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In brief:

Sir Robert de Hungerford (c1285-1352) founded a chantry in Hungerford church, and a stone effigy (traditionally ascribed to him) still lies in the Parish Church of St. Lawrence.

The Hungerford Family:

The lands of Hungerford formed part of the estate owned by the Earls of Leicester and Lancaster in the 12th century. The Hungerford family, who had taken the name of the town in which they lived, owed their allegience to their landlords.

The first members of the family really to come to prominence were the brothers Robert and Walter Hungerford, who were born in the late 1200s.

Robert Hungerford was born c1285.

He was an important man. In 1313 he was appointed Bailiff for the Duchy of Lancaster in Berkshire and Wiltshire.

In 1322 Edward II made him "Keeper of the Southern Lands" (mostly in Wiltshire) belonging to Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster, who, along with Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, were beheaded by Edward II without trial in revenge for arranging the murder of the King's favourite Piers Gaveston ten years earlier.

Sir Robert was later made a Commissioner to enquire into the possessions of the Despensers after their attainder in 1326.

Sir Robert de Hungerford sat in Parliament as MP for Wiltshire nine times between 1324 and 1339.

In 1327 Sir Robert was appointed commissioner to certify the possession of the Earl of Winchester and his son Hugh to the Exchequer. He was also employed to survey the dilapidation of the old castle at Sarum. In 1332 he became the steward of the Bishopric of Bath and Wells.

The Chapel of the Holy Trinity:

He gave much land to the hospital at Calne and, in memory of his first wife, Joan, to the Church of Hungerford - where he founded the Chantry of Holy Trinity in 1325 - and to other religious foundations, including the Hungerford Chantry Chapel in Salisbury Cathedral.

The indulgence tablet from the Chantry of Holy Trinity is displayed in St Lawrence Church, adjacent to the Hungerford effigy.

Photo Gallery:

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- Stone effigy traditionally ascribed to Sir Robert de Hungerford, died 1352.

- The Indulgence Tablet from the Chantry Chapel of the Holy Trinity.

More on Sir Robert de Hungerford:

In 1331 he was granted a licence to give profits from certain lands for the support of a Chaplain to pray for the souls of himself, his new wife Geva (the widow of Adam de Stock (or Stokke) near Great Bedwyn), and his friends. The inscription on the tomb promised, on the word of fourteen bishops, that 'who so ever should pray for their souls should have whilst he lived and for his soul after death 550 days of pardon'. His much-mutilated effigy still resides in St Lawrence's Church today.

Sir Robert Hungerford died on 30 June 1352 in Hungerford, and he was buried in his Chantry in the south aisle of Hungerford Parish Church. Although married twice, he left no issue; his lands were left to his younger brother Walter.

Sir Walter Hungerford had married Maud Heytersbury, the heiress of the extensive Heytersbury estates near Warminster, and the seat of the Hungerfod family was to move to Wiltshire. He died in 1355 and was succeeded by their son Thomas who was to achieve fame and fortune and bring the name of Hungerford to national prominence.

Thomas Hungerford was born c1328. He went on to hold many important regional and national posts.

In 1369 Thomas Hungerford bought the manor house of Farleigh Montfort (near Trowbridge, Wiltshire) for £733. It had previously been in the hands of the de Montfort family.

Thomas Hungerford was knighted in 1375, and in 1377 he was elected Speaker of the Commons - the first person to be definitely nominated to this office. In 1383 he had become Chief Steward of all the vast southern English (south of the Trent) and Welsh estates of John of Gaunt.

By 1385 the "Farleigh Montfort" estate had become known as "Farleigh Hungerford", the name it has borne ever since.

Thomas Hungerford became Sheriff of Wiltshire five times, and Member of Parliament for Wiltshire or Somerset 16 times. He became a wealthy landowner of estates in Wiltshire, Somerset and Gloucestershire. He died in 1397.

Sir Thomas Hungerford's second wife was Joan Hussey, daughter of Sir Edmund Hussey of Holbrook. With this marriage Thomas acquired extensive lands around Hungerford, namely Hopgrass and Standen.

He was also named as an executor of John of Gaunt's will, but pre-deceased him by two years in 1397.

Sir Thomas's son Walter Hungerford (1378-1449) became 1st Lord Hungerford, starting a line lasting 300 years until it ended with the sale of Farleigh Hungerford castle in 1686.

See also:

- Parish Church of St Lawrence

- Hungerford Effigy

- Indulgence Tablet

- Chantries

- The Hungerford Family, by Dennis Martin, Mar 2001