Berkshire Record Society: Hungerford Overseer's Papers 1655-1834
Edited by Peter Durrant
Published by Berkshire Record Society in 2021
ISBN: 978 0 9573937 8 3
The market town of Hungerford lies at the very western edge of Berkshire, where the great road to Bath is crossed by the road from Oxford to Salisbury. It is some ten miles west of Newbury and the same distance east of the Wiltshire town of Marlborough. The Bath road lies in the valley of the Kennet, and in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century was flanked by several inns and other dwellings, but the main part of the town stood, as it still does, on the rising ground to the south of the river Dun. Here was the town hall or market house, newly-built in 1787 to replace an Elizabethan predecessor, and most of the commercial premises.
At the heart of this volume are the surviving case papers of the Hungerford parish officers, the overseers prior to 1801 and the parish guardians thereafter. They comprise settlement certificates, examinations, removal orders, apprenticeship indentures and papers in bastardy cases, together with a handful of other documents including copies of magistrates' orders, letters, depositions ('informations and complaints') and miscellaneous memoranda, altogether numbering almost one thousand items. To these have been added further material from the Hungerford parish archives, principally extracts from the standing committee of the vestry and from the overseers' account books, some important bills for legal work from the attorneys employed by the parish, extracts from the Berkshire Quarter Sessions order book, a small number of records from other Berkshire parishes (settlement certificates issued in Hungerford, and the counterparts of two removal orders where the Hungerford copy has been lost), and a handful of papers from Wiltshire Quarter Sessions and parish archives.