Hundreds of Norfolk

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hundreds of Norfolk
Map of the hundreds of Norfolk

Between the 10th and the 19th centuries the hundreds of Norfolk and the boroughs of Norwich, King's Lynn, Thetford and Great Yarmouth were the administrative units of the English county of Norfolk. Each hundred had a separate council that met each month to rule on local judicial and taxation matters.

The system of dividing shires into hundreds was established in East Anglia following the conquest by Wessex in the early 10th century.[1] The boundaries described at the time of the Domesday Survey of 1086 remained largely unchanged up to the 1970s. The 36 Domesday hundreds were subdivided into leets, now lost, and the boroughs of Norwich and Thetford ranked as separate hundreds, while Great Yarmouth was the chief town of three hundreds. Two of Thetford's parishes now lie partially in Norfolk with the remainder in Suffolk. The Domesday hundred of Emneth is now included in Freebridge, which was split into Freebridge-Lynn and Freebridge-Marshland. Docking hundred was then incorporated into Smithdon, and the boundary between Brothercross and Gallow hundreds was changed.[2] By the 19th century there were 33 hundreds.

The leet court boundaries were more fluid and transient than the hundred court boundaries. At the time of Domesday, the parishes of the hundreds of Brothercross and Gallow "were strangely intermixed".[3]

Sites of hundred courts[edit]

The hundred courts were held at various sites across the county:[2]

Name of hundred Site of hundred court
Brothercross At the cross by the ford over the Burnham
Clackclose Clackclose Hill on Stradsett common
Depwade At the "deep ford" over the Tas
Earsham At an encampment near Earsham church.
Eynsford Reepham
Forehoe Parish of Carleton Forehoe
Freebridge At Flitcham Burgh, afterwards at an oak at Gaywood and still later at an oak at Wiggenhall St Germans
Gallow In the 15th century at Fakenham and in the 16th century at Longfield Stone
Greenhoe By the tumuli on the London road to Swaffham
Grimeshoe At a tumulus between Brandon and Norwich
Humbleyard Parish of Swardeston
Launditch At the crossing of the Norwich road with the long ditch between Longham and Beeston
Mitford In 1639, at "Brokpit"
North Erpingham At Guneby Gate near Gunton
Smithdon Parish of Bircham Magna
South Erpingham At Cawston Park Gate
Taverham Frettenham Hill


In 1845 the hundreds of Norfolk contained the following parishes.[4]

Hundred Area Parishes
Blofield 19,666 acres (79.59 km2) Blofield, Braydeston, Brundall, Buckenham, Cantley, Freethorpe, Great Plumstead, Hassingham, Limpenhoe, Lingwood, Little Plumstead, North Burlingham, Postwick, South Burlingham, Southwood, Strumpshaw, Thorpe, Witton
Brothercross 19,169 acres (77.57 km2) Burnham Deepdale, Burnham Sutton and Burnham Ulph, Burnham Norton, Burnham Overy, Burnham Thorpe, Burnham Westgate, North Creake, South Creake, Waterden
Clackclose 84,333 acres (341.28 km2) Barton Bendish, Beachamwell, Bexwell, Boughton, Crimplesham, Denver, Downham Market, Fincham, Fordham, Hilgay, Holme next Runcton, Marham, Outwell, Roxham, Ryston, Shingham, Shouldham, Shouldham Thorpe, South Runcton, Southery, Stoke Ferry, Stow Bardolph, Stradsett, Thorpland, Tottenhill, Upwell, Watlington, Welney, Wereham, West Dereham, Wimbotsham, Wormegay, Wretton
Clavering 29,844 acres (120.77 km2) Aldeby, Bergh Apton, Brooke, Burgh St. Peter, Ellingham, Geldeston, Gillingham All Saints and St. Mary, Haddiscoe, Hales, Heckingham, Howe, Kirby Cane, Norton Subcourse, Raveningham, Stockton, Thorpe, Thurlton, Toft Monks, Wheatacre
Depwade 30,491 acres (123.39 km2) Ashwellthorpe, Aslacton, Bunwell, Carleton Rode, Forncett St Mary, Forncett St Peter, Fritton, Fundenhall, Great Moulton, Hapton, Hardwick, Hempnall, Morningthorpe, Shelton, Stratton St. Mary, Stratton St. Michael, Tacolneston, Tasburgh, Tharston, Tibenham, Wacton
Diss 23,628 acres (95.62 km2) Bressingham, Burston, Dickleburgh, Diss, Fersfield, Frenze, Gissing, Roydon, Scole, Shelfanger, Shimpling, Thelveton, Thorpe Parva, Tivetshall St. Margaret, Tivetshall St. Mary, Winfarthing
Earsham 24,564 acres (99.41 km2) Alburgh, Billingford, Brockdish, Denton, Earsham, Mendham, Needham, Pulham Market, Pulham St Mary, Redenhall with Harleston, Rushall, Starston, Thorpe Abbotts, Wortwell
East Flegg 11,556 acres (46.77 km2) Caister, Filby, Great Yarmouth, Mautby, Ormesby St. Margaret, Ormesby St. Michael, Runham, Scratby, Stokesby with Herringby, Thrigby
Eynesford 46,637 acres (188.73 km2) Alderford, Bawdeswell, Billingford, Bintree, Brandiston, Bylaugh, Elsing, Foulsham, Foxley, Great Witchingham, Guestwick, Guist, Hackford, Haveringland, Hindolveston, Little Witchingham, Lyng, Morton-on-the-Hill, Reepham, Ringland, Salle, Sparham, Swannington, Themelthorpe, Thurning, Twyford, Weston Longville, Whitwell, Wood Dalling, Wood Norton
Forehoe 39,042 acres (158.00 km2) Barford, Barnham Broom, Bawburgh, Bowthorpe, Brandon Parva, Carleton Forehoe, Colton, Costessey, Coston, Crownthorpe, Deopham, Easton, Hackford, Hingham, Honingham, Kimberley, Marlingford, Morley St. Botolph, Morley St. Peter, Runhall, Welborne, Wicklewood, Wramplingham, Wymondham
Freebridge-Lynn 68,366 acres (276.67 km2) Anmer, Ashwicken, Babingley, Bawsey, Castle Acre, Castle Rising, Congham, Dersingham, East Walton, East Winch, Flitcham, Gayton, Gayton Thorpe, Gaywood, Great Massingham, Grimstone, Harpley, Hillington, King's Lynn, Leziate, Little Massingham, Middleton, Mintlyn, North Runcton, North Wootton, Pentney, Roydon, Sandringham, Setchey, South Wootton, West Acre, West Bilney, West Newton, West Winch, Wolferton
Freebridge-Marshland 53,908 acres (218.16 km2) Clenchwarton, Emneth, St Edmund, St. Peter, Terrington St. Clement, Terrington St. John, Tilney All Saints, Tilney St. Lawrence, Tilney cum Islington, Walpole St. Andrew, Walpole St. Peter, Walsoken, Walton, Wiggenhall St. Germans, Wiggenhall St. Mary Magdalen, Wiggenhall St. Mary the Virgin, Wiggenhall St. Peter
Gallow 42,480 acres (171.9 km2) Alethorpe, Bagthorpe, Barmer, Broomsthorpe, Dunton, East Barsham, East Raynham, East Rudham, Fakenham, Fulmodeston, Great Ryburgh, Helhoughton, Hempton, Kettlestone, Little Ryburgh, Little Snoring, New Houghton, North Barsham, Pensthorpe, Pudding Norton, Sculthorpe, Shereford, South Raynham, Stibbard, Syderstone, Tatterford, Tattersett, Testerton, Toftrees, West Barsham, West Raynham, West Rudham
Grimshoe 57,309 acres (231.92 km2) Buckenham Tofts, Colveston, Cranwich, Croxton, Feltwell, Hockwold cum Wilton, Igborough, Lynford, Methwold, Mundford, Northwold, Santon, Stanford, Sturston, Weeting All Saints, West Tofts
Guiltcross 26,828 acres (108.57 km2) Banham, Blo' Norton, East Harling, Garboldisham, Gasthorpe, Kenninghall, North Lopham, Quidenham, Riddlesworth, Rushford, Snarehill, South Lopham, West Harling
Happing 26,780 acres (108.4 km2) Brumstead, Catfield, East Ruston, Happisburgh, Hempstead, Hickling, Horsey, Ingham, Lessingham, Ludham, Sea Palling, Potter Heigham, Stalham, Sutton, Walcott, Waxham
Henstead 19,086 acres (77.24 km2) Arminghall, Bixley, Bramerton, Caistor St Edmund, Framingham Earl, Framingham Pigot, Holverstone, Kirby Bedon, Poringland, Rockland St. Mary, Saxlingham Nethergate, Saxlingham Thorpe, Shottesham All Saints, Shotesham, Stoke Holy Cross, Surlingham, Trowse, Whitlingham, Yelverton
Holt 35,294 acres (142.83 km2) Bale, Bayfield, Blakeney, Bodham, Briningham, Brinton, Briston, Cley-next-the-Sea, Edgefield, Glandford, Gunthorpe, Hempstead, Holt, Hunworth, Kelling, Langham, Letheringsett, Melton Constable, Morston, Salthouse, Saxlingham, Sharrington, Stody, Swanton Novers, Thornage, Weybourne, Wiveton
Humbleyard 21,355 acres (86.42 km2) Bracon Ash, Colney, Cringleford, Dunston, East Carlton, Flordon, Great Melton, Hethel, Hethersett, Intwood, Keswick, Ketteringham, Little Melton, Markshall, Mulbarton, Newton Flotman, Swainsthorpe, Swardeston, Wreningham
Launditch 56,006 acres (226.65 km2) Beeston All Saints, Beetley, Brisley, Colkirk, Dillington, East Bilney, East Lexham, Gateley, Great Dunham, Great Fransham, Gressenhall, Hoe, Horningtoft, Kempston, Litcham, Little Bittering, Little Dunham, Little Fransham, Longham, Mileham, North Elmham, Oxwick, Pattesley, Rougham, Scarning, Stanfield, Swanton Morley, Tittleshall, Weasenham All Saints, Weasenham St. Peter, Wellingham, Wendling, West Lexham, Whissonsett, Worthing
Loddon 27,838 acres (112.66 km2) Alpington, Ashby, Bedingham, Broome, Carleton St. Peter, Chedgrave, Claxton, Ditchingham, Hardley, Hedenham, Hellington, Kirstead, Langley, Loddon, Mundham, Seething, Sisland, Thurton, Thwaite St. Mary, Topcroft, Woodton
Mitford 32,133 acres (130.04 km2) Cranworth, East Dereham, East Tuddenham, Garvestone, Hardingham, Hockering, Letton, Mattishall, Mattishall Burgh, North Tuddenham, Reymerston, Shipdham, Southburgh, Thuxton, Westfield, Whinbergh, Wood Rising, Yaxham
North Erpingham 33,393 acres (135.14 km2) Aldborough, Antingham, Aylmerton, Barningham Town, Barningham Norwood, Beeston Regis, Bessingham, Cromer, East Beckham, Felbrigg, Gimingham, Gresham, Gunton, Hanworth, Knapton, Matlask, Metton, Mundesley, North Repps, Overstrand, Plumstead, Roughton, Runton, Sheringham, Sidestrand, South Repps, Suffield, Sustead, Thorpe Market, Thurgarton, Trimingham, Trunch
North Greenhoe 30,483 acres (123.36 km2) Barney, Binham, Cockthorpe, Egmere, Field Dalling, Great Snoring, Great Walsingham, Hindringham, Holkham, Houghton-in-Dale, Little Walsingham, Quarles, Stiffkey, Thursford, Warham All Saints, Warham St. Mary, Wells-next-the-Sea, Wighton
Shropham 44,944 acres (181.88 km2) Attleborough, Besthorpe, Brettenham, Bridgham, East Wretham, Eccles, Great Ellingham, Hargham, Hockham, Illington, Kilverstone, Larling, New Buckenham, Old Buckenham, Rockland All Saints, Rockland St. Andrew, Roudham, Shropham, Snetterton, West Wretham, Wilby
Smithdon 43,786 acres (177.20 km2) Barwick, Bircham Newton, Bircham Tofts, Brancaster, Choseley, Docking, Fring, Great Bircham, Great Ringstead, Heacham, Holme-next-the-Sea, Hunstanton, Ingoldisthorpe, Sedgeford, Shernborne, Snettisham, Stanhoe, Thornham, Titchwell
South Erpingham 48,058 acres (194.48 km2) Alby with Thwaite, Aylsham, Baconsthorpe, Banningham, Barningham Parva, Belaugh, Blickling, Booton, Brampton, Burgh, Buxton, Calthorpe, Cawston, Colby, Coltishall, Corpusty, Erpingham, Great Hautboys, Hevingham, Heydon, Ingworth, Irmingland, Itteringham, Lammas with Little Hautboys, Mannington, Marsham, Oulton, Oxnead, Saxthorpe, Scottow, Skeyton, Stratton Strawless, Swanton Abbott, Tuttington, West Beckham, Wickmere, Wolterton
South Greenhoe 57,921 acres (234.40 km2) Bodney, Caldecote, Cockley Cley, Didlington, East Bradenham, Foulden, Gooderstone, Great Cressingham, Hilborough, Holme Hale, Houghton-on-the-Hill, Langford, Little Cressingham, Narborough, Narford, Necton, Newton, North Pickenham, Oxborough, South Pickenham, Southacre, Sporle with Palgrave, Swaffham, West Bradenham
Taverham 30,600 acres (124 km2) Attlebridge, Beeston St. Andrew, Catton, Crostwick, Drayton, Felthorpe, Frettenham, Hainford, Hellesdon, Horsford, Horsham St. Faith, Horstead with Stanninghall, Newton St. Faith, Rackheath, Salhouse, Spixworth, Sprowston, Taverham, Wroxham
Tunstead 34,696 acres (140.41 km2) Ashmanhaugh, Bacton, Barton Turf, Beeston St. Lawrence, Bradfield, Crostwight, Dilham, Edingthorpe, Felmingham, Honing, Horning, Hoveton, Irstead, Neatishead, North Walsham, Paston, Ridlington, Sco Ruston, Sloley, Smallburgh, Swafield, Tunstead, Westwick, Witton, Worstead
Walsham 24,058 acres (97.36 km2) Acle, Beighton, Fishley, Halvergate, Hemblington, Moulton, Ranworth-with-Panxworth, Reedham, South Walsham, Tunstall, Upton, Wickhampton, Woodbastwick
Wayland 31,076 acres (125.76 km2) Ashill, Breckles, Carbrooke, Caston, Griston, Little Ellingham, Merton, Ovington, Rockland St. Peter, Saham Toney, Scoulton, Stow Bedon, Thompson, Threxton, Tottington, Watton
West Flegg 13,479 acres (54.55 km2) Ashby, Billockby, Burgh St. Margaret, Burgh St. Mary, Clippesby, East Somerton, Hemsby, Martham, Oby, Repps with Bastwick, Rollesby, Thurne, West Somerton, Winterton-on-Sea

In addition the following four towns were considered as separate boroughs.

Borough Acres
Great Yarmouth 1,270 acres (5.1 km2)
King's Lynn 2,720 acres (11.0 km2)
Norwich 6,630 acres (26.8 km2)
Thetford 6,976 acres (28.23 km2)


  1. ^ 'The Historical Context', Anglo-Saxon Settlement on the Siltland of Eastern England, Lincolnshire Archaeology and Heritage Reports Series, 7 (2005), 264-88, David Roffe, quoting Williamson, T., 1993 The Origins of Norfolk (Manchester), pp
  2. ^ a b Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Norfolk". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 19 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 744–747.
  3. ^ Blomefield, Francis (1807). "Gallow and Brothercross Hundreds". An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk. Vol. 7. London: British History Online. pp. 1–2. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  4. ^ White, William (1845). History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk, and the City and County of the City of Norwich (2nd ed.). Sheffield: Printed for the author by 'R. Leader'. OCLC 504893480.

See also[edit]