Course: Introduction / Policing
The Hundred was a unit of ten tithings (or 100 households) under the old English Frankpledge system.
The Hundred was a unit of government administration and policing under the old English Frankpledge system. This system was developed in the early Middle Ages and was based on the principle of collective responsibility. The Frankpledge system was established to maintain law and order in the community and was based on the idea that every member of the community was responsible for the conduct of all others.
The Hundred was an administrative unit that consisted of ten tithings, or groups of ten households, with a total population of about 100 people. The members of each tithing were collectively responsible for each other’s behavior and were required to present wrongdoers to the local court for punishment. The tithing system was a means of social control, designed to maintain law and order by ensuring that every member of the community was held accountable for their actions.
The Hundred was led by a Hundred-man, or Hundred-reeve, who was appointed by the local lord or the king. The Hundred-man was responsible for enforcing the law and maintaining order in the community. He was assisted by a group of twelve men, known as the Twelve, who acted as a jury and were responsible for hearing cases and making judgments.
The Frankpledge system and the Hundred played an important role in the development of English law and government. They were the forerunners of modern policing and the justice system. The system was based on the idea that every member of the community had a responsibility to uphold the law and that individuals were accountable for their actions. This principle remains a cornerstone of modern law enforcement and the criminal justice system.
Today, the term “Hundred” is still used in some parts of England for administrative purposes, but it no longer has any connection to the Frankpledge system or law enforcement. The legacy of the Frankpledge system can still be seen in the structure of modern law enforcement and the principle of collective responsibility that underpins it.
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Last Modified: 04/10/2023