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The West Berks Association was formed in 1835.

Its aim was "for the protection of property and the Prosecution of Felons".

The Rules:

The book of Rules and Regulations (kindly given by the Tubb family in 2015) is held in the HHA Archives.

The rules were very detailed, but include:

The founding members were restricted to an area of 12 miles around Hungerford. They included Stephen Major, Benjamin Alexander, Mr Alexander, Thomas Langford, Henry Neate, William Toms, George Earle, John Purdue, Letitia Washbourne, Mr Barnes, Mr Viner, Mr Matthews, John Milligan, Thomas Hulbert, all of Hungerford, as well as others from Kintbury, Titcomb, Weston, Chaddleworth and Enborne.

Each member paid a subscription of one guinea per year. The Association could maintain a fund for offering rewards and apprehending, prosecuting and puniching those found guilty of spcified crimes commitee against any member. A minimum of £50 would be held by the Treasurer.

An annual meeting was held each November, "near the full moon", at The Bear Inn, Hungerford, alwasy at 2 o'clock. Attendence was compulsory (except for lady members), on penalty of a fine of 2s 6d for non-attendance (unless in the event of illness certified by his Medical Attendant).

Officers (President, Secretary and Treasurer were appointed, along with a committee, and the Associations solicitor.

All transactions were to be recorded in a book, available to all members to inspect.

An "ordinary" dinner was to be served at precisely 4 o'clock, by which time all business had to have been completed. The bill was to be shared equally by all present - paid at 8 o'clock.

Any member "tending to disturb the harmony" of the meetings could be fined up to 20 shillings by the Chairman.

The Rewards:

 1. Murder of any member, his wife or child: £20

2. Attempted murder by poisoning, drowning, suffocating or strangling, shooting etc: £20

3. Robbery from the person: £20

4. Larceny, attempted robbery: £10

5. Setting fire to house, outhouse, stack of corn etc: £20

6. Setting fire to a crop, or wood etc: £10

7. Burglary to the value of £10: £20

8. Breaking and entering house, sho, warehouse etc: £10

9. Stealing or killing a horse, cow, pig, lamb etc: £10

10. Killing, maiming or wounding cattle: £10

11. Bribary etc: £10

12. Sending threatening letters: £10

13. Stealing corn, grain, pulses etc: £5

14. Stealing poultry: £5

15. Breaking or destroying a thrashing machine: £5

16.Stealing any metal parts of a machine or "implement of husbandry": £2

17. Receiving stolen property: £5

18. Maliciously cutting, barking, breaking, rooting up any tree , sapling shrub or underwood, damage under £1: £5

19. Damaging a fence, pale, stile or gate: £3

20. Stealing or damaging a plant, root, fruit, orchard, hothouse or conservatory: £3

21. Maliciously cutting, barking, breaking, rooting up any tree , sapling shrub or underwood, damage over 1 shilling: £2

22. Stealing straw: £1

23: Stealing turnips, potatoes, grass or seed: £1

24. Stealing dog, beast or bird: £1

25. Damaging glass windows, garden frames, hothouses etc: £1

26. Any other offence "of the degree of felony": £5

27. Any other offence "of the degree of larceny": £2

28. Pulling down the Association's handbills: £1

It seems that the Assocation ran for at least ten years, the last Annual Meeting taking place on 29 Nov 1844. There is a brief record of an adjourned meeting (because of low attendance) on 18 Apr 1848.

Perhaps the newly formed police force had reduced the need for such a group.

See also:

- The West Berks Association Book of Rules and Regulations, with AGM Minutes and Accounts (36Mb pdf).

- West Berks Association poster advertising reward of £6 for finding the thief who stiole seven turkies from Anville Farm, Dec 1835