|Identifier:||Hundred||Number of units in system:||815|
|Geographical Level:||9 (Middle-level District)|
|ADL Feature Type:||countries, 3rd order divisions|
|Is a status within:||Ancient District|
The Hundred is a division of the Ancient County, also known as a Leet (East Anglia), a Ward (Cumberland, Durham and Northumberland), and Wapentake (Counties of York). It held administrative and judical functions, although the level of administrative responsibilities held by each of these units differed. Its origins are unclear, but possibly derive from the geographical area containing a hundred 'families' or households. By the late 16th Century hundreds were comprised of parishes (formerly Medieval Vills). The area of a hundred varies; in the South and South-East they are small and numerous, while in the Midlands and the North they are larger in size, but fewer in number. In Hampshire and Dorset they are arranged into divisions (1834) due to their size and numbers. Historians still debate the total number of hundreds; the Population Returns (1831) suggest 762 - if half hundreds are not included (550 parishes overlapped the hundred boundaries), the Population Abstract (1851) places the total figure at 799, whilst Dr Farr, of the Registrar-General's Office (1873) gave a total of 818. The administrative importance of hundreds decreased after 1834, though they remained a unit of liability to provide compensation notably for property damaged in civil disturbances until the Riot Act (1886) and they were still used as a unit for census purposes until 1850. The rise of the Petty Sessional Divisions (Magistrates Court Divisions, a total of 609 from 1834) and the implementation of the Transport Act (1832) further diminished the importance of hundreds.