High Peak Hundred, Derbyshire
A Hundred (or Wapentake) is an ancient Anglo-Saxon political unit. It was primarily a collection of local parishes and towns where the chieftans could gather to communicate about politics, threats to their welfare and other issues. Presumably the "hundred" refers to a collection of 100 warriors from the surrounding area. The term "Wapentake" deals with the fact that agreement was shown by raising your weapon or striking it against your shield (Wapen = weapon). Weapons are no longer allowed at most public meetings.
The "Hundred" fell out of use a few centuries ago, being replaced by the the arangement of counties and districts and the eventual 19th century implementation of Civil Registration and the extension of voting rights to all citizens.
Many of the Hundreds (or Wapentakes) evolved politically into "district" councils under the advent of Civil Registration as there was still the desire for addressing the needs of related parishes. The "High Peak" District Council is an example of that in Derbyshire.
But for over a millennium the Hundred was an effective form of government. Parishes and towns in the area had common interests and needs.
The Peak District is at the southern end of the Pennines and much of the area is upland above 1,000 feet (300 m). Its high point is Kinder Scout at 2,087 ft (636 m). Despite its name, the landscape generally lacks sharp peaks, and is characterised mostly by rounded hills, plateaus, valleys, limestone gorges and gritstone escarpments (the "edges").
Wikipedia tells us that:
"The Peak District is an upland area in England at the southern end of the Pennines. It is mostly in northern Derbyshire, but also includes parts of Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire, West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire. An area of great diversity, it is split into the Dark Peak, where most of the moorland is found and the geology is gritstone, and the limestone area of the White Peak.
The Peak District National Park became the first national park in the United Kingdom in 1951. With its proximity to the cities of Manchester, Stoke-on-Trent, Derby and Sheffield, and access by road and rail, it attracts millions of visitors every year.
Inhabited from the Mesolithic era, evidence exits from the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages. Settled by the Romans and Anglo-Saxons, the area remained largely agricultural and mining grew in importance in the medieval era. Richard Arkwright built his cotton mills at the start of the Industrial Revolution. Quarrying became important as mining declined. Tourism grew after the advent of the railways, visitors attracted by the landscape, spa towns at Buxton and Matlock Bath, Castleton's show caves, and Bakewell, the national park's only town."
Alas, there are few records indexed by Hundred that are of use to family historians. The Archives will have records relating to political and civic issues addressed by the Hundreds. Many published Directories of the 1700s and early 1800s are arranged by Hundred, but that method fell out of favor by the mid 1800s.
- This place was the ancient High Peak Hundred (or Wapentake).
- Some parishes are now in the Derbyshire Dales District.
- District governance is provided by the High Peak Borough Council. Please do not ask them for help with family history searches as they are NOT funded for that purpose.