In the 14th century the divisions were more frequently described as hundreds, and Wirksworth alone retained the designation wapentake until modern times.
According to the 12th-century compilation known as the "laws of Edward the Confessor," the riding was the third part of a county (provincia); to it causes were brought which could not be determined in the wapentake, and a matter which could not be determined in the riding was brought into the court of the shire.
WAPENTAKE, anciently the principal administrative division of the counties of York, Lincoln, Leicester, Nottingham, Derby and Rutland, corresponding to the hundred in the southern counties of England.
North of the Tees, Sadberg in Durham is the only district which was called a wapentake, and the rest of the ancient administrative divisions of the three northern counties were called wards.
The word wapentake seems to have been first applied to the periodical meetings of the magnates of a district; and, if we may believe the 12th century compilation known as the Leges Edwardi, it took its name from the custom in accordance with which they touched the spear of their newly-appointed magistrate with their own spears and so confirmed his appointment.
As a general rule each wapentake had its own court, which had the same jurisdiction as the hundred courts of the southern counties.
He was knighted in 1786 when he presented a congratulatory address from the wapentake of Wirksworth to George III., on his escape from the attempt on his life by Margaret Nicholson.
The abbot's power throughout the lordship was almost absolute; he had a market and fair at Dalton, was free from service to the county and wapentake, and held a sheriff's tourn.