Chiltern Hundreds - Wikipedia

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2023-01-23 10:00:12

The Chiltern Hundreds is an ancient administrative area in Buckinghamshire, England, composed of three "hundreds" and lying partially within the Chiltern Hills. "Taking the Chiltern Hundreds" refers to one of the legal fictions used to effect resignation from the British House of Commons. Since Members of Parliament are not permitted to resign, they are instead appointed to an "office of profit under the Crown", which requires MPs to vacate their seats. The ancient office of Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds, having been reduced to a mere sinecure by the 17th century, was first used by John Pitt (of Encombe) in 1751 to vacate his seat in the House of Commons. Other titles were also later used for the same purpose, but only those of the Chiltern Hundreds and the Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead are still in use.

A hundred is a traditional division of an English county: the Oxford English Dictionary says that the etymology is "exceedingly obscure". The three Chiltern Hundreds were Stoke Hundred, Desborough Hundred, and Burnham Hundred. The area had been Crown property as early as the 13th century.[1]

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