The large estate is managed by the Constable and ten trustees, supported by a number of employed officers and fellow commoners. All are responsible to the Charity Commissioners.
Follow this for all about the Property of the Town and Manor.
This Charitable Trust is now managed by
- The Constable (ex-officio), and
- 10 elected Trustees.
The Constable is elected annually at the Hocktide Court on Tutti-Day, and the 10 Trustees are elected every four years. Any Hungerford resident living south of the river Dun (the historic northern boundary of the Town and Manor) can vote in the Trustees elections. Recent Trustees elections were held on 1 Oct 2009 and 1 May 2013.
For further up-to-date information on the Trustees, see the Town and Manor website.
- The Constable and Trustees, 2013
The Election of Officers:
The officers of the Hocktide Court are elected annually at the Hocktide Court on Tutti-Day. They comprise:
The Constable chairs all formal Town & Manor meetings and represents the Commoners interests. We have the list of Constables right back to John Tuckhill in 1458 (more than 550 years!). The Constable must have already served as Tutti-man, Bailiff, and Port-Reeve. Nowadays, it is usual for the Constable to be re-elected for a 2nd or 3rd year. Until 1926 the Constable was also the official Coroner for the area. The symbol of office is the Lucas (1634) Horn, and the Constable's Chain.
The Port-Reeve (or Portrieve):
The Port-reeve's duty in earlier years was to collect quit-rents. The position is now normally taken by the Bailiff of the preceding year.
The Bailiff used to collect the tolls due at the fairs and markets in the town, and as a symbol of authority he has a black, silver mounted staff, bearing the date 1688 (commemorating the visit of William of Orange to The Bear Inn before he became king of England).
10 Overseers of the Common Port Down (and Sanden Fee):
The large number of people reflects the amount of work involved in managing the Common and Freeman's Marsh. The Commons Committee is headed by the Honorary Secretary of the Commons Committee, the Overseers look after the day to day management of the land, subject to the rights of commoners. They organise the stocking, security, fertilising and harrowing programme of the land as well as the overall management and farming aspect of it, in much the same way as a farmer would run his own farm. They keep their own accounts, subject to a budget ratified by the trustees, which forms part of the Town and Manor General Fund, any profit from which is transferred to the Constable's Account. They also retain on an honorarium basis, a Hayward, who assists both themselves and the grazers in the management of the livestock.
The large number again reflects the increasing importance and complexity of caring for the towns stretch of fishery river on the Kennet & Dun. Like the overseers, this is a committee formed of commoners and trustees. They attend to the year round requirements of the charity's water and fishery. They keep their own accounts, any surplus from which is also transferred to the Constable's Account. The day-to-day management of the fishery is under the control of an Honorary Fishery Manager, who organises the upkeep of the water, its banks and bridges and the level of stocking, the letting of rods, the safeguarding of the rights of the commoners and the employment of a full-time Water Keeper. This most important aspect of the Charity's affairs is an invaluable source of revenue to the Constable's Account and, as such, directly to the well-being and continuance of the Town and Manor.
Tithing Men (Tutti-men):
4 appointed, two retire each year. The Constable appoints the two to do the duty for the following year.
Three Keepers of the Keys of the Common Coffer:
The Constable is a fourth key-holder during his term of office. Follow this for more on the Common Coffer (Town chest).
2 - Usually succeed the Tithing Men.
Bellman, Assistant Bailiff & Crier of the Courts:
Follow this for more on the Bellmen of Hungerford.
A steward of the Court is appointed to run the Court. He is not normally a Commoner but is called to see justice and fair play (and has a big role at the Hocktide Court). Follow this for more on the Stewards of the Hocktide Court.
a fairly recent addition - much involved with "shoeing the colts" after the Hocktide lunch. Dates from 1979 - Paul Good.
This is a total of 35 people in 2013 (up from 29 in 1982.)
Some positions have fallen from usage, largely as a result of the many Weights & Measures Acts! These include Two Searchers and Sealers of Leather, and Two Tasters of Flesh and Fish!
The Tutti girls were an embellishment added in 1978
Under its honorary secretary, looks after the fabric of all the charity's buildings. It employs a hall keeper, keeps its own accounts, organises repairs, lettings, security, insurance and a myriad of other items that fall within the parameter of buildings, even the High Street trees!
All of the committees are chaired by the Constable; all of the committees contribute to a greater or lesser degree to the Constable's account. It is this account which must juggle with all these various aspects of the Town and Manor's holding in such a way as to satisfy not only the Commoners, via their Hocktide Jury, but also the Charity Commission.