Danelaw Wapentake

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A wapentake is a geographic division formerly used in England in those counties in the Danelaw for administrative, judicial and military purposes similar to the Anglo-Saxon hundred. Finally abolished by the 1974 reorganization of local government they had survived into the early modern period as taxation districts and for mobilizing the militia in the Napoleonic wars.[1]

Wikipedia has more about this subject: The Hundred and the Wapentake

The term was used in Derbyshire, part of Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, and Yorkshire.[2]

The Danelaw[edit | edit source]

In 886, the Anglo-Saxon king, Alfred and the Danish leader, Guthrum concluded the Treaty of Wedmore: the Danes would confine themselves to that part of England east of Watling Street and north of the Thames. Thus the former English territory roughly east of a line running from London to Chester became the Danelaw.

With Danish law came the Danish legal system and other Scandinavian institutions. Just as shillings and pounds were replaced in the north and east Midlands by the ere and the mark, so administrative districts were now the wapentake or the Þriding.[3]

Genealogical Significance[edit | edit source]

If you wish to consult the hearth tax records or the militia and muster rolls, you will need to know in which wapentake your ancestor lived.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "wapentake" in David Hey (ed.) The Oxford Companion to Family and Local History (2nd ed., 2008, Oxford University Press; ISBN-13: 9780199532988) published to Oxford Reference Online 2009-2012; eISBN: 9780191735042; accessed 20 Jul 2013.
  2. James Campbell, "wapentakes" in John Cannon, The Oxford Companion to British History, (2009, Oxford University Press) published to Oxford Reference Online 2009 eISBN: 9780199567638. Accessed 20 Jul 2013.
  3. Dieter Kastovsky, "Semantics and Vocabulary" (Chapter 5) in Richard M. Hogg (ed.) The Cambridge History of the English Language (Cambridge University Press, ISBN: 9780521264747) pp 290-408 (Online ISBN: 9781139055529) accessed 21 Jul 2013.