Broadly speaking the hundred was a definable area of land between 1000 and 3000 acres which would support a lord and his attendant families. These manors were assessed for taxation purpose in a measure known as a hide – about 120 acres. Each manor had its own court to deal with its own local disputes but where problems overlapped the territory of another manor the Saxons devised the Hundred Court. Manors were grouped together as Hundreds, that is a territory more-or-less equivalent to 100 hides, and these hundred usually took their name from the central meeting place. Titchfield was one such Hundred.
The history of the Hundred of Titchfield is not straightforward. Although, as we can see from the map, the hundred covered a territory, it represented a jurisdiction and from time to time powerful lords and the abbot of Tichfield withdrew from the hundred, such that by the time of Edward I the hundred consisted only of Wickham, Segensworth, Stubbington and Rowner.
At Domesday the hundred was, as represented on the map above, and included Titchfield, Faccombe, Meon, Bromwich, Bentley, Crofton, Funtley, Wickham, Segenworth, Hook, Stubbington, and Rowner. It was assessed at 46 hides, a low value, which can be explained by the fact that the king, who held Titchfield directly excused himself tax and the very large and prosperous, and indeed populous, manor was only assessed at 2 hides – a tax which does not appear to have been collected anyway.
The Hundred itself was farmed out, that is the rights to the court were granted to someone willing to pay for the privilege. It yielded 58s. 4d. in 1266 and 30s in the time of Richard II. The were the figures paid to the Treasury, so one assumes that the amount collected from taxpayers was in excess of those figures. This relatively low amount illustrates how the Titchfield Hundred had become fragmented and that the ability to make money from administering justice here was limited.
After the middle ages the Hundred continued to serve their function for the administration of justice and collection of taxes, but their importance declined from the 17th century as newer institutions emerged. In the 19th century the development of Poor Law Unions, sanitary districts and highways districts made them redundant. 19th century government acts which created County Councils and Urban and Rural Districts made them completely obsolete. Curiously the Hundred was never formally abolished by Parliament, so in a notional sense they still exist.
Today their only us is in one of those peculiarly British legal loopholes to allow MPs to give up their seats in Parliament without an election. MPs cannot resign their seats; only an election can unseat them. However, if they hold a royal office they cannot be a member of Parliament. So by applying for the stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds (in this case an unpaid royal perquisite) they are automatically barred from holding a parliamentary seat. Once those formalities are done with the MP resigns from the Chiltern Hundreds. The last person to be Steward of the Chiltern Hundreds was Sadiq Khan, now Mayor of London.
I have no idea who last held the rights to the Titchfield Hundred, nor whether that is discoverable. It’s an intriguing question.
in 1788, these areas made up the Titchfield Hundred.
Titchfield Park (Fareham parish; SU5307)
Abshot = Abshot (Fareham parish; SU5105)
Alverstoke = Alverstoke (Gosport parish; SZ6099)
Brunidge = Brownwich (Fareham parish; SU5103?)
Chilling = Chilling (Fareham parish; SU5004)
Crofton = Crofton (Fareham parish; SU5504)
Fareham = Fareham (Fareham parish; SU575061)
Gosport = Gosport (Gosport parish; SZ616998)
Gr. Funtley = Funtley (Fareham parish; SU5608)
Hellhead = Hill Head (Fareham parish; SU5402)
Hook = Hook (Fareham parish; SU5005)
L. Funtley = Funtley (Fareham parish; SU5608)
Leigh = Lee-on-the-Solent (Gosport parish; SU5600)
Leigh Marks = Lee Marks? (Gosport parish; SU50?)
Rowner = Rowner (Gosport parish; SU5801)
Stubington = Stubbington (Fareham parish; SU5503)
Titchfield = Titchfield (Fareham parish; SU541058)
Warsash = Warsash (Fareham parish; SU4906)
Wickham = Wickham (Wickham parish; SU575114)