Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for HUNGERFORD

HUNGERFORD, a town and a tything in Berks, a parish and a sub-district partly also in Wilts, and a district partly likewise in Hants, but all registrationally in Berks. The town stands on the river Kennet, the Kennet and Avon canal, the Roman Herman street, and the Reading and Trowbridge branch of the Great Western railway, 25 miles W by S of Reading. It was anciently called Ingleford-Charman; and it may have taken the former part of that name from a ford of the Angles on the Kennet, quasi Angleford, -and the latter part from the Roman Herman street. It also bore anciently the name of Charman street; and an avenue still retains that name; while a tything of the parish bears the similar name of Charnham street. Charles I. was here in 1644; and William of Orange met the agents of James II. here in Dec. 1688. An ancient horn still exists, said to have been given to the town by John of Gaunt, with the right of fishing in the Kennet. Another horn, a duplicate of the ancient one, but with an inscription of the year 1634, is preserved in the town hall, and blown annually to summon the tenants of the manor. The town acquired important rights at varions periods; and it retains a strictly preserved fishery of some miles in the Kennet, and a valuable commonage of down and marsh land. It was noted in Evelyn's time as "a toune famous for its troutes;" and it is still a favourite resort of anglers. The climate is salubrious; the surrounding scenery is picturesque; and the neighbouring lands are very fertile. The town, though all statistically in Berks, has a suburb in Wilts; and it consists chiefly of one long street, with a market house in the centre. A tubular bridge of the Berks and Wilts Extension railway crosses the street at right angles; and a commodious wharf is attached to the canal. The town has a head post office, ‡ a railway station with telegraph, a banking office, and two chief inns; is a seat of petty sessions and county courts, and the headquarters of the Berks yeomanry cavalry; and has a town hall, a corn exchange, a police station, a five arched bridge, a church, four dissenting chapels, a grammar school, a workhouse, and charities £74. The police station stands near the railway station, and was built in 1864. The church is modern and neat, with a tower; occupies the site of a previous church, which was ancient; and contains a tablet, once part of the tomb of Sir R. de Hungerford, who died in the time of Edward III., and was buried here. The Independent chapel and a Wesleyan chapel of 1869 are neat structures. The grammar school was founded in 1653, and has £36 a year from endowment. The workhouse stands on a high and healthy site; and, at the census of 1861, had 150 inmates. An ancient hospital was in the town, but has completely disappeared. A weekly market is held on Wednesday; a cattle fair, on the last Wednesday of April; a wool fair, on the last Wednesday of June; a sheep fair, on 17 Aug.; and hiring fairs, on the Wednesday before, and the Wednesday after, Old Michaelmas day. The government is vested in a constable elected annnally, and in burgesses, who have filled the office of constable. Dr. Chandler, the eminent dissenting minister of the 17th century, was a native. Pop. in 1851, 2, 255; in 1861, 2, 031. Houses, 382.

The tything forms part of the township. Real property, £4, 460. Pop., 1, 153. Houses, 207. The parish contains also the tything of Sanden-Fee, and the t. of Edington, Hidden, and Newtown, in Berks, and the t. of Charnham street in Wilts. Acres, 6, 940. Real property, £14, 512. Pop., 3, 001. Houses, 593. The manor belonged to John of Gaunt; is supposed to have been given by him to the town; and is held, under the Crown, by certain of the inhabitants, who are called feoffees. Hungerford Park, adjacent to the town, was the residence of the barons of Hungerford; a mansion on it was built by Queen Elizabeth, and given to the Earl of Essex; and a modern mansion, in the Italian style, on the same site, is now the seat of George S. Willes, Esq. Edington House is the seat of F. L. Coxe, Esq. Standen-Hussey is the seat of the Rev. T. P. Michell. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Oxford. Value, £522.* Patrons, the Dean and Canons of Windsor. A chapel of ease was built in 1866 at Edington.—The sub-district contains also the parishes of Tidcombe, Great Bedwin, Little Bedwin, Froxfield, Ramsbury, and Chilton-Foliatt, and the extra-parochial tract of Hippenscombe, -all, except part of Chilton-Foliatt, electorally in Wilts. Acres, 40, 590. Pop., 9, 830. Houses, 2, 037. -The district comprehends also the sub-district of Kintbury, containing the parishes of Kintbury, Avington, West Woodhay, Inkpen, and part of Shalbourn, electorally in Berks, the parishes of Buttermere, Ham, and the rest of Shalbourn, electorally in Wilts, and the parish of Combe, e1ectorally in Hants; and the sub-district of Lambourn, containing the parishes of Lambourn, East Garston, East Shefford, and West Shefford, electorally in Berks, and the parishes of Aldbourn and Baydon, electorally in Wilts. Acres, 98, 287. Poor rates, in 1863, £10, 469. Pop. in 1851, 20, 404; in 1861, 19, 882. Houses, 4, 248. Marriages in 1862, 124; births, 705, - of which 52 were illegitimate; deaths, 33 4, -of which 104 were at ages under 5 years, and 10 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1,358; births, 6,649; deaths, 4,083. The places of worship, in 1851, were 25 of the Church of England, with 4,335 sittings; 3 of Independents, with 615 s.; 2 of Baptists, with 180 s.; 22 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 3,364 s.; 12 of Primitive Methodists, with 1,500 s.; and 1 of Latter Day Saints, with 30 s. The schools were 24 public day schools, with 1,928 scholars; 32 private day schools, with 719 s.; 42 Sunday schools, with 3,251 s.; and 2 evening schools for adults, with 40 s.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a town and a tything"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Berkshire AncC       Hampshire AncC       Wiltshire AncC
Place: Hungerford

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