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Caveat:

The history of ownership and occupation of the properties at the southern end of the west side of High Street (modern numbers 45-65) is very speculative.
Records are sketchy, and confusing. This page is the current "best attempt" to clarify the history of these properties, but much further work still needs to be done. It is possible that the historic boundaries do not match the modern ones.

Summary:

Earliest information: 1714
Original estate: Hungerford
Common Rights? Yes (2 horses or 4 cows; 31 ft - one house present in 1902, originally two)
Date of current building:
Listed? No

Thumbnail History:

The 1910 photo shows E.W. Batt, Bakers, at this property 50 HS. This "fixes" the situation.
The 1932 QR gives E. Batt, late Hidden's and afterwards Mary Bear.
This takes us back to 1795 – Mundy/Bear, late Hidden's.
QR 2d.

Hidden -> Mary Bear -> E. Batt

Photo Gallery:

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- Orwell House, 50 High Street, Feb 2007

- Upper High Street, c1910

Timeline:

c.1470 (NH) William Harrold, Two tenements: q.r. 4d

1552 (NH) Robert Harrold, Two tenements q.r. 4d

1573 (NH) Robert Harrold, Now split into two separate tenements, each with common land (see notes below)
- (NH) (QR) J. Flaver (+1 acre), q.r. 2d.

Is this when 49 HS and 50 HS properties were split?

1591 (NH) (QR) Robert Harold, q.r. 2d.

1609 (NH) (QR) N. Swayte (+1 acre), q.r. 2d.

1663 (NH) Hearth Tax returns (El 79/243/25) for the southernmost end of the west side of the High Street contains entries (each for one hearth) arranged (proceeding northwards) in this order:
- Widow West (?53/54 HS)
- John Sandes (?51/52 HS)
- Edward Plasted (?50 HS)

As the burgage plots south of 53/54 High Street (i.e. 55-65 High Street) appear not to have been developed into dwellings until the 19th century, the Hearth Tax entries may well relate to 53/54 HS, 51/52 HS and 50 HS, but this is very speculative at this stage.

1736 (NH) John Hidden als Clydesdale, button maker, made a PCC will in which he bequeathed
>> to his son Jonathan (J75): "all that moiety or one half part of the messuage or dwelling house lying and being in Hungerford in a street there called Salisbury Street, with the backside, garden and appurtenances thereunto belonging which I purchased lately of and from Edward Plaisteed". [Salisbury Street was the upper end of what is now known as High Street and the main route to Salisbury].
>> The other half of the property John Hidden bequeathed to his younger son Thomas (T52). The property is described in the will as adjoining to the house of Edward Plaisted (on the north side), and the garden separated by a hedge from Thomas Paty's garden on the south side.

This position corresponds to that implied in the 1753 Quit-Rent Roll, in which the order (from S to N) if we ignore the 2 acres of Shorn Land is Paty-Hidden, Bear-Playsted. The garden contained a well and Jonathan's share of the garden extended in length westwards "to the first ash tree now standing and growing in the hedge lying and being between my said garden and Thomas Paty's garden on the south side."

Thomas Hidden's share of the garden extended westwards to the common field. A pathway ran between the two 'split' gardens, and Jonathan had the right to 'ingress, egress and regress' to and from the said common field through the said Thomas' garden". [As John Hidden refers to the moiety of the house to go to Jonathan as being "that part wherein I now dwell", it is possible that Thomas' half was occupied by someone else.]

John Hidden was admitted to the Hocktide court as a free suitor in 1731 and this date may therefore be taken as the year of his purchase. He continued to appear in the subsequent annual lists of free suitors from 1732 until the year of his death in 1736. From 1737 onwards Jonathan and Thomas Hidden were listed as joint free suitors.

1737 (NH) See Will of John Hidden, Button maker.

1742 (NH) In 1742 Jonathan is listed as free suitor without any mention of Thomas. After Jonathan's name does not appear again. This is probably because in 1743 he sold property in Hungerford and Lambourn, which included "a moiety of 1 messuage and garden with common of pasture" - probably his half of the tenement he had inherited.

The purchaser was Thomas Bear, like Jonathan Hidden a cordwainer or shoe-maker. Jonathan ran into financial problems in the 1740's due to an ambitious scheme to develop a coaching inn in Charnham Street which ultimately led to an expensive lawsuit. Like his father he served as water bailiff. He died in 1750.

Further information on the Bear family:
In 1817 Francis Bear shoemaker left his messuage in Hungerford to his daughters Mary and Ann Bear to dispose of, with an additional trustee, his friend George Bulpit, maltster, to provide funds for an income for his (Bear's) wife.
Ann Bear baptised 5 Mar 1790, daughter of Francis and Elizabeth
Sarah Bear, baptised 25 May 1791, daughter of Francis and Elizabeth – buried 1792
Harriett Bear, baptised 14 Jan 1795, daughter of Francis and Elizabeth – buried 1795
Elizabeth Bare (sic), baptised 1 Mar 1793, daughter of Francis and Elizabeth – buried 1794
Mary Bear, baptised 1 Feb 1788, daughter of Francis and Elizabeth
Francis Bare (sic) baptised 26 April 1745, son of Thomas and Martha
Thomas Bear buried 1794
Francis Bear married Elizabeth Smith 8 July 1784
Thomas Bear married Martha Playstead 2 Sep 1734
Ann Bear married Harry William Salt 24 Jun 1824, Mary Bear being one of the witnesses.

1753 (NH) (QR) Thomas Clidsdale (Hidden) and Thomas Bear, 2d. The 1753 Q.R.R. lists Thomas Clisdale (=Hidden) and Thomas Bear jointly as the quit rent payers, and Thomas is listed as a free suitor annually from 1753 to his death in 1770. He also pays the Poor Rate tax from 1763 (when the records commence) to 1771 after which his name is struck off. It would seem therefore either that after Jonathan's death the property reverted to Thomas or that whereas Jonathan sold the moiety he had inherited, Thomas retained his.

1774-80 (QR) Thomas Mundy and Thomas Bear for their house late Hiddin amended to Seymour Mundy and Francis Bear, q.r. 2d.

1781 (CL) Entry 82: Thomas Bear

1795-1805 (NH) (QR) Seymour Mundy and Francis Bear, late Hiddings, q.r. 2d. [Francis Bear was a shoemaker]

1805 (NH) (QR) Mary and Ann Bear, for house late Hidden, q.r. 2d. [Mary and Ann Bear were daughters of Francis and Elizabeth Bear] In 1777 CL Thomas Bear is a free suitor on east side (approx no 90HS). John Hidden is a free suitor on west side near Edward Plaisted. No Francis Bear.

In 1781 Thomas Bear appears on east side (as in 1777) and has taken place alongside widow Plaistead. John Hidden as in 1777.

1818 (QR) Mary and Ann Bear, late Hidden, q.r. 2d.

1832 (QR) Mary Bear and William Henry Salt for house late Hidden's, q.r. 2d. [Ann Bear had married Harry William Salt on 24 June 1824, Mary Bear being one of the witnesses]
1836 (QR) Mary Bear and William Henry Salt for house late Hidden's, q.r. 2d.

1847 (CL) Mary Bear (owner and occupier)
1851 (CS) Mary Beare (63), schoolmistress.

1896 (CL) George Batt, baker (owner and occupier)
1902 (T&M Register) George Batt (owner & occupier)
1903 (T&M Register) George Batt (occupier)
1904 (T&M Register) Laura Rowena Batt (occupier)

1911 (T&M Register) Ernest William Batt (occupier)
1914 (CL) Devisees of George Batt (own); Ernest William Batt (occ)
1914 (CL) Devisees of George Batt (own); Mrs Laura Rosina Batt (occ)
1932 (QR) Mr. E. Batt, for house late Hidden's afterwards Mary Bear, q.r. 2d.
1939 (Blacket's) E.W. Batt, baker and grocer
- Miss L. Batt

1946 (T&M Register) Laura Rowena Batt (occupier)

1947-1963 (CL) Margaret A. Luxton

1968 (CL) Roy Archdale Nixon
1968 (T&M Register) Roy Archdale Nixon (owner & occupier)

1969 (T&M Register) R A Nixon & Son Ltd (owner); occupier: Void.

1970-1976 (CL) Void

1973 (T&M Register) Leslie John Smith (owner)
1978 L.J. Smith – accountants
- Hungerford Design Group
- Hungerford Dental Lab
- Lawson – Oriental Rug restoration

1983 (CL) Void
1984 (CL) Void
1985 (CL) Void

In 1993 (N) L.J. Smith & Co, accountants [same 2000]
- (S) Bradford & Bingley Building Society

2000 (CL) Void
2005 (CL) Void

2007 North end: Offices to let
- South end: "Face to Face" psychotherapy

2011 (CL) Jim Smith

2016 (CL) Barnaby James Smith

See also:

- Norman Hidden's Notes on 50 High Street

- Will of John Hidden, Button maker, 1737