Hungerford is in the S.W. part of the county, on the Bath road, eight or nine miles from Newbury, above twenty-five from Reading, and sixty-four or sixty-five from London. It is upon the river Kennet (which, however, is not navigable), and upon the Kennet and Avon Canal. This town bore in ancient times the name of Ingleford Charmam (or Charnam) Street, which Mr. Gough (in his Additions to Camden) thinks may be a corruption of the Ford of the Angles on Herman Street, the ancient Roman road. But the Messrs. Lysons doubt whether the name Ingleford applied to more than the site of the manor of Hungerford-Ingleford, which is in the parish, and observe that the name Hungerford, as now spelt, occurs in a record as ancient as A.D. 1204. The name Charnam Street is still preserved by one of the avenues to the town, and by one of the tithings into which the parish is divided. The town consists chiefly of one long street, in the centre of which are the market-house and shambles, with a room over them in which the town business is transacted. The church, which is in the western quarter of the town, was erected in 1814, in the place of an ancient structure, which appeared to have been built at different dates. In the former church were several memorials of the ancient family of the Hungerfords.
The living is a vicarage, in the patronage of the dean and chapter of Windsor, and in the peculiar jurisdiction of the dean of Salisbury ; the net income of the vicarage is stated at £429 in the Ecclesiastical Revenues Report, 1835. Near the church is the free grammar-school.
The Kennet is here divided into two streams, one of which passes through the town, the other close by it on the north side. The latter is crossed by a bridge at the entrance of the town from Newbury. There appears to be no manufacture in Hungerford of any importance. The market, which is on Wednesday, has been held from time immemorial, and is mentioned as an established market A.D. 1297. There are three fairs.
The population of the whole parish, which contains 4450 acres, and extends into Wiltshire, was, in 1831, 2715 ; but a considerable portion of this must be rural population. The town is governed by a constable, chosen annually by the inhabitants : the other municipal officers are bailiff, steward, town clerk, twelve feoffees and burgesses, &c. Hungerford was the birth-place of Dr. Samuel Chandler, an eminent dissenting minister of the last century. There was formerly an hospital of St. John the Baptist in this town, but its site is not known.