Hocktide in Hungerford is a unique and ancient tradition that dates back to the time when John of Gaunt granted commoners grazing rights and permission to fish in the River Kennet. It’s celebrated over two weeks every year, with the most well-known day being Tutti-Day (also known as Hock Tuesday or Hockney Day), which is held on the second Tuesday after Easter.
The festivities include the selection of the Hocktide Jury, Ale Tasting, Tutti Day, Hocktide Court, and swearing in of the new Officers and Constable for the year at the Court Leet and Court Baron. On Tutti Day, “Tutti-men” and women visit about 100 houses and businesses, taking with them poles decorated with ribbons, flowers, and an orange. Historically, Tutti-men had the right to kiss any girl in the town on the day, exchanging the kiss for an orange. The tradition continues but residents no longer have to give the kiss in return if they do not wish to.
The oranges are in recognition of the town’s support for William of Orange, who negotiated the terms of his reign as King William III at Hungerford’s Bear Hotel in 1688. The festivities are a celebration of the agricultural calendar switching from winter to summer.
Hungerford is the only place in the country to have continuously celebrated Hocktide or Tutti Day. Today it marks the end of the town council’s financial and administrative year, but in the past it was a more general celebration associated with the town’s great patron, John of Gaunt.