Issue 134

1st March
1st June 2017

Please click a heading or just scroll down to read the articles, click the Up arrow to return here

Front Cover by Micky Thompson

The long awaited Spring. As I write in early February the snowdrops are just coming into flower and the cock pheasants are starting to spar, a sure sign of spring. The cover picture this issue is of the bluebells in West Woods just West of Marlborough which I took the third week of April last year.

Go to the website to see it in colour. I am sure that most local people know about what a wonderful show the bluebells put on but if you don’t The Marlborough and District Lions Club have permission every year to open the woods to motor vehicles on two Sundays a year for donations. This allows those who are not so able to walk to still enjoy the annual spectacle of the forest floor carpeted in bluebells.

It really is a magnificent sight, so take the opportunity to make your own photos.

Message from the Chairman of CHAIN.

So Chain is going to celebrate 40 years of helping the community in May in order to thank everyone and also the introduce our new Handybus we are holding a celebration in the Hungerford British Legion on Friday 5th May 7 – 9pm. Please come along if you are a volunteer or have been a volunteer during the past 40 years.

The Trustees would like to thank Ted Angell for all the work he has done to obtain a new Handybus for Chain. It has been an amazing amount of work which will continue after we receive the bus and I hope the whole community appreciate his hard work.

The Chain Office has been very pleased to have some new volunteers and continues to do a marvellous job with Deanne Cripps and her band of helpers. Until we get the new Handybus we are not training any new drivers but if you are interested in becoming a driver even for one run a month then please contact the Chain Office on 683727 (9-11am Monday-Friday).

The Chairman Vehicle continues to be used to help people in wheelchairs to get to the Doctors and Hospital appointment and to clubs, it is available for family members to take their family out with just a few hours training so please contact the Chain Office if you are interested in becoming a driver. We can always use more for Chain drives so if you are interested helping in the community then please contact the Chain Office. It is greatly appreciated by our clients.

The Over 80’s Christmas Parcels were managed by Ted and Daphne Angell and thank you to them and the British Legion for letting us use their hall. I know how much the recipients appreciate the parcels so thank you from them and to all the drivers who helped deliver them.

Hungerford is a wonderful place to live with a great community spirit long may that continue and hopefully with all your support and the work of our volunteers Chain can continue to serve the community we love for many years to come.

Janette Kersey


Hello, …….As I start I don’t know what I am going to say but no doubt will fill the page!

Apologies to Tony Nye for missing his advert off last issue, so much cutting and pasting to arrange CHAIN MAIL that I cut and never pasted back. It gets like a Rubik cube to fit squeeze and juggle the items. Talking of Tony it reminds me of him and many many other advertisers who have supported CHAIN MAIL with their continuing adverts, so thank you every one. It does mean that each issue is free to you and there is always something left over to go to CHAIN’s bank account.

Not only are there long term advertisers but also long term article contributors which help (I hope|) to make each issue interesting for you. I was looking back to find the first article to re-print for me by dear Fred Bailey, who passed away recently and came across (many years before) that green fingered lass, Stacy (well she was a lass then) and Hawkeye who both seem to have been writing forever! So thank you all for making this all possible..

Doesn’t pay very often to be loyal………………
So left BT a couple of years ago and joined Plus Net, had to leave them because prices went up and I would then be paying over £50 a year more than new customers (how wrong is that?). Joined Sky (great experience) and now not 4 weeks later they are increasing my line rental by £1.59 a month, that’s nearly 10%. Now how can they do that, I thought I had a CONTRACT, but no they can and will. So now as I have an gmail address I will no doubt be moving next year and getting new customer perks elsewhere!

Saga caters for the older generation but be careful, my MG car insurance went up by nearly 50%, went on Martin Lewis website and Churchill came in £20 cheaper than last year and if all goes well I shall get a £50 Amazon voucher in a few weeks time. I have saved quite a bit of money in the last 6 months by checking with Martin Lewis, do give him a try.
These days if you change the switching is so so easy and almost painless. Oh yes changed Gas and Electricity through him as well, great savings are now made.

So Brexit does seem to be going ok, trade etc, can’t wait for the pound to rise to buy more Euros for my booze cruise to Calais.

The Library saved for the moment but as I heard Hugh say on another occasion, think it was the canal bridge…..The Devil is In the Detail…….we shall see.

Have you checked out Hungerford’s U3a yet, University of the third age, so many many things happen in Hungerford, see “Interesting Bits 1” for a list, but there might be even more.

What’s On – sadly is a short list as Margaret has been unwell, why don’t organisers contact me please?

Thanks & Best Wishes David Piper 01488 683152

Letters, articles and adverts should be sent to me by the 7th of the month preceding
publication, i.e.7th May for the issue on June1st. But don’t leave it until the last
minute, there might not be space. If you send something to me I try to acknowledge
within 3 days. No reply from me, then I have not got it, so please re-send.

Hungerford Mayor



After that magnificent performance by our athletes in the Rio Olympics, it seems a pity that this has been eclipsed by the tumultuous political upheaval that we have witnessed in 2016. Whilst the athletes are now training for Tokyo 2020 and no doubt will produce yet another great result, your guess is good as any, as to how the political scene will look then.

You will recall that when Messrs Cameron etc. were first elected, the policy of Localism was loudly proclaimed and broadcast that we would be free to choose our own civic future and we would all live in the Big Society. Quite where that policy went is a mystery except that by a supreme irony, we are being given the chance or rather no option but to look after ourselves because the Local Authority does not have the funds to provide for us. It is now the time when the residents of Hungerford need to come together and face up to the challenges that the politics of austerity brings as never before.

We have been lucky to have had a broad base of volunteers that have picked up many of the deficiencies of the public sector and have provided support and service to the community much of it under the umbrella of CHAIN .

This team of volunteers now need new blood to maintain this valued level of support. Could YOU offer some help from the skills, experience or knowledge that you have. Sometimes it is only a matter of giving a few minutes a month to ease the pressure or find new ways of providing the support needed. Contact the CHAIN team now to see how you could help.

As a Council, we have been aware of the forthcoming financial crunch for several years and have sought to build up our finances to meet some of these challenges. Maintaining support for the Youth Centre, subsidising the H1 bus route and keeping the public toilets are some of the examples. Today we expect to have to find some funding to ensure that our library remains the community hub that it is today and we shall be reserving some funds to maintain our policy of grants to worthy local activities/clubs.

Combining our efforts especially with the Friends of Hungerford Library, we may not be forming the Big Society; we can at least be supporting the great Hungerford Society.

Cllr Martin Crane
Town Mayor of Hungerford


.…..First appeared in CHAIN MAIL December 2008

From the Parish Magazine dated June 1874.
“Hungerford Working Men’s Club.— A Cricket Club has been formed in connection with this Institution, open to all members of the Hall, and has provided a healthy and pleasant amusement for the long evenings. The days of practice are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. A match is to be played with Kintbury Club on Saturday June 6, wickets to be pitched at one o’clock. A large Bagatelle Table has been purchased on the share system, and is now in the Hall. One share has already been paid off. A present of books towards a proposed Lending Library for the Winter has been received from Mrs W.H. Dunn. Mr Clifford, of Charnham Street has been elected on the Committee in place of Mr F. New, retired.”

From the Parish Magazine dated June 1876.
“The Drapers of the Town have happily agreed to close their Shops on Thursday afternoons at five o’clock. This will be a great boon to those in their employment, and a very slight inconvenience to their customers. It is to be hoped that other tradesmen will be disposed to follow their example.”

From the Parish Magazine dated June 1881.
“On Saturday May 28, the new Coffee House in High Street was opened under very favourable auspices. After a meeting at the Corn Exchange presided over by G. C. Cherry, Esq., which was largely attended by inhabitants of the Town and neighbourhood, the company proceeded to the Coffee House, and the opening ceremony was gracefully performed by Mrs Wroughton. The premises, which have been appropriately fitted up, are very commodious for the purpose. There is a large Refreshment Bar facing the street, of very bright and attractive appearance, and at the back of this is a roomy dining-room in which hot dinners are served daily at nine pence and a shilling. Up stairs there is a Ladies Coffee Room nicely furnished, and two good bedrooms. In the rear of the premises there are five bedrooms for single men, the charge for which is eight pence a night. All sorts of American drinks, tea, coffee, cocoa, lemonade, soda water, etc., are sold at the bar; a list of prices being exhibited in the window. Under the superintendence of the managing Director, Mr T Fidler of Newbury, there is no doubt that the management will be all that can be desired, and it is hoped that the establishment of the Coffee House will be a great boon to the Town and neighbourhood.”

Dear Fred always signed off………..
More from the Archives next month. Fred Bailey

Sadly there will be no more from Fred as he has passed away,
thank you so much for your years of contributions………..David Piper


I want to invite you to come on a quiet morning with Fr Paul King. When I was at theological college I went to Paul and asked him to help me pray and as a result I felt loved by God just the way I am and I would love it if everyone in Hungerford could feel the same.

The bible teaches us that God is good and that he loves us just the way we are. It goes on to say that we are made in His image and surely that means that we were made good and with the capacity to love people just the way they are.

Sadly the bible also tells us, we tend to be selfish and that spoils the image of God in us and reduces our capacity to love others.

But like the perfect parent, God doesn’t like to see us stuck where we can’t get out. So he sent his son to rescue us from our selfishness and to restore the image of God in us or in other words to help us to be good and to love others the way they are.

I think it is my job to co-operate with God, so that God begins to restore his image in me and to allow you to see the work God is doing so that you think ‘If God can do that for Mike then there is hope for me too!’

So please join us if you can to learn from Fr Paul King on Saturday 4 March from 9.45 – 1.00 at St Lawrence’s Church. There is no charge but you will be invited to make a donation towards the heating. To reserve your place please email me or sign up in church. It would be great to see you there.

Yours sincerely Mike Saunders    01488 208341
The Vicarage, Parsonage Lane, Hungerford RG17 0JB

Bits 1

Neighbourhood update for February – Hungerford / Lambourn District

The latest crime statistics can be found by visiting (opens new window) this website provides you with helpful information about crime and policing in your area. Enter your postcode, town, village or street into the search box, and get instant access to street-level crime maps and data, as well as details of the neighbourhood police team and ‘Have Your Say’ events.

Since the start of 2017 there has been several reports of theft in Hungerford:
13th January – radiators were stolen from a garden in Clarks Gardens.

26th – January – a frost protector was stolen from the windscreen of a vehicle parked in Atherton Crescent.
27th January – alloy wheels caps were stolen from a vehicle parked in Charnham.

There have been further reports of vehicle crime at our beauty spot locations:
2 at Combe and one at the Denford Car Park on the Common.

We have received two separate reports of diesel theft. One in the Kintbury area and one off of the A338 near Fawley. In one instance the anti-syphon tank was broken before 200 litres were syphoned out.

During January nine dwelling burglaries have been reported to Police. These have occurred over a two week period from 6th – 20th January. Two persons have been arrested and an investigation is currently ongoing.

The team held the Annual Rural Meeting on the 24th January which was well attended by gamekeepers / estate managers and rural business owners from the local area. Finally we say goodbye to PCSOs Gibson and Johnstone who have left the team to join Hampshire and Gloucestershire Police as Constables.

Contact us
If you want any advice or would like to contact the neighbourhood team you can call us on the police non-emergency number 101 but if your call is an emergency then dial 999.

A Personal View

Hungerford needs houses for our children, suitable, affordable houses. But what we do not need is a great carbuncle of a housing estate on virgin land outside our town boundary and in the AONB. This is totally against what the Town Council and the AONB team consider appropriate. But most importantly, this is against what a majority of what you, the residents, said you wanted twice in the Town Plan and its refresh.

A small team taken from a number of town groups, including myself, have been working on alternatives to these plans, and we have proposed what we believe is a better alternative, with small developments around the town on mostly previously used land, having much less effect on the traffic on the high street, parking and therefore our retail trade. But, rather than representing us and supporting residents’ wishes, our district councillors appear completely disinterested in fighting our corner and have openly voiced approval for the current plans.

On a cheerier note what a fantastic job our librarians do. The Harry Potter theme last year was pure genius, with automatic doors masquerading as Platform 9 ¾ and its accompanying brick wall. This is what our library is about, real community spirit, helping children to not only read but also to learn to love books, it supports too many groups to mention, and at every age. As a Lib Dem district councillor a number of years ago, I stood outside the old library inviting feedback on our new library plans. We should be justly proud of our wonderful library. Sadly, West Berkshire Council do not share our feelings and at a stroke they tried to stopped funding, no consultation, no warning, just a draconian directive, and as it turned out, totally illegal. The fight is now going on all across our district to keep all these vital information hubs open.

Our Children’s Centre within the Nursery school, another Town success story, was also in jeopardy in West Berkshire Council’s last round of cuts. Fortunately, the staff and governors organised a public meeting where many of the parents were very vocal, with some heartfelt success stories and thanks to the staff. The WBC councillor in charge of Children’s services, who was there, was left in no doubt of public feeling and although funding has been reduced the centre is still providing a much needed resource for mums and dads.


This river habitat improvement project will restore approximately 100m+ of river bank along the River Dun at the rear of Bearwater in Hungerford.

The work will repair erosion and add a sinuous ribbon of native plants, including yellow flag iris and purple loosestrife, sedges and hemp agrimony along the water’s edge. This attractive plant mix provides an excellent habitat for a wide range of important chalk stream wildlife, including water voles and wild fowl, fish and a huge variety of insects including important pollinators such as bumblebees, moths and butterflies.

Good marginal vegetation protects riverbanks from erosion and it is shelter for chalk stream creatures and is also food for them too. It provides cover for our native wild fish and amongst the roots is a safe place for small fish to escape predators.

The practical work project will be carried out by local people who are volunteering their time and energy (contact details above) to improve the local environment under supervision and guidance from ARK’s Project Officer. The project is managed by Action for the River Kennet and the main funder is Thames Water Rivers & Wetland Community Days.
The project is supported by Cognatum, the Environment Agency and the Wild Trout Trust.


Bits 2

Also on this page……Recycle……..Foodbank….

Hungerford U3A News 7 February 2017                        

Hungerford U3A has taken off with spectacular speed since the initial meeting to gauge interest last autumn. There are now over 200 members, and more than twenty interest groups are up and running, ranging from Digital Photography to Geology to Singing. More information and updates can be found on the web site:
The next full members gathering will be a Drop-in Coffee Morning on Thursday 23 March in The Riverside Suite, The Bear Hotel, from 10.30am to 12 midday, where the committee will be available to meet new members and answer any questions.

U3a Subjects
Do check the website

Art appreciation           Art practical       Bridge-beginners      Bridge-improvers
Classic Cars                Computers        Creative Writing        Current Affairs
Digital Photography     Finance             French-improvers      French-beginners
Gardening                    Genealogy         Italian-advanced         Italian-beginners B
Italian-beginners A      Jane Austen      Music Appreciation    Play Reading
Reading 4 pleasure     Singing             Spanish-beginners     Spanish-intermediate
Table Tennis                Walking-long     Walking-medium        Walking-short
Word games & Rummikub

Recycle, Re-Use, Re-Train?

Green Machine Computers is a local social enterprise dedicated to the ethical disposal, recycling and re-use of unwanted and used IT equipment from businesses and individuals alike.
Unwanted IT equipment generally ends up in landfill and we believe that not only is this unsustainable, it is unnecessary and furthermore there is a huge value in recycling and re-using this equipment for good in the community. Therefore, our main objective is to divert WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) away from landfill and back into reuse.
From our base in Whittonditch we offer a range of IT support and services, from refurbishing a laptop to recycling the parts of multiple computers, priding ourselves on a zero-landfill policy. Collections are usually free and our key aim is to assist students, people on low income, schools, Voluntary Sector Organisations (VSO’s) and small businesses to gain access to low cost, reliable and well specified ICT equipment.
To service the equipment, we run an IT training academy providing a safe working environment and bona fide qualification opportunities for young people who are disengaged, at a social disadvantage, or with learning disabilities. We are proud to say that we currently support 5 IT apprentices who are developing on a daily basis!
If you have any unwanted IT equipment, need IT support for your company or yourself, or just want to know more,
please call us on 01672 520133 and quote ref.: CHAIN for a 10% discount on high quality PC’s during March!

Call us now if you need help with your IT on 01672520133

WestBerkshire FoodBank’s latest needs?

At the present time the Foodbank is extremely short of items such as toilet rolls,
washing up liquid and washing powder.

Please continue to donate long life items from our shopping list, however,
at present we have sufficient Baked beans, Cereal, Pasta and Tea.
the drop off point is in St Lawrence’s Church and the Methodist Church.

Crisis Foodline      Crisis Food need ? Call 01635 760560.
Open Weekdays (not Bank Holidays) from 08.30 to 18.30

Report on a A Very Happy Christmas Lunch

About 30 guests and a small army of volunteer helpers enjoyed Christmas Day at Hungerford Methodist Church Hall. They shared a three-course roast turkey & trimmings lunch and entertainment in the form of a quiz, poetry, live recorder and saxophone music, carol singing and (of course) a visit from Father Christmas.

The lunch was organised by The Village Agents and Hungerford Methodist Church for anyone who would otherwise have been alone on Christmas Day. Organisers Catherine Wooliston and Hilary Kelly said: “We are so grateful to everyone who has supported the lunch. Support from Hungerford Butchers, Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Church, Hungerford Rotary Club, Waitrose, M & P Hardware, Hungerford Tesco and individuals who gave money meant that we could provide everything on the day without cost to our guests. CHAIN and other volunteer drivers provided transport enabling more people to attend. Our helpers on the day and beforehand were wonderful, making sure everything ran smoothly and everyone had a lovely day.”

They added “This was a new event for Hungerford. When we started planning back in the summer, we didn’t know if there would be enough interest for it to be viable. The response has been fabulous, from helpers and guests. There was such a buzz in the Hall, the whole day was brilliant!”


Well, these last two months have been a really turbulent period for the Handybus service!
We lost our regular bus in the very sad incident in Tesco’s car park in early December. Since the bus was parked, we were very glad that there was no one in the vehicle at the time. However, our thoughts are with others involved who were less fortunate.

This had a major effect on our ability to deliver any kind of service at a very busy time. What was simply amazing was the number of offers of help we received – ranging from volunteers driving their cars, to information of possible temporary buses that might be available and one very kind and thoughtful person who persuaded her managing director to look for company bus for us. It was Hungerford at its community best. Our thanks to all of them and special thanks to the Tuesday Club who let us use their bus on a number of runs.

In the space of a fortnight, West Berkshire Council Transport Department was very supportive and managed to provide us with a bus that is with us until our new long awaited CHAIN Handybus arrives.

At the time of writing (31 January 2017) we are expecting to receive the new vehicle towards the end of February. It is two years since our bid to Department for Transport was accepted so it will be great to have it!

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank our tremendous group of volunteer drivers and organisers who rose to the occasion and managed changes in vehicles and trip arrangements magnificently.

Ted Angell


Hungerford & District Community Arts Festival (HADCAF)

30 June-16 July 2017

The organisers of HADCAF 2016 would like say a huge thank-you to everyone who supported the Festival and helped to make the special 25th anniversary programme a great success.

Plans for this year are well under way – mark the dates in your diary and keep an eye on the web site:   for news, updates, and in due course the entire programme and the opportunity to buy tickets on line.

The Festival brochure will be out at the beginning of June, and the next issue of CHAIN MAIL will include a brief list of events. Tickets will continue to be available from Newbury Building Society as well as on line.

Royal British Legion (Hungerford) Branch

        Poppy Appeal and other British Legion news      

Once again the people of Hungerford have excelled in their support of the Poppy Appeal. The total to date is £25,576.95. Our thanks go to you all and especially to those who volunteered their time to stand at our collection points.
Various events are in the planning stage at this moment. Armed Forces Day, the Poppy Picnic and Poppy Dance will take place during the year. The only one with a firm date at the moment is the Band Concert on the 29th October starting at 7.00pm, in the Corn Exchange.
If any ex-service personal or their dependants are seeking help from the Legion main contact is now made by phone using 0808 802 8080, (free from UK landlines and main mobile networks). Access can also be made via email (go to and follow the links).

Any further information about the ‘Legion’ can be obtained by calling 07799 660584 or email Derek and Di Loft

Hungerford Surgery


Appointments – We hope the situation with appointments has improved for our patients with our two regular Locums, Dr Jo Rutter and Dr Katie Simpson, doing five sessions per week. The winter period has been busy but we have managed to see all patients who needed to be seen within 48 hours. Our Nursing team have been particularly busy (but have been seeing as many patients as possible) and we are trying to recruit another Nurse.

System Online – If you haven’t already registered for this online service please download a form from our website or pop into the Surgery to fill one out bringing some photo ID with you. This online system is working well and you are able to order prescriptions, book Online Appointments and cancel Appointments, also send messages. This all helps our telephone lines to be less busy and is more convenient for our patients

DNA (Did not attend) – We would like to thank the 2,982 patients who attended their appointment during January 2017 but unfortunately 96 appointments were wasted so please help us to help you and if you are not able to make your appointments please let us know so we can offer it to someone else. On average 22 extra patients could have been seen by a GP or Nurse each week during January.

Seasonal Flu Injection – If you are over 60 and have not had your Flu Injection this winter please make an appointment as soon as possible with the Surgery on 682507.


Virtual Museum

The Feoffment of the Town & Manor

You will hear a lot this year about “The Feoffment of the Town & Manor of Hungerford”, which took place in 1617, 400 years ago. But what is it all about?

The “Feoffment” refers to the time that the major part of Hungerford came to be managed by Feoffees – the old name for Trustees. The Feoffment was finalised on 16 Jun 1617. The Town & Manor are still managed today by a group of Trustees, and much of what goes on today has its roots back in 1617.

From the start of the 11th century, the lands and tiny village of Hungerford were owned by the Houses of Leicester and Lancaster, including Simon de Montfort (in the 13th century) and John of Gaunt (in the 14th century).

Over the course of time, many rights and privileges had been granted to the townspeople of Hungerford, including rights to hold markets, to graze livestock, and famously, the rights of fishing in the rivers Kennet and Dun.

Unfortunately, in the mid 1560s, these rights came to be questioned by the Duchy of Lancaster. An enquiry was set up in 1573. It did not go well for the people of Hungerford! The all-important charter by John of Gaunt was missing – the Duchy copy (in the Savoy Palace London) had been burned during the Peasants Revolt of 1381, and the local copy had gone missing from the town coffer. The townspeople even appealed to Queen Elizabeth I in 1574. She replied with a very supportive letter, but even this did not satisfy the Duchy of Lancaster.

In 1583 the townspeople put on record their ancient customs, which set out the election of the jury at the Hocktide court; the officers of constable, coroner, etc; and all the other ancient ceremonies connected with Hocktide. We still have this 1583 document, which forms the core of the Hocktide Court on Tutti-Day nowadays.

However, the dispute between Hungerford and the Duchy ran on for a further 40 years!
In 1611 the Duchy set up yet another commission to inquire into the history of the ‘Hungerford Brook, famous above all rivers thereabouts for good trout’, and what they viewed as illegal fishing by local people.

A compromise was eventually agreed – by setting up a group of feoffees, or trustees. In 1612, King James I duly granted Manor of Hungerford to two London men (probably solicitors or Duchy agents) John Eldred and William Whitmore.

There were several more legal transfers over the next few years before the legal situation was considered satisfactory.
Eventually, on 16 June 1617, the Borough of Hungerford was conveyed to Ralph Mackerell (the Constable), and 13 other local men ‘in trust for the inhabitants’.

They became the first feoffees or trustees of the Town and Manor of Hungerford. The trust documents laid down guide lines to ensure the smooth running of the Borough for the good and mutual benefit of its inhabitants. The lord of the manor became a corporate body – and Hungerford became a self-governing body with associated privileges and powers.
400 years later, these articles are still followed today, with some further clarification and modernisation by the Charity Scheme of 1908.

For much more on this or any other aspect of Hungerford’s fascinating history, visit the Hungerford Virtual Museum –

Hugh Pihlens

Grumpy’s Article

About a year ago, the Editor felt it was time I properly observed my place in The Silent Generation; however, I have either become too complaisant [or you have] so I have been offered some space to rant once again; for me it is irresistible.

Just over a decade ago, I drove with my wife and another Hungerfordian on a 2000km journey around Syria. After exploring Damascus, we proceeded to Aleppo where we ambled around alleys, visiting rug-shops, and then I savoured a sunset cigar in the grounds of The Citadel. Thence we drove across the desert to within a few miles of Raqqa before heading south for two fabulous days in Palmyra,. Now we sit and sob at the newsreels depicting the atrocities and rubble-strewn streets with which you will all be familiar. Surely, without upsetting disproportionately the numbers of migrants accepted here, Hungerford could absorb into its community at least one Syrian family [maybe with relevant skills] just as Hungerford did eight decades ago when Londoners were evacuated here as shelter from the blitz.

Closer to home, I have driven twice recently in the evening through Hungerford and Newbury. On both occasions I have passed at least half a dozen riders [often teenagers] of bicycles all of which had no form of illumination. If a car was to hit one, I am sure there would be outcry. Why cannot the relevant parents, the police, schools or even the cycling clubs make some greater effort to educate the riders of the dangers they face and their illegal and certainly antisocial behaviour? When I have stopped to reprove the riders, I am met with a torrent of abuse.

Since I last contributed, Hungerford Grumpies’ ranks have certainly been swollen by the West Berkshire Council’s treatment of local planning issues. The Tzarina of the planning process seems to show no sense of responsibility or concern for democratic processes. Combined with the failure of those connected with the proposals properly to declare their interests, this increases the sense of injustice justifiably felt by our town’s inhabitants. Sadly, Hexit is not an option.

Last, I believe we may see our Mayor for the majority of the last 5 years step down this Spring. I recognise and applaud his perseverance but am nevertheless feel that is is a sad reflection on the degree of public-spiritedness of Hungerford that councillors’ elections regularly are not necessary and that one individual should have been asked to soldier-on without substitution. Looking ahead, let us hope for a far greater degree of eagerness and ambition towards participation at this senior level in the management of our town’s bureaucracy. The triumvirate of the Town Council, the Town & Manor and The Chamber of Commerce can ill-afford any apathy, let alone weak links, if the town is to thrive as it should.

Pip pip,



For the first time in several years we have had a proper winter- cold and crisp
Although as I am writing this no snow as yet. A time when it is difficult to do much gardening. But you can use the time profitably by preparing for Spring. The more you do now will make it a little less hectic in the coming months.

Of course one practical thing you can do even when the ground is frozen or there is snow is to ensure that garden birds are well fed and watered. Check birdbaths or water containers daily to make sure they are not frozen. Then sit back and relax indoors by pouring over the catalogues and planning your seeds for the veggie garden, or plants to revamp your borders. Although you won’t be sowing many of the seeds till spring they sell out and it’s best to get in quickly so you can have your first choice. It is also the optimum time to order summer flowering bulbs. Many of these such as Gladioli or Dahlias, once relegated to granny’s garden, are now enjoying a revival in popularity. Alliums too make a wonderful show in the traditional or contemporary planting scheme.

Greenhouses should be thoroughly cleaned before the new growing season. Remove any old plant debris and disinfect the greenhouse using Jeyes fluid, paying particular attention to any nooks or crannies where pest may be overwintering. Leave the door open on sunny days to dry it out. Garden tools should ideally be cleaned too- although secateurs should be cleaned after each use to prevent the transference of disease.

During winter, deciduous plants and trees are dormant so this is the best time to tackle moving them. Provided the ground is not frozen dig around the base of the plant to allow lifting it with a good rootball. Replant in its new site in prepared soil and make sure to water in well after planting. Deciduous trees such as apples can be pruned too if you have not already done so. Prune to remove any old or diseased branches and aim to create a wine glass shape by cutting just above an outward facing bud.

And if you are feeling particularly energetic and the weather is dry, sunny borders can be dug over in readiness for planting- although take care and do not walk on the lawn or border if the ground is frozen.

Finally put the radio on and sow seeds of those plants such as peppers which need an early start and put them in a propagator to germinate.

Acidanthera muriela- the Abyssinian Gladioli- a summer flowering bulb which produces scented flowers, good for cutting.

Nature Notes by Hawkeye

Conservation with Conversation

Every Monday I volunteer on an Organic Farm to help with conservation work.
My friend and I answered a plea to help bring barn owls back from the brink of extinction. They were on the red list and all naturalists were worried about them.

Now the RSPB state they are on the green list. Although I feel pleased to have played a very minor role in their recovery I seriously doubt they are as safe as the RSPB make out. Especially as there is so much house building in the country with the consequent loss of habitat.

Strangely the plea to help coincided with my retirement. I welcomed the chance to learn about owls and English Nature.

Recently I have learnt to pollard trees, coppice woodlands and lay hedges. Also I was lucky and took part on a foraging course. To this day I marvel at the people who originally tasted nature’s products and survived. We have all read too many tales of experts dying from eating the wrong mushroom.

Every year I mean to make nettle tea, dandelion wine and natural salads. But I never get round to it -perhaps the thought of being stung by not picking the nettles in the right way puts me off. Further I do not have the patience to wait for flavoured water to ferment.

But my talents seem to be surveying and recording information – now I conduct bird surveys and this winter I have been enjoying watching flocks of fieldfare, redwing and golden plover.

The picture opposite shows an alert golden plover in winter plumage. The stubby beak and round head are characteristic or diagnostic features. The word golden is also apt. The bird has an all over golden hue.

We always seem to see them in the same fields prospecting for worms and other invertebrates. They appear to be the same size as fieldfare who are also looking for grubs.

Some field guides state they are resident and breed in the north. Other books state there is an influx of European birds.

They are often found in the company of starlings and green plover which most people know as lapwings or pee wits.

Far be it for me to question the RSPB but I seem to see fewer golden plovers and I cannot believe they are green listed whilst lapwings are red listed. Simplistically, green listed birds are O.K., amber listed birds need some sort of help and red listed birds need urgent action. Obviously a better description can be found on their web site

Richard Barker

Hungerford Library / HUB

Hungerford Library News

The Touch to See Bookgroup meets on the first Tuesday of every month. This book club is aimed at the visually impaired but is open to anyone with a love of art, nature and history. It is a fantastic experience to listen to a book at the same time as exploring the raised illustrations. It is a real treat. Dates for the next few meetings are 7 March, 4 April and 2 May at 11:00

The next Family History session will be on Saturday 25 March. It is run by a volunteer from the Berkshire Family History Society. Please contact the library to book an appointment.

The Reminiscence Group is primarily aimed at those suffering with dementia and their carers, but it is open to anyone who enjoys meeting and chatting over a cup of tea. The purpose of the group is to provide a safe and friendly environment to meet, chat and help create a network of friends. This group needs more members to thrive so please spread the word, or pop in if you’ve got time to spare and enjoy a chat. The group meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at 11:00.

We continue to offer several other FREE courses and events at the library:
Word-play Club – for lovers of Scrabble, Boggle, Bookchase, Upwords and other word games. We also have other board games such as chess, snakes and ladders, etc. For adults and children. Fridays at 2:00. Children under 8 must be supervised by an adult.

IT Lessons for beginners of any age. Six weekly 1:1 sessions tailored for the needs of the individual student. Don’t be afraid if you know nothing about computers! Our excellent volunteers will take you through whatever you would like to know. Please contact the library on 01488 682660 for further information or to book a place.

RhymeTime sessions are on Wednesday mornings at 11:00 for children under 4.

Craft and Chat takes place every Friday morning from 10-12. Come along to this free session and bring your knitting or other crafts, enjoy a chat and a cup of tea while sharing your interests with others.

Art Group meets every Tuesday, 2-4pm. If you are interested in art and would like to share your skill or learn something new come along. It is not teacher led, but it is a good opportunity to enjoy your hobby in the company of others.

Book Groups – We have 2 book groups. One meets on the first Friday of the month at 5:00, and the other meets on the third Friday at 5:30.

If you are interested in any of these activities please contact
Hungerford Library on 01488 682660,

Lisa Richardson

The Friends of Hungerford Library (FOHL)
Save our library campaign – update

A belated happy new year to everyone – we hope this year will see the securing of a professional library that our community can enjoy for many more years to come.

By the time this edition is published, West Berkshire Council will have voted on the future of the library service throughout the county. And, despite the challenges of the past month, Friends of Hungerford Library are currently feeling some optimism! It was unfortunate that like so many other parish councils and support groups, we gleaned the outcome of WBC’s recent library service review via social media, with no warning of its release. Their conclusions appeared to disregard any proposals prepared by FoHL, or even acknowledge the immense contribution made by the affected communities throughout the process. After all our work, it appeared that everything for which we had strived had fallen on deaf ears.

However, since that hiccup, FoHL have held a very fruitful and positive meeting with Paul James, the newly appointed Library Services Manager. This was a meeting that had been scheduled since December and was to enable members of both sides to discuss the outcome of the library service review and Hungerford’s particular case in more detail. Martin Crane, The Mayor, and Claire Barnes, Town Clerk, also attended; surprisingly, portfolio holder Dominic Boeck was not present (and also failed to offer any apologies).

The outcome of the meeting was the agreement (in principle) of three key points:
The library service would continue in its current form, with the same level of staff and
opening hours.
Hungerford Town Council would aim to lease the building for a peppercorn rent from WBC and assume responsibility for maintenance costs.
FoHL would establish a trust which would allow the gathering of grants, funding and rate rebates – something not available to the local authorities. Through this trust the FoHL would hope to widen the building’s use for more community led projects, maximising its full potential as a valuable asset to the town and generating further income.

Obviously this presented a huge step forward in the fight to keep the library open. FoHL felt that Paul James understood and respected the commitment of our community to this goal. He was also appreciative of the hard work and innovative ideas put forward by FoHL, and considered that they could (once successfully piloted) offer the basis of a possible working model for other libraries.

What’s next? FoHL will start preparing the implementation of their plans; we will also be reaching out to those who have offered help and support in the past because we need a diverse working party to tackle the many challenges that will face us. We need your enthusiasm, energy, expertise and above all your commitment to make this work! Our first task will be to establish a trust/community interest company (CIC). Please pop into the library or contact us through the town council offices if you feel able to sign up and work alongside us in our plans to


Thank you for your continued interest and support.

Helen Simpson FOHL

Steam by Tony Bartlett

After its sterling work in our area no. 6201 Princess Elizabeth was withdrawn for servicing and the last few local trains of 2016 were allocated mostly to the robust Bulleid Pacific no. 34052 Lord Dowding. LNER 4-6-2 Tornado made a memorable sight as it came through with one of the British Pullman specials on a gloriously bright day, illuminated by the low winter sun, but in contrast
no. 34052 emerged from thick fog on the Common, shrouded in its own steam exhaust, later in the month. A pair of LMS Black Five 4-6-0s, seen crossing the Bourne Valley viaduct made an interesting variation for those willing to travel down to the Salisbury line.

The tour companies have been working on their offerings for the season ahead, and the resulting schedule has an air of fantasy about it after the way last year’s ambitious programmes faltered due to market pressure and operational difficulties, not the least of which was the lack of serviceable steam locos to operate the schedule.

The season kicks off with the usual St. David’s Day (1st March) special crossing the Vale of White Horse, but we will have to wait until 20th April for the first steam in Hungerford, a Cathedrals Express to Minehead with no. 46100 Royal Scot in charge. On 7th May the last stage of the prestige Great Britain X rail tour comes back from Cornwall through here, double-headed by GWR King and Castle class locos – fantasy or what? On 17th May the Belmond British Pullman will probably take its usual route through here en route to Bath, interestingly using the big Bulleid no. 35028 Clan Line for haulage on its return from overhaul. There is also a West Somerset Steam Express programme to Minehead, starting with three runs during August. The sensation of 2016, no. 60103 Flying Scotsman, has again been engaged by Steam Dreams for a programme of Cathedral Expresses on six dates during late May and early June, but as with 2016 it is difficult to see that any of its outings will actually involve running through Hungerford. However, against expectation we saw it twice in 2016, so let’s hope for a favourable outcome as well this year.
Featured here are just a few of the early highlights in the 2017 programme – full details of the schedule are available from the Chain web-site, where the Steam Special section contains an edited version of the national schedule. This local plan is only updated quarterly with each new edition of Chain Mail – for more up-to-date information you should refer to our source, the UK Steam Info web-site, following the link in Steam Special.

This source provides a general indication of which route these trains will be taking. For more info, the web-site Realtime Trains (Advanced option), provides route and timing details a few days ahead of the due date, to help when planning to view a particular train. Similarly, Open Train Times (Maps option) shows the on-the-day operation of a steam train – you can follow its progress through the network with a diagram just like the signal controllers have. It takes away most of the guesswork when you can use these tools!

Tony Bartlett

HAHA by Belinda

An Allotment in Hungerford………..

After a year of waiting, we have at last received some fabulous news about our lease at Marsh Lane. Not only are we going to have an allotment from April, we’re going to have one for the next five years! Well done to Hungerford Town Council and Hungerford Allotment Holders Association for getting this agreed (in principle – we’re still awaiting a signature) by the landowner.

We’re all so pleased and have already seen new people signing up for plots. Hurry up spring! We want to move on from planning and actually start sowing and planting. Some things have started already – we’ve planted our garlic and the broad beans will be next on our list. I also intend to sow sweet peas this year and they can start early too, but mostly we know to wait…

Along with the larger plots, Marsh Lane has some ‘mini-plots’ for rent this year. Measuring about 20m2 they will be good for people who don’t have much time, or don’t need to grow lots of vegetables. Quite a few of our newcomers may have only grown a few vegetables in pots before and can find the large plots rather daunting. Of course, if they find that they love the allotment life and growing their own as much as we do, they can always move on to larger plots in the future.

The great thing about growing on an allotment is meeting fellow growers and picking up tips on how to deal with aspects of sowing, growing and harvesting. Seed packets don’t always give the best advice regarding sowing times or spacing, so it’s handy to be able to see how fellow allotmenteers handle things. People are so creative with their growing spaces and, of the 100+ plots at Marsh Lane, there are almost as many different setups on the plots. Some plotholders like to grow full rows of their veg; others have small beds of varying sizes. Raised beds, pots and tubs are also used in various ways and we all appreciate there’s no ‘right way’ of doing things – it’s whatever works for you. We also know that no two years are the same and there’s a bug for every vegetable!

So, do you fancy a new hobby and feel like joining us at Marsh Lane? From as little as £12 a year, you can enjoy a beautiful site, community spirit, fresh air (not too fresh hopefully), home-grown veggies and perhaps a bunch or two of flowers on your windowsill. You may wonder why you’ve never thought of growing your own before!


You can contact HAHA on 0754 118 7274
Our Marsh Lane allotment life is recorded online through my blogs:
on Facebook and Twitter

Hungerford Football by Ron Tarry

As we look back on this first season in the National League South, now well into its second half, we can be well satisfied with our performance at this exalted level, especially with the recent results. We have been in the top half of the league all the way, even when we suffered our biggest defeat at St.Albans back in early November, when our defensive mistakes gave the home side an easy task. That defeat was the turning point for, since then we have had an undefeated league run of twelve matches which put us briefly into a play-off spot. Whatever the results in the rest of the season, we look certain to be well away from the danger zone, even if we are not challenging for league honours..

We have had some disappointing cup results, especially in the F.A,Cup and F,A,Trophy, but have made up for these failings by reaching the final of the Berks. & Bucks. Senior Cup, the first time since we were the winners 35 years ago, when we defeated the mighty Wycombe Wanderers (now a Football League Club) in the final

This year our opponents are league leaders Maidenhead United, a formidable task, although we drew 2-2 at York Road earlier in the season and have yet to meet them at Bulpit Lane.

This year’s final is due to be played on May 1st., although the venue has yet to be announced To mark the occasion we shall be holding a reunion on Good Friday (when we are at home to Dartford) of the players who took part in that memorable game, in 1982.and also hope to include players who took part in our losing finals in 1976, 1977, and 1979 before we were eventually successful

On a more local level, the Swifts, our young team of local lads who play in the North Berks league Division 2, are topping the league with a 100% record, as well as still competing in several cup competitions.

Why not go along and support them at Bulpit Lane, where they play most of their home games unless there is a clash with a first-team fixture?. Entry is free to their home matches where bar and refreshment facilities are available.

Ron Tarry. President Hungerford Town Football Club

Hungerford Town Band by Tim Crouter

First of all a belated Happy New Year to all our friends, followers and supporters including a very big thank you for all your kind donations whilst we played carols at Christmas.
By the time you read this update we will be only a few days away from performing at the Regional round of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain. This will take place at Stevenage arts and Leisure Centre on Saturday 18th March and our Section will be in the afternoon. If you wish to come to a rehearsal to hear how things are progressing please contact us via the band website

Bookings have been coming in thick and fast and the band can be heard in a free concert on Tutti Day, Tuesday 25th April, at 7.30pm in Hungerford’s Corn Exchange. As well as leading the parade to Church for Constable’s Sunday on 30th April at around 10.30pm.

The band’s Annual Concert will be held on Saturday 20th May in The Corn Exchange at 7.30pm. Tickets will be available from Crown Needlework or members of the band and will be £6.00 to include light refreshments.

Finally the Training Band still has opportunities for people of all ages and standards to learn to play , instruments are available so please contact us via the band website.

Tim Crouter
Musical Director

Health by Liz

Natures Corner
Sensitivities, Chronic Inflammation and Autoimmunity

Our daily food and environmental choices significantly impact on our long term health. The modern world is rapidly becoming a more ‘alien’ environment for the human body to exist in, and we are under assault from unnatural food choices and a cocktail of environmental chemicals. At Natures Corner, we work closely with functionally trained Nutritional Therapist Mark Bennett, and in this article, Liz Chandler calls upon Mark’s experience in the fascinating field of sensitivities.

In the 21st century we are seeing an explosion of chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, obesity, arthritis and autoimmunity. Whilst family history and genetics do play a part in the development of these diseases, it is the impact of the environment (food choices, toxic load and lifestyle) that is the key driver behind this troubling situation.
What is inflammation?

Inflammation is the activation of the immune system in response to infection, irritation or injury. Characterised by an influx of white blood cells, redness, heat, swelling, pain, and dysfunction of the organs involved, inflammation has different names when it appears in different parts of the body. Most allergy sufferers are familiar with rhinitis (inflammation of the nose), sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses and asthma (inflammation of the airways) but inflammation is also behind arthritis (inflammation of the joints), dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) and so on.

In the case of allergies, the immune system responds to the presence of the allergen, a normally harmless substance to which it has become overly sensitive. Allergens bind to antibodies, which trigger the release of chemicals like histamine that result in allergy symptoms. Inflammation is the crucial first step in fighting off infection and healing wounds. However, when inflammation persists and the immune system is always activated, this is known as chronic inflammation and can lead to chronic disease. Autoimmunity develops when your immune system attacks healthy body cells and tissues. There are at least 80 types of autoimmune disease and any part of the body can be involved.

So if you experience eczema, joint pain, IBS, indigestion, depression, anxiety, headaches, fatigue, weight gain, congestion or heart palpitations, or if you are interested in the topic of sensitivities in general, Mark is holding a seminar on this subject at Arlington Arts on Thursday 27th April at 7pm.

Some of the questions he will be answering are
What is the difference between an allergy, sensitivity and intolerance?
What’s the difference between Coeliac disease and non Coeliac gluten sensitivity?
Do you simply need to eliminate certain foods to achieve better health or is the answer more complex?

Tickets are £10 and are available from Arlington Arts Box Office 01635 244246
email and
Natures Corner 01635 33007 email

Hungerford PPG

Readers may recall from the last issue of Chain Mail that the PPG has formed a link with
The Reading and West Berkshire Carers’ Hub. It provides information, advice and guidance on carers’ benefits and grants, carers’ breaks and free access to local leisure, health and well-being facilities amongst other things. It also signposts people to other organisations which may be able to provide support.

The PPG is delighted to support the setting up of a Carers’ Support Group in Hungerford. The inaugural meeting will be on Tuesday 21 February and every third Tuesday of the month thereafter. The first meeting will be held in the library in Church Street and carers are welcome to drop in from 10.30 a.m. till 12 noon. Stephen Hammond from the Carers’ Hub will be there, on hand to share his vast knowledge, give advice or simply provide a listening ear. Stephen is experienced in supporting many different carers – those who support an elderly relative, a partner or child and who have had to adopt their role for many different reasons. Refreshments will be available.

In the meantime, carers are most welcome to call the Carers’ Hub on 0118 324 7333 to speak to an experienced support worker who will provide a personalised service that meets your individual needs. Lines are open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Alternatively, e mail

If you have suggestions of what you would like your PPG group to discuss at future meetings or have questions or comments about this article, please e mail: or leave a message at the surgery.


Hungerford Primary School PTA

Well it has been another eventful few months for Hungerford Primary School PTA. We had our annual tombola at the magnificent Victorian Extravaganza and proved so popular with the public that all the bottles and chocolate had been won by 6.30! A wonderful evening was had by all and a great amount of money raised to go towards the school.

After Christmas we held the infamous jumble sale. An opportunity to clear out old clothes and bric a brac, and replace those empty cupboards with new (old) stuff. We had people queuing out of the door ready to search for those elusive bargains. They obviously liked what they found as we managed to raise over £800.

As always the PTA is not just about raising money. In December our wonderful class buddies in yr 1 organised a film night for the children and yr 5 had a Christmas party.

This year we will be focusing on helping the school fund a fantastic new library and making it a welcoming and relaxing place for the children to explore and expand their reading.

Finally a date for the diary, we will be hosting another biannual fete on 1st July 2017. It is shaping up to be a spectacular day of fun filled activities, shows and stalls. The war horses will be back so put the date on the calendar.

Hungerford Primary PTA Team ….contact the PTA on

The Governors of Hungerford Nursery School………….

 Centre for Children and Families are delighted that Ofsted has once again judged our nursery school, including our recently established Pre-Nursery, as outstanding. This is the fourth successive outstanding judgement that we have received. We have never been judged as anything other than outstanding since Ofsted began inspecting the Nursery – a truly amazing achievement!

The outstanding judgement quite rightly highlights the wonderful work done by the staff to achieve such a continued high standard. The Governors are extremely proud of the professionalism, dedication and expertise of Suzanne Taylor and all of the staff. The Ofsted report also reflects the superb opportunities for the children who attend and the impressive progress that they make in their learning. The Ofsted Inspector commented very positively on the parent feedback. This is evidence of the close relationships between parents and the nursery. We are very aware of ongoing pressures on nursery funding at a national and local level. We are not being complacent and are looking at possible ways of helping us through any future financial difficulties.

The Ofsted inspector acknowledged the importance of having, and the work being done by, a local Children’s Centre, known as our Family Centre. This is currently run by the Nursery on behalf of West Berkshire. Our Family Centre offers a range of valuable services for local families. This includes targeted support for vulnerable families, training courses to assist local families as well as drop-in sessions. These are not only in Hungerford but also across our outreach area, including Lambourn and Kintbury. We need to be aware that West Berkshire budgets for this area of work continue to be very tight. We are not sure what the future may hold in the way of local authority funding for our Family Centre. We are currently looking at possible routes for the future to maintain this valuable local community service.

The Governors are also rightly proud of, and fully support, the great work that Suzanne and her team do through the Early Years Teaching Centre and Training Base. This offers support and training opportunities for practitioners and local head teachers with a focus on the Early Years. During the past year there have been a significant number of visits from other settings, including attending an Inspiration Day here. Local providers have attended a variety of courses here such as Norwegian Woodland training and storytelling. The nursery is, therefore, not only providing wonderful provision for our children; we are also sharing excellent practice throughout West Berkshire and beyond. We are currently looking to extend this element of the Centre so that we can offer a wider range of courses and experiences for those involved in childcare and/or education.

As you will see from this article, we have an exceptional Nursery Centre in Hungerford, with inspirational and dedicated staff. In view of our plans for the future we would welcome an additional governor, or governors, with strong IT, Marketing and Business planning skills to join our team at this exciting and challenging time. Please see the separate advert listed below for contact details.

Daphne Angell (Chair of Governors)
Hungerford Centre for Children and Families


Hungerford Nursery School Centre for Children and Families is looking for a
new Governor who has strong IT, Marketing and Business planning skills to join our dynamic team at our “Outstanding” Nursery.

If you or someone that you know would be interested in joining us,
please contact Daphne Angell, Chair of the Governing Board on 01488 682628
or email:
for more information or aninformal chat.

Hungerford Nursery School Centre for Children and Families follows safe
recruitment guidelines including Disclosure and Barring Services checks.

LEGAL SPOT      Restrictions on the use of land

I remember a conversation with my brother-in-law some years ago relating to the appalling untidiness of the home he lives in. He acknowledged that the mess and clutter were disgraceful but made the point “it’s mine, and I can do what I like”. I can think of a few other people I know whose lives are evidently governed by the same principle, and with much the same results.

He isn’t a lawyer of course and as a person who is, I wouldn’t go quite so far and would have added the qualification ‘within legal limits of course’. There are in fact several categories of legal limits and restrictions and most of us are likely to come across at least some of them in our lives:-

Restrictive covenants – most tenancy agreements contain these, and they can apply to freehold land as well. One I am dealing with at the moment limits the number of houses which can be built on the area of land concerned. To get this lifted, a significant amount of money will have to be paid to the organisation which imposed the covenant some years ago, and the client will have to pay their exorbitant legal costs as well. Another example in every residential tenancy agreement I have ever dealt with is a covenant prohibiting the use of the premises for the purposes of a business.

Leases – if your property is leased rather than owned freehold there will no doubt be numerous covenants and other restrictive provisions in your lease or tenancy agreement, and it’s always best to make sure that you read through the document carefully and understand what they are – and if necessary take legal advice

Statutory restrictions – most frequently encountered in planning law, with planning permissions always being limited to one of more of the statutory Use Classes, for example A1 (retail), A2 (financial and professional services) A3 (food and drink), various Class B uses for business and industrial, C1 (hotels and hostels) etc. etc. Health and Safety legislation also involves wide-ranging conditions and restrictions to many authorised uses, especially as regards places of work and food outlets.

Nuisance – the common law tort of nuisance gives a right of legal action to anyone whose enjoyment of his property is adversely affected by unreasonable use of neighbouring land by another. Excessive noise is a common example. You may be the owner of your property, but you are under an implied legal obligation to use it in a reasonable manner.

Easements in favour of other people – for example a right of way, once granted, remains enforceable at law even if it isn’t used for many years. Another example is a right of light which becomes enforceable if a building has the uninterrupted benefit of it for more than twenty years.

Trusts – putting a property into a trust (often by a provision in a Will) will usually involve restrictions of one kind or another, for example as regards the uses to which the property can be put (a good example being our own Croft Hall). Divorce settlements also sometimes involve trusts, for example a transfer of the former matrimonial home to the ex-wife but with a proviso that once all the children of the family have finished full-time education or training, the ex-husband can apply for sale in order to realise whatever share the Court order provided for him by way of ‘deferred charge’.

Licences – a licence is no more than permission to use or occupy land for a defined purpose, and anything beyond that is automatically unlawful. Parking your car in Tesco’s car park is therefore OK, provided that you don’t stay too long and intend to shop there, but if you start selling hot dogs from it you are exceeding the limits of your licence and are likely to be told to stop doing it and to leave the premises immediately (you will probably be at risk of prosecution under Health and Safety legislation as well).

So with the greatest respect to my esteemed brother-in-law, what he said on that day isn’t the whole picture. The old adage that ‘an Englishman’s home is his castle’ may be the tradition we all grew up with, and it’s true up to a point, but it ain’t the whole truth and never has been. Wise counsel is, as always, to be a bit careful.

David Small


Fond & Distant Memories

Beryl Fowler’s passing has stirred my sense of history and I hope it will enable me to write an interesting article for Chain Mail readers.

Beryl was appointed as Town Clerk in 1975 and served the town in that role for 32 years. Always bright and cheerful it was a pleasure to be in her company and it prompts me to look back into those early years. In 1975 over 150 people attended the annual Parish meeting when it was agreed that the Town Council would hand over our swimming pool to the newly formed Newbury District Council. The vote was 141 in favour and 9 against. This meant that the expense of heating the pool would be shared and it came as a great relief to me as Chairman of the Finance committee.

Readers might remember the demolition of the row of shops next to the Town Hall – Barnard’s Fish, Barnard’s Newsagent and Bartholomew Furniture and Undertakers. It left an ugly gap in the landscape as it was a considerable time before the present row of shops were opened. In this same year our first appointed Mayor Jo Brady (1974) died and Ron Tarry became the second Mayor of our town.

These changes interested Towns people as significant events were occurring. The Town Council took over Saint Saviour’s churchyard as a public cemetery. Serious discussion took place concerning a Market and it is recorded that in 1986 there were objections from local shopkeepers to the Wednesday market which was becoming very popular. The annual Parish meeting recorded that there were 118 for the market and no one against!

Christmas lighting in the High Street was still in its infancy, I still have memories of Vic Lardner and the Town Fire Brigade providing the first glimpse of our present grand display. The first lights were in 1980 and then they were very much a minor feature in the trees.

I close with a heartfelt vote of thanks to Beryl Fowler for all she was to Hungerford

More in the next CHAIN MAIL Jack Williams