HITCHIN is a market town in the North
Hertfordshire District in
England , with an estimated population of 33,350.
* 1 History
* 2 Government
* 3 Transport
* 4 Education
* 5 Culture and community
* 6 Sport in
* 7 Districts of
* 8 Nearby settlements
* 9 Notable people who have lived in
* 10 Filmography
* 11 Miscellaneous
* 12 References
* 13 External links
Hitchin is first noted as the central place of the Hicce people, a
tribe holding 300 hides of land as mentioned in a 7th-century
Tribal Hidage . Hicce, or Hicca may mean the people of
the horse. The tribal name is
Old English and derives from the Middle
Anglian people. It has been suggested that
Hitchin was the location
of 'Clofeshoh ', the place chosen in 673 by
Theodore of Tarsus the
Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury during the
Synod of Hertford , the first
meeting of representatives of the fledgling
Christian churches of
England , to hold annual synods of the churches as
Theodore attempted to consolidate and centralise Christianity in
England. By 1086
Hitchin is described as a
Royal Manor in Domesday
Book : the feudal services of
Avera and Inward , usually found in the
eastern counties, especially
Hertfordshire , were
due from the sokemen , but the manor of
Hitchin was unique in levying
Inward. Evidence has been found to suggest that the town was once
provided with an earthen bank and ditch fortification, probably in
the early tenth century but this did not last. The modern spelling
'Hitchin' first appears in 1618 in the "
Hertfordshire Feet of Fines".
Panel representing the foundational history of Hitchin
mentioning: King Offa, the
River Hiz and the Hicce tribe. Now on the
Hitchin Library, it was on the Sainsburys on Brand Street
until the supermarket relocated to the Bancroft area.
The name of the town also is associated with the small river that
runs through the town, most picturesquely in front of the east end of
St. Mary\'s Church , the town's parish church. The river is noted on
maps as the
River Hiz . Contrary to how most people now pronounce the
name, that is to say as spelt, the 'z' is an abbreviated character for
a 'tch' sound in the Domesday Book, (as in the name of the town). It
would have been pronounced 'River Hitch'. The Hicca Way is an eight
mile walking route along the
River Hiz Valley, believed to have been
used for trade between the Danes and English in the Anglo-Saxon age.
It is also likely that Hitch Wood, which lies some half a dozen miles
south of the town also derives its name from the Hicce tribe, who gave
their name to Hitchin.
Hitchin is notable for St. Mary\'s Church , which is remarkably large
for a town of its size. The size of the church is evidence of how
Hitchin prospered from the wool trade. It is the largest parish church
Hertfordshire . Most of the church dates from the 15th century,
with its tower dating from around 1190. During the laying of a new
floor in the church in 1911, foundations of a more ancient church
building were found. In form, they appear to be a basilican church of
a 7th-century type, with a later enlarged chancel and transepts ,
perhaps added in the 10th century. This makes the church older than
the story (not recorded before the 15th century) that the church was
Offa , king of
Hitchin (and the nearby village of
Offley ) were subject to
what is thought to have been the most severe hailstorm in recorded
British history. Hailstones over 4 inches in diameter were reported
The town flourished on the wool trade, and located near the Icknield
Way and by the 17th century
Hitchin was a staging post for coaches
London . By the middle of the 19th century the railway had
arrived, and with it a new way of life for Hitchin. The corn exchange
was built in the market place and within a short time Hitchin
established itself as a major centre for grain trading.
The latter half of the 20th century has also brought great changes in
communication to Hitchin. Motorways have shortened the journey time
Luton , a few miles away on the M1 , and the A1 (M) even
closer. By the close of the 20th century,
Hitchin had become a
satellite dormitory town for London.
Hitchin also developed a fairly
Sikh community based around the
During the medieval period, both a priory (Newbigging, now known as
The Biggin) and a friary (now known as
Hitchin Priory) were
established, both of which closed during Henry VIII 's Dissolution of
the Monasteries . They were never reformed, although The Biggin was
for many years used as almshouses .
British Schools Museum
British Schools Museum in
Hitchin is home to the world's only
Lancasterian Schoolroom , which was built in 1837 to
teach boys by the
Lancasterian method (peer tutoring ).
Girton College—a pioneer in women's education—was established on
16 October 1869 under the name of College for Women at
in Hitchin, which was considered to be a convenient distance from
Cambridge and London. It was thought to be less 'risky' and less
controversial to locate the college away from Cambridge in the
beginning. The college moved to Cambridge a few years later and
adopted its present name, Girton College.
Hitchin is in the local government district of North Hertfordshire
which was formed in 1974 by the amalgamation of rural and urban
councils. There is now no town council in Hitchin. Residents elect 13
members to the North
Hertfordshire District Council . There are five
electoral wards in Hitchin:
Bearton , Highbury , Oughton , Priory and
It is within the
Harpenden constituency for
representation in the Parliament of the
United Kingdom . In the 2010
general election ,
Peter Lilley of the Conservative Party was elected.
Between 1983 and 1997
Hitchin was included in the North Hertfordshire
constituency . Before that it was in the
Hitchin constituency .
Hitchin is within the
East of England constituency of the European
Parliament which currently elects 7 MEPs . Prior to 1999 and the
adoption of proportional representation ,
Hitchin was in the
Hertfordshire constituency .
Hitchin railway station
Hitchin railway station is on the Great Northern Line , to which the
Cambridge Line connects just north of the station. There are direct
connections to London,
Peterborough , and Cambridge.
London and Cambridge both last approximately 30 minutes on
the Express services.
Stevenage is 5 minutes away and
typically 45 minutes distance in journey-time.
The A505 , A600 and A602 roads intersect in Hitchin, which is about
three miles (5 km) from the
A1(M) motorway and about ten miles (16 km)
M1 motorway .
Hitchin is about 9 miles from
Luton Airport with a direct bus service
linking the two.
See also: List of schools in
There are several primary schools in Hitchin. Secondary education is
Hitchin Girls\' School ,
Hitchin Boys\' School and the
Priory School . There is a campus of the North
in Hitchin, and it is also the home of the
Benslow Music Trust which
provides music education for adults.
Hitchin Museum and Art Gallery (about to open Summer 2017) has an
extensive collection that tells the story of the town's social history
and of the rural industries that contributed to its prosperity. The
British Schools Museum
British Schools Museum is housed in original Edwardian and Victorian
CULTURE AND COMMUNITY
Lavender fields near
In March 2013 a poll in
The Times voted
Hitchin the 9th best town in
the UK in which to live.
Hitchin hosts an annual Arts
Hitchin Symphony Orchestra and
Hitchin Chamber Orchestra
give regular concerts often in St Mary's Church and
perform around the country in brass band championship competition as
well as the home town. There are two excellent small theatres - The
Market Theatre with a year round programme in their main hall and
one-off performances in the Cabaret Bar and The Queen Mother Theatre,
home of the town's Bancroft Players, Big Spirit Youth Theatre and
occasional visiting companies as well as
Hitchin Films in the Richard
Whitmore Studio. For event details go to www.hitchinherts.com
Hitchin Market remains one of the largest in the area with general
markets on Tuesday and Saturday, bric-a-brac and collectables on
Fridays and a Sunday Car Boot; there are also monthly specialist
markets - Local Produce & Crafts on the last Saturday of each month,
Lifestyle on the second Saturday and occasional Art Markets. Hitchin
Markets is also the venue for the annual Duck Race during Hitchin
The town centre boasts a wealth of independent retailers in both food
Top Field , the home ground of
Hitchin Town F.C.
Hitchin Rugby Club is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to
participate in and promote the sport of rugby union at all age levels
Hitchin area. This includes Mini/ Midi (U7-U12), Youth
(U13-U17), Colts (U19), Seniors (19+), Vets (35+) and Ladies. Hitchin
RFC has a 50+ year relationship with the town of Hitchin, having been
founded in 1954. See the history section for more. Highlights have
included playing at
Twickenham in the final of the national Junior RFU
Cup in 1993 and the establishment of the country's first Academy.
Currently their membership stands at over 500 people, including active
and associate members. They have a community development programme and
a Mini -webkit-column-count: 2; column-count: 2;">
Dorothy Atkinson , actress
Guillem Balagué , Spanish football journalist
* James Bay , musician
Tom Bentley , philanthropist
Henry Bessemer , engineer
Jennie Bond , journalist
Sally Bretton , actress
Harold Briercliffe , cyclist and author
Drewe Broughton , footballer
* Edward Chapman , publisher
George Chapman , poet
Oliver Cheshire , fashion model
Chris Cleaver , footballer
Mary Angela Dickens , novelist and granddaughter of Charles
Monica Dickens , novelist and great granddaughter of Charles
Karl Duguid , footballer
Willie Duncan , musician
Gail Emms , badminton player
Ross Flitney , footballer
Mathew Gates , figure skater
Martin Gordon , musician
F.L. Griggs , etcher
Henry Hawkins, 1st Baron Brampton , judge
Reginald Hine , solicitor and historian
Paul Jesson , actor
Roy Kettle , author
Thea King , clarinettist
Dave Kitson , footballer
Kane Kramer , inventor of the digital audio player
Frank Launder , film director
* Joseph Lister , pioneer of antiseptic surgery
* John Lloyd , co-founder of the international design consultancy
Gavin McInnes , writer
* Sally Mules , journalist and presenter
Elaine Murray , Scottish politician
* Robert Newman , comedian
* David Noble , footballer
Arvind Parmar , tennis player
Ian Perkins , Musician
* Kevin Phillips , footballer
Kevin Pilkington , footballer
Ian Poulter , golfer
Pam Rhodes ,
BBC TV presenter
Michael Robbins , actor
Robert Tor Russell , architect of
* Martin Savage , actor
Steve Sheppard , B.B.C. Cricket and football commentator and owner
of One World Music
Valerie Singleton , TV presenter
* Richard Walker , angler
Diana Wallis , politician (MEP)
Kristiina Wheeler , an English-Finnish singer
Richard Whitmore , former newsreader
Frank Whittle , inventor of the jet engine
Jack Wilshere , footballer
* Henry Wood , conductor
* Second Lieutenant Frank Young VC , recipient of the Victoria Cross
Gary Younge , journalist
The Bleach Boys , Punk Band dating from 1976
Part of the 2010
BBC TV series Just William was filmed at the British
Scenes from the
BBC drama series Doctor Foster were filmed in Hitchin
Urban District Council was the first in Britain to
introduce 'black bags' for refuse collection.
Elizabeth the Queen Mother 's birth in 1900 was registered at
Hitchin, which is a few miles from her parent's English country house,
St Paul's Walden Bury, where she spent much of her childhood.
Actor and comedian
Bob Hope "claimed to have inherited his sense of
humour from his paternal grandfather from Hitchin".
The 1951 book
My Turn to Make the Tea by
Monica Dickens is set in
Hitchin (renamed Downingham in the book).
* ^ A B Neighbourhood Statistics 2011 census combined population of
Hitchin wards, Accessed 27 March 2013
* ^ A B Gover, J E B, Mawer, A and Stenton, F M 1938 The
Hertfordshire English Place-Names Society volume XV, 8
* ^ "North-Herts.gov.uk" (PDF).
* ^ Stenton, Sir Frank (1971). Anglo-Saxon England. Oxford
University Press. pp. 43, 296. ISBN 0 19 821716 1 .
* ^ "History Files".
* ^ Hindley, The Anglo-Saxons - The beginnings of the English
* ^ Sir Henry Ellis (1833). A general introduction to Domesday
Book: accompanied by indexes of the tenants in chief, and under
tenants, at the time of the survey, as wall as of the holders of lands
... Volume 1. Commission on the Public Records. p. 263.
* ^ A B "Hitchin: Introduction and manors". A History of the County
of Hertford. 3. 1912. pp. 3–12. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
* ^ Saunders, G & Winter, M 2009 Brooker's Yard, Hitchin,
Hertfordshire: Archaeological Assessment Report The Heritage Network
(report 560), 7
* ^ Fitzpatrick-Matthews, K J & Fitzpatrick-Matthews T 2008 The
Hitchin from Prehistory to the Present North
Hertfordshire District Council Museums ">(PDF).
* ^ "Preston Herts".
* ^ Madgin, Hugh (2009).
Hitchin Through Time. Britain & Ireland:
Amberley Publishing. ISBN 1848687451 .
* ^ Tailor, Robert (May 1697), "Account of a Great Hailstorm",
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (Great Britain); vol.
19, pp. 577-578
* ^ "Councils and Politics".
Hitchin Forum. Retrieved 25 February
* ^ Burge, Laura. "
Hitchin Voted 9th Best Town In UK". The Comet
24. Archant Community Media Ltd. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
* ^ Burge, Laura. "
Hitchin Festival to launch". The Comet 24.
Archant Community Media Ltd. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
* ^ "Mary Angela "Mekitty" Dickens (1862 - 1948) - Find A Grave
* ^ "Pam Rhodes". The Speakers Agency. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
* ^ "Russell, Robert Tor in Oxford Art Online".
www.oxfordartonline.com. Retrieved 2010-09-06. (requires login or UK
* ^ "Second Lieutenant Frank Edward Young VC".
www.bedfordregiment.org.uk. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
* ^ Judge, Ann. "The
BBC \'Just William\' at
Schools". Herts Memories.
Hertfordshire County Council . Retrieved 25
* ^ Bergan, Ronald (July 29, 2003). "Obituary: Bob Hope". London:
ref 6 should be credited to Offer - In Search of Clofesho Tessa
Publications 2002. In his book Mr Hindley acknowledges this work