Hitchin. Church and Warner

Colin Wilson

Warner's almshouse looking towards Queen Street. May 2017
Colin Wilson
Waner's almshouse, looking from the Queen Street. May 2017
Colin Wilson
The main door to Warner's almshouse, with a disrceet nameplate. May 2017
Colin Wilson
The dedication stone above the main door, Warner's almshouse. May 2017
Colin Wilson
Rear view of Warner's almshouse. May 2017
Colin Wilson

The Church almshouses or poor-houses were located at the south east corner of St Mary’s churchyard. There were six dwellings. When they were built does not appear to be known. By the mid 18th century they were dilapidated. In 1761 Daniel Warner arranged for them to be rebuilt, and they bear his name to this day. They were ‘for the warmer and better comfort of the poorest widows or ancient couples in this town’.

Later endowments were made by John Pierson and Joseph-Margetts Pierson (1794 and 1798) and Elizabeth Whittingstall of Watford (1824). Elizabeth Lucas (died 1860) left funds for the almshouses. Some of her legacy was used for the 1893 rebuilding and enlargement.

It appears that these almshouses came under the umbrella of Hitchin United Charities in 1852.

A note from 1930 reports that the almshouses were 6 tenements for 6  women, who received a weekly allowance of between 3/6 and 6/-. Note the change from the original ‘widows or married’ stipulation.

Parts of the building may be over 350 years old, but it is not significant enough to merit listing status.


OS 25″ map Hertfordshire XII.1 pub 1898 annotates the site.
Georef:      518530 229075
Grid ref:    51o 56′ 52″N   0o 16′ 37″W


The History & Antiquities of the County of Hertford, by Robert Clutterbuck
vol 3 p52
Printed by and for John Bowyer Nichols, 25 Parliament Street, London 1827

History of Hertfordshire, by John Edwin Cussans
Pages 83-4
Originally published Stephen Austin & Sons 1870-81
Republished E P Publishing in collaboration with Hertfordshire County Library 1972

Old Hitchin. Portrait of a Market Town. T B Latchmore et al.
Page 12
Eric Moore (Hitchin) and North Herts Museum 1976

The Victoria County History of the County of Hertford (4 vols). Ed William Page
Vol 3  pp 19
Issued Archibald Constable & Co. 1912. Reprint by Dawsons of Pall Mall 1971 (ISBN 0 7129 0477 8)
Available online at http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/herts/vol3/pp12-21

Document held at HALS

DE/Ha/B2058 Draft conveyances from old to new trustees of the estates belonging to various charities in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. Mentions Warner’s almshouse.

Website (accessed Mar 2021)


Newspapers. Can be viewed on the British Newspaper Archive website

[These two articles list monies collected from various persons, including Warner’s almshouse]
Hertfordshire Express and General Advertiser, Saturday 21 January 1865, page 1 col 6
Hertfordshire Express and General Advertiser, Saturday 09 February 1867 page 1 col 6

This page was added on 02/04/2021.

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  • My grandmother lived here for a while.
    My memory of it was the front door, the stone and the cold.
    The accomodation had a range for cooking and heating.
    I particularly remember the stone sink and the lack of hot water.
    I guess Warner House would be classed as social housing now, but without any mod cons.
    Despite this, she was generous and regularly took me to Munts to look at the toys and bought me the occasional Matchbox or Dinkey toy, some I still have.
    She also bought me Boys Own Paper.
    I don’t know how people fall on such hard times, but it affected me profoundly.
    On the other hand, it was a refuge of last resort and demonstrates that someone in Hitchin society had the foresight to provide for those who needed help.

    By Mr Phil Slater (01/11/2022)