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Hungerford has developed from its earliest origins as a market town supplying the needs of the residents of the town and the local villages.
Between 1600 and 1900 there was quite a major change in the type of trades and industry practised in the local area.
In 1600 the woollen trades, along with the leather trades, were dominant in Hungerford, but by 1800 the economy had become more broadly based. This shift can be traced through various local records, but not until the first trade directories can we gain a real impression of the different trades and occupations. By the time of the 1851 census, over 50% of the population were employed on the land.
To give a flavour of the change of occupations through time, see the pages on various researches covering the following periods:
Norman Hidden created an indexed list of people's trades and occupations - largely collected from the Parish Registers. This gives a further detailed insight into the variety of occupations in a small country market town.
It may also be worthwhile looking in the Norman Hidden Index of Names - an alphabetical list of people associated with Hungerford from the 13th to 18th century.
It is interesting to note how times change. Follow this link for a poster dated 14 Dec 1855 on which Thomas Wooldridge, Constable of Hungerford, declared that the shops would be closed on Mon 24 December for an additional holiday.