Hitchin is a historic market town located in Hertfordshire, England. Its history can be traced back to the early medieval period, and it has a rich and fascinating past.

Medieval Origins

The town centre of Hitchin began to take shape during the medieval period. Its layout was influenced by the market charter granted by King Henry I in 1100, which established the town as a market town. The market was an essential part of the town’s economy and social life, and it continues to be a focal point of Hitchin to this day.

Hitchin Market trades 4 days a week, with a general market on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays as well as collectibles and antiques on Fridays and a car boot sale on Sundays.

An aerial photograph showing Hitchin Market

Religious Heritage

Several historic churches were built in the town centre during the medieval period. One of the most notable landmarks is the Church of St. Mary, a beautiful medieval parish church located in the heart of the town. It is believed to be the largest parish church in Hertfordshire. Its construction started in the 12th century, around 1190, and it has undergone various additions and renovations over the centuries.

Whilst St Mary’s Church is arguably the most well know church, there are many other sites of religious significance including Holy Saviour Church. This was built on an area of land close to Hitchin Railway Station and was consecrated on Ascension Day 1865.

Holy Saviour Church Hitchin

Market Square

Hitchin’s market square, located in the town centre, has been a hub of activity for centuries. The market’s history can be traced back to its establishment in the 12th century, and it has remained an essential feature of Hitchin ever since. The square is surrounded by historic buildings and is a vibrant gathering place for locals and visitors.

Today the market square boasts a mix of both modern and old food, drink and retail outlets.

 

Millets Market Square Hitchin
Waterstones bookshop hitchin
The Pitcher and Piano Hitchin
Toni and Guy Hairdressers Hitchin

Victorian Influence

The Victorian era also left its mark on Hitchin town centre. During this period, there was urban development and improvements to the town’s infrastructure. The Great Northern Railway arrived in Hitchin in the mid-19th century, leading to further growth and expansion.

To celebrate its Victorian past Hitchin is home to the world’s last remaining purpose-built Monitorial schoolroom. The grade II listed building opened in 1837, but the school was founded in 1810, a full 80 years before to government finally provided free elementary education for all

 

The British School Museum Hitchin

Preservation Efforts

In the 20th and 21st centuries, there has been a concerted effort to preserve and protect the historic character of Hitchin town centre. Conservation areas have been established to safeguard the town’s architectural heritage, and many buildings have been designated as listed structures of historical importance.

Today, Hitchin town centre is a lively and attractive destination, offering a mix of historical charm and modern amenities. The market square continues to host regular markets and events, attracting both locals and tourists. The architectural heritage of the town is evident in its buildings, and visitors can take leisurely strolls through the charming streets to explore its rich history.

Hitchin Today

Hitchin offers a blend of history and modern vitality making it a desirable place to live. Many residents move up to Hitchin to escape the hustle and bustle of London living. Hitchin’s friendly spirit is evident in local gatherings, fostering a welcoming atmosphere where neighbours know each other’s names.

Surrounding green spaces provide opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, while convenient local amenities complement the historical charm. Excellent transport links, including a railway station to major cities, make Hitchin an appealing choice for both commuters and explorers. Hitchin truly marries the best of history and modernity, offering a fulfilling and balanced lifestyle.

If you have recently moved to Hitchin or are looking to find out what events or activities are going on in the local area you can use the links below.

Mums guide to hitchin website
Hitchin Nub News website
visit hitchin website