The hundred lies south-east of Newmarket (Suff.), and stretches between
the Icknield way on the north-west and a ridge of boulder clay in the
south-east. Its eastern boundary partly runs along the Old Suffolk
Road between Bury St. Edmunds and Dalham (Suff.), and its southwestern boundary partly follows the Devil's Ditch. The whole of the eastern
boundary and part of the southern one form the county boundary with Suffolk.
The hundred name was first recorded in Domesday Book. (fn. 1)
In the 11th century 50 hides were divided between six vills. (fn. 2) Two, Cheveley
and Kirtling, of 10 hides each, remained distinct parishes. Saxton, later the hamlet
of Saxon Street, was effectively incorporated from the 13th century into its larger
neighbour, the 15-hide Woodditton, while the vills of Silverley and Ashley were
united civilly probably by the late 13th century and ecclesiastically from the mid
The hundred remained in the king's hands in the Middle Ages, when the hundred court met twice a year. (fn. 3) The sheriff of Cambridgeshire accounted for the
murdrum fine from it each year between 1194 and 1199. (fn. 4) In the late 13th century
the hundred shared a bailiff, who farmed it for 5 marks a year, with Radfield
hundred. (fn. 5) Between the 1230s and the 1270s the number of lords who exercised
view of frankpledge increased from four to six. (fn. 6) The vill of Kirtling attended the
sheriff's tourn in the 1230s, but was withdrawn by Queen Eleanor of Provence,
who then had its wardship, between c. 1250 and c. 1276. (fn. 7) Four lords had the assizes
of bread and of ale in the late 13th century. (fn. 8) Only two of the vills had c. 1235 been
within the Cambridgeshire geldable and had rendered wardpenny to the king. The
free tenants of the earl of Richmond at Woodditton attended an honorial court in
1334. (fn. 9) Sir John Cheke (d. 1557) was granted Cheveley hundred in 1553 as part of
'Richmonds lands', but returned it to the Crown by exchange in 1557. (fn. 10)
All the parishes were part of Newmarket poor-law union between 1835 and
1894, of Newmarket rural district between 1894 and 1974, and of East
Cambridgeshire district from 1974. (fn. 11)
P.N. Cambs. (E.P.N.S.), 125.
||Farrer, Feud. Cambs. 41. For the layout of the vills, see
Cal. Close, 1422-9, 234-5.
||e.g. Pipe R. 1193 (P.R.S. N.S. iii), 121; 1197 (P.R.S.
N.S. viii), 78; 1198 (P.R.S. N.S. ix), 162.
||P.R.O., JUST 1/86, rot. 52; JUST 1/95, rot. 48.
Liber de Bernewelle, 275; Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), i. 49;
Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 99, 101; cf. P.R.O., JUST
1/95, rot. 60d.
Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), i. 49.
||Ibid. i. 49; Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 99, 101.
Liber de Bernewelle, 275; P.R.O., SC 2/155/71, rott.
Cal. Pat. 1553, 92-3; 1555-7, 537.
||Youngs, Guide, 51; Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1858-1900);
Census, 1891-1901, 1931, 1971.