Newbury News Ltd. Print-Digital-Social

Council gives backing for life size Jack of Newbury statue

Bronze tribute to Newbury legend could be coming to Northbrook Street

Dan Cooper

Dan Cooper


01635 886632

Council gives backing for life size Jack of Newbury statue

NEWBURY town councillors this week gave their backing for plans to bring Jack of Newbury – who was highly influential in the expansion of the cloth industry in the town – “back to life”.

Greenham-based artist and designer Luke Webb wants to create a lifesize, bronze statue of the great man and install it outside his former residence in Northbrook Street.

‘Good ol’ Jack’, who lived from 1489 to 1557, was an apprentice clothier.

Legend has it that he created the first factory in England and brought employment to hun-dreds of local people.

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 be given to Henry VIII.


Jack of Newbury is such an important part of Newbury’s heritage that Mr Webb is now hoping to create the 2.8m high sculpture of the man.

Mr Webb was also responsible for designing the new US Second World War memorial at the former Greenham Common airbase, and the ‘supporter’s staircase’ at the Corn Exchange, Newbury.

For the past six months, Mr Webb has worked closely with local historian David Peacock to come up with a model of what the statue would look like and it was presented to councillors at a Newbury Town Council civic, arts, pride and leisure meeting on Monday evening where it was given widespread support.

In his presentation, Mr Webb said: “It is a traditional bronze figure but with a modernist twist.

“He has his left arm raised aloft. By doing that I am attempting to recreate the moment he may have had the inspiration to do what he did. As you can see he also has cloth draped over his right arm.

“It is a pose which I feel will look interesting from just about every angle and encourage people to walk around the statue.”

It will cost in the region of £35,000 and funding options are currently being explored.

It is hoped that around £3,500 to £5,000 of that will be funded privately, with the remainder coming from grants.

Speaking about why he wanted to create the sculpture, 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.”

Following the presentation, the chairwoman of the civic, arts, pride and leisure committee, Margo Payne, said: “I think it is an absolutely superb statue that Newbury in particular will benefit from.”

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of supporting the plans and agreed to put it forward to the arts steering group to come up with a formal proposal.

Meanwhile, Mr Webb said he was on the lookout for someone bearing a “slight resemblance” to Jack of Newbury to pose as a model when creating the final piece.   

Leave your comment

Share your opinions on Newbury Weekly News

Characters left: 1000

Article comments

  • NewburyDenizen

    14/09/2016 - 17:05

    Utter waste of money, and not even historically correct, "By doing that I am attempting to recreate the moment he may have had the inspiration to do what he did", by that measure, how about we make a nice big statue out of pig excrement in the visage of Benyon, to recreate the moment he may have given a c**p about his constituency...


  • ExNewbury

    11/09/2016 - 07:07

    Good' Ol' Luke's creative way to get publuc money to pay for his job, at the expense of more pressing needs in the town


  • Oldmoaner

    10/09/2016 - 20:08

    Statue's, flag poles, plaques and dressing up is about all this council can do they have no power other than play acting, mind you most of them would remember this bloke. They have to do rediculous thing's like this to keep awake. Now please wake up and look at your town and act for the majority of the people, spend their money to the maximum advantage of needs rather than your own selfish ego's.


  • Blizzard

    10/09/2016 - 17:05

    The Jack Ass of Newbury. Either private funding or no funding. This council and government have scalped the public and removed so much. For what? To spend on something which we known will be used by late night attention. I would reconsider having a statue with any finger extended.


Show more comments