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[Congregational Chapel] [Congregational Chapel Graveyard]

This is based on an article kindly sent by Dr Jimmy Whittaker (Oct 2018):

Going back to the mid-1960s as a teenager my band called The Spex used to practice in the hall behind the Congregational Church in Hungerford High Street, and I remember being told that there was a graveyard there.

Some 50 years later in August 2018 when joining the weekly coffee morning held in the school room between 10 and 12am on Wednesdays, I was in conversation with Tony Lavers about the graveyard and lo and behold he told me that he had a key to the entrance alleyway between No 32 and 33 High Street, which leads to the graveyard. The entrance is the grey wooden door to the left of the church. Tony showed me around the church yard informing me that he and John Wells had moved the stones to the perimeter because they had become dangerous and were falling over.

In our conversation he seemed to remember that the stones were repositioned about 25 years ago (c.1993) and they had to obtain some official permission to move them, maybe from Historic England formerly The Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England. This small, walled grave measures about 13m by 11m.

In 1988 Dr. Lois Pihlens drew up a plan of this graveyard together with details of the monumental inscriptions of the internees. These nine graves still exist but have been moved, and I have put “some meat” on their bones – genealogically speaking:

1. Sacred to the memory of John, son of Robert and Eleanor Clayton who died January 13th, 1845, aged 10 years.

John Alderman Clayton was christened on 2nd April 1835 in Hungerford, one of eight children born to Robert Clayton and Eleanor Watts. Despite both his parents being born in Suffolk, John and his siblings were all born in Eddington. His father Robert was an agricultural farm labourer who milked cows.

John Clayton’s siblings were: Eliza b.1814; Betsy b.1819 Emma b.1821; Eleanor b.1823; Robert b.1825; Eliza b.1827; Ephraim b.1833.

2. In memory of John Mattingly born February 17th, 1821 died November 23rd, 1848. Also of Sarah Ann Mattingley born February 26th, 1831 died April 26th, 1875.

John Mattingley was a wheelwright and was one of the eight children born to John and Keziah Mattingley .John was born in Uffington whilst his sister Sarah Ann was born in Eddington. Both John and his sister never married and had lived in Eddington at the time of their deaths.

Prior to moving to Hungerford, John lived in whilst his sister lived in Bray, near Maidenhead.

3. In memory of Thomas James Mattingly who died May 11th, 1843 aged 19 years. Also of William Mattingly who died June 3rd, 1843 aged 17 years.

These were two of the sons of George and Ann Mattingley who both died in the same year, presumably both dying from the same disease.

Thomas was baptised in Hungerford on the 15th August 1823, and his brother William on 4th December 1825.

4. Sacred in the memory of George Mattingley (sic!) who died October 22nd, 1867 aged 76 years, Ann wife of the above who died May 20th, 1869 aged ..?.

George Mattingley was the son of John and Sarah Pope and he had three siblings. They were John b.1790; Robert b.1792 and Sarah b.1793. He was baptised at Uffington 23rd January 1790.

He married Ann Pointon 8 Sep 1818 at East Garston church and had four children who were all born in Eddington: Thomas b.1826; William b.1826; George b.1829 and Sarah Ann b.1831.

George was a master carpenter and, according to the census of 1851, he employed three men so he must have had a thriving business.

In his will when probate was granted on 19th December 1867, his effects were less than £800.

5. [Horizontal tombstone, first 7 lines flaked off] The Rev. Richard Frost who died on the ..?.. aged .. years.

Richard Frost was a dissenting minister of the Congregational Church in Hungerford High Street.

Richard Frost was the son of Richard and Mary Frost and was baptised 16th June 1792 at the Wesleyan, Devonport in Devon. He married Jane Moore Newman in 1822. Jane was the daughter of William and Carolina Newman who lived at High Close and was christened at Froxfield Church on 26th December 1792. Richard Frost and his wife had two daughters who were both born in Hungerford

Sarah was born in 1823 and Jane was born two years later in 1825. Daughter Sarah was baptised at the chapel 29th September 1823 and on 16th December 1850 she married Rev Henry Shrimpton.

His daughter Jane, unfortunately, died of consumption in Torquay on 29th June 1847 at the tender age of 22 and his wife Jane died on 18th December 1861, aged 70.

During his tenure, he helped to set up several new chapels for protestant dissenters including the chapels at Ramsbury, Wiltshire, and Wrington in Somerset.

James Frost was also a leading light in the quest for the abolition of churches paying rates on property and was one of the spokesmen at a meeting held at Reading Town Hall in November 1836.

Richard Frost served as pastor of the Congregational Chapel for 32 years from 1818 until his death on 16th December 1850. At the end of his pastorate, the congregation had risen to 120 worshippers in the morning and 152 in the evening.

Information gleaned from the Hungerford Virtual website states that he died of exhaustion while in the Bethlem Hospital in South London, which is now the home of the Imperial War Museum.

Richard Frost was then succeeded by the Reverend James Alsop.

6. To the memory of James Bodman of Trowbridge died December 14th, 1844 71 years, also Jane wife of the above, died March 23rd, 1851 aged 74 years also of James Bodman the  younger died March 18th, 1846 aged 14 years and Thomas Bodman died January 20th, 1847 aged 10 years.

James Bodman was a draper christened on 17th June 1774 in Trowbridge, and he was the son of James and Christian Bodman. He married Jane Martin on 14th November 1799 in Trowbridge.Two of their sons are part of the inscription. James was baptised in the Independent Church in Hungerford on 16th May 1832 as was his younger brother Thomas on 12th March 1837.

7. To the memory of Hannah Gibbs, daughter of James and Hannah Bodman died October 18th, 1868 also of Mary Ann Archer Angell, sister of Hannah Bodman, died March 10th, 1899, died in her 92nd year.

Hannah Gibbs (Bodman) was born in Hungerford in 1838 and married William Gibbs in Hungerford in 1867.She was one of nine children born to James and Hannah Bodman.

Mary Ann Archer Angell was born in East Garston on 24 Jan 1808 and was the sister of Hannah Bodman, and at the time of her death, she was living with her widowed sister at 37 High Street.Hungerford. However, I could find no direct connection between the sisters .

8. To the memory of James Bodman, draper, died November 10th, 1874 aged 74 years; also of Hannah, wife of above, died June 13th, 1896 aged 87 years. Her children rise up, and call her blessed, also of Mary Ann, died April 24th, 1862, aged 18 years.

James Bodman was born in Silver Street, Trowbridge on 29 Apr 1803, parents were James and Jane Bodman. On 29 Sep 1828 he married Hannah Townsend in  Chippenham, Wiltshire. James and Hannah had seven children and these were: Elizabeth b.1834; Hannah b.1838; Jane b.1840; John b.1842; Mary A b.1844; James T b.1846; Charles b.1848.

9. To the memory of the Rev. James Crickett:

This gravestone has undergone a lot of erosion over the years, but at least we know that James Cricket was a reverend.

In the census of 1841, we find that James Crickett was living in Ramsbury with his wife Ann and four children. His occupation is described as a gospel preacher.

James Crickett had been a protégé of the Rev Richard Frost who encouraged him to set up a chapel in Ramsbury for independent protestant protesters, and on 30 th July 1839, a new chapel in Ramsbury was opened after public donation .At the ceremony, James Crickett was publically recognised as its first pastor, and his ordination prayer was taken by Richard Frost - his longtime mentor.

On Lords Day, 30th October 1842, James Cricket organised a collection for the British Mission for Home, Ireland, and the Colonies and only managed to raise £1.00, however, a few years later he raised £570, enough to build a house for the minister!

Prior to arriving in Ramsbury and becoming a “man of the cloth” James Crickett had been a successful businessman.

The Faulkner Memorials:

There are two sandstone memorial stones in the west wall of the schoolhouse which lies behind the church itself and these reads:

JF 1817 and SVF 1817

These stones are to the memory of Joseph Faulkner and Sofie Viner Faulkner who were the children of Joseph Faulkner and his wife Sofia Viner who had married on 21st November 1799 in Hungerford.Their son Joseph was baptised 7th December 1803 in Newbury and their daughter Sophie was baptised 11th February 1801 and died in September 1857.

So what the significance of the date 1817?

To paraphrase information from the literature, it seems that a building which used to a workshop at the rear of the present church was owned by Joseph Faulkner. In 1801 he  transferred the property by a deed of covenant to a group of church trustees which included his wife Sophia, with the intention of converting it into a chapel.

It was not until 1805 that a Sunday School was created here and on 25th December 1806, a church was formally established here.

In 1817, in order to accommodate the growing congregation, the building was extended and reconfigured. Thus the two “corner stones” at the rear of the schoolroom, celebrate the opening of the “new church”. It was not until 1818 that the deeds to the property were legally transferred to the group of trustees.

When Joseph senior died in 1831, his wife had to go before a Commissioner of Oaths on 14th April 1831 and attest that the will presented was the original will of her late husband. This process involved her “laying her right hand on the Holy Gospels and kissing the book”. Interestingly this is the first time in an official document that the spelling of Faulknor, not Faulkner, was used.

Joseph had been baptised in Hungerford 6th October 1787, the son of Joseph Faulknor and Ann Shipton. Joseph had also been an auctioneer. It is probably the case that Faulknor Square (off Charnham Street) was named after this Faulknor family. (There is more on this under Faulknor Square).

Photo Gallery:

- Congregational Church Memorials (pdf), sent by Dr Jimmy Whittaker, Oct 2018

See also:

- United Reform Church (including The History of Independancy in Hungerford; Ministers of the Congregational Chapel)

- The History of Independency in Hungerford - NWN 6th Jan 1870

- Congregational Church - plan of graveyard (by Lois Pihlens, 1988)

- Photo gallery of Congregational Church Memorials (pdf), sent by Dr Jimmy Whittaker, Oct 2018

- Norman Hidden - notes on Congregational Chapel

- Norman Hidden - Correspondence and further notes

- URC Plans from Conveyance 11th Apr 1962

- URC Land Registry Plans 4th Dec 1964

- URC Undated plans for alterations not carried out

- URC Ground Floor plan

- URC List of title deeds, 1987

- URC - Article in "The Bridge" by David Bunney, and invite 1989-90

- Also in file – Wesleyan Chapel yard and Church Street.

- Also notes on deeds from URC Headquarters, London, re 18th century deeds on this site.