The hundred of Hitchin: Introduction and map

A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.

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. "The hundred of Hitchin: Introduction and map", A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 3, (London, 1912). 1-2. British History Online. Web. 22 June 2024,




This hundred was generally called the 'half hundred of Hiz (Hitchin),' its Domesday assessment working out at about 40 hides. During the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries it is sometimes referred to as the hundred of Polettes (Ippollitts). (fn. 3)

Index Map to the Hundred of Hitchin

All the places above named are mentioned in the hundred in 1086 except Ickleford and Ippollitts; Ickleford was then included in Pirton, and Ippollitts is represented by the manor of Almshoe. The Domesday Survey also places within the hundred Westoning (Bedfordshire), Welei, Wilei, Flesmere, Hexton and Bendish, a hamlet in St. Paul's Walden. (fn. 4) Though Westoning was attached by its tenure to this hundred, its 'wara' or place of assessment was in the hundred of Manshead in Bedfordshire. (fn. 5) Welei is possibly Wedelee in Preston, but both this and Welei cannot be identified with certainty. (fn. 6) Flesmere (fn. 7) or Flexmere (fn. 8) remains unidentified, also Leglega, where there was 1 virgate of land (although the latter may possibly be Ley Green to the north of King's Walden); Hexton was transferred to the hundred of Cashio before 1286. (fn. 9) Bendish was also added to the same hundred soon after the Survey, probably by the Abbot of St. Albans, to whom Cashio belonged. (fn. 10)

The hundred of Hitchin appears to have always belonged to the Crown. (fn. 11)

The three-weekly hundred court (fn. 12) was probably originally held at Hitchin, and perhaps later at Ippollitts, judging by the alternative name. There is also record of 'the full hundred court' having been held at Kimpton, (fn. 13) and a view of frankpledge was held at Oughton's Head in Pirton in the 14th century. (fn. 14) The jurisdiction of the sheriff was limited by the franchises of the lords of various manors within the hundred, including Hitchin, (fn. 15) Lilley, (fn. 16) Offley St. Ledgers, (fn. 17) Wells in Offley, (fn. 18), Oddingselles in Pirton, (fn. 19) and Dinsley. (fn. 20)

In the 17th century a grant of court leet was made to Ralph Radcliffe, lord of Hitchin, in Maidecroft, Ippollitts and Gosmore (fn. 21) and to St. John's College, Cambridge, in the manor of Ramerick in Ickleford. (fn. 22)

A survey was taken of the hundred as part of the king's possessions in 1651. Within the hundred all waifs, strays, goods of felons and fugitives belonged to the lord if his bailiff seized them first; but if they were first seized by the bailiff of the lord of a manor having a court leet the profits went to such lord. The lord of the hundred also had the return and execution of all writs within the hundred. A three-weekly court was held, and the whole value was £3. (fn. 23)


  • 1. St. Paul's Walden is in the hundred of Cashio.
  • 2. According to Population Returns of 1831.
  • 3. Chan. Inq. p.m. 4 Edw. IV, no. 38; (Ser. ii), ix, 67; xxxiii, 5; Ct. of Wards, Feod. Surv. 17.
  • 4. V.C.H. Herts. i, 302, 304, 316.
  • 5. Ibid. 302b.
  • 6. Ibid. 297.
  • 7. Ibid. 304a
  • 8. Ibid. 338a.
  • 9. Ibid. ii, 320.
  • 10. Ibid. 480.
  • 11. Pipe R. 21 Hen. II (Pipe R. Soc.), 77, &c.; Rot. Cur. Reg. (Rec. Com.), i, 164; Assize R. Herts. 323; 325, m. 18d.; Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), i, 188 et seq.
  • 12. Chan. Inq. p.m. 3 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 7.
  • 13. Assize R. 340, m. 1; Cal. Pat. 1324–7, p. 135.
  • 14. Chan. Inq. p.m. 15 Edw. II, no. 4.
  • 15. Plac. de Quo. Warr. (Rec. Com.), 288; Hund. R.(Rec. Com.), i, 194.
  • 16. Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), i, 188.
  • 17. Pat. 4 Edw. VI, pt. ix, m. 35.
  • 18. Chan. Inq. p.m. 16 Ric. II, pt. ii, m. 34.
  • 19. Assize R. 325; Pat. 29 Hen. VIII, pt. ii, m. 18.
  • 20. Assize R. 323, m. 36, 48; Plac. de Quo. Warr. (Rec. Com.), 281.
  • 21. Pat. 14 Jas. I, pt. xii.
  • 22. Ibid. 15 Jas. I, pt. xviii, no. 12.
  • 23. Parl. Surv. Herts. no. 2.