A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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THE HUNDRED OF BROADWATER
The hundred of Broadwater takes its name from a little hamlet on the boundary line between the parishes of Knebworth and Shephall, at a point about two miles south of Stevenage where the main road from Hertford and a road from Aston join the Great North Road.
At the time of the Domesday Survey Broadwater Hundred included Shephall, which is situated in the centre of the hundred, but was in the 13th century attached to Cashio Hundred as a possession of St. Alban's Abbey; Norton on the northern boundary and Codicote (with Oxewiche) on the west, which were at the same time detached for the like reason; Langley with Minsden, and Almshoe (fn. 1) (in Ippollitts), which were afterwards attached to Hitchin Hundred; and part of Tewin, now in Hertford Hundred, which was probably attached to Broadwater because it belonged to the Abbot of Westminster, one of whose principal manors in Hertfordshire was at Stevenage.
Two places now in this hundred are not mentioned in the Domesday Survey: Baldock, which was in the 12th century formed out of Weston, and Totteridge, which was a detached part of the parish of Hatfield about twelve miles south of its mother-church.
Two places mentioned in the Domesday Survey have not been identified: Wollenwick (Wlwenewiche), (fn. 2) which was probably a portion of Stevenage parish lying between Wymondley and Burleigh, and which is mentioned as late as 1381, (fn. 3) and Rodenhanger (Rodehangre, Rodenehangre), which evidently adjoined Norton, with which it was given to St. Alban's Abbey by King Ethelred in 1007. (fn. 4)
Broadwater has always been a royal hundred. (fn. 5) The hundred court is said to have been sometimes held at Stevenage with the county court, but in the 14th century the sheriff's tourn was held at Broadwater at Easter and Michaelmas. (fn. 6) In 1651 the value of the hundred, with profits, perquisites and privileges, was £5 10s. yearly. The total of rents and royalties due to the lord of the hundred amounted to £10 14s. (fn. 7) In 1651 payments amounting to 21s. 4d. for frankpledge were due to the lord of the hundred from Welwyn, Knebworth, Bardolfhall (Watton), Little Munden, Letchworth and Wymondley. Rents of assize paid to the sheriff's aid at the same time from various places amounted to £3, and certainty money from freeholders at the sheriff's tourn to 12s. 1d. (fn. 8) The waifs, strays, deodands, goods of felons and fugitives, &c., within the hundred belonged to the lord if the bailiff of the hundred seized them first, but if any bailiff belonging to a lord of a manor who had leet within the hundred seized them before the bailiff of the hundred, then that lord in whose leet they were seized commonly had the profit and benefit thereof. (fn. 9)
The lords of all the more important manors in the hundred appear to have had right of view of frankpledge. (fn. 10) The lords of Aston, Ayot St. Lawrence, Baldock, Benington, Hatfield, Stevenage, Walkern and Weston had also gallows and tumbrel; those of Datchworth, Knebworth, Great Munden and Sacombe had gallows.