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About the study
The Hungerford one-name surname study builds on the work of Stanley W. Hungerford and his published work, the Reverend Jackson and his published research, and many other individuals too numerous to mention. The study now is conducted under the auspices of The Hungerford Family Foundation, Inc. ("THFFI" or the "Foundation").
The Foundation was incorporated at the end of 2014 for the purposes of:
1. Receiving charitable contributions and bequests to provide for scholarships,
2. Developing and maintaining an extensive on-line database of Hungerford & associated family surnames and materials for the use of Members,
3. Developing and maintaining an on-line database of Hungerford & associated family medical issues that are important to descendants,
4. Undertaking genealogical research about the spread of the Hungerford & associated families throughout the world,
5. Establishing a research library, archives and museum for the preservation of original historical artifacts, manuscripts, bibles, photographs and other materials,
6. Preservation and replacement of Hungerford gravestones, and
7. Undertaking educational activities about significant historic events involving Hungerfords dating back to early England.
The funding of scholarships is listed first above since that is an important use of contributions for purposes of maintaining the tax exempt status of the Foundation.
Contributions not devoted to scholarships will be used for genealogical research, establishment and maintenance of a Hungerford & families surname database and medical database, replacement of grave stones and similar worthy endeavors. Contributions also will underwrite the cost of providing communications to members about Hungerford research discoveries, meetings of members, and other matters of interest.
There are only a few variants: de Hungerford and of Hungerford
One of the ways that prominent families acquired surnames was by the assumption of place-names. Hungerford is a small pastoral village on the River Kennet in Berkshire, about 100 kilometers west of London on the road to Bath. One of the legends accounting for the name indicates that the locality was named because it was a ford of a river used by Angles, hence Anglesford, corrupted to Hungerford. A more plausible account is the tale that in 870 AD after the martyrdom of King Edmund and the uprising of the Angles against the Danes, two Danish chieftans were escaping, and "Hingwar was drowned as he was crossing a morass in Berkshire, which morass is called to this day Hyngerford."
A number of individuals of the 12th century seem to have been identified with the Hungerford locality. However, one family in particular rose from that Berkshire morass to achieve the heights of wealth and power normally reserved for royalty and the traditional feudal class of baronial landlords.
Two 14th century Hungerford brothers, Sir Robert and Sir Walter, were prosperous farmers who held a number of local government offices in Wiltshire and represented their county in Parliament for twenty years. Through several fortuitous marriages and political connections with the Lancastrian branch of the Plantagent rulers, the family rapidly acquired both sufficient lands, honors and political positions to be classed with the most powerful families in all England.
In 1369-70, the manor house of Farleigh (formerly Farleigh Montfort) was sold to Sir Thomas de Hungerford, who had been Speaker of the House of Commons in 1388. He fortified the castle in 1383. When he died in 1398, he was buried in a side-chapel he had had built (in 1380-90) on the north side of the local parish church of St. Leonard, called the chapel of St. Anne.
His son, Sir Walter Hungerford, a distinguished soldier who served at Agincourt under Henry V, was Lord High Treasurer of England, and also Speaker of the House of Commons, and later member of the House of Lords (in 1426) enlarged the castle, built the Priest's House (as he endowed two chantries) and expanded the castle grounds to absorb the parish church of St. Leonard (1426-1449).
The original form of the church earlier than the 15th century is not known. Apart from St. Anne's chapel, which can be dated to 1380, there are few diagnostic aids from which to date the structure of the church. It does appear, through physical evidence, that the parish church was largely rebuilt when it was enclosed within the castle walls and acquired as a private chapel for the Hungerford family.
Farleigh fell out of the family's hands twice, in 1462 and 1540, both times being subsequently sold back to the Hungerford family.
Farleigh was finally sold in 1686, and by 1701 was described as "very ruinous," having lost its roof. From 1730 to 1891 it was owned by the Houltons of Trowbridge. It is during that period that the roof was restored. The castle passed back into Hungerford hands briefly and then to Lord Calms, who placed it under guardianship with the Ministry of Works in 1915.
The wealth of this family supported several major branches, and survived the political upheavals of the 16th century. A considerable portion of their property passed to the Earls of Huntington through Lady Mary Hungerford of Salisbury in the mid-1500s.
Hungerford remains to this day a picturesque village where the innkeeper can be persuaded to regale you with tales of "those rogues, the Hungerfords." On Tuesday of Easter-week, the Hock-tide ceremony still takes place in remembrance of the taxations of the early landlords. A macaroni supper is served at the John of Gaunt Inn. The Hungerford jury appoints two men to collect a poll-tax of tuppence from each male and a kiss from each female citizen of the town. Not only the young and pretty are so "taxed," for the old ladies of Hungerford would feel sadly neglected if they were passed by. The tithe-men carry short poles decorated with flowers and blue ribbons, and heavily laden assistants distribute oranges to each person taxed or kissed.
The town hall has a horn which is said to have been presented by John of Gaunt. He granted fishing rights in the Kennet to the town, which is still a popular angling resort. In his memory, a red rose is presented to any sovereign passing trhough the town.
The early Hungerford family had no coat of arms, but used the sickle as their symbol. Usually, the emblem consisted of three sickles formed into a triangular knot. This device may still be seen on the archway at Farleigh-Hungerford and in other places. The family burial monuments in Salisbury Cathedral and elsewhere are frequently marked with a large number of individual sickles.
When the first Lord Walter was officially granted a coat of arms, it contained several elements which indicate the origins of the family holdings. The familiar black shield, divided by two silver bars and adorned with three silver coins was originally the device awarded the Fitz-John family and inherited through this Sir Walter's marriage. The crest consists of a golden sheaf of wheat, a garb indicating the Peverall marriage and inheritance of that Lord Walter. The garb is bracketed by two silver sickles, the familiar Hungerford emblem.
Sources: A Summary of The Families Hungerford by Stanley W. Hungerford (2nd Edition, 1980). Ancient Monuments Laboratory Report 60/97, Wall Painting Audit, Farleigh Hungerford Castle, Somerset by Ms. J. Davies and Ms. T. Manning (undated but probably around 1996).
History of the name
Early references to persons bearing the name Hungerford include:
Everard de Hungerford, living in Wiltshire in 1160, during the reign of Henry II.
William de Hungerford, Abbott of Cerne, 1225-1232.
William de Hungerford, Chaplain, 1247-1258.
William de Hungerford, Abbott of Waverly, who died in 1276.
William de Hungerford, a citizen of London, 1307-1313.
Elias de Hungerford, a borrower and lender of money, 1313-1341.
Isaac de Hungerford and John de Hungerford, brothers who escaped from imprisonment at Dunstable in 1313.
Nicholas de Hungerford, keeper of Duffeld in 1322 and in the service of Thomas of Lancaster, 1317-1323.
Adam Hungerford, a juror at Marlborough 14 May 1327, sometimes referred to as the husband of Maud of Heytesbury.
John de Hungerford, a member of Parliament in t1335, 1336, 1338 and 1340, and a commission of enquiry in the Channel Islands.
Sir Giles de Hungerford, fought at the Battle of Crecy in 1346.
Nicholas de Hungerord, Prior of St. Frideswide's at Oxford 1349.
William de Hungerford, a yeoman of the royal household of Edward III and buyer for the kitchen 1367-1370
Source: A Summary of The Families Hungerford by Stanley W. Hungerford (2nd Edition, 1980)
Distribution of the name
The Hungerford surname has spread throughout the world primarily in the United States of America, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada as well as Ireland and England.
The Hungerford Family Foundation, Inc., incorporated at the end of 2014 for the purpose of creating a Hungerford World Tree accompanied by fully-documented profiles of Hungerfords (exceeding 53,000 names as of the date of this writing in early 2017), a Library including copies of Hungerford vital records, bibles, etc., and a Medical Database.
On Facebook: The Hungerford Family Foundation, Inc.
On Facebook: Hungerford 3000 Club.
On Facebook: Becher Hungerford Family Tree, Australia.
These sites have good information about Hungerfords in England:
British History Online, a digital library of key printed primary and secondary sources for the history of Britain and Ireland, with a primary focus on the period between 1300 and 1800.
The History of Parliament, British political, social and local history.
The Peerage, a genealogical survey of the peerage of Britain as well as the royal families of Europe.
There are Hungerfords in these family trees: