A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1936.
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THE HUNDRED OF LEIGHTONSTONE
containing the parishes (fn. 1) of Alconbury-Cum-Weston; Barham; Brampton; Brington; Buckworth; Bythorn; Catworth; Copmanford; Covington; Easton; Ellington; Great Gidding; Little Gidding; Steeple Gidding; Grafham; Hamerton; Keyston; Kimbolton; Leighton Bromswold; Molesworth; Spaldwick; Stow Longa; Swineshead; Thurning (part); Tilbrook; Upton; Old Weston; Winwick (part); Woolley
Leightonstone Hundred took its name from the village of Leighton (fn. 2); the stone at which the hundred moot was held is now at the west end of the village, but it has, apparently, been moved, for the older maps show it at the east end, south of the church.
In two cases in Domesday Book (in the lands of Eustace the Sheriff, and in those of the Countess Judith), (fn. 3) the lands of this hundred are given as in Kimbolton Hundred. It is possible that this may have been an alternative name, but it is more probably due to a mistake of the Domesday scribe.
The record for Godmanchester, in the land of the king, follows that for Grafham without any notification of a change of hundred, (fn. 4) and it has, therefore, been thought that it was included in this hundred. (fn. 5) It is, however, more reasonable to suppose that the scribe simply forgot to write 'Toseland Hundred' in front of it.
Of William Engayne's holding of 4½ hides in Gidding, it is said that 'the soke was in the Hundred of Cressewelle.' (fn. 6) No such hundred is known to have existed either in Huntingdonshire or in any neighbouring county, and it has been suggested that the northern part of Leightonstone Hundred was formerly known by this name. (fn. 7) This is extremely unlikely, as locally there is nothing to account for it. It may be that William Engayne, who held land in other counties, paid the geld on this land with that of one of his other holdings, and that 'Cressewelle' is a corrupt form of the name of the hundred in which that holding lay.
The total assessment of the hundred, if Godmanchester be included, was 220 hides 2 virgates; but, deducting the 14 hides of Godmanchester, it was 206 hides 2 virgates. Of this, 5 hides 1 virgate belonged to places outside the County of Huntingdon, so the hidage of the land actually in the county was 201 hides 1 virgate.
The hundred belonged to the king and appears to have been administered by the sheriff until 1628–29, when Charles I granted it with Toseland Hundred to Henry, Earl of Manchester, for 31 years, at a yearly rental of 35s., the total rent of the two hundreds being £2 17s. 9d. (fn. 8) In 1661, Edward, Earl of Manchester, obtained a new lease for 31 years from Charles II, (fn. 9) and his grandson Charles, Earl of Manchester, in 1691 petitioned for a renewal of the lease, but his petition was referred to the Treasury, (fn. 10) and there is no evidence of his obtaining the two hundreds.
In 1279, the Hundred of Leightonstone was valued at 8 marks a year. (fn. 11) In 1651, certain of the freeholders of each of the townships of Upton, Copmanford, Hamerton and Thurning paid an annual rent, called 'certainty money,' of 7s. a year at Michaelmas, and those of Great Catworth 3s. and Covington 8s., while the freeholders of Brampton paid 8s. 4d. a year as 'Common fine' to the lord of the hundred. The hundred court was held every three weeks and its profits, together with those from waifs and strays, deodands, felons' goods, etc., hawking, fishing, hunting and fowling, amounted to £8 6s. 8d. If, however, the bailiff of a lord of the manor, situated within the hundred, should seize in that manor any waifs and strays, deodands, felons' goods, goods of felons themselves, of fugitives or of condemned persons, before the bailiff of the hundred had seized them, then they belonged to the lord of the manor and not to the lord of the hundred. (fn. 12) There are now no profits from the hundred, but the rights appertaining to the hundred are still apparently in the Crown.