A brief history of
the Town and Manor of Hungerford
It probably all started in the 13th Century (we can’t be 100% sure), building on the Right to hold Markets and Fairs, and the Assize of Bread and Ale, granted to the good people of Hungerford during the reign of King Henry III (1207-1272).
These Rights were confirmed during the reigns of King Edward I (1272-1307) and Edward III (1312-1377), with the addition of Grazing Rights on the Royal Estate land around the town. Fishing Rights were added by John O’Gaunt, the fourth son of Edward III; a generous act that made him the adopted son of the town to this day.
The most ancient part of Hungerford, The Croft was the village green, before the ‘new’ town was laid out between 1180 and 1250. The Croft, or Church Croft as it’s also known, is roughly 1¼ acres of green space, surrounded by 100 year-old sweet chestnut trees, Glebe land and village cottages.
Originally known as Town Croft, The Croft was given to the townsfolk in 1550 by John Undewes and his wife, ‘to hold fairs and to sport therein’, in exchange for the princely sum of a red rose each year, if requested (it never was). In 1617, The Croft formed part of the lands passed by James I into the trusteeship of the Town & Manor of Hungerford.
Other work on
Freeman’s Marsh is owned by the Town & Manor of Hungerford. With help from Natural England, the Trustees have developed a plan for restoring wildlife and securing the future of the Marsh for people to enjoy.
Since the original public meeting about the conservation plan to protect Freeman’s Marsh took place, the Town & Manor of Hungerford in partnership with the local community in Hungerford, Natural England, and the Environment Agency have been implementing a 10 year plan to safeguard the many wild plants, birds and animals, some of them rare.
An ancient pub
The John O’Gaunt Inn
The John O’Gaunt Inn dates back to the 13th century. This charming Grade II listed inn epitomises the traditional values of a great pub, with interesting locally brewed ales – some even brewed in the pub’s own microbrewery, ciders, gins and delicious home cooked food, all served with a welcome smile and friendly chat.
A sensitive and tasteful refurbishment in 2013 has brought the pub bang up to date, while bringing out the best in the building’s history and character.