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The Bridge Street properties:
Follow the links below to find information about individual Bridge Street properties. Many records date back to c1470, although the northern part of Bridge Street (north of the John of Gaunt Inn) was not formed until c1740. This is an incomplete survey, subject to ongoing correction and addition. The intention is to establish a full chronological record of the occupancy of each house listed. They have no legal status. Many of the dates noted are "spot" dates taken from estate surveys, quit rent rolls, commoners' lists, directories, Enclosure Award, maps, or other sources and may not indicate arrival or departure of an occupier.
The great majority of the information on individual properties prior to 1750 comes from the work of the late Norman Hidden, to whom the town owes a great debt of gratitude. Abbreviations for sources include:
NH = Norman Hidden's notes
QR = Quite Rent Rolls
CL = Commoners' Lists
EA = Enclosure Award
Follow this link for A Brief Summary of Land and Property ownership in Medieval Hungerford
Follow this link for the Bridge Street Photo Gallery.
Bridge Street West side:
1 Bridge Street (was "Down From Town Bespoke Cake Company")
2 Bridge Street (Sarah Styles Florist)
3 and 3a Bridge Street (Libbey Blakey)
4 Bridge Street (Mojo & McCoy)
5 Bridge Street (Luna boutique)
6 Bridge Street (vacant)
7 Bridge Street (Furr & Co, Goldsmiths)
7a Bridge Street - "Mill Hatch"
8 Bridge Street - "Mill Cottage"
9 Bridge Street (Angela Knight lingerie)
10 Bridge Street (Roxtons)
11 Bridge Street (Roxtons)
12 Bridge Street (Styles Silver)
13 Bridge Street (was CoCo & Co Clothing)
Bridge Street East side:
14 Bridge Street - "Willow Lodge"
15 Bridge Street (William Cook Antiques)
16 Bridge Street ("Living Art")
17 Bridge Street (White Coco)
18-19 Bridge Street (Stirland's garage)
20 Bridge Street (Miss, bridal gowns)
21 Bridge Street (John o'Gaunt Inn)
23 Bridge Street - "Rose Cottage"
24 Bridge Street - "Forge Cottage"
When was Bridge Street called by name?
From at least c1591 the main street running roughly north-south through Hungerford was named "High Street" throughout its length until the mid 19th century. Bridge Street (as a separate name from High Street) developed only after the building of the Kennet and Avon Canal was opened in Hungerford in 1798, with the required building of the impressive brick road bridge carrying the street over the canal.
Indeed, it was only after the "Penny Post" was introduced (in 1841) that the name "Bridge Street" appears. In May 1826 a document on 20 BS describes it as in "High Street; a document dated 24th December 1842 relating to a mortgage of 10 Bridge Street describes it as "on the west side of High Street", but by 1847 Kelly Directory (and other later directories) includes reference to Bridge Street.
In the 1851 Census, Bridge Street included only the buildings from the John of Gaunt Inn corner to Charnham Street. Properties south of this were included with High Street.
A document dated 1857 relating to 10 Bridge Street refers to it as "before known as High Street", and the 1861 census shows all buildings north of the canal as being in "Bridge Street".
The northern limit of the town (and indeed the county boundary between Berkshire and Wiltshire) was the southern millstream of the River Dunn (adjacent to the John of Gaunt Inn and the modern road called "The Forge") until the local government boundary changes of 1894 brought Charnham Street into Berkshire.
All the properties north of the pre-1894 boundary (i.e. modern 1-7 Bridge Street) stand on the island that was previously the Priory of St. John the Baptist, which had been established in 1232, and was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1548. We shall refer to this as the Priory Island. Most of the properties south of the boundary were part of the manor of Hungerford.
The old and new routes into the town:
By 1740 traffic along the Bath Road (Charnham Street) had increased greatly, and there were complaints of poor access to the town via the ford through the River Dun. This ford needs a little explanation.
It has been mentioned above that the Priory Island on which the War Memorial and the northern part of Bridge Street now stand had been the site of the old Hospital Priory of St. John the Baptist. This ancient priory was first mentioned in 1232, and was eventually to be dissolved by Henry VIII in 1548, although buildings remained on "the island" until the 1740s. The main access to the town was along a route running from Charnham Street through a ford across the River Dun to Bridge Street.
- Heading north, present-day Bridge Street makes a sharp left turn along the new road over the "Priory Island"
- The view through the old ford along the southern part of Bridge Street
- OS Map 1911, showing the route of the "old public road" through the ford and in front of "Riverside"
Where was the pre-1740 road?
Over recent years there has been some debate amongst local historians about the exact route of this pre-1740 route.
There is general agreement about the course at its southerly (Bridge Street) end, which clearly ran from Bridge Street, past the John o'Gaunt Inn, into the ford through the water of the southerly branch of the river (south of Priory Island) to the tip of the island. The southern half of Bridge Street (from the John of Gaunt Inn to the canal bridge) is in line with the southern branch of the river Dun (see photograph above).
However, there has been some debate about the exact course of the route to reach Charnham Street from the easterly tip of the island.
Some have suggested that the route passed in a north-easterly direction, south of the Georgian building called Riverside (now Great Grooms Antiques) towards Faulknor Square. This square was also built c.1740, and such a route would make a fairly direct line from the Eddington Bridge into Hungerford. However, early plans of the buildings and land owned as part of Riverside (previously the Tannery) do not fit well with this concept. Furthermore, access from the westerly (Marlborough) direction would have involved a rather unlikely "switch-back" turn at Faulknor Square.
In my opinion, there is much to support my contention that the more likely route was west (in front of) Riverside. A Certificate of 1st January 1912 amongst the deeds of Riverside states that "Stephen Clifford, a boot maker, relinquishes claim to a private right of way over the route of the old public road leading into Hungerford, by the Forge. He received the sum of £5." I believe this is the route used for access to the town before the building of the bridges in 1740. This route has been marked on the OS map of 1911 (see above).
In 1740 a note in the accounts mentions "£27. 3s. 3d. for building a cart bridge next to Charnham Street", and at the same time land was bought from the Bear Inn so that the new Bridge Street might be built in a more direct route across the Priory island, in its present position. Riverside had been the site of Hungerford's tannery since at least 1640, and the grass area in front (i.e. to the west) of the house was known until the early 20th century as "Tanyard Lawn". The OS map below shows the Riverside, Tanyard Lawn, the "new" 1740 northern end of Bridge Street, and the "old" pre-1740 route through the River Dun.
Errors and Omissions:
There will be errors and omissions in these notes. If you find errors or can add information on any of these items please email the Administrator