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Hungerford
Town
Hungerford Town Hall.jpg
Hungerford Town Hall
Hungerford logo.jpg
Town symbol
Hungerford is located in Berkshire
Hungerford
Hungerford
Area 27.52 km2 (10.63 sq mi)
Population 5,767 (2011 census)
• Density 210/km2 (540/sq mi)
OS grid reference SU334681
Civil parish
  • Hungerford
Unitary authority
  • West Berkshire
Ceremonial county
Region
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town HUNGERFORD
Postcode district RG17
Dialling code 01488
Police Thames Valley
Fire Royal Berkshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament
  • Newbury
List of places
UK
England
Berkshire
51°24′50″N 1°30′54″W / 51.414°N 1.515°W / 51.414; -1.515

Hungerford is a historic market town and civil parish in Berkshire, England, 8 miles (13 km) west of Newbury, 9 miles (14 km) east of Marlborough, 27 miles (43 km) northeast of Salisbury and 60 miles (97 km) west of London. The Kennet and Avon Canal passes through the town alongside the River Dun, a major tributary of the River Kennet. The confluence with the Kennet is to the north of the centre whence canal and river both continue east. Amenities include schools, shops, cafés, restaurants, and facilities for the main national sports. Hungerford railway station is a minor stop on the Reading to Taunton Line.

History

St Lawrence's Church, Hungerford
St. Lawrence's parish church

Hungerford is a slight abbreviation and vowel shift from a Saxon name meaning 'Hanging Wood Ford'. The town’s symbol is the six-pointed star and crescent moon.

The place does not occur in the Domesday Book of 1086, but certainly existed by 1173. By 1241, it called itself a borough. In the late 14th century, John of Gaunt was medieval lord of the manor and he granted the people the lucrative fishing rights on the River Kennet.

The noble family of Walter Hungerford, 1st Baron Hungerford originated from the town (c. 1450–1450), although after three generations the title passed to Mary, Baroness Hungerford who married Sir Edward (afterwards Lord) Hasting and the family seat moved to Heytesbury, Wiltshire.

During the English Civil War, the Earl of Essex and his army spent the night here in June 1644. In October of the same year, the Earl of Manchester’s cavalry were also quartered in the town. Then, in the November, the King’s forces arrived in Hungerford on their way to Abingdon.

During the Glorious Revolution of 1688, William of Orange was offered the Crown of England while staying at the Bear Inn in Hungerford. The Hungerford land south of the Kennet was for the centuries, until an 18th-century widespread growth in cultivation the area, in Savernake Forest.

St. Lawrence's parish church stands next to the Kennet and Avon Canal. It was rebuilt in 1814–1816 by John Pinch the elder in Gothic Revival style and refurbished again in the 1850s.

In the late 19th century, two policeman were shot by poachers in Eddington. Their memorial crosses still stand where they fell.

Geography

Hungerford, Kennet and Avon Canal - geograph.org.uk - 6289
Narrowboat on the Kennet and Avon Canal
Hungerford Common - geograph.org.uk - 6294
Hungerford Common

Hungerford is on the River Dun. It is the westernmost town in Berkshire, on the border with Wiltshire. It is in the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The highest point in the entire South East England region is the 297 m (974 ft) summit of Walbury Hill, centred 4 miles (7 km) from the town centre. The Kennet and Avon Canal separates Hungerford from what might be described as the town's only suburb, the hamlet of Eddington.

The town has as its western border a county divide which also marks the border of South East and South West England regions; it is 68 miles (109 km) west of central London and 55 miles (88 km) east of Bristol on the A4 road. It is almost equidistant from the towns of Newbury and Marlborough, and lies 2.5 miles (4 km) south of junction 14 of the M4 motorway.

Hungerford has a site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on the western edge of the town, called Freeman's Marsh.

Administrative history

The parish was divided into four tithings : Hungerford or Town, Sanden Fee, Eddington with Hidden and Newtown and Charnham Street. North and South Standen and Charnham Street were officially detached parts of Wiltshire until transferred to Berkshire in 1895. Leverton and Calcot were transferred to Hungerford parish from Chilton Foliat in Wiltshire in 1895.

Nearby places

Towns: Newbury, Marlborough, Lambourn, Wantage, Swindon, Reading.

Villages: Chilton Foliat, Great Shefford, Kintbury, Little Bedwyn, Froxfield, Ramsbury, Shalbourne, Stockcross, Ham, Inkpen, Aldbourne, Burbage, Hungerford Newtown.

Places of interest: Crofton Pumping Station, Wilton Windmill, Littlecote House, Freeman's Marsh, Walbury Hill.

Transport

Trains at Hungerford Station - geograph.org.uk - 1353108
Hungerford railway station

Hungerford is situated on several transport routes, including the M4 motorway with access at Junction 14, the Old Bath Road (A4), and the Kennet and Avon Canal, the latter opened in 1811. Hungerford railway station is on the Reading to Taunton line; a reasonable rail service to Newbury, Reading and Paddington means that Hungerford has developed into something of a dormitory town which has been slowly expanding since the 1980s. Many residents commute to nearby towns such as Newbury, Swindon, Marlborough, Thatcham and Reading.

Sport and leisure

Hungerford has a cricket team, a football team, Hungerford Town F.C., that plays at the Bulpit Lane ground, a rugby team, Hungerford RFC. and a netball club. Hungerford Archers, an archery club, uses the sports field of the John O'Gaunt School as its shooting ground. Hungerford Hares Running Club was established in 2007.

Hocktide

Hungerford is the only place in the country to have continuously celebrated Hocktide or Tutti Day (the second Tuesday after Easter). Today it marks the end of the town council's financial and administrative year, but in the past it was a more general celebration associated with the town's great patron, John of Gaunt (see below). Its origins are thought lie in celebrations following King Alfred's expulsion of the Danes.

The 'Bellman' (or Town Crier) summons the Commoners of the town to the Hocktide Court held at the town hall, while two florally decorated 'Tutti Men' and the 'Orange Man' visit every house with commoners' rights (almost a hundred properties), accompanied by around six Tutti Girls, drawn from the local school. Originally they collected 'head pennies' to ensure fishing and grazing rights. Today, they largely collect kisses from each lady of the house. In the court, the town's officers are elected for the coming year and the accounts examined. The court manages the town hall, the John of Gaunt Inn, the Common, Freemen's Marsh, and fishing rites in the Rivers Kennet and Dun.

Legends

There is an old legend that "Hingwar the Dane" (i.e. Ivarr the Boneless) was drowned accidentally while crossing the Kennet here, and that the town was named after him. This stems from the probably mistaken belief that the Battle of Ethandun took place at Eddington in Berkshire rather than Edington, Wiltshire or Edington, Somerset.

Literature

Hungerford is one of two places which arguably meet the criteria for Kennetbridge in Thomas Hardy's novel Jude the Obscure, being "a thriving town not more than a dozen miles south of Marygreen" (Fawley) and is between Melchester (Salisbury) and Christminster (Oxford). The main road (A338) from Oxford to Salisbury runs through Hungerford. The other contender is larger Newbury.

Demography

2011 Published Statistics: Population, home ownership and extracts from Physical Environment, surveyed in 2005
Output area Homes owned outright Owned with a loan Socially rented Privately rented Other km² roads km² water km² domestic gardens Usual residents km²
Civil parish 834 858 367 482 43 0.500 0.337 0.789 5767 27.52

Notable people

  • Charlie Austin, footballer
  • Adam Brown, actor, comedian and pantomime performer
  • Samuel Chandler, Nonconformist theologian and preacher
  • Christopher Derrick, author
  • Edward Duke (1779–1852), antiquary
  • Ralph Evans (1915–1996), footballer
  • John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, son of King Edward III
  • William Greatrakes, connected with the authorship of the Letters of Junius
  • Nicholas Monro (b. 1936), artist, had a studio at Hungerford
  • George Pocock (1774–1843), the founder of the Tent Methodist Society and inventor of the Charvolant
  • Charles Portal, 1st Viscount Portal of Hungerford, Chief of the Air Staff during most of World War II and Marshal of the Royal Air Force
  • Reginald Portal, admiral
  • Henry "Harry" Quelch (1858–1913), one of the first British Marxists
  • Edmund Roche, 5th Baron Fermoy, maternal uncle of Diana, Princess of Wales, died in Hungerford in 1984
  • James E. Talmage, (1862–1933) LDS Church leader, writer and theologian. Author of Jesus the Christ
  • Jethro Tull (agriculturist), died in the town
  • Will Young, singer
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