Hungerford

Location

Hungerford is a small, historic, market town on the Berkshire/Wiltshire border, in the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Until 1895 the town was divided between the two counties.

Two rivers - the Dun and the Kennet - meet below the town, the centre of which stands back from the A4 Bath Road, which has brought Hungerford prosperity, beggars and choking traffic over the centuries. The Kennet and Avon Canal passes through, as does the railway line from Reading to Devon and Cornwall.

The parish was formerly divided into four tithings: Hungerford Town, Sanden Fee, Eddington with Hidden, and Newtown with Charnham Street.

In 1894 the tithing of Leverton and Calcot, then in the Wiltshire parish of Chilton Foliat (although in the Berkshire hundred of Kintbury Eagle), was transferred to the civil parish of Hungerford, and the following year North and South Standen and Charnham Street, formerly parts of Wiltshire transferred to Berkshire.

Place names within the parish in 1851 also included Bagshot, Shalbourne, Eddington, Hungerford Newtown and Prosperous.

To the east of the town is Port Down, 200 acres of common land where fairs, horse-racing and prize-fighting were held in the past. It is still managed as common land, with grazing. To the west is Freeman’s Marsh, owned by the Town and Manor of Hungerford, and maintained as a conservation area.

The map below shows the Hungerford area in 1792.

Hungerford-area-map1792

Size

5,372  acres  (2,176 hectares)

Population

3,070 in 1851; 5,767 in 2011

Hundred

Kintbury Eagle

Poor Law union

Hungerford and Ramsbury Union

Registration district

Hungerford

Present-day local authority

West Berkshire

Grid reference

SU 33 68

Adjoining parishes in 1851

Lambourn, East Garston, Great Shefford, Kintbury, Inkpen; and in Wilts: Shalbourne, Froxfield, Ramsbury and Chilton Foliat

Genealogical resources

Available from BerksFHS Books:
  • Berkshire Marriages 3rd ed CD covers St Lawrence 1600 - 1837 and the Wesleyan Chapel 1886-97
  • Berkshire Burials 12th ed CD covers St Lawrence 1559 - 1969, Independent 1819-30
  • Berkshire MI Collection 2 CD includes St Saviour

Newbury Library holds:

  • a typed transcript of St Lawrence parish registers (see online catalogue for dates)
  • 1841-91 census returns for Hungerford on microfilm/fiche
  • an index to the 1851 census.

See also Berkshire Record Office holdings.

Eureka Partnership has published Hungerford Primitive and Wesleyan Methodist registers.

Links

Hungerford Town Council

The Town and Manor of Hungerford

Hungerford Historical Association

Hungerford Virtual Museum

Published local history

  • Norman Hidden Aspects of the early history of Hungerford (Hungerford Historical Association, 2009)
  • Julie Shuttleworth Elizabethan Hungerford (Hungerford Local History Group, 1995)
  • Jim Davis The great fight on Hungerford Common (Town and Manor of Hungerford Charity, 1987)
  • Walter Money An historical sketch of the town of Hungerford... (Blacket, 1894)
  • Hugh Pihlens Hungerford a pictorial history (West Berkshire Books, 2008)
  • Carol Cartwright Hungerford beyond Domesday (Cartwright, 1992)
  • Anne Pitcher Hungerford remembered (1987)
  • Pam Haseltine Hungerford (Hungerford Historical Association, 1993)
  • Hugh Pihlens The story of Hungerford (Local Heritage, 1983)

Additional information