Ancient Hocktide celebrations return to Hungerford for the first time in three years

The traditional medieval festival, which is organised by The Town & Manor of Hungerford and Liberty of Sanden Fee charity, had to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.

The traditional medieval festival, which is organised by The Town & Manor of Hungerford and Liberty of Sanden Fee charity, had to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.

This year, hundreds of locals have celebrated in Hungerford, which is thought to be the only town in the country where Hocktide continues to be marked.

The tradition dates back to the 14th century, when John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster, who owned much of the land around Hungerford, gave certain fishing rights to the townsfolk, which continue to this day.

The term ‘Hocktide’ marks the Monday and Tuesday of the week after Easter and Hock Tuesday was an important day in the calendar, when traditionally all rents were payable. This day forms the central part of Hocktide and is known as Tutti Day.

This year, Tutti Day began with Bellman Julian Tubb summoning the town’s commoners to the Hocktide Court at the town hall. Then, residents Nina Hathway and Sylvi Giuliani, this year’s ‘Tuttimen’, set off on their duty to visit commoners’ properties around the town. In days gone by, this is when rents would be collected.

Nina and Sylvi were accompanied by ‘Orangeman’ Aaron Scarlett and three Tutti Girls, Naomi Fox-Shatford, Rosie Gregory and Matilda Hopkins, from the town’s John O’Gaunt school.

The Hocktide festivities span two weeks and include ale tasting, a macaroni supper, music from the Hungerford Town Band and the traditional Hocktide Luncheon on Tutti Day. Other supporting events that took place included a crafts event for local children. The finale is the Constable’s Parade and church service, which conclude events on Sunday 1st May.

A huge amount of work goes into organising Hocktide each year and The Town & Manor of Hungerford is extremely proud to be continuing this ancient tradition.

Constable of The Town and Manor, Peter Joseph

“Many of the local people involved are the latest in a long line of family members to take part and it is fantastic to welcome the next generation of participants.

“After what have been a challenging few years for everyone, it has been wonderful to see our amazing community coming together once again to celebrate. The fact that this is the first time we have been able to hold the event for three years, makes this Hocktide all the more special. Plans will soon be underway for next year!”

The Tithingmen are accompanied by the Orange Man, whose job is to carry the oranges handed out to the Commoners in recognition of the town’s support for William of Orange, who negotiated the terms of his reign as King William lll in Hungerford’s Bear Hotel on 8th November 1688.

Hocktide Luncheon
If you’d like to join us for the Hocktide Luncheon, on Tuesday 18th April, tickets can be purchased from Crown Needlework, 115 High St, Hungerford.

Recent News

After three years of planning, over twenty reports from expert consultants and an extensive and in depth public consultation, the planning application for the Kennet Valley Wetland Reserve, to be developed by the Town and Manor of Hungerford, has now been submitted to West Berkshire Council.

Spotted in Hungerford on 12th September 2023 by the Town and Manor’s River Keeper, Rob Starr, this is a rare Clifden Nonpareil or Blue Underwing moth largest of the species Catocala fraxini.

After the resignation of the T&M’s CEO, Ellie Dickins, in April 2023 the T&M Trustees have voted not to continue with the role of CEO.

We are on Facebook