rivers were able to power the machine looms. Improvements in textile machinery, along with the development of turnpike roads, helped to develop the new cotton industry and to increase the local population. In 1801 most people still lived in the uplands. During the years 1800–1845 great changes took place in the communications and transport of the town which were to have a crucial effect on promoting industrial growth; these included the building of: better roads. This railway line incorporated the longest tunnel in the 2,885-yard Summit Tunnel.
A second railway, from Todmorden to Burnley, opened as a single line in 1849, being doubled to meet demand in 1860. A short connecting line, from Stansfield Hall to Hall Royd, completed the "Todmorden Triangle" in 1862, thus enabling trains to travel in all three directions without reversing; the Industrial Revolution caused a concentration of industry and settlement along the valley floor and a switch from woollens to cotton. One family in the area was influential on the town, they created a "dynasty" that changed the town forever by establishing several large mills, putting up assorted impressive buildings and bringing about social and educational change. A double murder took place at Christ Church, Todmorden on 2 March 1868; the victims' graves lie in the churchyard. Miles Weatherhill, a 23-year-old weaver from the town, was forbidden from seeing his housemaid sweetheart, Sarah Bell, by the Reverend Anthony John Plow. Armed with four pistols and an axe, Weatherhill took revenge first on the vicar and on Jane Smith, another maid who had informed Plow of the secret meetings.
Miss Smith died at the scene, while the vicar survived another week before succumbing to his injuries. Weatherhill seriously injured the vicar's wife. On 4 April 1868 Weatherhill became the last person to be publicly hanged in Manchester, at the New Bailey prison. Local legend has it that the face of a young woman is sometimes seen in the window of the vicarage, now in private ownership. Throughout the first decade of the 20th century, the population of the Borough of Todmorden remained constant; the ten-yearly UK census returns show figures of 25,418 in 1901 and 25,404 in 1911. Like the rest of the Upper Calder Valley, Todmorden's economy experienced a slow decline from around the end of the First World War onwards, accelerating after the Second World War until around the late 1970s. During this period there was a painful restructuring of the local economy with the closure of mills and the demise of heavy industry. On 1 January 1907, Todmorden Corporation b
Domesday Book is a manuscript record of the "Great Survey" of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086 by order of King William the Conqueror. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states: Then, at the midwinter, was the king in Gloucester with his council.... After this had the king a large meeting, deep consultation with his council, about this land. Sent he his men over all England into each shire, it was written in Medieval Latin, was abbreviated, included some vernacular native terms without Latin equivalents. The survey's main purpose was to determine what taxes had been owed during the reign of King Edward the Confessor, which allowed William to reassert the rights of the Crown and assess where power lay after a wholesale redistribution of land following the Norman conquest; the assessors' reckoning of a man's holdings and their values, as recorded in Domesday Book, was dispositive and without appeal. The name "Domesday Book" came into use in the 12th century; as Richard FitzNeal wrote in the Dialogus de Scaccario: for as the sentence of that strict and terrible last account cannot be evaded by any skilful subterfuge, so when this book is appealed to... its sentence cannot be quashed or set aside with impunity.
That is why we have called the book "the Book of Judgement"... because its decisions, like those of the Last Judgement, are unalterable. The manuscript is held at The National Archives at London. In 2011, the Open Domesday site made the manuscript available online; the book is an invaluable primary source for historical economists. No survey approaching the scope and extent of Domesday Book was attempted again in Britain until the 1873 Return of Owners of Land which presented the first complete, post-Domesday picture of the distribution of landed property in the British Isles. Domesday Book encompasses two independent works; these were "Little Domesday", "Great Domesday" No surveys were made of the City of London, Winchester, or some other towns due to their tax-exempt status. Most of Cumberland and Westmorland are missing. County Durham is missing; the omission of the other counties and towns is not explained, although in particular Cumberland and Westmorland had yet to be conquered. "Little Domesday" – so named because its format is physically smaller than its companion's – is the more detailed survey, down to numbers of livestock.
It may have represented the first attempt, resulting in a decision to avoid such level of detail in "Great Domesday". Both volumes are organised into a series of chapters listing the fees, held by a named tenant-in-chief of the king, namely religious institutions, Norman warrior magnates and a few Saxon thegns who had made peace with the Norman regime; some of the largest such magnates held several hundred fees, in a few cases in more than one county. For example, the chapter of the Domesday Book Devonshire section concerning Baldwin the Sheriff lists 176 holdings held in-chief by him. Only a few of the holdings of the large magnates were held in demesne, most having been subinfeudated to knights military followers of the tenant-in-chief which latter thus became their overlord; the fees listed within the chapter concerning a particular tenant-in-chief were ordered, but not in a systematic or rigorous fashion, by the Hundred Court under the jurisdiction of which they were situated, not by geographic location.
As a review of taxes owed, it was unpopular. Each county's list opened with the king's demesne lands, it should be borne in mind that under the feudal system the king was the only true "owner" of land in England, under his allodial title. He was thus the ultimate overlord and the greatest magnate could do no more than "hold" land from him as a tenant under one of the various contracts of feudal land tenure. Holdings of Bishops followed of the abbeys and religious houses of lay tenants-in-chief and lastly the king's serjeants, Saxon thegns who had survived the Conquest, all in hierarchical order. In some counties, one or more principal towns formed the subject of a separate section: in some the clamores were treated separately; this principle applies more to the larger volume: in the smaller one, the system is more confused, the execution less perfect. Domesday names a total of 13,418 places. Apart from the wholly rural portions, which constitute its bulk, Domesday contains entries of interest concerning most of t
Northern England known as the North of England or the North, is the northern part of England, considered as a single cultural area. It extends from the Scottish border in the north to near the River Trent in the south, although precise definitions of its southern extent vary. Northern England comprises three statistical regions: the North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber; these have a combined population of around 14.9 million as of the 2011 Census and an area of 37,331 km2. Northern England contains much of England's national parkland but has large areas of urbanisation, including the conurbations of Greater Manchester, Teesside, Tyneside and South and West Yorkshire; the region has been controlled by many groups, from the Brigantes, the largest Brythonic kingdom of Great Britain, to the Romans, to Anglo-Saxons and Danes. After the Norman conquest in 1066, the Harrying of the North brought destruction; the area experienced Anglo-Scottish border fighting until the unification of Britain under the Stuarts, with some parts changing hands between England and Scotland many times.
Many of the innovations of the Industrial Revolution began in Northern England, its cities were the crucibles of many of the political changes that accompanied this social upheaval, from trade unionism to Manchester Capitalism. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the economy of the North was dominated by heavy industry such as weaving, shipbuilding and mining; the deindustrialisation that followed in the second half of the 20th century hit Northern England hard, many towns remain deprived compared with those in Southern England. Urban renewal projects and the transition to a service economy have resulted in strong economic growth in some parts of Northern England, but a definite North–South divide remains both in the economy and the culture of England. Centuries of migration and labour have shaped Northern culture, the region retains distinctive dialects and cuisine. For government and statistical purposes, Northern England is defined as the area covered by the three statistical regions of North East England, North West England and Yorkshire and the Humber.
This area consists of the ceremonial counties of Cheshire, County Durham, East Riding of Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and Wear and West Yorkshire, plus the unitary authority areas of North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. This definition will be used except when otherwise stated. Other definitions use historic county boundaries, in which case the North is taken to comprise Cumberland, Westmorland, County Durham and Yorkshire supplemented by Cheshire, or are drawn without reference to human borders, using geographic features such as the River Mersey and River Trent; the Isle of Man is included in definitions of "the North", although it is politically and culturally distinct from England. Some areas of Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Staffordshire have Northern characteristics and include satellites of Northern cities. Towns in the High Peak borough of Derbyshire are included in the Greater Manchester Built-Up Area, as villages and hamlets there such as Tintwistle and Woodhead were in Cheshire before local government boundary changes in 1974, due to their close proximity to the city of Manchester, before this the borough was considered to be part of the Greater Manchester Statutory City Region.
More the Chesterfield, North East Derbyshire and Derbyshire Dales districts have joined with districts of South Yorkshire to form the Sheffield City Region, along with the Bassetlaw District of Nottinghamshire, although for all other purposes these districts still remain in their respective East Midlands counties. The geographer Danny Dorling includes most of the West Midlands and part of the East Midlands in his definition of the North, claiming that "ideas of a midlands region add more confusion than light". Conversely, more restrictive definitions exist based on the extent of the historical Northumbria, which exclude Cheshire and Lincolnshire. Personal definitions of the North vary and are sometimes passionately debated; when asked to draw a dividing line between North and South, Southerners tend to draw this line further south than Northerners do. From the Southern perspective, Northern England is sometimes defined jokingly as the area north of the Watford Gap between Northampton and Leicester – a definition which would include much of the Midlands.
Various cities and towns have been described as or promoted themselves as the "gateway to the North", including Crewe, Stoke-on-Trent, Sheffield. For some in the northernmost reaches of England, the North starts somewhere in North Yorkshire around the River Tees – the Yorkshire poet Simon Armitage suggests Thirsk, Northallerton or Richmond – and does not include cities like Manchester and Leeds, nor the majority of Yorkshire. Northern England is not a homogenous unit, some have rejected the idea that the North exists as a coherent entity, claiming that considerable cultural differences across the area overwhelm any similarities. Through the North of England run the Pennines, an upland chain referred to as "the backbone of England", which stretches from the Tyne Gap to the Peak District. Other uplands in the North include the Lake District with England's highest mountains, the Cheviot Hills adjoining the border with Scotland, the North York Moors near the North Sea coastline; the geography of the North has been shaped by the ice she
The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group who inhabited Great Britain from the 5th century, the direct ancestors of the majority of the modern British people. They comprise people from Germanic tribes who migrated to the island from continental Europe, their descendants, indigenous British groups who adopted many aspects of Anglo-Saxon culture and language; the Anglo-Saxon period denotes the period in Britain between about 450 and 1066, after their initial settlement and up until the Norman conquest. The early Anglo-Saxon period includes the creation of an English nation, with many of the aspects that survive today, including regional government of shires and hundreds. During this period, Christianity was established and there was a flowering of literature and language. Charters and law were established; the term Anglo-Saxon is popularly used for the language, spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons in England and eastern Scotland between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century. In scholarly use, it is more called Old English.
The history of the Anglo-Saxons is the history of a cultural identity. It developed from divergent groups in association with the people's adoption of Christianity, was integral to the establishment of various kingdoms. Threatened by extended Danish invasions and military occupation of eastern England, this identity was re-established; the visible Anglo-Saxon culture can be seen in the material culture of buildings, dress styles, illuminated texts and grave goods. Behind the symbolic nature of these cultural emblems, there are strong elements of tribal and lordship ties; the elite declared themselves as kings who developed burhs, identified their roles and peoples in Biblical terms. Above all, as Helena Hamerow has observed, "local and extended kin groups remained...the essential unit of production throughout the Anglo-Saxon period." The effects persist in the 21st century as, according to a study published in March 2015, the genetic makeup of British populations today shows divisions of the tribal political units of the early Anglo-Saxon period.
Use of the term Anglo-Saxon assumes that the words Angles, Saxons or Anglo-Saxon have the same meaning in all the sources. This term began to be used only in the 8th century to distinguish "Germanic" groups in Britain from those on the continent. Catherine Hills summarised the views of many modern scholars in her observation that attitudes towards Anglo-Saxons, hence the interpretation of their culture and history, have been "more contingent on contemporary political and religious theology as on any kind of evidence." The Old English ethnonym "Angul-Seaxan" comes from the Latin Angli-Saxones and became the name of the peoples Bede calls Anglorum and Gildas calls Saxones. Anglo-Saxon is a term, used by Anglo-Saxons themselves, it is they identified as ængli, Seaxe or, more a local or tribal name such as Mierce, Gewisse, Westseaxe, or Norþanhymbre. The use of Anglo-Saxon disguises the extent to which people identified as Anglo-Scandinavian after the Viking age, or as Anglo-Norman after the Norman conquest in 1066.
The earliest historical references using this term are from outside Britain, referring to piratical Germanic raiders,'Saxones' who attacked the shores of Britain and Gaul in the 3rd century AD. Procopius states that Britain was settled by three races: the Angiloi and Britons; the term Angli Saxones seems to have first been used in continental writing of the 8th century. The name therefore seemed to mean "English" Saxons; the Christian church seems to have used the word Angli. The terms ænglisc and Angelcynn were used by West Saxon King Alfred to refer to the people; the first use of the term Anglo-Saxon amongst the insular sources is in the titles for Athelstan: Angelsaxonum Denorumque gloriosissimus rex and rex Angulsexna and Norþhymbra imperator paganorum gubernator Brittanorumque propugnator. At other times he uses the term rex Anglorum, which meant both Anglo-Saxons and Danes. Alfred the Great used Anglosaxonum Rex; the term Engla cyningc is used by Æthelred. King Cnut in 1021 was the first to refer to the land and not the people with this term: ealles Englalandes cyningc.
These titles express the sense that the Anglo-Saxons were a Christian people with a king anointed by God. The indigenous Common Brittonic speakers referred to Anglo-Saxons as Saxones or Saeson. Catherine Hills suggests that it is no accident, "that the English call themselves by the name sanctified by the Church, as that of a people chosen by God, whereas their enemies use the name applied to piratical raiders"; the early Anglo-Saxon period covers the history of medieval Britain that starts from the end of Roman rul
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, with a population of 545,500 as of 2017. It lies within the United Kingdom's second-most populous built-up area, with a population of 3.2 million. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation; the local authority is Manchester City Council. The recorded history of Manchester began with the civilian settlement associated with the Roman fort of Mamucium or Mancunium, established in about AD 79 on a sandstone bluff near the confluence of the rivers Medlock and Irwell, it was a part of Lancashire, although areas of Cheshire south of the River Mersey were incorporated in the 20th century. The first to be included, was added to the city in 1931. Throughout the Middle Ages Manchester remained a manorial township, but began to expand "at an astonishing rate" around the turn of the 19th century. Manchester's unplanned urbanisation was brought on by a boom in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution, resulted in it becoming the world's first industrialised city.
Manchester achieved city status in 1853. The Manchester Ship Canal opened in 1894, creating the Port of Manchester and directly linking the city to the Irish Sea, 36 miles to the west, its fortune declined after the Second World War, owing to deindustrialisation, but the IRA bombing in 1996 led to extensive investment and regeneration. In 2014, the Globalisation and World Cities Research Network ranked Manchester as a beta world city, the highest-ranked British city apart from London. Manchester is the third-most visited city after London and Edinburgh, it is notable for its architecture, musical exports, media links and engineering output, social impact, sports clubs and transport connections. Manchester Liverpool Road railway station was the world's first inter-city passenger railway station. Manchester hosted the 2002 Commonwealth Games; the name Manchester originates from the Latin name Mamucium or its variant Mancunium and the citizens are still referred to as Mancunians. These are thought to represent a Latinisation of an original Brittonic name, either from mamm- or from mamma.
Both meanings are preserved in Insular Celtic languages, such as mam meaning "breast" in Irish and "mother" in Welsh. The suffix -chester is a survival of Old English ceaster and from that castra in latin for camp or settlement; the Brigantes were the major Celtic tribe in. Their territory extended across the fertile lowland of what is now Stretford. Following the Roman conquest of Britain in the 1st century, General Agricola ordered the construction of a fort named Mamucium in the year 79 to ensure that Roman interests in Deva Victrix and Eboracum were protected from the Brigantes. Central Manchester has been permanently settled since this time. A stabilised fragment of foundations of the final version of the Roman fort is visible in Castlefield; the Roman habitation of Manchester ended around the 3rd century. After the Roman withdrawal and Saxon conquest, the focus of settlement shifted to the confluence of the Irwell and Irk sometime before the arrival of the Normans after 1066. Much of the wider area was laid waste in the subsequent Harrying of the North.
Thomas de la Warre, lord of the manor and constructed a collegiate church for the parish in 1421. The church is now Manchester Cathedral; the library, which opened in 1653 and is still open to the public today, is the oldest free public reference library in the United Kingdom. Manchester is mentioned as having a market in 1282. Around the 14th century, Manchester received an influx of Flemish weavers, sometimes credited as the foundation of the region's textile industry. Manchester became an important centre for the manufacture and trade of woollens and linen, by about 1540, had expanded to become, in John Leland's words, "The fairest, best builded and most populous town of all Lancashire." The cathedral and Chetham's buildings are the only significant survivors of Leland's Manchester. During the English Civil War Manchester favoured the Parliamentary interest. Although not long-lasting, Cromwell granted it the right to elect its own MP. Charles Worsley, who sat for the city for only a year, was appointed Major General for Lancashire and Staffordshire during the Rule of the Major Generals.
He was a diligent puritan, banning the celebration of Christmas. Significant quantities of cotton began to be used after about 1600, firstly in linen/cotton fustians, but by around 1750 pure cotton fabrics were being produced and cotton had overtaken wool in importance; the Irwell and Mersey were made navigable by 1736, opening a route from Manchester to the sea docks on the Mersey. The Bridgewater Canal, Britain's first wholly artificial waterway, was opened in 1761, bringing coal from mines at Worsley to central Manchester; the canal was extended to the Mersey at Runcorn by 1776. The combination of competition and improved efficiency halved th
Hundred (county division)
A hundred is an administrative division, geographically part of a larger region. It was used in England, some parts of the United States, Southern Schleswig, Finland and Norway, it is still used in other places, including South Australia, The Northern Territory. Other terms for the hundred in English and other languages include wapentake, herad, hérað, härad or hundare, Satakunta or kihlakunta and cantref. In Ireland, a similar subdivision of counties is referred to as a barony, a hundred is a subdivision of a large townland; the use of "hundred" for a division of a county has what the OED describes as an "exceedingly obscure" etymology. It may once have referred to an area of 100 hides, though a "hide" is not a specific area: instead it was conceptually the amount of land required to support a family. Alternatively it may have been based on the area liable to provide 100 men under arms, or because it was an area settled by 100 men at arms. There was an equivalent traditional Germanic system, in Old High German a huntari, a division of a gau, but the OED believes that the link between the two is not established.
In England a hundred was the division of a shire for military and judicial purposes under the common law, which could have varying extent of common feudal ownership, from complete suzerainty to minor royal or ecclesiastical prerogatives and rights of ownership. Until the introduction of districts by the Local Government Act 1894, hundreds were the only used assessment unit intermediate in size between the parish, with its various administrative functions, the county, with its formal, ceremonial functions; the term "hundred" is first recorded in the laws of Edmund I as a measure of land and the area served by a hundred court. In the Midlands, they covered an area of about 100 hides, but this did not apply in the south; the Hundred Ordinance, which dates to the middle of the century, provided that the court was to meet monthly, thieves were to be pursued by all the leading men of the district. The name of the hundred was that of its meeting-place. During Norman times, the hundred would pay geld based on the number of hides.
To assess how much everyone had to pay, a clerk and a knight were sent by the king to each county. There would be two knights from each hundred. After it was determined what geld had to be paid, the bailiff and knights of the hundred were responsible for getting the money to the sheriff, the sheriff for getting it to the Exchequer. Above the hundred was the shire, under the control of a sheriff. Hundred boundaries were independent of both parish and county boundaries, although aligned, meaning that a hundred could be split between counties, or a parish could be split between hundreds. Exceptionally, in the counties of Kent and Sussex, there was a sub-division intermediate in size between the hundred and the shire: several hundreds were grouped together to form lathes in Kent and rapes in Sussex. At the time of the Norman conquest of England, Kent was divided into seven lathes and Sussex into four rapes; the system of hundreds was not as stable as the system of counties being established at the time, lists differ on how many hundreds a county had.
In many parts of the country, the Domesday Book contained a radically different set of hundreds from that which became established. The numbers of hundreds in each county varied widely. Leicestershire had six, whereas Devon, nearly three times the size, had 32. Over time, the principal functions of the hundred became the administration of law and the keeping of the peace. By the 12th century, the hundred court was held twelve times a year; this was increased to fortnightly, although an ordinance of 1234 reduced the frequency to once every three weeks. In some hundreds, courts were held at a fixed place; the main duty of the hundred court was the maintenance of the frankpledge system. The court was formed of freemen. According to a 13th-century statute, freeholders did not have to attend their lord's manorial courts, thus any suits involving them would be heard in a hundred court. For serious crimes, the hundred was under the jurisdiction of the Crown. However, many hundreds came into private hands, with the lordship of the hundred being attached to the principal manor of the area and becoming hereditary.
Helen Cam estimated that before the Conquest, over 130 hundreds were in private hands. Where a hundred was under a lord, a steward, acting as a judge and the chief official of the lord of the manor, was appointed in place of a sheriff; the importance of the hundred courts declined from the 17th century, most of their powers were extinguished with the establishment of county courts in 1867. The remaining duty of the inhabitants of a hundred to make good damages caused by riot was ended by the Riot Act 1886, when the cost was transferred to the county police rate