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Within each fief, holdings are normally described in a regular geographical order, determined by the Hundreds in which they were located. Hundreds were the main administrative subdivisions of a county, with a significant role in financial, military, judicial, and political matters, centred upon the Hundred court, which met monthly. Its voice is often heard in Domesday.
Like the counties themselves, Domesday Hundreds were already venerable in 1086 and had a future which lasted well into the nineteenth century. Although the first explicit reference to Hundreds occurs only in tenth century, it is probable that the institution (though not necessarily the name) was then already several centuries old. For over a millennium, the Hundreds and their officers were essential instruments of government, responsible for maintaining law and order, levying troops, and raising taxes.
In the Danelaw counties, the functions of Hundreds were performed by the Wapentake. In Sussex, Kent, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire there was an additional administrative layer between the county and Hundred, known as Rapes in Sussex, Lathes in Kent, and Ridings in Yorkshire. Lincolnshire was divided into Holland, Kesteven and Lindsey, the latter further subdivided into three Ridings. Finally, Craven and Amounderness were appended to Yorkshire, and the land between the Ribble and the Mersey to Cheshire.
For further information, see Olof S. Anderson, The English Hundred-names (1934); H.R. Loyn, 'The Hundred in the tenth and early eleventh centuries', British government and administration, edited by Henry Hearder and H.R. Loyn (1974), pages 1-15; and the many articles by Frank Thorn listed in the alphabetical listing of the bibliography.
See also administrative units, codes for administrative units.