By the introduction of the formal market it then made it difficult for competing markets to be set up by outsiders. The privileges were enjoyed by the townsfolk and traders who were exempted from any tolls and taxes on the specified market days which any competing markets did not enjoy. Those attending the markets and fairs would reasonably expect to benefit from lower cost goods and certainly no tolls.
A chartered town also benefited by attracting people to the town from the adjoining countryside and the defined area extended the powers of the town which then gave it Borough status. In attaining “free borough” the town could then hold its own Court, make local Law and Levy fines.
Hungerford was never able to successfully plead its case for borough status nevertheless it has called itself a town from time immemorial and the Town Halls are significant in maintaining its status and has held its courts both as Court Leet and Court Baron and the town has remained and never down rated as a village.
The market day is Wednesday where traders are permitted to erect their stalls and sell produce. There is also a Sheep Fair Day in August, a Fat Stock Fair in December, and two Autumn Fairs in October which are included in the Charters but the rights have not been exercised for many years.
There were well supported livestock auctions until the early 1950s although the street market failed during the depression after WW 1.
In 1984 there was renewed interest in re-establishing the Wednesday Market when the Constable and Trustees successfully overcame considerable district planning and the town’s retailers’ objections to the historic charters of the right to market.
Since the market has become a successful weekly event. In addition a special market is now held on the 4th Sunday of each month by the Thames Valley Farmers Market that specialises in fresh local produce.
The weekly market is organised by the Market Manager Mrs Pat Limburn who may be contacted by telephone 0118 981 5710.
She is able to provide the rules and regulations which govern the market and rates of Stallage to any prospective stall holders.
Robert W. James
Trustee of the Town & Manor of Hungerford
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