A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1930.
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THE HUNDRED OF POLEBROOK
containing the parishes of Barnwell St. Andrew; Benefield; Hemington; Luddington; Oundle; Polebrook; Thurning; Warmington
This hundred lies between those of Willybrook and Navisford, with Corby to the west. To the east it borders on Huntingdonshire. The boundaries of the hundred and the parishes assigned to it are not conterminous, Thurning and Winwick being partly in Huntingdonshire (Leightonstone hundred), while part of Oundle is in Willybrook hundred and Warmington (detached) was formerly in Willybrook hundred and afterwards partly in Willybrook and partly in Polebrook. In 1888 Thurning was wholly transferred to Northamptonshire and Winwick to Huntingdonshire.
The history goes back to early times, for Polebrook was part of the eight hundreds of Oundle (Eahte hundred) confirmed to Peterborough in 972 by Edgar, (fn. 1) and this district again may be derived from the 900 or 800 hides assigned to 'Wigesta' in the Tribal Hidage. The eight hundreds were confirmed to the abbey by Eugenius III in 1146, (fn. 2) by Henry II (fn. 3) and Richard I (fn. 4) and later kings. (fn. 5) It must be noted, however, that in 1125–8 Vivian owed 1s. of the five hundreds of Oundle and Geoffrey 10s.; (fn. 6) and when in 1329 the abbot was challenged to say which were his 'eight hundreds,' it being alleged on the king's side that his predecessor had claimed only five, viz., Polebrook, Navisford, Huxloe and North and South Naveslund, he brought the number up to eight by adding his two hundreds of Nesse (Nassaburgh and the town of St. Peter) and the town of Finedon (Thingden) in the hundred of South Naveslund, which in spite of its name, involving a 'thing,' does not seem to have been a hundred. (fn. 7) It seems probable that at some early time the abbey lost the hundred of Willybrook, for the Geld Roll assigns 62 hides each to Polebrook, Navisford, Huxloe and Willybrook hundreds, (fn. 8) as if an older district of 250 hides had been divided into four. The five hundreds of Oundle were later reduced to three by the inclusion of the Naveslunds in Huxloe.
These three hundreds of Polebrook, Navisford, and Huxloe remained in the possession of the abbey till the Dissolution. (fn. 9) In 1291 the annual value of the hundreds of Polebrook and Huxloe was £5. (fn. 10) A list of compositions for sheriffs' aids, apparently of the 14th century, gives the total yearly receipts for the hundreds of Polebrook and Navisford. In addition there was in Irthlingborough a knight's fee of Avenel held in moieties by Walkeline de Arderne and Robert Basset, whose tenants followed the hundreds and yearly made fine for frank-pledge; the vill of Barton also followed the hundreds, and the bailiff entered to make view of frank-pledge and took a fine from the men; also in Sudbury the free tenants and the 'capitales franciplegii' followed the two great hundreds yearly. (fn. 11) A rental for the hundreds of Polebrook and Navisford for 1408 has been preserved. (fn. 12) In 1462 the king made the monks a grant of felons' goods, etc., in the abbey's hundreds of Polebrook, Huxloe, Navisford and Nassaburgh. (fn. 13) About 1535 the issues of the hundreds of Polebrook and Navisford were estimated at £13 10s. 9d. (fn. 14)
After the Dissolution the hundreds of Polebrook, Navisford and Huxloe were in 1541 granted as jointure to Queen Catherine Howard, (fn. 15) reverting to the Crown a year later on her execution. In 1544 the new queen, Katherine Parr, received the hundreds of Polebrook and Navisford, together with the castle of Fotheringhay, (fn. 16) and she retained them till her death in 1548. Robert Tyrwhitt had been made steward of the hundreds in 1543. (fn. 17) The hundreds remained in the Crown until in 1611 James I sold them to John Eldred and William Whitmore, (fn. 18) who two years later sold to Sir Edward Montagu, afterwards Lord Montagu of Boughton, (fn. 19) and thus they descended regularly to the Dukes of Montagu and from them to the Dukes of Buccleuch. (fn. 20) A writ of 'Quo Warranto' was issued against Sir Edward Montagu regarding his rights in the three hundreds, which were eventually allowed him.
While Queen Katherine Parr held the lordship it appears that the hundreds of Polebrook and Navisford were put to farm for £14 1s. 1½d. yearly; a court was held for the hundred of Polebrook in 1546, at which 10s. was received, as follows: Barnwell 22d., Benefield 16d., Armston 4d., Luddington 6d., Thurning 14d., Polebrook 6d., Warmington 12d., Winwick 10d., Oundle 2s. 2d., Ashton 4d. (fn. 21) The court of the Duke of Buccleuch for the liberty and hundred of Polebrook used to be held at Oundle in October. (fn. 22)