Hitchin - Hoddesdon

Pages 521-524

A Topographical Dictionary of England. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1848.

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Hitchin (St. Mary and St. Andrew)

HITCHIN (St. Mary and St. Andrew), a markettown and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Hitchin and Pirton, county of Hertford, 15½ miles (N. W.) from Hertford, and 34 (N. N. W.) from London; containing, with the hamlets of Langley, Missenden, and Preston, 6125 inhabitants. This place, which, during the Saxon heptarchy, formed part of the demesne of the King of Mercia, was given by Edward the Confessor to Harold, after whose death, at the battle of Hastings, it was retained by William the Conqueror. It is noticed in Domesday book under the name of Hiz, a probable modification of its Saxon name Hicce or Hitche, from which its present appellation is deduced. The town is situated on a level spot of land, environed on every side but the north by rising grounds, and intersected by the small river Hiz, which has its source at the distance of about a mile to the south-west. The streets, with the exception of that which forms the principal thoroughfare to Bedford, are spacious, and partially paved and lighted by subscription; the houses are in general neatly built of brick, and the inhabitants amply supplied with water. The environs are pleasant, and a considerable portion of the adjacent ground is cultivated by market-gardeners, who supply the neighbouring towns with fruit and vegetables. A public subscription library, with a museum, in which is a good collection of antiquities and natural curiosities, has been established; there are several book societies; and assemblies take place periodically, during the winter, at the Sun inn.

Hitchin was celebrated at a very early period for its manufacture of woollen goods, and many of the merchants of Calais resided in the place prior to the removal of that branch of business from the towns on the continent. The trade at present is principally in corn and malt, for the latter of which the town had obtained a high reputation in the reign of Elizabeth. The soil in the vicinity is favourable to the growth of barley and other grain, of which great quantities are sold at the market. The manufacture of straw-plat affords employment to many of the females; a silk-mill employs about 300 persons, and there are some extensive breweries. The market, which is toll free, is on Tuesday; the fairs are on the Tuesdays in Easter and Whitsun weeks, and are pleasure-fairs. The great railway from London to York will pass by Hitchin; and an act was passed in 1846 for a railway from the town to Royston. The town is divided into Bancroft, Tilehouse, and Bridge wards, for each of which two constables and two headboroughs are appointed at the court leet of the lord of the manor, held at Michaelmas. The county magistrates hold a petty-session here every Tuesday: the powers of the county debt-court of Hitchin, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Hitchin. The bridewell, situated at the extremity of Bancroftstreet, is a small brick building.

The parish comprises 6460a. 2r. 38p. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £25. 6. 8.; net income, £650; patrons and impropriators, the Master and Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge. The church, originally dedicated to St. Andrew, was, on being rebuilt prior to the reign of Henry VIII., dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It is a spacious structure, principally in the later English style, with a low massive embattled tower, surmounted by a small spire, and having a turret at one of the angles; the south porch is a beautifully enriched specimen of that style. The interior is very highly ornamented, and on each side of the chancel is a large chapel, separated from it by a handsome screen of carved oak; over the altar is a fine painting of the Offering of the Wise Men of the East, by Rubens, and there are numerous interesting monuments, and a font of singular beauty with carvings of the Twelve Apostles. Underneath the eastern part of the chancel is a crypt communicating by a staircase with the chapel on the north side, which was used by Cromwell as a prison for the royalists. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, and Independents. The free school was principally founded by John Mattocke, of Coventry, who in 1639 endowed it with land; its present income arises from fifty-seven acres of land, and a rent-charge of £5. A school for girls, on the national plan, is supported partly by the dividends on nearly £1000, the amount of several benefactions vested in the funds. Almshouses for eight persons were founded and endowed by Mr. Skinner in 1668; and there are other almshouses for six persons; and rooms for eighteen women in a house called the Biggin, said to have been a religious establishment. Various benefactions have also been made for apprenticing boys, and other charitable purposes. The union of Hitchin comprises 28 parishes or places, of which 27 are in the county of Hertford, and one in that of Bedford; and contains a population of 22,346.

Near the church was a small priory of Gilbertine nuns, whose revenue at the Dissolution was £15. 1. 11.; there are still some remains, which have been converted into dwelling-houses. Towards the western extremity of the town was a house of Carmelite friars, founded by Edward II., and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, the revenue of which at the Dissolution was £4. 9. 4.; the cloisters and a small part of the buildings are yet existing, and a handsome mansion called the Priory has been erected on the site. There was formerly a chapel at Missenden, now nearly demolished, and another at Temple-Dinsley, in the parish; the latter belonging to a preceptory of the Knights Templars. At Wildberry Hill, over which the Ikeneld-street passes, within a mile of the town, was a Roman exploratory camp, occupying an area of seven acres and a half, and surrounded by a vallum; here a fine silver coin of Faustina, consort of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, was discovered some years since. Dr. Mark Hildesley, Bishop of Sodor and Man, was vicar of Hitchin, and a great benefactor to the town.

Hittisleigh (St. Andrew)

HITTISLEIGH (St. Andrew), a parish, in the union of Crediton, hundred of Wonford, Crockernwell and S. divisions of Devon, 7½ miles (W. S. W.) from the town of Crediton; containing 199 inhabitants. It comprises by computation 1000 acres; the soil is rather heavy, lying on a tenacious clay, but produces good crops of wheat, barley, and potatoes. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £6. 2. 1., and in the gift of Charles Calmady, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for £85, and the glebe consists of 30 acres. The church is a plain edifice, containing about 200 sittings.


HIXON, a township, partly in the parish of Colwich, and partly in that of Stowe, S. division of the hundred of Pirehill, union, and N. division of the county, of Stafford, 6 miles (N. N. W.) from Rugeley; containing 625 inhabitants. This township includes a considerable village of the same name, situated on an eminence, and consisting of ancient thatched houses. It had formerly a pillory. The road from Colwich to Sandon passes on the west. The foundation stone of a church was laid by the Marchioness of Lothian in July 1846.


HOARCROSS, a hamlet, partly in the parish of Hanbury, but chiefly in that of Yoxhall, union of Lichfield, N. division of the hundred of Offlow and of the county of Stafford, 3¾ miles (E. by S.) from Abbots-Bromley; containing 231 inhabitants. Hoarcross Hall was anciently the residence of the Willes family, and was rebuilt by its late possessor, Lord Scarsdale, who occupied it as a hunting-seat.

Hoath (Holy Cross)

HOATH (Holy Cross), a parish, in the union of Blean, hundred of Bleangate, lathe of St. Augustine, E. division of Kent, 6 miles (N. E.) from Canterbury; containing 394 inhabitants. It comprises 898 acres, of which 15 are in wood. The living is annexed to the vicarage of Reculver: the tithes have been commuted for £105. The church is principally in the early English style.

Hoathly, East

HOATHLY, EAST, a parish, in the union of Uckfield, hundred of Shiplake, rape of Pevensey, E. division of Sussex, 5 miles (S. E. by S.) from Uckfield; containing 607 inhabitants. The village is pleasantly situated on the road from London to Eastbourne, and contains several good houses. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £7. 6. 3.; net income, £261; patron, the Earl of Abergavenny. The church is in the early English style.

Hoathly, West

HOATHLY, WEST, a parish, in the union of East Grinsted, hundred of Buttinghill, rape of Lewes, E. division of Sussex, 5 miles (S. W. by S.) from East Grinsted; containing 1095 inhabitants. The village is situated on an eminence commanding extensive views of the South Downs, with the intermediate country; and the road from London to Brighton, by way of Turner's Hill, passes through the parish. A pleasure-fair is held on Whit-Monday. In Chiddingley wood, about a mile from the church, the ground rises in a high ridge or cliff, covered with wood; the edge of the cliff is composed of enormous blocks of sandstone, one of which, about twenty feet high, is poised on a very small one. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £9. 16., and in the patronage of the Crown; net income, £150. The church is partly in the early and partly in the decorated English style, with a tower surmounted by a spire. At Bunch Grove is a small licensed place of worship for the Established Church. There is a meeting-house for dissenters.


HOBENDRID, a township, in the parish and union of Clun, hundred of Purslow, S. division of the county of Salop; containing 138 inhabitants.

Hob-Lench, or Abbots-Lench

HOB-LENCH, or Abbots-Lench, a hamlet, in the parish of Fladbury, union of Evesham, Middle division of the hundred of Oswaldslow, Pershore and E. divisions of the county of Worcester, 6¼ miles (N. by W.) from Evesham; containing 93 inhabitants. It lies in the northern part of the parish, and comprises 833 acres: much timber is grown, the country being rather hilly. Here was a chapel, which fell to decay about two centuries ago. Divine service is performed in a cottage by the rector of Fladbury.

Hoby (All Saints)

HOBY (All Saints), a parish, in the union of Melton-Mowbray, hundred of East Goscote, N. division of the county of Leicester, 6 miles (W. by S.) from Melton-Mowbray; containing 392 inhabitants. The living is a rectory, with that of Rotherby consolidated in 1823, valued in the king's books at £22. 8. 9.; net income, £647; patrons, the family of Beresford. The church was repaired in 1842. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.


HOCKENHULL, a township, in the parish of Tarvin, union of Great Boughton, Second division of the hundred of Eddisbury, S. division of the county of Chester, 5 miles (W. N. W.) from Tarporley; containing 35 inhabitants. The township comprises 331 acres, of which the soil is sand and clay. The tithes have been commuted for £15 payable to the vicar, and £60 to the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield.

Hockering (St. Michael)

HOCKERING (St. Michael), a parish, in the union of Mitford and Launditch, hundred of Mitford, W. division of Norfolk, 5 miles (E.) from East Dereham; containing 457 inhabitants. It is situated on the road from East Dereham to Norwich, and comprises 1931a. 1r. 38p., of which 1293 acres are arable, 223 pasture and meadow, and 260 woodland. The living is a rectory, with that of Mattishall-Burgh united, valued in the king's books at £7. 3. 4., and in the gift of T. T. Berney, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for £525, and the glebe comprises about 50 acres, with a good house. The church is chiefly in the early and later English styles, with a lofty embattled tower, and contains on the south side of the chancel three stone stalls, with a piscina of elegant design; the font, also, is exceedingly handsome, and highly sculptured. Here was a castle, the moat of which may still be seen.

Hockerton (St. Nicholas)

HOCKERTON (St. Nicholas), a parish, in the union of Southwell, Southwell division of the wapentake of Thurgarton, S. division of the county of Nottingham, 2 miles (N. N. E.) from Southwell; containing 136 inhabitants, and comprising by measurement 1600 acres. This place was held by Joannes le Walur in 1183, and was afterwards possessed by the families of Botiler and Criche; it is now the property of Colonel Whetham, of Kirklington, who succeeded to the estate of the late Admiral Sotheron, in 1839. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £9. 9. 4½.; net income, £224; patron, Colonel Whetham: the glebe comprises 50 acres, with a good glebe-house. The church is an ancient edifice with a tower; it was repewed in the year 1843.

Hockham (Holy Trinity)

HOCKHAM (Holy Trinity), a parish, in the union of Wayland, hundred of Shropham, W. division of Norfolk, 4 miles (N. W.) from Larlingford; containing 644 inhabitants. This parish, which is separated from East Wretham by a Roman road, consists of Great and Little Hockham, formerly two distinct parishes, now united; and comprises by measurement 3380 acres, whereof 1935 are arable, 508 meadow and pasture, 266 woodland, and 618 fen, sands, and heath. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £8. 17. 11., and in the gift of the Rev. J. Spurgin; impropriators, H. S. Partridge, Esq., and others: the vicarial tithes have been commuted for £275, and the glebe comprises 5 acres, with a house. The church, which is chiefly in the decorated style, is picturesquely situated in the grounds of Hockham Hall, the seat of Mr. Partridge. There was formerly a church at Little Hockham. The Primitive Methodists have a place of worship in the parish.


HOCKLETON, a township, in the parish and hundred of Chirbury, S. division of the county of Salop; containing 39 inhabitants.

Hockley (St. Peter)

HOCKLEY (St. Peter), a parish, in the union and hundred of Rochford, S. division of Essex, 2¼ miles (N. E. by N.) from Rayleigh; containing 850 inhabitants. This parish, which is bounded on the north by the navigable river Crouch, comprises by measurement 4419 acres, whereof 3550 are arable, 663 pasture, and 206 woodland. The surface is generally elevated, the soil heavy and richly productive, and the scenery embellished with luxuriant foliage. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £16. 3. 9.; net income, £163; patrons and impropriators, the Warden and Fellows of Wadham College, Oxford. The church, which is situated on a high hill, is of Norman architecture, with a massive octagonal tower surmounted by a shingled spire, and is supposed to have been erected by Canute and Turkil, in commemoration of their victory over Edmund Ironside. There is a very large barrow in the neighbourhood.

Hockliffe (St. Nicholas)

HOCKLIFFE (St. Nicholas), a parish, in the union of Woburn, hundred of Manshead, county of Bedford, 3½ miles (E. N. E.) from Leighton-Buzzard; containing 435 inhabitants. The situation of this place is low, from which circumstance it acquired the appellation of Hockliffe, or Hockley, in the Hole; it was noted for its miry road, which of late years has been much improved. The manor belonged to the monastery of Woburn: in 1615 it was granted to Thomas Hillersden, and in 1712 was purchased of his descendants by Allen, Lord Bathurst, who sold it in 1718 to the Reynalls, from whom it passed to Francis Moore, Esq., The living is a rectory, with the vicarage of Chalgrave united in 1772, valued in the king's books at £16. 9. 7.; net income, £393; patron, the Rev. J. S. Neumann. The church stands on a hill at some distance from the high road. There is a place of worship for Independents. Francis West, in 1690, bequeathed £400 for educating children. In the reign of John here was an hospital, dedicated to St. John the Baptist.


HOCKMOOR, a hamlet, in the parish of Iffley, union of Headington, hundred of Bullingdon, county of Oxford, 1¾ mile (S. E. by S.) from the city of Oxford; containing 298 inhabitants.

Hockwold (St. Peter)

HOCKWOLD (St. Peter), a parish, in the union of Thetford, hundred of Grimshoe, W. division of Norfolk, 4½ miles (W. by N.) from Brandon-Ferry; containing, with the parish of Wilton, 949 inhabitants. The parish is situated on the road from Mildenhall to Lynn, which is here carried over the river Ouse by a handsome suspension-bridge, recently erected; it comprises by measurement 4860 acres, chiefly arable, and in good cultivation. The living is a rectory in four portions, with the vicarage of Wilton united, valued in the king's books at £9. 13. 11½.; patrons, the Master and Fellows of Caius College, Cambridge. The great tithes of the benefice have been commuted for £162, with a glebe of 142 acres, and the incumbent's for £704; the incumbent's glebe consists of 86 acres. The church is a handsome structure in the later English style, with a square embattled tower, and contains three ancient stalls and a piscina; in the chancel are some monuments to the Wyche family.—See Wilton.


HOCKWORTHY, a parish, in the union of Tiverton, hundred of Bampton, Cullompton and N. divisions of Devon, 8 miles (E. by N.) from Wellington; containing 369 inhabitants. It is situated on the Taunton and Exeter road, and comprises by measurement 2459 acres, of which about one-half is arable, and 36 acres are common or waste. The soil varies from a moderate degree of fertility to absolute sterility; the surface is diversified with hills, commanding extensive views over Dartmoor and the county of Somerset. The substratum is limestone; and formerly a very considerable traffic was carried on for the supply of the district with lime, of which nearly 6000 waggon-loads were annually burnt. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £7. 6. 8.; net income, £271; patron, John Hayne, Esq.; impropriators, Thomas Hellings, Esq., and others. The church is a small plain structure.


HODDESDON, a market-town and chapelry, partly in the parish of Great Amwell, but chiefly in that of Broxburn, union of Ware, hundred and county of Hertford, 4¼ miles (S. E.) from Hertford, and 17 (N. by E.) from London; containing 1743 inhabitants. The name of this place is supposed to be derived from its having been the abode of Hodo or Oddo, a Danish chief; or from a tumulus, or barrow, raised here to his memory. The town consists principally of one street, extending along the road from London to Ware and Hertford, and is supplied with water from a conduit in the marketplace, erected by Sir Marmaduke Rawdon in the seventeenth century. A considerable quantity of malt is made, much of which is conveyed to London by means of the river Lea; and there are a large brewery and two extensive flour-mills. The railway from London to Cambridge passes close to Hoddesdon. The market, now nearly disused, is on Tuesday; and a fair is held on the 29th of June. In the centre of the town is an ancient market-house, built of wood, and supported on pillars and arches ornamented with curious carving. The chapelry comprises by measurement 2582 acres of land, all in good cultivation with the exception of 198 acres of common or waste. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £150; patrons, alternately, the Vicars of Broxburn and Great Amwell. The site of the old chapel, dedicated to St. Catherine, is marked by a turret, which serves as a clock-house, and which, having become ruinous, was rebuilt about 1730. The present chapel, or district church, is a handsome brick edifice, standing in the parish of Amwell, but subject to the vicarage of Broxburn; and contains 400 free sittings. There are places of worship for the Society of Friends and Independents.