Northstowe Hundred

A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 9, Chesterton, Northstowe, and Papworth Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1989.

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'Northstowe Hundred', in A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 9, Chesterton, Northstowe, and Papworth Hundreds, (London, 1989) pp. 113-114. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]


THE hundred, lying north-west of Cambridge, stretches between the road from that borough to St. Neots (Hunts.) on the south and the river Ouse on the north. Horseshoe-shaped, it interlocks with Chesterton hundred, with which it may at some time before 1066 have formed a single unit. (fn. 1) The name of Northstowe, distinguishing it from Longstowe hundred south of the road and presumably deriving from its meeting place, was borne from the 13th century to the 17th by a plot near the eastern boundary of Dry Drayton. (fn. 2) In the late 11th century Northstowe hundred, assessed at 110 1/2; hides, consisted of 10 vills, several assessed on a duodecimal basis; from east to west they were Waterbeach (6 hides), Landbeach (11 hides), Milton (12 hides), Impington (10 hides), Girton (15 hides), Madingley (15 hides), Oakington (14 1/2; hides), Long Stanton (12 hides), later two ecclesiastical and civil parishes, Rampton (6 hides), and almost detached to the west, Lolworth (9 hides). The hundred retained the same composition until the 19th century. (fn. 3)

Figure 7:

Northstowe Hundred 1845

Northstowe remained in the king's hands throughout the Middle Ages, (fn. 4) being farmed and managed by the same bailiff as its neighbours Chesterton and Papworth hundreds from the 13th century. (fn. 5) Its vills then owed 11 suits to the county court. (fn. 6) The lords of 14 manors enjoyed view of frankpledge and associated liberties at that period; one lord in Rampton failed to prove his right to them in 1299. Three manors held of the bishop of Ely were as part of his liberty withdrawn from the sheriff's tourn, which c. 1440 was sometimes held at Lolworth. (fn. 7) One manor in Long Stanton, held of the honor of Richmond, sent suitors in the 1330s to the Cambridgeshire tourn held for the honor. (fn. 8)

All the parishes in the hundred joined Chesterton poor-law union in 1836, save for Lolworth, which was included in the St. Ives (Hunts.) union. (fn. 9) That parish alone was in Swavesey rural district from 1894 to 1934, when it joined Chesterton rural district, to which all the others had belonged since its establishment in 1894. All were included in South Cambridgeshire district in 1974. (fn. 10)


  • 1. Above, Chesterton hundred.
  • 2. P.N. Cambs. (E.P.N.S.), 176; cf. P.R.O., CP 25(1)/23/10, no. 10; Beds. R.O., Box 279, terrier 1624.
  • 3. Cf. Census, 1801.
  • 4. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 451-2; Feud. Aids, i. 152.
  • 5. Above, Chesterton hundred; cf. Cal. Fine R. 1327-37, 443.
  • 6. Liber de Bernewelle, 240-2.
  • 7. Above, Chesterton hundred.
  • 8. P.R.O., SC 2/155/71.
  • 9. Poor Law Com. 2nd Rep. 515, 527.
  • 10. Census, 1911, 1931, 1971.