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The Barracks stood alongside the A4 Bath Road about one mile west of Hungerford, just to the east of Highclose Farm. They are shown clearly on the 1925 OS map (see Photo Gallery). Officers lived at Highclose Farm.

Summary:

- Origins unclear.

- Abandoned for military use by at least 1861, when four dwellings with 50 occupants.

- Partly demolished in c1939 when A4 widened and straightened.

- Remainder demolished c1970

Photo Gallery:

os 1925 barrack...
os 1925 barracks os 1925 barracks

- 1925 OS map showing The Barracks

The origins:

The origins of The Barracks at Highclose are as yet unclear.

Large, permanent barracks were developed in the 18th century by the two dominant states of the period, France and Spain. The English term "barrack", on the other hand, derives form the Spanish word for a temporary shelter erected by soldiers on campaign, barraca. In England, barracks started to be built after 1790, during the Napoleonic War.

It is possible that the Highclose Barracks were one of the many barracks established across the country to provide temporary accommodation for army units as they were moved around the country at that time. [It is thought that they were not to do with the important local Hungerford Troop of Berkshire Yeomanry, formed in 1794].

The Militia:

Each County had a fixed quota of men to raise. In the 17th and 18th century, all landowners had to provide horses, arms and men in propoertion to the property they owned.

Under the Militia Act 1757, responsibility was transferred to the Parish. The Parish Constable was responsible for organising the Parochial Contributions to the County Militia.

Regiments stationed at The Barracks:

The following regiments are thiought to have been stationed at The Barracks:

- 1722: Col Clayton's Regiment (Mr Lister was Chaplain)

- 1722 Brigadier Spanswick's Regiment (Mr Ball was Chaplain)

- 1734: The Hon Col Hargreave's Regiment of Foot

- 1761 Lord Albermarle Regiment

- 1779 & 1780: Somerset Militia

- 1782 - West Kennet Militia

- 1782 - 1st Regimnent of Dragoon Guards

- 18??-1806: 62nd Regiment of Foot

- 1807: 96th Regiment of Foot

- 1808: 14th Light Dragoons

- 1809: Plymouth Division of Royal Marines

- 18?? Regiment of Foot, 2nd Battallion (The Buffs)

- 1810: East Suffolk Militia

- 1817: Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards

- 1843: 4th Regiment, Madras, Northh India.

Also: 6th (or Inniskilling) Regiment of Dragooms; 70th Regiment of Foot; West Somerset Regiment; West kent Regiment; Wiltshire Militia and 34th Regiment of Foot.

The Ordnance Depot:

The Barracks may have been associated with the large Ordnance Depot that was built in 1813-14 at Picket Field just to the west of Highclose Farm (near the site of the remaining World War II pillbox).

Later use:

By the mid Victorian period, The Barracks were used for ordinary (non-military) accommodation. The 1861 Census lists about 50 people in five dwellings. They were ploughboys, sawyers, carters, carpenters, a laundress, as well as many agricultural labourers and scholars.

The Barracks were partly demolished c1939 when the Bath Road was straightened and widened between Strongrove and Froxfield. The remaining dwellings were demolished in c1970 prior to the area being developed by Alan Holland and Robert James as a Pick-your-own strawberry farm. (Thanks to Robert James for this information).

Census Records:

1901 Census:

66: Charles Palmer (46), Packer on Railway, wife Annie (44), 1 son, 1 mother-in-law, 1 visitor

67: Annie Smith (28) Soldier's wife, 2 sons, 3 daughters.

68: William Andrews (45), Plate layer on Railway, 1 son, 1 mother.

69: Thomas Liddiard (38), Packer on Railway, 1 daughter, 1 mother.

70: William Underwood (62), Drayman on farm, wife Mary (32), 2 sons.

71: George Liddiard (60), Railway Carpenter, wife Jane (61).

72: Walter Midlenhall (58), Carter on ..?.., wife Ann (51), 1 son.

73: Elizabeth Dixon (64), on own means, 4 ?sons, 1 daughter-in-law

 

See also:

- Berkshire Yeomanry

- Ordnance Depot at Picket Field

- Pillboxes and "hedgehogs" of World War II