Staine Hundred

Page 189

A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10, Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (North-Eastern Cambridgeshire). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2002.

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Stanie hundred, first recorded in Domesday Book and approximately diamond-shaped, is sited between Cambridge and Newmarket, with the middle of the hundred lying c. 9 km. from both towns. (fn. 1) Its name is derived from an Old English word for stone, perhaps connected to its court's shared meeting place at Mutlow hill in Great Wilbraham parish. (fn. 2) In 1086 Staine hundred included six or seven vills, mostly later independent parishes: from the south-west Great and Little Wilbraham, Stow and Quy, later combined into one parish, Bottisham, and the two Swaffhams, later Swaffham Bulbeck and Swaffham Prior. The four south-western vills were grouped in pairs to form 10-hide blocks, the other three vills being assessed at 10 hides each. Of the hundred's fifty hides, only two, in the Wilbrahams, were royal demesne. (fn. 3) The hundred was stable in its parochial composition between the 11th century and the early 20th, but in 1954 698 a. (282 ha.) at its north-west edge was included in the newly created parish of Reach. (fn. 4)

The northern and southern ends of the hundred's south-western boundary follow man-made features, the Fleam Dyke on the south and part of Bottisham lode on the north. Its central section runs along former watercourses which flowed through the fenland until drained in the 17th century. (fn. 5) The southern boundary follows the line of the Icknield way, which eventually, between 1745 and 1872, formed part of the Great Chesterford to Newmarket turnpike. (fn. 6) The straight north-eastern boundary follows the Devil's Ditch in its southern portion, and Reach lode further north, as far as the river Cam, which forms the north-western boundary.

The hundred remained in the king's hands throughout the Middle Ages, being managed and farmed by a bailiff whom it shared with its neighbours, Flendish and Staploe hundreds. From the 1260s to the 1280s he may have rendered 9-11 marks a year as its farm. Between 1286 and 1299 the sum due from it was apparently raised to £10. (fn. 7) The hundred court met twice a year during the Middle Ages. (fn. 8) In the 1230s view of frankpledge was probably exercised by nine lords. (fn. 9) In the late 13th century view of frankpledge was exercised by seven or eight lords and the assizes of bread and ale by at least four of them. In 1299 the Templars at Great and Little Wilbraham were entitled to waif and tumbrel. Although the Crown briefly alienated the three hundreds to the west, east, and south-east of Staine hundred in the 1550s, it apparently retained Staine hundred.

From the mid 1830s the hundred's six parishes were divided between two poorlaw unions and consequently lay from 1894 in different rural districts: the two Wilbrahams and Stow cum Quy belonged from 1836 to Chesterton union and later to Chesterton rural district. Bottisham and the two Swaffhams lay from 1835 in Newmarket union, from 1894 in Newmarket rural district. (fn. 10) The northern half of Bottisham parish, made in 1863 into a separate ecclesiastical parish called Lode, became also a distinct civil parish in 1894. (fn. 11) From 1974 the area within the hundred lay within South Cambridgeshire district. (fn. 12)


  • 1. V.C.H. Cambs. i. 339.
  • 2. P.N. Cambs. (E.P.N.S.), 129.
  • 3. V.C.H. Cambs. i. 403-4.
  • 4. Census, 1961-71.
  • 5. Above, volume intro.
  • 6. Stump Cross Roads Act, 10 Geo. I, c. 12; Annual Turnpike Acts Continuance Act, 34 & 35 Vic. c. 115.
  • 7. e.g. Assizes at Camb. 1260, 13, 22, 24-5; Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 484; P.R.O., JUST 1/86, rot. 46; JUST 1/95, rott. 48, 51.
  • 8. Cal. Close, 1422-9, 234-5.
  • 9. For franchises, Liber de Bernewelle, 274-5; in Rot. Hund. i. 52-3; ii. 483-4, 487, 496; in 1299, Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 100, 104-5, 107; cf. P.R.O., E 40/1448.
  • 10. Poor Law Com. 2nd. Rep. 512-13; Census, 1891-1901.
  • 11. Below, Bottisham, local govt.
  • 12. Census, 1931, 1971.