Chiltern Hundreds, the obsolete (since the 19th cent.) administrative districts of Stoke, Burnham, and Desborough in Buckinghamshire, S central England. The stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds is an obsolete office with only a nominal salary. It is, however, legally an office of profit under the crown and, as such, may not be held by a member of Parliament. Since members of Parliament may not resign, "applying for the Chiltern Hundreds" or for the similarly obsolete stewardship of the Manor of Northstead is the method by which a member gives up his seat.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.