For other uses, see: Hungerford (disambiguation)

Coordinates: 51°24′52″N 1°30′53″W / 51.4144°N 1.5146°W / 51.4144; -1.5146

Hungerford Town Hall.jpg
Hungerford Town Hall
Hungerford is located in Berkshire

 Hungerford shown within Berkshire
Population 5,559 (2001)
OS grid reference SU337685
Parish Hungerford
Unitary authority West Berkshire
Ceremonial county Berkshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
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

Hungerford is a market town and civil parish in Berkshire, England, 9 miles (14.5 km) west of Newbury. It covers an area of 5,372 acres (22 km2) and, according to the 2001 census, has a population of 5,559 (2006 estimated at 6,789).



Barge on the Kennet and Avon Canal
Hungerford Common

Hungerford is on the River Dun in the Kennet Valley at grid reference SU337685. It is the westernmost town in Berkshire, situated on the border with Wiltshire, and lies within 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, situated only 4 miles (7 km) from the town. The Kennet and Avon Canal separates Hungerford from what might be described as the town's only suburb, the small hamlet of Eddington.

The town marks the border of the South East England and South West England regions (it is situated only 3 km within South East England), being some 68 miles (109 km) west of central London and 55 miles (88 km) east of Bristol on the A4 national trunk route. 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.

The parish was formerly 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 always 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. All the land south of the Kennet was formerly included in Savernake Forest.

Nearby places

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

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.


Hungerford is situated on several transport routes, of both historic and current importance, including the M4 motorway (junction 14), the Old Bath Road (A4), and the Kennet and Avon Canal (opened 1811). It also has a railway station on the Reading to Taunton line; a reasonable rail service to Newbury, Reading and London means that the 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.


Hungerford is a civil parish, covering the town of Hungerford and a surrounding rural area, including the small village of Hungerford Newtown. The parish shares boundaries with the Berkshire parishes of Lambourn, East Garston, Great Shefford, Kintbury and Inkpen, and with the Wiltshire parishes of Shalbourne, Froxfield, Ramsbury and Chilton Foliat.[1]

Parish council responsibilities are undertaken by Hungerford Town Council, which consists of fifteen volunteer councillors and committee members, supported by a full time clerk. The mayor is elected from amongst their numbers. The parish forms part of the district administered by the unitary authority of West Berkshire, and local government responsibilities are shared between the town council and unitary authority.

Hungerford is part of the Newbury parliamentary constituency. Its MP is the Conservative Richard Benyon, son of Sir William Benyon of Englefield House. He has represented the two towns since 2005.

Hungerford participates in town twinning to foster good international relations:

Hungerford Archers

Hungerford Archers is a longbow archery club based in Hungerford. Its shooting ground is the sports field of the John O'Gaunt Community Technology College.

History and notability

Formerly called Hungerford Longbow Club, it was founded by the late Bob Maslin in 1995, and was renamed in 2005. The club originally used the Hungerford Town F.C. Field as its shooting ground, later moving to the larger field at the John O'Gaunt school.

Hungerford Archers is a longbow only club and does not permit the general use of compound bows or crossbows. The reason for this restriction is that more powerful compound can permanently damage targets, whereas longbows are unlikely to do so. Members are allowed to use recurve style bows if they wish.


Members meet on Sunday mornings and occasionally on Wednesday evenings in the summer, weather permitting. Practise consists of shooting at standard straw archery targets. These are typically placed at 30 yards for juniors and novice shooters, with additional targets placed at 50, 60 or 80 yards for members who are more experienced and have more powerful bows.

As the majority of members do archery as a pastime rather than regular competition, the meetings and shooting are of a relaxed nature with little competition between members. There is no "ranking" within the club that compares one members skill to another.

The members also undertake a form of archery known as Clout archery, where the target is a circle on the ground at long range (about 180 yards) that the shooters must drop the arrows into using a high trajectory.

At least once a year the club holds a "fun shoot" where all members may come for an extended meeting that encompasses a barbecue and a specially laid out challenge course of shooting. This may include life sized models of game, wand targets, unusual targets such as hanging footballs and targets that require the use of "floo floo" arrows, which are specifically designed not to fly straight.

Hungerford archers are also present at many local events, especially school fetes, allowing young people to experience the sport of archery and sample shooting at close range. Some of the clubs more experienced members also act as representatives by competing in competitions and events, such as the annual Western Meeting at Bowood House.


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.


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 in Wiltshire or Edington in Somerset.


Hungerford may be Kennetbridge in Thomas Hardy's novel Jude the Obscure, but this is usually thought to be Newbury. Kennetbridge is "a thriving town not more than a dozen miles south of Marygreen"[2] (Fawley) and is between Melchester (Salisbury) and Christminster (Oxford).[3] The main road (A338) from Oxford to Salisbury runs past Fawley and through Hungerford, which is south of Fawley rather than south-east like Newbury.


St. Lawrence's parish church

Hungerford is 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 in 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.

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 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.

1987 massacre

The Hungerford massacre occurred on August 19, 1987. A 27-year-old unemployed local labourer, Michael Robert Ryan, armed with several weapons including an AK-47 rifle and a Beretta pistol, shot and killed 16 people including his mother, and wounded 15 others, then fatally shot himself. A report on this incident was commissioned by Home Secretary Douglas Hurd from the Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police, Colin Smith. It remains, along with the Dunblane massacre and Cumbria shootings, one of the worst criminal atrocities involving firearms in British history. The massacre led to the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988[1], which banned the ownership of semi-automatic centre-fire rifles and restricted the use of shotguns with a magazine capacity of more than two rounds. The Hungerford Report had demonstrated that Ryan's collection of weapons was legally licensed.

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ "Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  2. ^ Paragraph 4, Chapter VII, Part Fifth, Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure at
  3. ^ Paragraph 6, Chapter X, Part Third, Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure at

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hungerford — ist eine Stadt im Westen des County Berkshire. Die Stadt liegt etwa 16 km westlich von Newbury. Hungerford hat ein Stadtgebiet von 27 km2 und die Stadt zählte 2001 etwa 5560 Einwohner. Die Stadt hat zwei Kirchen, die St. Lawrence Kirche …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Hungerford — Hungerford, TX U.S. Census Designated Place in Texas Population (2000): 645 Housing Units (2000): 177 Land area (2000): 1.831789 sq. miles (4.744312 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 1.831789 sq.… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Hungerford, TX — U.S. Census Designated Place in Texas Population (2000): 645 Housing Units (2000): 177 Land area (2000): 1.831789 sq. miles (4.744312 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 1.831789 sq. miles (4.744312… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Hungerford — Hungerford, Stadt in Berkshire (England), zum kleinern Teil in Wiltshire gelegen, am forellenreichen Kennet, mit bedeutendem Verkehr, lebhafter Angelfischerei und (1901) 2906 Einw …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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  • Hungerford — This is a locational surname whose ancestors were of some considerable nobility. It derives from the town of Hungerford, although the family seat is Farley Castle, Somerset. The town name is first recorded in the year 1101 in the reign of King… …   Surnames reference

  • Hungerford — Original name in latin Hungerford Name in other language State code GB Continent/City Europe/London longitude 51.41513 latitude 1.51556 altitude 103 Population 5048 Date 2011 03 05 …   Cities with a population over 1000 database

  • Hungerford — noun A town in Berkshire, England …   Wiktionary

  • Hungerford — /ˈhʌŋgəfəd/ (say hungguhfuhd) noun T(homas) A(rthur) G(uy), 1915–2011, Australian writer; author of Sowers of the Wind (1954) …   Australian English dictionary

  • Hungerford massacre — Michael Ryan in 1986, photographed while working for Hungerford businessman Peter de Savary[1] …   Wikipedia

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