Earliest information: 1457
Original estate: Abbey of Goring
Common Rights? Yes (frontage 26ft + 8ft = 34ft; 2 horses or 4 cows)
Date of current building: ?late 18th / early 19th century front; c.1920 shop front. Rear shows 17th century origins.
Abbey of Goring -> Henry Capper -> Crown -> Taylor -> Pope -> Pightell -> Huett -> Payne -> Toe -> Thistlethwaite -> "Craven Arms" (Woodroffe Mellis) -> Chivers -> Abbot -> Andrews -> King
Description of property (By Fred Whitby, 1985):
Antique shop and associated offices. Kitchen and bathroom remaining from previous occupation. Formerly Craven Arms public house.
Front elevation: Three stories and basement. Grey brick, header bond. Slate roof. Shop front c.1920 with central doorway. Arched double doorway at north end – access to carriageway. First floor: three equally-spaced 16-paned double-sash vertically sliding windows, recessed with red brick surrounds. Second floor similar, but with 12-paned windows.
Rear elevation: Two stories. Red brick with some timber framing. Tile roof. Style – mixed construction: two extension rearward from main block. South part is single storey, and single pitched roof, continues onto adjoining south property. North part is 1½ storey. Windows are modern wooden casement.
Plan: Cellar: two sections, with trap to carriageway. Ground floor: Large showroom occupies most of main block. Arched passageway leads in from carriageway behind, and meets staircase. Two smaller showrooms behind. First floor: small kitchen over carriageway. Two large rooms adjoining. Landing and passageway lead to bathroom behind kitchen and to showroom at rear. Second floor: three rooms at front in line with those below.
Date: Street front styling suggests late 18th / early 19th century. Roof timbers show evidence of additional storey. Timber framing in rear suggests 17th century origins.
- Roger King Antiques, 111 High Street, Mar 2007
- Buildings around the Craven Arms, 111 High Street, c1871
- The Craven Arms, c1911-12. Fred Ruddle became publican in 1911. In the doorway on the right: probably Fred Ruddle, and his older children Fred and Adela? Are the two men on the left William and Albert Wyatt, publicans before Fred Ruddle? [A Parsons]
- The Craven Arms, c1918 In the doorway: probably publican Fred Ruddle and his eldest son Fred?
- Inside The Craven Arms in the 1920s.
- The Craven Arms, c1924 In the doorway: probably publican Fred Ruddle and his family?
- The Ruddle family, 1924. L to R: Adela, Fred, Mr Fred Ruddle, George, Lily (later Mrs Griffiths), and back right: cousin Dorothy Herne. Fido the dog in front.
- Simplified ground floor plan of 111 High Street
- Principia moves to 111D High Street (not 115 High Street as in the article!)
- Gordon Andrews' Fordson Thames Van.
- The brass standard lamp that used to be at the Craven Arms (kindly sent by Jenny Millard, Feb 2020)
1457 (Norman Hidden) This property is mentioned in the 1457 will of John Yonge as belonging to the Abbess and Convent of Goring (see details of 109/110 HS).
A note on Goring Abbey:
Goring Priory was a medieval monastery of Augustinian Canonesses regular in Oxfordshire, England, established before 1181. When Burnham Abbey was established in 1265/6 by Richard, Earl of Cornwall, an entire community of nuns was sent from Goring. Moreover, Lacock Abbey was founded in Wiltshire in the early 13th century by Ela, Countess of Salisbury and the initial group of nuns took the veil in 1232, the very first of the nuns was Alicia Garinges, who was probably previously a nun of Goring. The seal of Goring Priory depicted the Virgin Mary in the pose of the Seat of Wisdom (Sedes sapientiae), which was a common motif for seals of nunneries in medieval England, though not the majority choice. The motif entails a depiction of the Blessed Virgin seated and facing forward, presenting or holding the Christ Child on her lap.
c.1470 (NH PRO DL43/1/4) Henry Capper held of the Abbey of Goring a half burgage, quit rent 4d. The rental (though not the quit rent) would be a portion of the Abbey's revenues.
1538 (NH) Dissolution of the monasteries (including the Abbey of Goring) by Henry VIII. Property reverted to Crown hands. The site of Goring Abbey was granted 30 Hen. VIII (=1538/9) to Charles, Duke of Suffolk, and 6 years later to Sir Thomas Pope.
- In a survey made for Henry VIII in 1538 the rent roll of the dissolved priory included a rent in Hungerford from Thomas Taylor (Letters and Papers Hen. VIII xiii 1098(3)).
- [A John Taillar appears in the 1522 muster as one of the "King's tenants" in Hungerford. (SC6/23/21)]
- A Rent roll of the late Priory of Goring includes "Hungerford, Co. Berks. of Thos Taylor for the rent of a tenement there paid once a year – 3s 8d. Indenture".
1552 (NH) In 1552 the site is occupied by Robert Pope and with it went 1 acre of land in the common fields "late in the tenure of John Hawes" (PRO DL42/108). In this connection "late" usually refers to some previous list or deed and often goes back several generations. It may do so in this case, for we know that there was a John Hawes who was living in Hungerford in 1485 (PRO C146/5131). [John Hawes was also tenant of a "grove called Hanville" in 1485 (Ancient Deeds, PRO C5131)]
1558 (NH) In 1558 the Crown (to whom the former monastic property now belonged) placed it on the market. The draft particulars for the sale (PRO E318/2161) describe it as "one tenement with backside and 1 acre of land in the common fields of Hungerford, late in the tenure of John Pightell, tenant at will" at an annual rent of 6s 8d.
- 2 Sept. Col. Pat. Rolls, Edward VI – grant to Thomas Reve and Nicholas Pynde of London of various lands, including lands in Hungerford late in the tenure of John Pightell and late of Goring monastery, yearly value 6s 8d.
- "Memo: this is an entire quillet of itself and parcel of no honour nor manor nor any of the ancient demesnes of the Crown nor of the Duchy of Lancaster or Cornwall and is far distant from any of the King's or Queen's Majesties' houses reserved for their highness' access (PRO E318/2161). The word 'quillet' derives from the Latin 'quidlibet', meaning 'what you will', a bit of an oddity, something unusual. Presumably this relates to the property's independent status, as the memo goes on to describe.
- A further note was added to the draft particulars on 28 June 1558, indicating that a sale had been effected to Thomas Huett of Hungerford - payment within 4 days. And another "The clear yearly value of the premises 6s 8d which, rated at 20 years' purchase, amounteth to £613s 4d." And finally, "Sum of £6 13s 4d received by me, John Thompson."
- Thomas Huett was a clerk in Holy Orders. He witnessed and probably drafted the strongly Protestant will of John Clydesdale als Hidden in 1549 (PCC Will John Hidden als Clydesdale 1549 (14 Coode)). He may have been the parish clerk or possibly a priest of the neighbouring parish of Froxfield. He seems to have re-sold the property before his death in 1578, probably adding to it an additional 6 acres of land which he held separately.
1573 (NH) The site was occupied in 1573 by Robert Payne together with 7 acres of land "late purchased of Thomas Huett, clerk" (Berks RO H/M5). In 1573 (Berks RO HM5/1) the 7 acres are distributed as follows:- In Westbrooke 3 ½ acres; in Middlefield 1 acre; in Pidden 3 ½ acres (sic!). This gives a total of 8 acres (if I have transcribed correctly!). The 1 acre in Middlefield may be that which originally went with the property, but not necessarily so. The quit rent remained at 4d., since the additional 6 acres were not an ancient appurtenance of the property.
1591 (NH) Robert Payne was still holding it in 1591 (PRO DL42/117).
Toe family, c1607- c1734:
1607 (NH) "Old Robert Payne" was buried 11 May 1607, and James Toe held the property from that time or earlier until his own death in 1619 (Hungerford Parish Register 1559-1619, transcribed by N & J Hidden). Since Toe's name appears on the 1606 survey (Berks RO HM5/5) it would appear that he had superseded Payne before the latter's death. James Toe had been admitted husbandman by the Hocktide Court of 1596. In 1620 John Toe paid his entry fine to the Court and was admitted.
1619 (NH) James Toe left a PCC will dated 12 April 1619, in which he describes himself as husbandman. He leaves to his wife Joan the use and occupation of the house in which he dwells. To his daughter Mary he bequeaths "all that room or chamber wherein I now lie, being on the south side of my new dwelling house in Hungerford" to take effect after the decease of his wife Joan for a period of 21 years at a rent of 1d. to my heirs "if it be lawfully demanded". The existence of a separate living-room / bedroom on the south side may be noted in relation to the Buildings Group's sketch (see below). All his lands in Hungerford were to go to his son John.
- The Toe family were to remain associated with the property for over one hundred years, a respectable family of moderate or average means who provided various of their members as town Constable: Thomas (1646), John (1657), a second John (1679), and yet others (1701, 1737, 1759).
- (NH) James Toe was succeeded in the ownership of the property by his son John Toe, collarmaker.
1619-75 (NH) The Hocktide Court Book provides year by year evidence of the continuity of John Toe's freeholding until his death in 1675 (Berks RO H/AH/1).
1675 (NH) John Toe died – estate split between John Toe II (died 1686) and Joseph Toe(see 1676 Will of John Toe, yeoman).
1676 (NH) The quit rent roll of 1676 lists John Toe as liable for payment of a quit rent of 4d., but this is John Toe II who was the executor and residual beneficiary of his father's will (Berks RO H/FR1). The will included a bequest to his other son Joseph of a half part of such "household goods as are within my dwelling house". It seems probable, therefore, that Joseph may have continued to live in the house with his brother, perhaps occupying one or two rooms of it.
1676 (NH) Will of John Toe, yeoman.
See Inventory of John Toe the Elder, 1675
1686 (NH) John Toe II died in 1686 and an inventory taken at the time of his death specifically refers to the half portion of household goods which belonged to Joseph (Wilts RO Dean of Sarum Inventory John Toe 1686). John II left two sons, John Toe III and Thomas, and of these John Toe III seems to have continued in possession until his death in 1705. The property may then have passed to his brother Thomas, for a Thomas Toe has taken John's place as a freesuitor in the Hocktide Court Book for 1710 (Berks RO H/AH/1). Alternatively, this Thomas may have been a son (or other relation ) of John's, though I have been unable to trace a baptism for him in the Parish Register. Whatever the case - and the genealogy at this point is obscure - the property remained within the Toe family.
- The deaths of John Toe I in 1675 and of John Toe II in 1686 were followed by an inventory of their goods taken for probate purposes (Wilts RO: Dean of Sarum Inventories, John Toe 1676 & 1686). These inventories become invaluable when looked at against the plans of 111 High Street drawn by the Hungerford Buildings group. In the inventories the goods of the deceased are listed room by room. In 1675 the rooms are: a chamber over the Buttery, the Buttery, the Hall, a chamber over the Kitchen, a chamber over the Hall, the Cellar, And in 1686 they comprise: the Great Chamber, the Shop chamber, the Kitchen chamber, the Gatehouse chamber, a little room next to the shop, the Hall, the Kitchen.
- The 1686 list of rooms in particular would seem to a layman such as myself to fit extremely well with a 17th century version of the plan and sketches made by the Buildings group. The 'chambers' are, of course, the upper floor rooms. Compared with 1675 there are some notable changes: (1) a gatehouse chamber has come into being, built over the covered entrance way and passage. Its original construction may thus be dated as between 1675 and 1686. (2) a shop is mentioned implicitly in 1686 by reference to a chamber above it. A shop was more likely to be a workshop than a retail trader's outlet, though in practice, of course, it tended to be both. We know John Toe's trade was that of a collar maker (Berks RO HZ/Q4) as was his brother. Since the shop itself was not mentioned, this probably was because the goods in it belonged not to John but to Joseph, for it was only the deceased's property which had to be inventoried and if a room does not contain any of the deceased's goods it is not listed. Nil returns were not required. (3) the lack of reference to a shop or a chamber over the shop in 1675 is paralleled by a reference instead to a buttery and a chamber over the buttery, neither of which exist in 1686. Nor does the cellar, mentioned in 1675, appear in 1686. It is possible,therefore, that a certain amount of reconstruction or adaptation took place following old John's death, as the two sons adapted the premises to in corporate a different set of requirements, either trade or domestic.
1686 (NH) John Toe III, mercer (died 1705)
1686 (NH) Bond and inventory refer to "shop", "gatehouse" etc (see below).
1686 See Inventory of John Toe
- There are other wills and inventories of the Toe family, but I have confined myself to the two given above, the Toes being a numerous family, spreading into several branches, many of them named John or Thomas or Joseph and marrying wives named Jane or Elizabeth, so that errors of identity may easily arise. I think I should, however, mention Joseph Toe (born 1653), collar-maker, in 1686 but described as innholder in 1734. He died an old man in 1737/8 (Hungerford Parish Register Burials 25 Feb 1737/8) outliving his eldest son (also named Joseph) (Wilts RO Dean of Sarum Will: Joseph Toe, 1734). It is possible in view of the later use of the building as The Craven Arms that the building was already being used as an inn by Joseph and perhaps even earlier. However, further substantiation is needed.
1686 John Toe was buried 1686; Thomas Toe in June 1730. Another John Toe died 1705; he left a widow Sarah (nee Butler). In his will he describes himself as mercer. Alexander Thistlethwayte is witness to his will, and James Butler is an executor.
1695 (NH) Bond of widow of Thomas Toe in presence of Alexander Thistlethwayte and inventory of premises (qv)
1680-1700 inc (NH HCB) John Toe is a freesuitor up to and including 1700.
1705 (NH) Thomas Toe (brother of John III).
1705 (NH) Will of John Toe (qv)
1710 (NH HCB) Thomas Toe is a freesuitor between 1710 and 1712, but after 1712 and until 1729 the Commoners Lists disappear and when they are resumed in 1729 his name is not there, nor is it possible (so confused are the lists at this time) to determine who might have been his successor.
1717 Alexander Thistlethwayte gent took out a Sun Fire Insurance policy on his house "now in the possession of Caleb West and Thomas Toe". Alexander Thistlethwayte was Steward of the Manor of Hungerford from 1698 until 1712. He died in 1732, aged 62 years.
1731 (NH) In 1731, Sarah Toe left a will in which she empowered Thomas Butler of Hungerford ironmonger, to sell her land. Her husband John had left James Butler to handle his estate in trust for Sarah, including his shop.
The Craven Arms, c1734-1929:
1734 (NH) Will of Joseph Toe, described as "inn-holder" died 1737 (outliving his eldest son Joseph).
1753-61 (QR) Mr Alexander Thistlewayte, attorney, for his house late Toe's, q.r. 4d. The Toe's circumstances seem to have declined in the early 18th century and the property passed to Alexander Thistlethwayte, a local attorney. It is recorded in the 1753 quit rent roll as "Mr. Alexander Thistlethwayte's, late Toe's." (Berks RO: H/FR2,3,4,5).
1768 (NH) Berks Poll Book: Anthony Woodroffe freeholder of messuage in Hungerford, occupied by himself.
1774-90 (QR) James [amended to] Anthony Woodroffe "for the Lord Craven Arms", q.r. 4d. Thistlethwayte disappears from the next quit rent roll in 1774, being replaced by Anthony Woodroffe "for the Lord Craven Arms, quit rent 4d.".
The name "Craven Arms" is clearly taken from the Craven family of Hamstead Marshall. The first and most eminent of these was the 1st Earl who died in 1697. Lord William Craven was appointed to the office of Steward of the Faircross and Kintbury Eagle Hundreds in 1730, and he was succeeded by Fulwar Craven, the 4th Baron Craven, who was appointed in 1759, dying in 1769. It may have been this latter in whose honour the inn was named. The name occurs in the 1774 quit rent roll, and thereafter.
1777 (NH CL) Thomas Barley, occ "for the Lord Craven Arms"
1781 (CL) Thomas Barley
1786 (NH CL) Thomas Barley. ?Woodroffe owned the property, but leased it to Thomas Barley?
1795-1804 (QR) Anthony Woodroffe for Lord Craven's Arms, q.r. 4d. Woodroffe's name also appears in the 1795 quit rent roll, to be replaced in 1805 and onwards by William Mellis. (Berks RO: H/FR2,3,4,5). At the same time the Commoners' Lists give the name of Thomas Barley as early at least as 1777 and still in possession in 1781 and 1786 (Berks RO: H/AH/1). It is likely that Woodroffe leased the premises to Barley - whose name most appropriately suggests the trade of publican.
1805-17 (QR) Anthony Woodroffe (amended to William Mellis) for Lord Craven's Arms, q.r. 4d.
1807 (CL) Thomas Barley
1817 Pew Rent Book for Parish Church has entry 57: To William Mellis for his house called the Craven Arms Inn now in his occupation. (Usual rent 3-4s p.a.). [Note there was a Pew Rent Act in 1817, 51 George III]
1818-23 (QR) William Mellis for Lord Craven Arms, q.r. 4d.
1819 (EA) "Craven Arms".
1832 (QR) William Mellis for Lord Craven Arms, q.r. 4d.
1836 (QR) William Mellis for Lord Craven's Arms Inn, q.r. 4d.
1840 (NH Berks RO D/Elm T8) Lease of Craven Arms – William Millis of Charnham Street to William Toms and John Matthews, brewers of Hungerford, for 21 years, now in occupation of Richard Palmer and including the right to go with a horse through the passage on the north side, ingress and egress subject to the right of William Atherton of the adjoining messuage.
1841 (CS) William Angell (40) Publican.
1843 (CL) Craven Arms - John Frampton.
1844 (PD) Craven Arms - John Frampton.
1847 (NH) Tithe Award: William Millis.
1847 (KD) Craven Arms - Henry Salt.
1847 (CL) Henry William Salt (own and occ)
1851 (CS) Catherine Windsor (unmarried) (57), innkeeper; Mary Luker (sister) (56), Farmer's wife; Mary Hunt (18) Domestic servant.
1861 (CL) John Platt (own) - William Elliott (occ)
1861 (CS) - William Elliott - Innkeeper "Craven Arms" & Ginger Beer factory.
1864 (BD) Craven Arms - Catherine Windsor.
1869 (PO) Craven Arms - Henry Johnson.
1869 (Kelly) Craven Arms - Henry Johnson.
1871 (CS) - Henry Johnson.
1878-1880 Enos Price was landlord Sep 1878 - Jun 1880. For much more on Enos Price, see under Family History / Price Family. [Information kindly supplied by Jim Wildhaber]
1881 (CS) - Henry Andrews.
1891 (KD) Craven Arms - Henry Andrews.
1896 (CL) Craven Arms - South Berks Brewery Co (owners), William Winkworth (occ), known to be have been a shopkeeper in Newtown in 1891.
1895 (Kelly) Craven Arms - James Thomas Bowley.
1900 (Cosburn's Dir) T Froude
1902 (T&M Register) South Berks Brewery Co Ltd (owners)
1903 (KD) ? behind pub - coffee rooms by James Collins.
1903 (T&M Register) William Winkworth (occupier until 1904)
1905 (T&M Register) John Watson (occupier)
1906 (Mrs. May Marks, Ramsbury) Mr & Mrs Wyatt and daughter "May" (aged 7-12yrs) occupants. Beer 1d per pint (or half penny if consumed off property).
1906 (T&M Register) Albert Andrew Wyatt (occupier until ?1911)
1911 (CS) Albert Wyatt (41), Licensed Victualler, Ann Wyatt (wife, 43), Mable (daughter, 11), William Wyatt (father, widower, 64). (Click here to see census entry, kindly sent by descendant, Sue Wheeler, Feb 2013)
1911 (Mrs. Lily Griffiths (nee Ruddle)) Mr. & Mrs. Frederick Ernest Ruddle, 4 ch., Fred, Adela, George, & Lily
1911 (T&M register) Frederick Ernest Ruddle (occupier until ?1929)
1914 (CL) South Berks Brewery (own); Frederick Ernest Ruddle (occ)
1915 (Kelly Dir) Fred Ernest Ruddle.
1922 (Mrs. Lily Griffiths (nee Ruddle)) Mrs. Ruddle died, Lily the youngest 5yrs., Mr. Ruddle's niece came to live & 'nanny' - Dorothy Herne.
1924 (Kelly) Frederick Ernest Ruddle
1929 (Mrs. Lily Griffiths (nee Ruddle)) Craven Arms closed by Town & Manor, chiefly Mr. Platt, because too many pubs in Hungerford! Mr. Ruddle & daughter Lily moved to 1 Northview, Lily m. 1940 Mr. Griffiths.
Jenny Millard kindly emailed (Feb 2020) to say that in 1969 Lily and Len Griffiths (who were then at North View, Hungerford) gave her a brass lamps (shown in the Photo Gallery). "It was in the form of a standard lamp, originally an oil lamp which had been converted at some point to electricity. The glass globe is missing. Lily Griffiths said lamp was resident in the Craven Arms pub for some years". She added "I also read that in the basement of 111 High Street a petrol tank and two windows bearing the name Craven Arm were discovered."
Sweetshop and confectionery, c1929-1950:
1929 (T&M Register) Herbert Willie Chivers (occupier until ?1934).
1930 (Mrs. Lily Griffiths (nee Ruddle)) Mr. Chivers, sweetshop
c.1932 (QR #24) Mr. Chivers, for "Formerly Craven Arms late Mellis' then H.W. Salt", q.r. 4d.
1934 (T&M Register) Arthur Wellesley Abbott (owner & occupier until ?1945)
1939 (BL) A.W. Abbott, tobacconist and confectioner
1945 (T&M Register) Leslie A Whiscombe (owner & occupier)
Allnatt, sweetshop, c1950-c1962:
1952 (CL) Angus Christopher Allnatt, sweetshop (occ). Callander & Bowsers Ltd. (owners).
1956 (CL) Angus Christopher Allnatt
The Rubens painting "The Adoration of the Magi":
The father of Angus Allnatt, Major A E Allnatt, gave the famous Rubens painting "The Adoration of the Magi" (1634) to King's College Cambridge in 1961. Major Alfred Ernest Allnatt, was a British millionaire, well known as a sporting man, owning many racehorses, a benefactor and a patron of the arts.
The painting (4.2 by 3.2 metres, on wood) was originally made for a nunnery in Leuven, Belgium (now a hotel).
In 1959 Major Allnatt bought the painting from the estate of the Duke of Westminster for a record £275,000. In 1961 he presented it to King's College Chapel, Cambridge. It was subsequently transferred by Deed of Gift to King's College in November 1961 and placed on permanent display in 1968 behind the altar in the east end of the Chapel. The painting was estimated to be worth $2,400,000 in 1974, when it was damaged by vandals who scratched "IRA" in 2-foot-high letters across the front.
There is some controversy about the position given to the painting, and the changes made to the 15th century Chapel in order to accommodate it.
Andrews, Electrical, c1962-1972:
1963 (CL) Gordon Leonard Stewart Andrews - electrical. He moved from 44 High Street. See photo of his Fordson Thames van in the Photo Gallery.
Undated (T&M Register) Gordon Leonard Stewart Andrews (owner & occupier <1968 until 1972)
1968 (CL) Gordon Leonard Stewart Andrews
1970 (CL) Gordon Leonard Stewart Andrews
King, Electrical, then Antiques, 1972-present:
1972 Roger King - electrical retailer. In the cellar was a large petrol tank, and two frosted windows engraved "Craven Arms".
1973 (T&M Register) Roger Francis King & Annabel Mary King (owners & occupier)
1976 (CL) Roger Francis King
1978 Roger King - antiques
1983 (CL) Roger Francis King
1984 (CL) Roger Francis King
1985 (CL) Roger Francis King
1988 Roger King Antiques (R & A King) "A large and varied stock of mainly 19th century furniture specialising in chest of drawers, dining and occasional tables and sets of chairs. Picture and small items also available".
2000 (CL) Roger Francis King
2005 (CL) Roger Francis King
2011 (CL) Roger Francis King
2016 (CL) Roger Francis King
From "The History of a Hungerford House", by Norman Hidden:
(also published in Berkshire Old and New, No 5, 1988):
The account of the Hungerford High Street Buildings Project featured in the 1986 issue of the journal focussed on No 111 as an example of the work done by the Building Group of the local Historical Association. It illustrated some of the inevitable problems, in particular the dating of the building. The Group's report suggested that, although stylistically the street front of the property belonged to the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century, the timber framing at the rear indicated this part of the building might be seventeenth century in origin. However, they had not traced the history of the building from documentary sources earlier than 1781 and so, of course, could not substantiate this.
Through a study of the descent of burgage plots, which for some seven or eight hundred years have constituted the sites of Hungerford High Street, it is possible to add to the earlier history of a house on the site of No 111, thus making it clear that a seventeenth century origin (or even earlier) is indeed a possibility.
The earliest list extant of burgage tenures in Hungerford can be dated, from internal evidence, as c1470. This, and subsequent lists, were almost invariably drawn up in a particular topographical order, beginning on one side of the street, continuing to its end, then reversing down the other side. Broadly speaking, the order in which a site appears (together with its distinctive quit rent) enables one, other evidence being lacking, to identify the same site through the centuries until quite modern times.
In c1470 Henry Capper held of the Abbey of Goring a half burgage site for which he paid to the Duchy of Lancaster as lord of the manor a distinctive quit rent of 4d per annum (Duchy of Lancaster, Rentals and Surveys. PRO DL43/1/4.1). To the Abbey, however, he would pay the normal economic rent of the time, which thus became a regular part of the Abbey's income. When the Abbey was dissolved by Henry VIII its property was taken over by the Crown, and a survey of the Abbey's rentals made for the King in 1538 includes a rent in Hungerford from Thomas Taylor, who would thus seem to be the tenant at that date (Calendar of Letters and Papers, Henry VIII. xiii 1098 (3)2).
By 1552 the tenement was occupied by Robert Pope, who leased it with one acre of land in the common fields from the Crown. The property was said to have been 'late in the tenure of John Hawes' (Duchy of Lancaster Miscellaneous Books. PRO DL42/108). In this context 'late' usually refers to some previous list or deed and often goes back several generations. It may do so in this case, since we know from an ancient deed in the Public Record Office that there was a John Hawes living in Hungerford in 1485 (Ancient Deeds, Series C. PRO C146/5131).
In 1558 the Crown placed the property on the market, draft particulars for the sale describe it as 'one tenement backside and one acre of land in the common fields of Hungerford, late in the tenure of John Pightell, tenant at will' at an annual rent of 6s 8d. A memo adds 'this is an entire quillet of itself and parcel of no honour nor manor nor any of the ancient demesnes of the Crown nor of the Duchy of Lancaster or Cornwall and is far distant from any of the King's or Queen's Majesties' houses reserved for their highness' access' (Augmentations Office, Particulars for Grants. PRO E318/2161). The word 'quillet' derives from the Latin 'quidlibet' meaning 'what you will', a bit of an oddity, something unusual. Presumably this relates to the property's independent status.
A further note was added to the draft particulars on 28th June, 1558 indicating that a sale had been effected to Thomas Huett of Hungerford - 'payment within four days'. Another note stated 'the clear yearly value of the premises 6s 8d which, rated at 20 years' purchase, amounteth to £6 13s 4d'. Finally there was the record 'sum of £6 13s 4d received by me John Thompson'.
Thomas Huett was a clerk in Holy Orders. He witnessed and probably drafted the strongly Protestant will of John Clydesdale alias Hidden in 1549 (Will of John Hidden alias Clydesdale 1549. PRO Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Will Registers. PROB 11/33, ff. 109-110), and may have been the parish clerk or possibly curate. He seems to have added six acres of land to the property before he sold it to Robert Payne in 1573 (Survey of the Manor of Hungerford 1573. Berks RO Hungerford Borough Records H/M5.).
The latter was still holding it in 1591 (Duchy of Lancaster Miscellaneous Books. PRO DL42/117). 'Old Robert Payne' was buried in 1607 and from this date, or earlier, the premises were held by James Toe until his death in 1619 (Hungerford Parish Register 1559-1619. Transcribed by N. & J. Hidden (copy in the BRO, ref: T/R73)).
The will of James Toe is extant. In it he describes himself as a husbandman and leaves the use and occupation of the house in which he dwells to his wife, Joan. To his daughter, Mary, he bequeaths 'all that room or chamber 1 now lie in, being on the south side of my now dwelling house in Hungerford', to take effect after the decease of his wife, Joan, for a period of twenty one years at a token rent (Will of James Toe 1619. PRO Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Will Registers. PROB 11/133, f. 560). The existence of a separate living room/bedroom on the south side may be noted in relation to the plan of the ground floor.
The Toe family were to remain associated with the property for over a hundred years. They were a respectable family of moderate or average means, several members of which became the town's Constable: Thomas (1646), John (1657), a second John (1679) and others in 1701, 1737 and 1759.
James Toe was succeeded in the ownership of the property by his son, John, who, according to the evidence of the borough's Hocktide Court Book, held the property freehold until his death in 1675 (Hungerford Hock-tide Court Book 1582-1777. BRO Hungerford Borough Records H/AH1).
The quit rent roll of 1676 lists a John Toe as liable for payment of 4d, but this is John Toe II who was the executor and residual beneficiary of his father's will (Hungerford Quit-rent Roll 1676. Records H/FR1).
The will included a bequest to his other son, Joseph, of a half part of such 'household goods as are within my dwelling house'. This suggests that he probably continued to live in the house with his brother, perhaps occupying one or two rooms in it. An inventory taken at the time of the death of John Toe II in 1686 would seem to confirm this, for it refers specifically to the half portion of household goods which belonged to Joseph (Probate Inventory of John Toe 1686. Wiltshire Record Office, records of the Court of Dean Sarum).
Probate inventories taken at the time of the deaths of both John Toe I and II assume a particular importance when considered in conjunction with the plans of 111 High Street drawn by the Buildings Group. The appraisers, who compiled the inventories, listed the goods of the deceased room by room. In 1675 the rooms were:
Hall, Chamber over the Hall,
Kitchen, Chamber over the Kitchen,
Buttery, Chamber over the Buttery
In 1686 they comprised:
Hall, Great Chamber,
Kitchen, Kitchen Chamber,
Little room next to the Shop, Shop Chamber
(Probate Inventories of John Toe 1676 & 1686, Wiltshire RO, records of the Court of Dean Sarum).
The 1686 list of rooms in particular would seem to fit reasonably well with the house plan, but compared with the earlier inventory there had been some notable changes. A gatehouse has come into being, built over the covered entrance way and passage. Its original construction may thus date between 1675 and 1686. A shop is mentioned implicitly in 1686 by reference to the chamber above it. At this date a shop was more likely to be a workshop than a retail trader's outlet, though in practice, of course, it tended to be both. We know that John Toe II and his brother Joseph were both collarmakers and may assume that they were partners (Bond for the payment of money left in trust for loans to help poor tradesmen of the town 1683. Hungerford Borough Records H/Z/Q4).
That the shop was not mentioned in the inventory may have been because the goods in it were treated as Joseph's; for only the deceased's property was required to be listed in the inventory, and if a room did not contain any of his goods it would not be mentioned. Nil returns were not required! The buttery (and chamber above it) of 1675 seems to have been replaced by the shop and the chamber above the shop in 1686. The cellar is also omitted from the later inventory. It would thus seem possible that a certain amount of reconstruction or alteration took place after old John's death as the two brothers adapted the premises to incorporate a different set of requirements, either trade or domestic.
John Toe left two sons, John Toe III and Thomas, the former of whom certainly continued in possession, though as a mercer, until his death in 17U5. The property may then have passed to his brother Thomas, for by 1710 a Thomas Toe had taken John's place in the Hocktide Court Book (Hungerford Hock-tide Court Book 1582-1777. BRO Hungerford Borough Records H/AH1). Joseph Toe died an old man in 1737, outliving his eldest son, also named Joseph (Hungerford Parish Register 1732-1737 (burial on 25th February 1737/8 - BRO Hungerford Parish Records D/P 71/1/3.17).
The Toe family circumstances seem to have declined soon after this and the property passed to Mr Alexander Thistlethwayte, a local attorney. In 1755 it was recorded in the quit rent roll as 'Mr Alexander Thistlewayte's, late Toe's' (18). Thistlewayte's name disappears from the next quit rent roll of 1774, to be replaced by 'Anthony Woodroffe, for the Lord Craven Arms, quit rent 4d'. Woodroffe's name also appears in the 1795 roll, but is replaced in 1805 by that of William Meilis (Hungerford Quit Rent Rolls 1753-1805. Berks RO H/FR 2,3,4,5). The Commoners' Lists of the same period, however, give the name of Thomas Barley as occupier in 1777, 1781 and 1786 (Hungerford Hocktide Court Book 1582-1777 - Berks RO H/AH1). It thus seems likely that Woodroffe owned the property, but leased it to Barley - whose name most appropriately suggests the trade of a publican!
A good deal of work remains to be done in searching for other eighteenth century documents to fill in further details of the history of this building, but the above short account will, I hope, snow the value of documentary search in depth for those engaged on the detailed physical survey of a building. Used by themselves, both documentary and field work may leave unanswered questions. Used in conjunction, however, some of the questions may become easier to answer, and answers which otherwise might have to be left as hypotheses may be given firm support.
Norman Hidden, 1988