CHESTERTON hundred consisted from the 11th century of three separate
blocks of land, intermingled with Northstowe hundred and by 1066
assessed at exactly 120 hides. In the south-east was the royal demesne
vill of Chesterton (30 hides), in the north Histon (30 hides) and
Cottenham with Westwick (30 hides), in the west Dry Drayton and the two
Childerleys (30 hides). The hundred may have been created from a larger area,
including the later Northstowe, by adding to the royal vill of Chesterton others in
which the land belonged largely to major ecclesiastical lords, the bishop of
Dorchester and the abbeys of Ely and Crowland, with their sokemen; not all the
abbeys' possessions in the area were, however, included in Chesterton hundred.
In 1086 every 30-hide block included one manor, styled a manerium, at which the
king's geld was probably payable. (fn. 1) The hundred retained the same area and the
same members until the 20th century. Westwick, though linked ecclesiastically
with Oakington in Northstowe hundred from the 13th century, remained for civil
purposes part of Chesterton hundred. The two depopulated vills of Great and
Little Childerley were united for all purposes from the late 15th century. In 1966
the new planned village of Bar Hill in the north-west corner of Dry Drayton was
created a separate civil parish.
Chesterton hundred remained in the king's hands in the 13th and 14th centuries
and presumably later. It was managed by the same bailiff as Northstowe and
Papworth hundreds. In the early 1270s the combined farm paid for them was
raised by a third to £10. (fn. 2) In the 1230s eight suits were due to the county court
from the vills of Chesterton hundred (fn. 3) but c. 1250 the lord of Richmond withdrew
the suit of land held of that honor in Dry Drayton and Westwick, (fn. 4) and in the
1330s customary tenants of Richmond manors in those vills did suit at a tourn
held for the honor's Cambridgeshire lands. (fn. 5) Other franchises claimed in the
hundred, mostly by prescription, included the view of frankpledge, which the lords
of eight manors, mostly ecclesiastics, held in 1279 and 1299; the view was claimed
on at least one manor in each vill except Little Childerley. In the 1440s the sheriff
apparently asserted jurisdiction over Dry Drayton through his tourn held at
Lolworth, (fn. 6) which perhaps served all three hundreds. Chesterton, Northstowe, and
Papworth hundreds were still associated for some administrative purposes in the
early 17th century. (fn. 7) From 1836 all the parishes in Chesterton hundred belonged
to Chesterton poor-law union, from 1894 to Chesterton rural district, and from
1974 to South Cambridgeshire district, except for Chesterton which had been
included in the borough of Cambridge from 1912.
Chesterton Hundred 1845
Domesday Studies, ed. J. C. Holt, 150-1.
||e.g. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), i. 51; ii. 456; Feud. Aids, i. 153; P.R.O., JUST 1/86, rot. 47d.
Liber de Bernewelle, 242-3.
Assizes at Camb. 1260, 5; Rot. Hund. ii. 407-8; cf. Cal. Inq. p. m. ii, p. 220.
||P.R.O., SC 6/155/71.
||Below, Dry Drayton, local govt.
||e. g. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1627-8, 386.