It is approached by means of the ford across the River Dun, on the old road from Hungerford to Savernake across the marsh.
Common Rights? Yes (Sanden Fee). (1 horses or 2 cows)
1902 (T&M Register) F W L Popham (owner)
Undated (T&M Register) William Watkins (occupier)
Undated (T&M Register) Sir Ernest Wills Bart (owner)
Undated (T&M Register) H E Cook (occupier)
Catherine Bancroft has kindly supplied several captioned photographs of her family and the local area in the 1930s and 1940s.
Her father, David Abbott, has kindly shared (Mar 2012) some reminiscences of the time he lived with his grandparents Herbert and Ruth Cook between 1940-47. The house was then called "137 The Marsh". There was no running water (a pump in the kitchen), no electricity (candles, Aladdin lamps and Tilley lamps were used), and there was a privy in the garden.
Herbert ran a smallholding, with six cattle, and a few pigs and chicken. He ran the mild round in the Oakhill and Froxfield area. He was also Overseer of the Marsh, and was responsible for reducing the nettles and keeping the marsh tidy.
David's mother worked for Mr Munford at the Hungerford Printing Works.
He remembers Mr & Mrs Hunt in Lock Cottage by Cobblers Lock, the Bartholomews (retired farm worker) and the Brinds (with their daughter June) at 135 and 136 The Marsh - the two nearby thatched cottages. At The Barracks were maybe 4-6 families. One child sadly drowned in Marsh lock.
In 1944 small landing craft trained on the canal and marsh. David was invited to have a ride on one, and the Americans gave him chocolate and a banana - his first during the war. There were steam lorries still along the A4 road. The only taxi in the area was run by Mrs Perdue.
His grandfather was able to shoot rabbits on the common to help feed the family, and also a few duck in the withy beds.
They both helped the Hollands at Hopgrass farm during the harvest.
<1968 (T&M Register) Lt Col Sir Edward Wills (owner until 1973)
<1968 (T&M Register) Void until 1978
1974 (T&M Register) Michael William Rhode (owner until 1978)
1979 (T&M register) William Henry Ponsonby Miranda Jane Ponsenby (owners & occupier)
2016 (CL) Sean McGovern
- Marsh House and Cobbler's Lock, undated
- Herbert and Ruth Cook with their son Kenneth Cook in front of 137 The Marsh, c1932. The pony and trap was used by Herbert for his milk round. (Kindly sent by Catherine Bancroft)
- Mary Cook and Kenneth Cook, c1936. Front porch of 137 The Marsh, Hungerford. The brick work is before the house was rendered. (Kindly sent by Catherine Bancroft)
- Marsh House, c1940-41. (Kindly sent by Catherine Bancroft whose father David Abbott is shown)
- Fances Cook and David Abbott outside 137 The Marsh, Hungerford, c1940-41. The two hayricks shown in the background (behind the wash house), belong to Hopgrass Farm. The Holland Family farmed Hopgrass Farm. Not shown in the photograph to the left is the Lock House. Mr. and Mrs. Hunt lived there at this time. (Kindly sent by Catherine Bancroft)
- David Abbott and Herbert Cook with 'Old Lady' the cow, c1947. Photograph taken between the River Dun and A4 on Freemans Marsh near to 137, The Marsh. (Kindly sent by Catherine Bancroft)
- Herbert Cook, 'Old Lady' the cow, young child and David Abbott on Freemans Marsh, c1949. The telegraph poles mark the A4. The water is the River Dun. (Kindly sent by Catherine Bancroft)
- The annotations show:
1. The house where the Hart Family lived, with about seven children.
2. Hart Family's outside toilet.
3. Hopgrass Farm.
4. The field between the hedges is Herbert Cook's field called the long field. Herbert Cook was the Overseer of Freemans Marsh. Not sure when he was the Overseer, but he lived at 137 The Marsh, Bath Road, Hungerford between approximately 1920 to 1955.
(Kindly sent by Catherine Bancroft)