Willey Hundred

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The Hundreds of Bedfordshire

The Willey Hundred is one of the hundreds of Bedfordshire, occupying the northwest corner of the county. Its northwestern boundary is the county border with Northamptonshire, and its southwestern boundary the border with Buckinghamshire. Some of its parishes and settlements lie on the Great Ouse which flows through the hundred.

All Saints Church, Odell

The Willey Hundred is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. It included at that time the following historical parishes:

Carlton, Chellington, Farndish, Felmersham with Radwell, Harrold, Odell, Podington with Hinwick, Sharnbrook, Thurleigh, Turvey, and Wymington.

Later the hundred came to include additional parishes:

Biddenham, Bletsoe, Bromham, Pavenham, Souldrop, Stagsden, and Stevington.[1]

What was later the northeast corner or the Hundred of Willey was previously the Half Hundred of Bucklow, it had long been associated with the Hundred of Willey and became absorbed into it in 1831, causing it to gain some of the extra parishes. In the 13th century the two were royal hundreds recorded as The bailiwick of Wilie and half bailiwick of Bukkelowe. A man named Hugh de Willey was recorded as The keeper of the bailiwick of Wilie and half bailiwick of Bukkelowe, at his death in 1278 his son Roger succeeded him; making the title appear hereditary.


Although there are many small settlements the majority of land in the hundred remains rural and is still used for farming. There is a railway line running close to the northeast border, however some stations on this line are now closed such as Sharnbrook closed in 1960.


The hundred is reckoned to contain the following historical parishes:

Biddenham, Bletsoe, Bromham, Carlton, Chellington, Farndish, Felmersham, Harrold, Odell, Pavenham, Podington, Sharnbrook, Souldrop, Stagsden, Stevington, Thurleigh, Turvey