HUNGERFORD, John (by 1516-82), of Stokke, Wilts. and Down Ampney, Glos.
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Family and Education
b. by 1516, 1st s. of Sir Anthony Hungerford of Down Ampney by 1st w. Jane, da. of Sir Edward Darrell of Littlecote, Wilts.; bro. of Edward. educ. I. Temple, adm. 5 Feb 1534. m. (1) by 1541, Bridget, da. of John Fettiplace of East Shefford, Berks., at least 1s.; (2) settlement 1 June 1563, Eleanor, da. of Walter, Lord Hungerford of Heytesbury, Wilts., wid. of William Master(s); at least 2s. 4da. suc. fa. 18 Nov. 1558. Kntd. Sept. 1574.1
Marshal, I. Temple Christmas 1552, steward 1564.
Commr. relief, Wilts. 1550; j.p. Glos. 1569-?d., Wilts. in 1578; sheriff, Glos. 1567-8.2
The historians of the Hungerford family and of Great Bedwyn were mistaken in regarding the second Member for that borough in Mary’s first Parliament as the son of Anthony Hungerford by Barbara, daughter of Sir John Wriothesley, Garter King of Arms. The indenture made on 24 Sept. 1553, styles him John Hungerford ‘of Stoke’, thus identifying him with the eldest son of Sir Anthony Hungerford of Down Ampney who is so described in the wills of both his parents and who appears on the pardon roll of 1559, after he had entered upon his inheritance, as ‘of Down Ampney, co. Glos. alias of Stoke, co. Wilts.’. Stoke, or Stokke, adjoins Great Bedwyn, and there can be no doubt that the John Hungerford ‘of Bedwyn and the borough’ who contributed 20s. to the benevolence of 1545 and was a freeholder and burgess there was also the Member, especially as his father sat in this Parliament as one of the knights for Gloucestershire. It has been suggested that John Hungerford was returned for Bedwyn to the previous Parliament, but no support has been found for this. Although he was not to sit again, he was succeeded at Bedwyn first by Edward Hungerford, almost certainly his brother, and then by his brother-in-law Henry Clifford. In 1550 Clifford and John Hungerford had given evidence in support of Christopher Dysmars (q.v.) before a Wiltshire jury.3
His legal studies notwithstanding, Hungerford seems to have led the life of a country gentleman concerned with the improvement of his estates. Although neither he nor his father was noted as having ‘stood for the true religion’ in Mary’s first Parliament, their absence from succeeding ones and his own lack of local office under Mary suggests that he may have lacked enthusiasm for her regime. With the accession of Elizabeth, and his own succession to his patrimony, he was to become more active. In 1564 he was described by the bishop of Gloucester, who recommended him as suitable for the bench, as ‘a man of worship and fair possessions’, and he became both a justice and sheriff. Yet it is clear that his path had not been an easy one, for although as his father’s solicitor he had ‘paid and discharged a great mass of money’, nearly 30 years after his father’s death he found it necessary to provide in his own will for debts which he had inherited. It is a tribute to his own management that, although he parted with some, he left lands in six counties and made large bequests of money and goods; his father had held lands worth some £150 a year, whereas his own, including those indentured to his second wife, were valued at twice that figure. At Cricklade he added flying buttresses to the Lady chapel in St. Sampson’s church and in 1569 he built the market house in the High Street.4
In a will made on 1 Apr. 1581 and proved on 10 Apr. 1583 Hungerford left 40s. for the repair of the churches of Down Ampney and Great Bedwyn and the same sum to the poor of the town of Bedwyn. The arms, tent, drums and cassocks which he left to his son Anthony probably dated from his service in France in 1544. He left legacies to his sons Anthony and John, and to his daughters and their husbands, all of whom were to be provided at his funeral with ‘a black glove ... according to the ancient use and fashion’. Hungerford died on 19 Mar. 1582, leaving as his heir his son Anthony, who was aged 40 years and more at the time of the inquisition.5