The Salford Hundred (also known as Salfordshire) is one of the subdivisions of the historic county of Lancashire, in Northern England. Its name alludes to its judicial centre being the township of Salford (the suffix -shire meaning the territory was appropriated to the prefixed settlement). It is also known as the Royal Manor of Salford and the Salford wapentake.
The Manor or Hundred of Salford had Anglo-Saxon origins. The Domesday Book recorded that the area was held in 1066 by Edward the Confessor. Salford was recorded as part of the territory of Inter Ripam et Mersam or "Between Ribble and Mersey", and it was included with the information about Cheshire, though it cannot be said clearly to have been part of Cheshire.
The area became a subdivision of the County Palatine of Lancaster (or Lancashire) on its creation in 1182.
In spite of its incorporation into Lancashire, Salford Hundred retained a separate jurisdiction for the administration of justice, known as the Court Leet, View of frankpledge, and Court of Record of our Sovereign Lord the King for his Hundred or Wapentake of Salford. Exceptionally for hundred courts, Salford survived until the 19th century. The lordship of Salford passed with the Duchy of Lancaster to the Crown, and a serjeant or bailiff was appointed to administer the hundred on the king's behalf. In 1436 the office of Hereditary Steward of the Wapentake of Salfordshire was granted to Sir Robert Molyneux of Sefton. The office was held by Sir Robert's successors, the Earls of Sefton until 1972.
The Portmote of the Borough of Salford merged with the Hundred Court in the 17th century, and the latter body took over the administrative business of the manorial borough. In 1792 police commissioners were established in Manchester and Salford, and the Hundred Court was left with few powers. By 1828 the activities of the court consisted of the following:
In 1846 the court was reformed to become a Court of Record with its jurisdiction extended to debts not exceeding fifty pounds in value. In 1838 Manchester was incorporated as a municipal borough and granted its own court of record. The two courts were merged as the Salford Hundred Court of Record in 1869 by the Salford Hundred Court of Record Act 1868 (31 & 32 Vict. c. cxxx.). The court had jurisdiction in personal actions only. The municipal boroughs of Oldham, Bolton, Heywood and Rochdale successively had their areas exempted from the jurisdiction of the Hundred Court by Order in Council or private Act of Parliament between 1878 and 1893.
In 1910 a committee was appointed by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to report on the practices, area and jurisdiction of the court, and whether it was "of benefit to the parties for whose use it was intended". One member of the three-man committee recommended the abolition of the court which had "little but its age to justify its continuance", while the majority called for amending legislation. Accordingly, the Salford Hundred Court of Record Act 1911 (1 & 2 Geo. 5 c. clxxii.) was passed to restrict the area of the court to the county court areas of Manchester and Salford and to alter its procedures and costs.
Forty years later the court was again referred to a review committee. The committee's report recommended that the court be retained as it provided "a popular and speedy remedy for a large number of litigants in the area". In 1956 the court's area was extended to encompass the entire County Borough of Stockport, which was deemed to belong to the County of Lancashire and the Hundred of Salford for the purposes of assizes, quarter sessions and licensing. The Court of Record for the Hundred of Salford was abolished by section 43(1)(d) of the Courts Act 1971. The last hereditary steward, the seventh Earl of Sefton died on 13 April 1972.
The area it occupied, 212,170 acres (859 km2), corresponds loosely to the modern metropolitan county of Greater Manchester, though excludes those parts from the historic county boundaries of Cheshire, as well as most of that that forms the modern Metropolitan Borough of Wigan. Its area also extended into territory north of what is now Greater Manchester, including parts of Rossendale and Todmorden.
The parish of Manchester formed part of Salfordshire. It has been suggested that a Manchester-shire hundred was not favoured over one centred at Salford because Manchester had been ravaged as part of the Danish occupation.
Salfordshire comprised several parishes and townships during its history. These were not static, but fragmented with the establishment of daughter churches and chapels and increases in population. The parish of Prestwich-cum-Oldham originally included the parishes of Bury, Middleton and Radcliffe, and the parish of Manchester originally included the parish of Ashton-under-Lyne. The township of Hundersfield was one of Rochdale parish's four original townships, but was itself split into four. Similarly, Prestwich-cum-Oldham was later split into two separate parishes of Prestwich and Oldham.
In 1830, Salfordshire was documented to consist of the following parishes and townships:
|Salford||Ashton-under-Lyne||Ashton-under-Lyne||Ashton-under-Lyne was a "single parish-township", but was divided into four divisions (sometimes each styled townships): Ashton Town, Audenshaw, Knott Lanes and Hartshead.|
|Bolton le Moors||Great Bolton, Little Bolton, Anglezarke, Blackrod, Bradshaw, Breightmet, Darcy Lever, Edgworth, Entwistle, Harwood, Little Lever, Longworth, Lostock, Quarlton, Rivington, Sharples, Tonge with Haulgh, Turton|||
|Bury||Bury; Elton, Heap, Walmersley (with Shuttleworth), Tottington Higher End, Tottington Lower End, Musbury, Cowpe, Lench, Newhall Hey, Hall Carr|||
|Deane||Rumworth, Horwich, Heaton, Halliwell, Westhoughton, Little Hulton, Middle Hulton, Over Hulton, Farnworth, Kearsley|
|Eccles||Barton, Pendleton, Clifton, Worsley, Pendlebury|||
|Manchester||Ardwick, Beswick, Blackley, Bradford, Broughton, Burnage, Cheetham, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Chorlton-on-Medlock, Crumpsall, Denton, Didsbury, Droylsden, Failsworth, Gorton, Harpurhey, Haughton, Heaton Norris, Hulme, Levenshulme, Manchester, Moss Side, Moston, Newton, Openshaw, Reddish, Rusholme, Salford, Stretford, Withington|||
|Middleton||Middleton, Pilsworth, Hopwood, Thornham, Birtle-With-Bamford, Ashworth, Ainsworth, Great Lever|
|Prestwich-cum-Oldham||Alkrington, Chadderton, Crompton, Great Heaton, Little Heaton, Oldham, Pilkington, Prestwich, Royton, Tonge|
|Rochdale||Castleton, Spotland, Butterworth, Wuerdle and Wardle, Wardleworth, Blatchinworth and Calderbrook, Todmorden and Walsden.||Rochdale also included the chapelry of Saddleworth from the West Riding of Yorkshire|
|West Derby||Wigan||Aspull||Aspull was a township in Salfordshire, but attached ecclesiastically to the Wigan parish of West Derby hundred.|
Certainly there were links between Cheshire and south Lancashire before 1000, when Wulfric Spot held lands in both territories. Wulfric's estates remained grouped together after his death, when they were left to his brother Aelfhelm, and indeed there still seems to have been some kind of connexion in 1086, when south Lancashire was surveyed together with Cheshire by the Domesday commissioners. Nevertheless, the two territories do seem to have been distinguished from one another in some way and it is not certain that the shire-moot and the reeves referred to in the south Lancashire section of Domesday were the Cheshire ones.
The Domesday Survey (1086) included south Lancashire with Cheshire for convenience, but the Mersey, the name of which means 'boundary river' is known to have divided the kingdoms of Northumbria and Mercia and there is no doubt that this was the real boundary.