Spelhoe hundred

Pages 63-64

A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1937.

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Containing the parishes of Abington; Great Billing; Little Billing; Boughton; Kingsthorpe; Moulton And Moulton Park; Overston; Pitsford; Spratton With Little Creaton; Weston Favella (fn. 1)

Map of the Hundred

The meeting-place of the hundred, from which it derived its name, which means 'the hill of speech', was a field on high ground in the north of Weston Favell parish. (fn. 2) In the Domesday survey the parishes of Abington, the Billings, Boughton, Moulton, Pitsford, Spratton, and Weston are all entered under Spelhoe, though, owing to imperfect rubrication, several of these occur also under the heading of other hundreds. In the 12th-century survey Spelhoe includes all these parishes and also that of Overstone, which is not mentioned in 1086, being probably at that date part of Sywell. (fn. 3) Kingsthorpe, with outliers in Moulton and Weston, is entered in both surveys (fn. 4) under the hundred of 'Mallesle', or Mawesley, of which all the other parishes had been absorbed into the Hundred of Orlingbury (q.v.) by the middle of the 13 th century. This is the more remarkable as from an early date the Hundred of Spelhoe was appurtenant to the royal manor of Kingsthorpe and the men of that vill claimed to hold it at farm from the Crown ever since the reign of John. Their right was confirmed by Henry III in 1224 (fn. 5) and its history is identical with that of Kingsthorpe (q.v.) up to the reign of Charles II, after which date all rights connected with it seem to have fallen into abeyance. There appears to have been some doubt in the reign of Edward II as to whether the hundred was included in the farm of the county of Northants., but an inquiry made in 1319 showed that it had always so belonged. (fn. 6) In 1365 the men of Kingsthorpe complained that whereas they used to have the Hundred of Spelhoe, worth £10, Walter Parles (sheriff in 1359) and later sheriffs had taken the hundred and only paid them 4 marks yearly for it. (fn. 7) By letters patent dated 1519 the men of Kingsthorpe were granted the manor of Kingsthorpe with all its members to hold from the Crown for 40 years at a rent of £50, and on the strength of these letters they claimed in 1545 to hold the hundred also. (fn. 8) In 1638 another grant was made in similar terms but, as there was no separate mention of the hundred, the Parliamentary surveyors in 1651 left the matter for further consideration. (fn. 9)

The hundred was returned in 1246 as worth £8, (fn. 10) but by 1253 the farm had been raised to 20 marks, (fn. 11) at which figure it was still standing in 1275. (fn. 12) It was stated at the survey later in 1651 that the rent called certainty money, paid by the freeholders of the hundred, amounted to £7 os. 8d., while the profits of the court leet held half-yearly and of the three-weeks court and the royalties in hunting, hawking, fishing, fowling, &c. were worth one year with another £4. The waifs, strays, deodands, goods of felons and fugitives, &c. belonged to the lord of the hundred if the bailiff seized them first, but if the bailiff of the lord of a manor within the hundred, with a leet belonging, should obtain them first, then that lord was to receive the profits. (fn. 13)


  • 1. List taken from Population Returns Abstract of 1831.
  • 2. Called Spellow Close: Place-Names of Northants. (Engl. P.-N. Soc), 131.
  • 3. V.C.H. Northants. i, 381.
  • 4. Ibid. 306, 381.
  • 5. Rot. Lit. Claus. (Rec. Com.), i, 609.
  • 6. Memo. R. L.T.R. Hil. 12 Edw. II, m. 76; ibid. East. 12 Edw. II, m. 100.
  • 7. Cal. Pat. 1364–7, p. 141.
  • 8. Pat. 37 Hen. VIII, pt. 1, m. 72.
  • 9. Parl. Survey Northants. no. 10.
  • 10. Assize R. 614, m. 41.
  • 11. Ibid. 615, m. 63.
  • 12. Ibid. 619, m. 63 d.
  • 13. Parl. Survey Northants. no. 10.