Town & Manor of Hungerford News: September/October 2022

Hungerford Town & Manor

September 2022 will certainly not go down as a normal month.

Following the death of the Queen, the Town and Manor in conjunction with the Town Council placed a book of condolence in the Town Hall. As the article below explains, there is a particular connection between the Town and Manor and the reigning monarch.

September has also seen the emergence of what might politely be termed a range of challenging economic circumstances. The Town and Manor has reacted to this by setting up the Constable’s Fund to help local residents with the cost-of-living crisis. See below for more on this.

September also saw World Rivers Day. The increasing number of articles, debates and petitions on the subject of preserving and protecting our waterways has shown how important they to the environment. Managing the local rivers has long been part of  the Town and Manor’s work and this month we take a quick look back at the successful Sparking Streams project.

Two congratulations are also in order this month: to Matt and Janie Nicol (Hungerford commoners who recently got married in – where else? – the Town Hall); and to Ellie Gudgeon, grand-daughter of former Constable Dennis Cryer, who won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Karate Championships.

There’s also a reminder about our Open Forum on 21 October, an opportunity to meet the Trustees and staff and learn more about the Town and Manor’s work.

One result of our work can be seen every Wednesday at the market in the High Street. Brie, baklava, bacon, bird seed, bulbs, cakes, carrots, cod and much else besides are available from the various stalls about 8am until about 2pm. The traders set up on the High Street very early Wednesday morning so please remember to observe the no-parking signs that are in place from midnight on Tuesday. 

Finally, we have a reminder of the various aspects of life in the town for which the Town and Manor is responsible. These are all funded by the Town and Manor and so don’t cost the residents anything at all: quite the opposite, in fact, as money is also available for grants to local organisations and individuals. Speaking of which…

The Constable’s Fund and the cost-of-living crisis

The Town and Manor of Hungerford has launched a new fundraising appeal to help local families and households trying to cope with the cost-of-living crisis.

With many people in the town struggling to manage as food, fuel and energy prices rise, the Constable’s Hungerford Fund will provide eligible applicants with one-off payments of £100.

To help fund this, the Town and Manor is issuing an appeal for donations. Any sums donated can end up by being more than doubled as the Town and Manor is match funding donations up to a total of £10,000. The government will do the same through grant Aid, if you’re eligible and apply for it. Over £15,000 (including match funding) had been raised by 5 September: £25,000 is the eventual target. Thank you to everyone who has donated so far. 

For more information, including how to apply or to donate, see this page of the Town and Manor’s website.

The book of condolence

The Town and Manor worked with Hungerford Town Council to provide a book of condolence following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

It was agreed between The Mayor and The Constable that the Town Hall was the most appropriate venue to place the book. Floral tributes were laid on the Town Hall steps and the market stalls were suspended in that area for two weeks.

As the photo shows, two vases of red roses were also on display. The flowers are the symbol of the House of Lancaster and signify Hungerford’s links with the Royal Family.

The title of Duke of Lancaster has been held by the reigning British monarch since 1399, when the Duke of Lancaster became king (as Henry IV). As the Manor of Hungerford was once part of the Duchy of Lancaster, a tradition is still honoured to this day of the Constable presenting a red rose to the monarch on significant occasions. The Town and Manor also always includes the title in our toasts to the monarch and our proclamations.

World Rivers Day

27 September was World Rivers Day, a celebration of our waterways and a chance to highlight their importance and value.

The Sparkling Streams project, which aimed to improve the River Kennet and its tributaries, was a joint partnership between The Town and Manor of Hungerford, Action for the River Kennet (ARK), North Wessex Downs AONB and the Southern Streams Farmer Group. The River Kennet is one of England’s premier chalk streams, which are globally very rare.

These photos show volunteers transplanting water crowfoot from the River Dun downstream of Hungerford, to an area upstream in the catchment, as part of work following on from the project.

A bronze medal

Congratulations from us all at the Town and Manor to Ellie Gudgeon, who recently won a Bronze medal at the 10th Commonwealth Karate Championships in Birmingham. Ellie is the grand-daughter of former Constable, Dennis Cryer.

Well done Ellie, you’ve done Hungerford proud.

Tying the knot

Congratulations to Hungerford commoners Matt and Janie Nicol who have married at the Town Hall. The couple have lived in the town since 2021.

Matt and Janie said: “It was the most fantastic day and the venue was perfect. We chose the Town Hall as it’s a beautiful building in a perfect spot. We love living in Hungerford and we wanted it to be where we started our married life.

“We had a choice of the three rooms and chose the Town Hall which is a beautiful room with a double mantelpiece which looked stunning, especially with gorgeous flowers from our neighbour Sarah Styles. The Town and Manor were so helpful with all our requirements, we are so grateful for their help.

“The bride was able to walk to the venue with waves and claps from local shop owners and toots from cars and once we were married we walked back again, hand in hand as husband and wife with a glass of champagne from Laurent at the Funghi Club who had also made our delicious wedding cake. It was also easy for family staying nearby, it’s close to home and it suited all of our needs.”

If you’re looking for a venue for your special day, see the section below…

Available for hire

As mentioned before, the floor in the Corn Exchange has been repaired following last year’s floods and the whole place in generally in a tip-top condition. The building is available to hire for events of all kinds. The rates of hire are competitively priced for a venue of this size and all local residents with a Hungerford postcode qualify for a 25% discount.

Please contact Tara on admin@townandmanor.co.uk or call 07880 311731 to arrange a viewing and to talk through your requirements. We can also provide a list of suppliers to help in the organisation of your occasion.

The Constable’s Fund

Fundraising continues for the Constable’s Hungerford Fund and at the we will soon be making the first payments to those households who’ve applied for support. The one-off donations of £100 will help those who are struggling to cope with the rising cost of living as food, energy and fuel prices rise.

The current total of donations, as we go to print, is £8,355. With The Town and Manor match funding, with gift aid, and with external donations, the overall total stands at £21,500. There’s therefore still some way to go to reach our target of £25,000. We have received, again as of today, 80 applications and we would welcome anyone who meets the criteria to apply. For more information email: constablesfund@townandmanor.co.uk

There’s still time to donate – if you would like to contribute to the fund please visit our website.

One organisation which has done so is the Rotary Club of Hungerford, to the tune of £1,000: many thanks for that. Pictured below is Town and Manor Constable Peter Joseph (left) with current Hungerford Rotary President, Myles Young.

The new trustees

Improving engagement with the community and raising greater awareness of the Town and Manor’s work are just some of the top priorities of our newest trustees.

As they settle into their new roles, they’ve been sharing their views on the community issues they’re focused on and voiced their support for upholding the historical traditions of the charity. Working more closely with the town council to promote Hungerford and its unique heritage, as well as making the Town Hall Complex the ‘go to’ place for events, are also high on the agenda. Read the full story on our website.

The Open Forum

Our rescheduled Open Forum will be taking place on Friday 21 October at the Corn Exchange in the Town Hall from 7pm. The Constable, Trustees and staff will be on hand to chat about anything you’d like to discuss and answer any questions you may have.

There’ll also be a chance to learn more about the initiatives the Town and Manor is working on (such as the Constable’s Fund). We hope you can come and take the opportunity to meet us all, and discuss the matters that are important to you. If you aren’t able to make it but would like to contact us, please visit our website for details of how to get in touch (see contact details below).

The Wednesday market

The Town and Manor continues to support the weekly Wednesday market. We would like to remind all visitors that the road outside the Town Hall is officially closed to all traffic every Wednesday to ensure the safety of all pedestrians. The Town and Manor politely asks drivers picking up goods not to use this road as we have had several near misses last year.

Please continue to observe the no-parking signs from midnight on Tuesday as the traders set up very early in the morning.

The responsibilities of the Town and Manor

The Town and Manor of Hungerford is a unique institution, the only such body in England to have survived (in other places, the functions and assets of these organisations have been assumed by local councils). Some reflections on its past, and its present, role can be found here.

Many aspects of the Town and Manor, including its ownership of the Town Hall, make it look like another tier of local government (which it is not) and as a result many people are unsure of what aspects of local life it is responsible for. These are some of the main things that the Town and Manor does, all at no cost to the local residents:

• Hungerford Common (including maintenance, the cattle, the trees and event licences).
• Freeman’s Marsh and Hungerford Marsh (including maintenance, the cattle and the trees).
• The trees in the High Street from the Canal Bridge to the junction of Atherton Road (maintenance).
• The Croft (including grass cutting, trees, posts and event licences).
• The Town Hall (including bookings and maintenance).
• River Kennet and River Dun (including weed cutting, debris clearance and bank maintenance).
• Hocktide (all aspects of the festival).

For any problems, issues or enquiries relating to any of these matters, please email admin@townandmanor.co.uk or call 01488 686555.

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