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Plaque to be replaced on historic Newbury house

Information on Jack of Newbury corrected

A NEW plaque is to be put up at the former house of Jack of Newbury to correct information currently displayed on the existing blue plaque.

The house of John Winchcombe II, who came to be known as Jack of Newbury, lies on the corner of Northbrook Street and Marsh Lane, and a blue plaque denotes the historical significance of the property.

The plaque currently on the front of the building, which was largely demolished to make way for Marks and Spencer, states that John Winchcombe became known as Jack of Newbury in the early 15th century and that he died in 1519.

However, more recent research has shown that the man who became known as Jack of Newbury was actually his son John Winchcombe the younger (1489-1557).

Newbury Town Council has now submitted an application seeking to remove the existing plaque and install the new corrected heritage plaque.

This will mention Jack of Newbury’s achievements, including producing dyed cloth on an industrial scale two centuries before the Industrial Revolution, as well as providing the correct dates for his birth and death.

The chairman of the Newbury Town Council heritage working group, Anthony Pick, said: “The old plaque was put up many, many years ago, certainly well before 2000, when local historian Dr David Peacock wrote his thesis on Jack of Newbury.

“John Winchcombe the younger died in 1557, but the story was written down in a sort of novel in the 1670s.

“In that 120-year period vast amounts of false information had been attached to his story.

“These plaques add to the history and heritage of the town so people have an idea of what happened, otherwise things can get forgotten.”

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