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The following reports of meetings in the 2013-14 season are available:

25 Sep 2013: "The Cravens and Ashdown House" by Nicola Cornick, MA

More than 70 members of the Hungerford Historical Association enjoyed a talk by the eminent local historian and author of regency novels, Nicola Cornick. The title of her talk was "the Cravens of Ashdown House". She explained how the first Earl of Craven, William, fought for Frederick V of Bohemia and fell in love with his wife, Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia, who was the sister of King Charles 1. William Craven dedicated and built Ashdown House for Elizabeth, but she died before it was completed.

The Craven family rose from penury in Yorkshire to becoming one of the most wealthy and famous families in Berkshire and England. William also earned the respect and gratitude of the people of London, during the Great Plague when unlike many noblemen who fled to the country he remained in London helping to maintain order.

Ashdown House was donated to the National Trust in 1956.

The next meeting of the Hungerford Historical Association will be on Wednesday, 23 October when the Reverend David Bunney will talk on "the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and its implications for Hungerford Churches".

Shelagh Parry

23 Oct 2013: "The 1662 Book of Common Prayer and its implications for Hungerford's Churches" - Rev David Bunney

Read the full text of the talk.

28 Nov 2013: "1914" - Sir Max Hastings, FRSL, FRHistS

Sir Max Hastings gave a wonderful talk to over 120 guests and members of the Hungerford Historical Association on Thursday 28 November. On the eve of the centenary of the First World War, Sir Max explained both how the conflict came about and what befell millions of men and women during the first months of WW1. He argued against the "Poet's view" that the war was not worth winning as he felt it was vital for Europe's freedom and Britain's survival that Kaiser Bills Germany  was defeated. His book on which the talk was based "Catastrophe- Europe goes to War 1914"  would be a great Christmas present  to give and receive!

The next meeting will be on Wednesday, 22 January 2014 at 7.30pm in the Corn Exchange when Dr Hugh Pihlens will talk on "The Town and Manor, Hocktide and all that!

Shelagh Parry

22 Jan 2014: "The Town and Manor, Hocktide and all that!" - Dr Hugh Pihlens

- See the Powerpoint presentation (as a pdf - 18Mb)
- Read the text of the talk (as a pdf)

26 Feb 2014: "The Role of the Modern High Sheriff" - Dr Christina Hill Williams

On Wednesday, 26 February Dr Christine Hill Williams, a deputy Lieutenant for the Royal County of Berkshire, gave an informative and educative talk to an appreciative audience of members and guests of the Hungerford Historical Association on the role of the modern High Sheriff, a role she had in Berkshire in 2009/2010.

The High Sheriff is the Queen's representative in all matters relating to law and order and it is one of the oldest secular offices in the country after the Monarch and the Archbishop of Canterbury and they are the only people allowed to carry a sword into a court room. Their duties include issuing the Proclamation on the death of the Sovereign; acting as returning officers during a General Election; escort to the Monarch and Judges during visits to the Royal County; and the right to sit in the High Court and Crown Court in Reading.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday, 26 March at 7.30pm in the Corn Exchange when local historian Roger Day, will give a talk on "1914 in Hungerford and District".

Shelagh Parry

26 Mar 2014: "The Western Kennet Valley in the Great War" - Roger Day

Over 80 members of the Hungerford Historical Association listened to an excellent, original talk by local historian Roger Day. Roger researched the local Army units that were raised in Hungerford and Marlborough and also Transport Units that were billeted in Hungerford and surrounding areas. Other subjects included farming and prisoners of war at Chiseldon and the Royal Flying Corps aerodrome at Yatesbury. Many original photographs were produced showing Army lorries lined up along Hungerford High Street and also in Marlborough.

Roger will be publishing a book on this topic in August 2014 to co-incide with the outbreak of the First World War.

The next meeting of the Association will be on Wednesday, 23 April at 7.30pm in the Corn Exchange when Kate Pyne of the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Aldermaston will talk on the History of AWE over the years. Guests are welcome.

Shelagh Parry

23 Apr 2014: "Atomic Weapons Establishment over the years" - Kate Pyne

Over 70 members of the Hungerford Historical Association heard an excellent talk from the Technical Historian of the AWE, Kate Pyne, on the history of the AWE over the years. In a very well-illustrated talk she traced the history of Britain's atomic and nuclear weapons and their very close links with Aldermaston. A very positive case was made for the retention, by the UK, of these weapons.

The next meeting of the Association will be on Wednesday, 28 May at 7.30pm in the Hungerford Corn Exchange, when volunteers from the Museum of English Rural Life at the University of Reading will give a presentation on the Swing Riots of 1830 when the agricultural workers from Hungerford rioted in an attempt to improve their living conditions.

Shelagh Parry

28 May 2014: "Swing Riots in Hungerford 1830" - Keith Jerome and others from MERL.

A group of volunteers from the Museum of English Rural Life at the University of Reading entertained over 70 members and guests of the Hungerford Historical Association to a dramatic presentation of events in 1830 when agricultural labourers fought against new threshing machines which made them unemployed. The rioters were also demonstrating for a living wage and to improve their living conditions. The riot was eventually suppressed and one rioter was executed whilst the others were transported to Australia.

The next meeting of the Hungerford Historical Association will be the AGM on Wednesday, 25 June at 7.30pm in Hungerford Corn Exchange.

Shelagh Parry