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The Tudor Period (from the accession of Henry VII after the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, until the accesion of James I in 1603, 117 years in all) was a somewhat troubled time across the nation, and in Hungerford.

The later part of this is covered elsewhere in great detail under Elizabethan Hungerford

This section of the Virtual Museum expands slightly the bare Timeline, and gives links to further topics related to the Tudor Period.

The Tudor Period - 100 years of great unrest:

The accession of Henry VII - a Tudor - followed the hugely disturbed 28 years of the Wars of the Roses (1455 - 1487). Henry's claim to the throne was not secure, and it is hardly surprising that the Tudor Period went on to be characterised by violence, war and social unrest.

Over and above this, there were four changes of the state religion during the Tudor Period - Catholic -> Anglican (under Henry VIII) -> Catholic (Mary) -> Anglican (Elizabeth I).


The population of Britain during the Tudor Period was about 2.5 million.

The population of Hungerford is estimated (based on the Muster Rolls of 1522) to be around 500-700.

Margaret Yates (see "Town & Countryside in Western Berkshire, c1327-c1600", p 74) estimated that in the 16th century the population of Hungerford was 741.

By 1558 it may have been 600 - 700 (assuming the national increase of 10% every decade since the 1520's).

By 1600 it may have reached 1,000 - 1,100 (Assuming a birth rate of 30 per 1000, and using the average annual baptism rate over 10 years (33.4 for Hungerford 1591-1600)).

90% of people worked on the land.

One third of babies died in their first year.

One third of children aged 1 year died before their 10th birthday.

Women worked on the farm and kitchen, as well as child care.

Middle classes normally had bench seats, maybe only one chair for the master of the house, perhaps a second for his wife, and a third for a visitor. Feather beds started to come in, cushions, and painted cloths (for wall hanging).

1485-1509 Henry VII:

We have a good idea of the key people in Hungerford from a Duchy of Lancaster Rent Roll of 1470 (Edward IV's reign). This was, of course, just prior to Henry VII's accession - but it is important as it is the earliest detailed rental survey of property in Hungerford. It lists about 86 property entries, suggesting that the High Street (as we now know it) was perhaps 75% occupied by this time (we have about 132 properties in the High Street now)

Our records of Constables of Hungerford start from 1458, when John Tuckhill was Constable. He was still Constable when the Duchy of Lancaster survey had been taken, c1470, but there are some gaps in the the records in these early years, and we do not know who was Constable in 1485. In 1505 Richard Jenyns (Genens) held the post.

The Vicars were 1475–1487 Thomas Holme, 1499–1505+ Thomas Whitemore.

1494 Denne Myll (Dun Mill) mentioned

1509-1547 Henry VIII:

The 1522 Muster Roll for Hungerford recorded the names of able-bodied men liable for service in the militia. They do not list all men, only those between the ages of 16 and 60 years of age. There were 32 names.

Constables during Henry VIII's reign included Januar Kyrton in 1525.

The Vicars were 1524 John Hakett, 1547 Hugh Byrdman.

1531 - Protestant reformation began. Mass continued. Candles discouraged. Calendar was still based onthe religious festivals.

1535 - Many churches were whitewashed.

1536 - Dissolution of the monasteries - who owned one third of all the land of England. Land and money flooded in - resulting in a new "Middle Class".

1537 Bear Inn Landlord gives evidence against highwayman

1541 Bear Inn passed to Henry VIII's wives

1547 Priory of St. John dissolved by Henry VIII

1547-1553 Edward VI:

Jan 1547 - Henry VIII died. Edward came to the throne, and the real religious revolution and trauma began.

1548 Chantry of Holy Trinity dissolved

1548 Chantry of Blessed Virgin Mary dissolved

In 1549 the mass was abolished; churches were stripped, and whitewashing more forceful; Maypole dancing stopped. It was the start of "the commotion time". All this took 40 years to change in the countryside.

Francis Elston was Constable in c1550.

The Vicar was 1551–1554 Edward Toogood.

1552 Duchy of Lancaster Survey of Hungerford

1553 - Edward died.

1553 Lady Jane Gray:

1553-1558 Mary I:

- a convinced Catholic

John Lovelacke was Constable in c1556.

The Vicar was 1554–1557 Edward Beckett.

1558-1603 Elizabeth I:

1558 - Mary died. Queen Elizabeth on throne - a Protestant.

- 1573 Survey (Elizabeth I's reign)

The 1591 Survey (Elizabeth I's reign) describes in detail the boundary of the Town and Manor of Hungerford and Sanden Fee. It was taken on 25 May 1591.

Constables during Elizaberth I's reign included: ?John Lovelake in 1565, 1568 Thomas Dolman, 1570 Humfrey Alleyne, 1571 Thomas Hamblyn, 1572 William Butler, 1573 Thomas Seymour, 1580 John Yewell, 1583 Thomas Seymor, 1584 Robert Wayte, 1585 John Doleman, , 1586 Thomas Seymor, 1587 Edward Collins, 1588 Thomas Seymour, 1592 John Fawler, 1593 Philip Seymor, 1594 Humfrey Batte, 1598 John Curr, 1599 Philip Seymor, 1600 John Lucas, 1601 Thomas Carpenter, 1602-04 Robert Field, 1603 Edward Collins.

The Vicars were 1557 Hugh Bidname, 1559–1562 John Clement, 1562- 1591 Edward Brouker, 1591- 1602 William Brouker, 1602- 1641 John Wirrrall.

The following summary of trades and occupations in Elizabethan Hungerford is taken from "Elizabethan Hungerford", 1995 - by kind permission of Julie Shuttleworth. The data are derived from occupations noted in Parish registers.

Food and Drink Trades: (14 of 84=17%)

Baker (1)
Brewer (1)
Butcher (7)
Cook (1)
Fishmonger (1)
Innholder (2)
Miller (1)

Cloth Trades: (36=43%)

Clothier (3)
Clothworker (2)
Dyer (1)
Feltmaker (1)
Fuller (1)
Shearman (3)
Tailor (9)
Weaver (16)

Leather Trades: (18=21%)

Cobbler (1)
Currier (1)
Glover (5)
Shoemaker (9)
Tanner (2)

Building Trades: (8=10%)

Carpenter (1)
Cooper (1)
Joiner (1)
Mason (2)
Plumber (1)
Turner (1)
Wheeler (1)

Metal Trades: (2=2%)

Cutler (1)
Smith (1)

Other: (6=7%)

Barber 1
Draper 1
Farrier 1
Hatter 1
Sawyer 1
Shepherd 1

A man of credit - could be trusted.

Guilds were established - social and religious, especially prior to the Reformation. In many towns, Corporations replaced the guilds in the Tudor period.

Tudor timber-framed buildings often got a "skin of Georgian or Victorian brick" later.

Everything was unsettled in the 1560s.

In 1558, Protestantism was a minority religion. The trappings of the "old faith" were removed - eg altar stones.

1563 - images in churches defaced so no memory remained.

1564 - Plague prevalent.

Wool so important - everybody wore wool, and everybody was buried in a woolen shroud.

Wage: £10 / year for a labourer. A good house cost £30.

Losing credit meant losing trust in you.

1566 Great Fire of Hungerford

1573 The Case of the Missing Charters

1573 Duchy of Lancaster Survey of Hungerford

1573 Second Town Hall built

1591 Duchy of Lancaster Survey of Hungerford

1591 Survey of Manor of Hungerford and Sanden Fee

1592 Queen Elizabeth's coachman died and buried here

1600's Two fairs and three markets annually

1601 Poor Law Act

See also:

Moral life of folk in Tudor Hungerford

- Elizabethan Hungerford

- Georgian Hungerford

- Victorian Hungerford