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This article is from "Aspects of the Early History of Hungerford" by Norman Hidden, 2009.

The existence of this manor was recorded in the Domesday Book in 1066, and during the centuries which followed it was known as Inglefol, Ingelflod, Ingleford and Engleford [M. Gelling: Place Names of Berkshire]. The mutation to Engleford may have resulted from the influence of the name Kintbury Eagle, a Hundred which included Hungerford as well as Kintbury. The attribute ‘Hungerford’ in the name of this manor does not appear until some centuries have passed, and may have been added to indicate that the manor lay within the parish of Hungerford. More probably, however, it may have been added in order to denote this manor ’s then ownership by the Hungerford family. Certainly Hungerford Engleford was the dominant form by the mid-fifteenth century. Although the term Hungerford Englefield was sometimes used by later writers, it seems to have been merely a further corruption and the Victoria County History sensibly standardises the name of the manor as Hungerford Engleford [V.C.H. Berks. Vol. iv, p.191].

Most manors were reasonably coherent in their extent of land, which consisted in the main of an integrated land area. Hungerford Engleford is an exception, since it consisted of a number of ‘bits and pieces’ - lands scattered in the fee of Sandon and, at an early time, in the parish of Kintbury, as well as isolated burgage strips and buildings along the High Street of Hungerford.

It is partly because of this that there has been much confusion concerning the estates of this manor and those of the manor of Hungerford. This confusion was further compounded by the fact that lands and property of the two estates might both lie within the separate administrative unit of the town and borough. In the High Street of Hungerford, for example, a property belonging to the manor of Hungerford Engleford might lie side by side with a property belonging to the manor of Hungerford. Both manors acknowledged the Crown as overlord; both were usually included in town surveys, and the inhabitants of both had commoners’ rights in certain lands in Sandon Fee, though the areas of common to which those rights appertained may have been different. In essence, however, they were two separate manors, each having its own territory, its own lord, and its own manorial court.

The manor of Hungerford Engleford is thought to have derived from an estate at Inglefol, which appears in the Domesday Book in the Hundred of Kintbury Eagle in the possession of Robert Fitzgerald. It was assessed for 3 hides. The hide is a variable term, but is generally estimated as 120 acres. W.H.Summers states that one caracute (roughly one hide) was the lord’s farm and another caracute was cultivated by seven bordars, men who in lieu of money paid their rent by services to the lord [W.H.Summers:The Story of Hungerford p.28]. The estate also included a little wood and a four acre meadow, which Summers describes as a water meadow. This estate of Inglefol, thought to be the manor later known as Hungerford Engleford, was situated in the approximate location of present day Hungerford Park [W.H.Summers:The Story of Hungerford p.29].

Inglefol passed in due course from the family of Robert Fitzgerald to the Earl of Lincoln. When the latter died childless in 1198 the manor seems to have been taken over by the crown and was granted to John Belet. Belet is known to have been holding it in 1204 and 1208 together with some land in Inglewood [Record Commission Testa de Nevill p.326]. When the Ingelford lands of the Belet family, together with those of Inglewood and the manor of Balsdon, were demised to the Darell family in 1420, the deed of demise records the sale of the manor of Balsdon together with lands etc. in ‘Yngulflod Balat’ [ = Ingleford Belet] and carefully assigns their respective locations as ‘in the parish of Kintbury and in the parishes of Inkpen and Hungerford’ [P.R.O.: Ancient Deeds C2316].

In 1429 William Darell formalised sale of this estate to Sir Walter Hungerford. The property seems likely to have been held on Sir Walter’s behalf by Darell; and previously by William Goldyng, since a set of documents at the Somerset Record Office refer to Sir Walter’s purchase in 1422 of ‘Goldyng’s tenements’ [Somerset Record Office: The Hobhouse Cartulary]. Between that date and 1425 the documents show the transfer to Sir Walter Hungerford of 11 messuages, 84 acres of land and 4 acres of meadow in Hungerford and Sandon Fee and 1 messuage and 1 acre of meadow in Charnham Street. There may have been other transfers too; for a ½ burgage in Hungerford was transferred to Sir Walter’s nominees in an entirely different transaction c.1430 [Hastings Ms.(Huntington Library, California, U.S.A)].

In an active life Sir Walter Hungerford was at his most active during the reign of King Henry V whom he accompanied on his military expedition to France in 1415, fought at Agincourt, was employed in top level diplomatic relations in 1416 and 1417, was made admiral of the king’s new ‘national’ navy, was once more at Henry’s side at the siege of Rouen in 1418, and took part in the peace negotiations in 1419. One reward for his loyal exertions was his installation as a Knight of the Garter. On King Henry’s tragic early death in 1421 he was an executor of the late king’s will, and became a member of the Protector Duke of Gloucester’s Council. These activities inevitably meant that he left the management of his personal estates to various officers and retainers of his household, many of them becoming feoffees or trustees of his lands and business interests.

Toward the end of Sir Walter’s life Henry VI granted him ‘the lordship of the manor of Hungerford, the town and borough, and our Park in Hungerford, the Fee of Sandon, for fealty and twenty marks yearly’. When he died only three years later as first Baron Hungerford of Heytesbury, an Inquisition post mortem showed that his personal manor of Hungerford Engleford included 12 messuages, 160 acres of land, and 4 acres of meadow. The number of messuages corresponds exactly with those which comprised ‘Goldyng’s tenements’ in 1425. The difference in the acreage, which may have arisen from various factors, is insignificant.

Thus the two manors of Hungerford and Hungerford Engleford now became held by one and the same lord, the one manor a seignorial and the other a royal demesne. As a result of this conjunction some temporary blurring of distinction between the two manors may have taken place. Nevertheless separate audits and accounts were presented annually and separate courts were kept in respect of each.

When Sir Walter died in 1449 the manors were inherited by his son Robert, 2nd Baron Hungerford. The Close Rolls in 1449 record this as follows:

Order to escheator Co. Berks pursuant to an Inquisition taken before him showing that Walter Hungerford on the day of his death held lordship and manor of Hungerford and a fee called Sandon Fee to himself and heirs male, of the gift and grant of the King as Duke of Lancaster: 12 messuages, 160 acres land, 4 acres meadow - jointly with master Thomas Circiter clerk (who survives) of the demise of William Darell, Robert Long, Richard Melbourne, Roger Trewbody and William Coventre by charter to the said Thomas Circiter and the said Walter Hungerford and also to John Tiptoft kt., Master Simon Sydenham dean of Salisbury, John Juyn kt., and John Carter clerk who all died before the said Walter Hungerford. Robert the heir of Walter Hungerford to have full seisin.

Robert, 2nd Baron Hungerford died in 1459 and was succeeded by his son, also named Robert. In 1460 Robert enfeoffed a group of trustees with his manor of Charlton and all his rents and reversions in Hungerford and through these trustees the manor was reconveyed to his mother Lady Margaret Botreaux, so as to enable her to leave them by her will. Robert, 3rd Baron Hungerford, married Eleanor, daughter and heir of Lord Moleyns and on the latter’s death thus became Baron Hungerford and Moleyns. While serving in France in 1452, he was captured at the battle of Chastillon and held prisoner for 7 years until 1459 when he was ransomed. Through the efforts of his mother Lady Margaret Hungerford & Botreaux nearly £8000 was raised, an enormous sum in those days, to secure his ransom. This fund raising campaign was achieved by selling and borrowing money on his estates.

On his return he took an active part on behalf of the Lancastrian cause in the Wars of the Roses. In 1461 he was at the disastrous defeat of the Lancastrians at the bloody Battle of Towton and his honours and lands were taken from him. In 1464 he was captured at Hexham and executed by the victorious Yorkists.

His forfeited estates were given by the Crown to Richard Duke of Gloucester. But by an agreement made with the Duke (9 Edward IV = 1470) Lady Margaret compounded for the recovery of the whole, with the exception of Farleigh ‘and also a toft in Hungerford called Hungerford Court and the messuages and lands and rents in Hungerford County Berks’. (Hoare, History of Heytesbury p.109).

The accession of Henry VII following the defeat of the Yorkists at Bosworth in 1485 brought the pro-Lancastrian family of Hungerford back into favour and power; the manor of Hungerford Engleford remained with them (despite a small blip in 1541), and the manor of Hungerford remained with the Duchy of Lancaster (also with one small blip, in 1549) until its purchase by the inhabitants of the borough in 1617. Even when this occurred, however, the manor of Hungerford Engleford continued in existence much as before, under a succession of non-resident lords of the Hungerford family.

The manor of Hungerford Engleford existed with its own rights long before the trust which set up the Borough and Manor, finalised in 1617. Being an entirely separate manor in the same way as the manor of Hidden once was or the manor of Charlton/Hopgrass, they paid their own quit rent to their own lord and not to the Town and Borough of Hungerford. Where they differed from Hidden and Charlton/Hopgrass was that they seem to have possessed Commoners’ rights as townsmen. It follows that the Hungerford Engleford properties do not appear on town quit rent rolls, but their residents appear in Commoners’ lists. The various locations of Hungerford Engleford properties, together with their rights in the common fields of Hungerford and the names of the tenants in the year 1580/81 are presented in a survey of tenants by indenture [Wilts. R.O.:442/1 f. 272]. The document clearly illustrates the independent relationship of Hungerford Engleford during the period before the creation of the town and borough in 1617 and may be usefully compared with the rental of c.1470.

The manor house or capital mansion of the manor of Hungerford Engleford was from the earliest times of which we have record (e.g. 1470) located on the site of what later became no.121 High Street. It remained as the manor house until the manor was virtually extinguished in the early 19th century, and continued to be known as the manor house until it was taken over by the South Berkshire Brewery Company.

Most of the manor’s properties tended to lie on the east side of the High Street, a fact which suggests that the manor’s origin lay in the area east of the present town and adjacent to the parish of Kintbury. It is also clear that the manor existed long before the planning of the burgage plots, which were laid along a line running south to Sandon and thence to Salisbury.

See also:

- Aspects of the Early History of Hungerford