A BRONZE statue of one of Newbury’s most influential people could be coming to the town.
Newbury Business Improvement District (BID) is asking the public whether they would like the town to honour Jack of Newbury by erecting the sculpture.
Jack of Newbury was highly influential in the expansion of industry in Newbury, bringing much employment to the town.
Good ol’ Jack, who also went by the names John Smallwood and John Winchcombe, was an apprentice clothier.
Circumstance saw Jack eventually take over the business, and he worked hard to expand it.
A legendary version of his life credits him with creating the first factory in England and bringing employment to hundreds of local people.
He was subsequently referred to as ‘the most considerable clothier England ever beheld’.
One of Jack’s greatest achievements was leading the negotiations for the reintroduction of better trading arrangements for cloth producers and he organised a petition to the king.
Legend also said that he hosted Henry VIII at his home in Northbrook Street.
Jack was eternally grateful to the town of Newbury where he’d made his fortune, and he also financed the rebuilding of St Nicolas Church, where he is buried.
Jack of Newbury is such an important part of Newbury’s heritage that local sculptor Luke Webb is hoping to produce an artwork of the man.
Mr Webb said: “John Winchcombe is very much an unsung hero.
“More than a rich 16th-century clothier, he was an entrepreneur, creative, a campaigner and stout patriot.
“Commemorating him with a beautiful bronze statue would be a wonderful focal point for our dynamic and thriving market town.
“This will bring a legend back to life for locals and visitors alike.”
n If you believe Jack of Newbury should come to town, and have an opinion about the best place for his sculpture, contact Suzanne Young at Newbury BID to express your views.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (01635) 760505 for more details.