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The Reading Mercury was first published in 1723, and it is a rich source of information on 18th and 19th century Hungerford.

Many extracts from the Reading Mercury can be found scattered through the relevant articles in the Virtual Museum, but this section of the museum brings together a number of extracts from the paper, including advertisements and short articles, many of which were transcribed by Eric and Eileen Bunt.

Photo Gallery:

1800 Reading Mercury Estate Sale 27 Jan
1800 Reading Mercury Estate Sale 27 Jan

Sale of Freehold Estate at Hungerford, 27 Jan 1800:

1800 Reading Mercury Footpads
1800 Reading Mercury Footpads

Footpads near Rudge, 16 Jun 1800

1800 Reading Mercury Kennet Navigation
1800 Reading Mercury Kennet Navigation

River Kennet Navigation tolls, and Opening of Kennet & Avon Canal to Great Bedwyn, 10 Nov 1800

1800 Reading Mercury Lost Geldings
1800 Reading Mercury Lost Geldings

Three lost Geldings, 29 May 1800

1800 Reading Mercury Sale 3 Mar
1800 Reading Mercury Sale 3 Mar

Sale of Timber at Hungerford, 3 Mar 1800

1800 Reading Mercury Sale 27 Jan
1800 Reading Mercury Sale 27 Jan

Sale of Stock, Furniture and Effects at Hungerford, 27 Jan 1800

1800 Reading Mercury Sale of Barrett's Shop
1800 Reading Mercury Sale of Barrett's Shop

Sale of Stephen Barrett's Shop, 17 Nov 1800

1800 Reading Mercury Sale of Linen
1800 Reading Mercury Sale of Linen

Sale of Linen, 29 Dec 1800

1824 Reading Mercury Earle's Sale
1824 Reading Mercury Earle's Sale

Sale of George Earle's House, 31 May 1824

1824 Reading Mercury Honey Furlong
1824 Reading Mercury Honey Furlong

Lease of Honey Furlong etc, 6 Sep 1824

1825 Reading Mercury Sale of Tanyard
1825 Reading Mercury Sale of Tanyard

Sale of The Tanyard, 21 Feb 1825

1825 Reading Mercury Theft from John Gibbs
1825 Reading Mercury Theft from John Gibbs

Theft from John Gibbs, 21 Feb 1825

1834 Reading Mercury Grocer's Shop
1834 Reading Mercury Grocer's Shop

Sale of Grocer's Shop, High Street, 7 Jul 1834

1834 Reading Mercury Sheer Hogs
1834 Reading Mercury Sheer Hogs

Sale of 32 Cotswold Rams, 23 Jun 1834

1834 Reading Mercury Stock sale at Anvilles
1834 Reading Mercury Stock sale at Anvilles

Sale of Stock at Anvilles, 23 Jun 1834

1835 Reading Mercury Carpenter's Premises
1835 Reading Mercury Carpenter's Premises

Sale of Carpenter's Premises and Honey Furlong, 20 Jul 1834

1835 Reading Mercury Penny Postman and Tubb funeral
1835 Reading Mercury Penny Postman and Tubb funeral

Penny the Postman's Accident, and George Tubb's funeral, 25 Jan 1840

1840 Reading Mercury Felling Port Down Trees
1840 Reading Mercury Felling Port Down Trees

Felling of Trees on Common Port Down, 14 Mar 1840

1840 Reading Mercury Workhouse Drapers' Contract
1840 Reading Mercury Workhouse Drapers' Contract

Advert for Drapers to supply the Workhouse, 14 Mar 1840

- Sale of Freehold Estate at Hungerford, 27th January 1800.

- Sale of Stock, Furniture and Effects at Hungerford, 27th January 1800.

- Sale of Timber at Hungerford, 3rd March 1800.

- Three lost Geldings, 29th May 1800.

- Footpads near Rudge, 16th June 1800.

- River Kennet Navigation tolls, and Opening of Kennet & Avon Canal to Great Bedwyn, 10th November 1800.

- Sale of Stephen Barrett's Shop 17th November 1800.

- Sale of Linen 29th December 1800.

- Sale of George Earle's House 31st May 1824.

- Lease of Honey Furlong etc 6th September 1824.

- Theft from John Gibbs 21th February 1825.

- Sale of The Tanyard 21th February 1825.

- Sale of Stock at Anvilles 23rd June 1834.

- Sale of 32 Cotswold Rams 23rd June 1834.

- Sale of Grocer's Shop, High Street 7th July 1834.

- Sale of Carpenter's Premises and Honey Furlong, 20th July 1834.

- Penny the Postman's Accident, and George Tubb's funeral 25th January 1840.

- Felling of Trees on Common Port Down 14th March 1840.

- Advert for Drapers to supply the Workhouse 14th Marth 1840.

Extracts in chronological order:

2 Jul 1798 - List of Voluntary Subscriptions "for the Defence of the Country" (See also Berkshire Yeomanry)

6 Aug 1798 - Hungerford Volunteer Association. John Pearce to be Captain-Commandant. Francis Lovelock, gent, to be Lieutenant, James Hall, gent, to be Cornet. (See also Berkshire Yeomanry)

6 Aug 1798 - Advertisement for the sale of contents of a shop of a local surgeon: "To the Faculty: To be sold, at Hungerford, Berks, at a fair valuation, the contents of a shop of a medical gentleman, lately deceased (probably Edward Duke, Surgeon, buried 31 Jul 1797) it consists of a number of useful articles well worthy of attention of one of the Profession, some Drugs, and a good Still, with warm &c. Letters, post-paid, addressed to O.L. to be left at the Post Office, Hungerford, will be duly answered. ..... part of the House to be lett, ready-furnished".

17 Sep 1798 - Phoenix Fire Office. Agent for Hungerford: Mr John Banister. (See also Fire-marks)

17 Sep 1798 - Royal Exchange Assurance Office: Agent for Hungerford: James Hall. (See also Fire-marks)

8 Oct 1798 - Berkshire Game Duty: Hungerford: Thomas Banbury, James Hall, Francis Kilvert, John Lidderdale, Esq, Thomas Pike, George Story, Jun, Esq.

13 Jan 1800 - Mrs Wheeler's School: "Hungerford. Mrs Wheeler returns her grateful acknowledgements to the friends and the public. Her school opens on Monday January 20th." (See also Mrs Wheeler's School)

13 Jan 1800 - Sale of the Hungerford to Leckford Turnpike licence: "To be Sold for £400: The principal Sum of £480 secured by mortgage of the Tolls, arising from the Turnpike Road leading from Hungerford in the county of Berks to Leckford, otherwise Soudley Water, in the county of Wilts; Also the sum of £109 7s due on the 21st December 1799, for interest of the said sum of £480.
The Tolls (exclusive of the expences of collecting) amount annually to the sum of £80, and the whole principal debt on the road amounts only to £986.
The Vendor for the last four years has received £36 9s per annum; and there is every reason to believe that a purchaser would for the above sum of £400 receive for the Nine succeeding years the annual sum of £36 9s at which time the arrear of interest would be liquidated, and the purchaser will receive 5 per cent for the said principle sum of £486 till the same is paid off.
For the particulars apply to Messrs Hall and Ryley, Attornies, Hungerford.
(See also Turnpike Trusts)

20 Jan 1800 - "The Grammar-School at Hungerford, Berks, will be opened again on Monday the 20th instant, where young gentlemen will be boarded and properly instructed in penmanship, the classicks, mathematics &c on moderate terms by W Francis and Assistants." (See also Free Grammar School)

27 Jan 1800 - Sale of Freehold Estate at Hungerford:

"Freehold Estate at Hungerford, Berks.
B Joseph Faulknor,
At the Black Bear Inn, on Wednesday next the 29th instant, on One Lot,
TENEMENT and GARDEN adjoining, situate near
the Wharf, in Hungerford aforesaid, with an extensive
Right of Common for two horses or four cows upon the Down and other commonable places there;
now in the tenure or occupation of
Mr William Dubler (?Dubber), and Philip Alexander.
The tenants will shew the premises,
and further particulars
may be had by applying to
Mr Joseph Faulknor, the Auctioneer."

27 Jan 1800 - Sale of Stock, Furniture and Effects at Hungerford:

On the Premises of Friday, the 31st January, 1800,
and other Effects, belonging to
Consisting of two Draught Horses, 12 pair Cart Harness,
12 Plough Ditto, 5 Bell Halters, 3 Ploughs,
6 Harrows, one six inch wheel Waggon, two narrow
wheel Ditto, one six inch wheel Dung Cart, one narrow
wheel Ditto, Timber Carriage, 8-hole Hog Trunk,
two Ladders, Winnowing-Fan, two Corn Screens,
Barley Choppers, Chaff Box, Corn Binns, Willow
Baskets, Sieves, Riddels, Prongs, Shovels,
lot of Old Iron &c &c.
The Household Furniture consists of bedheads, beds,
blankets, quilts, tables, chairs, brewing kettle, large
mash tub, coolers, iron bound casks, 3 churns, &c.
Sale to begin at 11 o'clock.

3 Feb 1800 - Midwifery: "Mrs Linnell begs to acquaint the Ladies of Hungerford and its vicinity that she purposes residing in that town in order to follow the above business, and respectfully solicits their patronage and support, presuming the testimonies she can produce of her skill and attention to her profession, will give them entire satisfaction. Mrs Linnell may be heard of at Mr Coxhead's, Cabinet Maker, Hungerford, Berks." (See also Medicine in Hungerford)

17 Feb 1800 - J Coxhead, Cabinet-maker: "Hungerford Berks, near the Market-Place. J Coxhead, Upholsterer, Cabinet maker and Appraiser return his most grateful thanks to the gentry and others, who now employ him in the above-mentioned branches, for the many favors already conferred on him, and begs leave to assure them and his friends in general, that neither prime articles, assiduity or diligence shall on his part be wanting to merit their future favors. NB Experienced workmen sent to any part of the country."

24 Feb 1800 - Hungerford Assembly: The next Hungerford Assembly will be at the Town Hall, Hungerford on Tuesday the 25th instant.

3 Mar 1800 - Notice of sale of goods: "Whereas John Phelps, late of Hungerford, yeoman, did some time ago leave in the possession of me, John Brown, of the same place, gardener (with whom he lodged) divers articles of goods and wearing apparel. Notice is therefore hereby given that unless the said John Phelps shall take away the same on or before Tuesday the first day of April next, they will be sold to defray the expenses of his lodging. Hungerford, February 28, 1800. John Brown."

3 Mar 1800 - Sale of Timber at Hungerford:

At the Bear Inn, Hungerford, on Monday the 17th
of March, 1800, at two o'clock in the afternoon,
The following Lots of fine OAK, ELM, and ASH
TIMBER, and ASH POLLARDS, with the Lops,
Tops, and Bark thereof, standing in and near Littlectote
and Chilton, Wilts; about 11 miles from Newbury,
eight from Marlborough, three from the Kennet and
Avon Canal, now navigable from Great Bedwin, and
completing the navigation to London.
(For further details, see scan above)

14 Apr 1800 - Hungerford Cavalry: "The next meeting of this Corps will be on Hungerford Down on Monday the 21st of this instant, April, at eleven o'clock in the forenoon, when a full attendance is desired." (See also Berkshire Yeomanry)

14 Apr 1800 - Mr Viner's Furniture Sale: "Hungerford Berks, To be sold by Auction by Joseph Faulknor, 14 April 1800, on the premises on Monday the 21st of April. The household furniture and other ..?.. belonging to Mr A Viner, leaving his residence at Hungerford.

Consisting of mahogany four-poster bedsteads with chintz, cotton, check and other furnitures, goose feather beds, counterpanes, quilts and blankets, a solid mahogany wardrobe, mahogany chest of drawers, dressing tables, pier and dressing glasses, a neat mahogany desk and bookcase, with glass doors, mahogany ..?.. with ditto, mahogany cellarets, china glass and stone ware, six mahogany chairs and two arm ditto, mahogany dining. pillar and claw tables, two ..?.. carpets, wind-up kitchen stove, good kitchen requisites, brewing copper, iron bound casks &c, a contracting beam and scales, a strong cart with ..?.., a fine nag horse by ..?.. .
May be viewed the morning of sale which will commence at ten o'clock.
Catalogues may be had at the Printing Office, Marlborough, Bell, Ramsbury, Red Lion, Lambourn, Mrs Faulknor's, Newbury, and of the Auctioneer, Hungerford.

5 May 1800 - The Viner's business: Hungerford, Berks, April 17, 1800. John and Alexander Viner return grateful thanks to their numerous friends who have favoured them with orders in the China, Glass and Earthenware trade, and respectfully inform them, and the public in general, that having dissolved partnership by mutual consent, the same line of business is now carried on separately, by John Viner, at Hungerford, and Alexander Viner, at Oxford. Future orders transmitted to either of them will be kindly received and duly executed."

2 Jun 1800 - Three lost Geldings: "Hungerford, berks, May 29, 1800. Stolen or strayed, from Hungerford Down, on Saturday night the 24th instant, three geldings, of the Nag kind, and following particular description:
A BLACK GELDING, four years old, about 15 hands high, a star in the forehead, two white heels behind, a little white on both fore-feet, a white mark on the off side below the saddle place, has been nicked, and is rather of large bone.
A BAY GELDING, about 14 hands and a half high, has a scratch on one knee, swelled on the back, and a cut tail.
A BLACK AGED GELDING, about 14 hands high, saddle marked, the off heel white, and a cut tail.
Whoever will give information of the above Horses, to John Banister, of Hungerford, so that they may be recovered, shall, if strayed, receive a reward of Half a Guinea for each horse, with reasonable expenses; and if stolen, Five Guineas, on conviction of the offender or offenders."

16 Jun 1800 - Footpads near Rudge: "Whereas on Saturday 31st of May, 1800, as Mr Henry Pike, of Rudge, in the parish of Froxfield, was returning from Marlborough Market, he was stopped by two Footpads, near his own house, who presenting a pistol to his breast, robbed him of a Ten Pound Bank Note, some Cash in Gold and Silver, and his watch: Whoever will give intelligence of them, so that they may be apprehended, and brought to justice, shall, on their conviction, receive One Guinea reward, above the expence allowed by Act of Parliament.
One of them was a tall man, wore a blue coat, and a long shaggy blue apron, between 40 and 50 years of age; the other is about 5 feet 8 inches high, rather stout, ..?.. and had remarkable stout calves to his legs; had on a lightish coloured coat, and a canvas apron wrapped around him.
They were seen at Inkpen Revel on Tuesday the third instant."

4 Aug 1800 - Teacher seeking work: "Situation wanted, by a person who is steady and professes to teach the English language grammatically, Geography, and all the fashionable works, wishes to engage herself as governess in a genteel family, teacher in a school, or companion to a lady. A respectable situation with liberal treatment is the chief object, emolument being a secondary consideration. Letters addressed, post paid, to A B X to be left at the Post-Office, Hungerford, Berks, will receive immediate attention." (See also Schools)

1 Sep 1800 - Hungerford Race Ball: "Monday the 8th of September next being the day of Hungerford Races, there will be a ball at the Town-hall, in the evening. Tickets for which may be had by applying to the bar of the Three Swans Inn, Hungerford, aforesaid."

1 Sep 1800 - Hungerford Assembly: "The last Hungerford Assembly. being so very numerous, it is found necessary to limit the tickets to 60. No person but with a ticket can be admitted."

15 Sep 1800 - Mr John Banister, Agent for Phoenix Fire Office, Hungerford.

22 Sep 1800 - Robert Smith, Agent for British Fire Office, Hungerford.

13 Oct 1800 - Berkshire Game Duty, 1800: "Persons despatched to kill game who have taken out certificates: Game-keeper: Joseph Birchley. By whom appointed: Thomas Pike. Manor or lands: Hungerford & Sandon Fee."

10 Nov 1800 - River Kennet Navigation tolls: (See scan above).

10 Nov 1800 - Kennet & Avon Canal open to Great Bedwyn: "The Navigation of the KENNET AND AVON CANAL, capable of admitting Barges, 68 feet long and 13 wide, and of the burthen of 60 tons, being now completed from Newbury to Great Bedwin, near Marlborough, convenient Wharfs and Warehouses, Cranes, and every other accommodation for trade, have been erected adjoining the Turnpike Road from London to Bristol at Hungerford and Froxfield. The two Navigations, together in length 35 miles, and never subject to a deficiency of water, form the most direct line of inland communication between London and Bristol, the West of England, South Wales and Ireland."

17 Nov 1800 - Sale of Stephen Barrett's Shop: "Freehold at Hungerford. To be sold by auction, by Joseph Faulknor, at the Three Swans Inn, in Hungerford, in the county of berks, between the hours of twelve and four o'clock, on Wednesday the 3rd day of December next, A Capital FREEHOLD MESSUAGE, situate in the High Street, Hungerford aforesaid, with a three stall Stable, Candle-house, Soap-house, Warehouses, large extensive Garden, ad Out-buildings, capable of great improvement, and fir for and equal to a very extensive trade, lately occupied by
STEPHEN BARRETT, Grocer and Chandler.
The premises are situate in the centre of the town of Hungerford aforesaid, thro' which passes the Kennet and Avon Canal, now navigable from London, and may be well worth the attention of a maltster.
The premises may be viewed, and other particulars had, by applying to Messrs. Hall and Ryley, or the Auctioneer, at Hungerford aforesaid."

29 Dec 1800 - Sale of Linen: "To Shopkeepers and Others. Hungerford, Berks. To be sold by Auction, by Joseph Faulknor, on Monday the 29th instant, and following day, the stock in trade of a linen draper, hosier, hatter, and haberdasher, declining bushels, which for convenience of sale, is removed to a large commodious room, at the Three Swans Inn:
Consisting of yard wide and 7.8 Irishes, York and housewife linen, table cloths, waistcoat pieces, counterpanes, silk and pocket handkerchiefs, ..?.., cotton and worsted hose; a large assortment of threads, tapes, laces, pins, &c &c.
NB The above are well worth the attention of the public, and will for the accommodation of private families be put up in small lots." ... etc.

12 Jan 1824 - Hungerford Branch Bible Society: The Second Anniversary of this Society will be held in the Town Hall, at Hungerford, on Tuesday the thirteenth of January, 1824; and the First Anniversary of the Hungerford Ladies Bible Association in the evening of that day at the same place.
A Deputation from the Parent Society will attend both of the Meetings - The Chair will be taken in the morning at 12 o'clock, and in the evening at six punctually.
An Ordinary will be provided at the Three Swans Inn at 3 o'clock. Dec 29, 1823.

1 Mar 1824 - Meeting of the Turnpike Trustees: Notice is hereby given, that a Meeting of the Trustees appointed under and by virtue of three several Acts of Parliament, made and passed for repairing and widening the Road from the end of the Turnpike Road from Besselsleigh to Hungerford, in the County of Berks, to Leckford, otherwise Sousley Water, in the county of Wilts, will be held at the Town Hall, in Hungerford aforesaid, on Tuesday, the ninth day of March next at twelve o'clock at noon, for the purpose of electing and appointing a certain number of fit and proper persons to be Trustees in the room of such Trustees as have become disqualified to Act in the execution of the said Acts and on other special business.
W R Hall, Clerke to the Trustees. Hungerford, 20th February 1824.

24 May 1824 - Stock and furniture of North Standen Farm to be sold by auction.

31 May 1824 - Stock and furniture of Elcot Farm, near Kintbury.

31 May 1824 - Sale of George Earle's house: Hungerford, Berks. A very desirable opportunity for the Investment of Capital to be sold by auction by Mr Westall, on Wednesday the 16th day of June, 1824, at two o'clock, At the Bear Inn Hungerford,
All those Commodious Freehold Premises consisting of a Substantial dwelling house, with an extensive shop and warehouse, convenient work shops, stable, and out-buildings, & excellent garden, well stocked with choice of fruit trees, &c, with a right to angle in all the trout streams; also right of common on Hungerford Port Down, and Freemans' March, for four horses, or eight cows, and a Pew in Hungerford Parish Church. The Premises are pleasantly situate on the west side of High-street, near the Canal; the whole is now let on lease to Mr George Earle, fourteen years of which are unexpired. For further particulars enquire of the auctioneer, High Street, Hungerford.
NB The Shop has been occupied by an Ironmonger, Smith and Brazier, for many years past."

6 Sep 1824 - Lease of Honey Furlong and High Street House: By auction at the Three Swans Inn, at three o'clock on Friday 10th September, 1824. About five acres of rich arable land called Honey Furlong, lying near to Freeman's Marsh; also at the same time, a Commodious Dwelling House, situate on the west side of High-street, near the Market Place, with a large garden well stocked with fruit trees, and a Right of Common for 2 horses or 4 cows on Hungerford Port Down, and Freeman's Marsh. The above property belongs to the Parish Church... (see scan above).

21 Feb 1825 - Theft from Mr John Gibbs: (See scan above).

21 Feb 1825 - Sale of The Tanyard: (See scan above).

5 Jul 1830 - Hungerford Society of Florists: "The Hungerford Society of Florists held their annual exhibition of PINKS at the Three Swans Inn, Hungerford on the 25th ult. The first prize was presented to Mr Sparry of Denford; the second to Mr Jelf of Hungerford; and the third to Mr Cooke of Hungerford; the seedling tto Mr Jelf. The afternoon was spent in the utmost conviviality, and a liberal subscription entered into for the ensuing year. (Mr Jelfs was schoolmaster)."

26 Jul 1830 - National School's Sermon: "Hungerford and Chilton District National Schools. A CHARITY SERMON will be prescribed in aid of the above schools, in the Parish Church of Hungerford, on Sunday morning the 8th day of August by the Very Reverend Hugh Pearson D D, Dean of Salisbury. NB Service will begin precisely at eleven o'clock."

9 Aug 1830 - Servant wanted: "Wanted immediately, a steady, middle-aged servant, who is a good plain cook, and can take charge of a dairy where one cow is kept. Unexceptionable references will be required, as the wages are liberal. Personal application to be made to Mrs Mary Pearce, Charnham Street, Hungerford."

16 Aug 1830 - National School's Sermon: "The sum of £29 2s 6d was collected on Sunday last at the parish church in Hungerford, after a sermon preached by the Very Rev Hugh Pearson D D Dean of Salisbury, in aid of the National Schools in that town."

14 Jan 1833 - Grammar School: "Mr Jelfs presents his respectful compliments to his Friends and the Public, and begs to acquaint them that the business of his school, under the immediate superintendance of Himself and Sons, will be resumed on Monday the 21st instant.
TERMS: 22 Guineas per Annum, including the use of Books, Stationery, and all other Extras except classical instruction, washing and medical attendance.
Hungerford, Jan 10 1833.

23 Jun 1834 - Sale of Stock at Anvilles: (See scan above).

23 Jun 1834 - Sale of 32 Cotswold Rams: (See scan above).

7 Jul 1834 - Sale of Grocer's Shop, High Street: (See scan above).

20 Jul 1835 - Sale of Carpenter's Premises, High Street, two cottages adjacent to Honey Furlong: (See scan above). (The High Street premises may have been occupied by George Hidden, Carpenter, 1830. Honey Furlong (on the 1819 Enclosure Award Map) is marked as "Ellis, John, for Lamburne Almshouse. Honey lands." All these leased from the Trustees of the Isbury Almshouse, Lambourn.

25 Jan 1840 - Penny the Postman's Accident: (See scan above). "As Penny, the Postman, was returning from Lambourn to Hungerford, with the mail cart, on Wednesday evening last, he was met by a young farmer, of the name of Withers, who rode with such force against the cart as to knock down the horse, upset the mail, and throw Penny into the road. Mr Withers was thrown from his horse, and fell between the shafts of the mail cart. Fortunately no life was lost, and very little injury sustained."

25 Jan 1840 - George Tubb's Funeral: (See scan above). "A funeral of rather a novel nature took place at Hungerford, on Wednesday last. George Tubb, aged 88 years, had been a ringer in Hungerford parish upwards of 70 years, and it was his earnest wish that the bells might ring at his funeral. Accordingly a full peal was rung, whilst the funeral procession moved to the Church. This custom was not singular in the old man's family, as he stated he had eleven brothers, all of whom had been ringers, and had been rung to the grave in like manner. Tubb and his ancestors had been ringers in Hungerford for upwards of two centuries, and during the whole course of Tubb's long life, he had never been out of the town a week."

14 Mar 1840 - Felling of Trees on Common port Down: (See scan above). 50-60 young elm trees were maliciously felled on 10th March.

14 Mar 1840 - Two Sermons preached at the Independent Chapel: (See scan above).

14 Mar 1840 - Tenders invited from Drapers to supply the Union Workhouse: (See scan above).

Mar 1982 - Miscellaneous news, including Barn Dance, Women's Institute, Church House, WHY Group, Buses and Bottle Bank.

See also:

- Berkshire Yeomanry

- Fire-marks

- Schools

- Medicine in Hungerford

- Turnpike Trusts