Medieval Hocktide is one of England’s most ancient customs and it is believed that Hungerford is the only place in the country that continues to mark the event, which starts on the second Tuesday after Easter.
This year, Tuesday 18th April has been designated as Tutti Day, which is central to the two-week Hocktide celebrations and was traditionally the date when all rents were payable by Commoners in the town.
Trustees are busy organising this year’s festivities and its programme of traditional events for townsfolk, which includes Tutti Day crafts and a performance by the Hungerford Town Band, before the festival finishes on St George’s day, Sunday 23rd with the Constable’s Parade and church service.
Events begin with the Selection of the Hocktide Jury on Tuesday 11th April, when, historically, Commoners were selected to serve as jurors who were presented with any proposed amendments to rules governing fishing and grazing rights and had to agree on them.
Other key dates this year are the Macaroni Supper on Friday 14th, Ale Tasting on Monday 17th and the Court Leet on Friday 21st April, when new officers are summoned to court to be sworn in.
Julie Lloyd, Constable for the Town and Manor of Hungerford, said: “A tremendous amount of hard work goes into organising the Hocktide celebrations to ensure its continued success, as it is an event that people in the town look forward to each year.
We are extremely proud of Hungerford’s connection with this truly historic event, and remain determined to preserve it for many years to come, particularly as we believe we are now the only place where the tradition survives.
JULIE LLOYD, CONSTABLE OF THE TOWN AND MANOR OF HUNGERFORD
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.
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.