Hitchin. Edward Radcliffe

Colin Wilson

1625 was the year James I died and Charles I became King. In the same year Edward Radcliffe gave two houses in Tyler’s Street, now Tilehouse Street, for the use of the poor for ever. The inhabitants were nominated by the Churchwardens and the Overseers of the Poor. According to Wittering, it was for 2 people.

As yet nothing further has come to light about the history of this foundation. Tilehouse Street starts right by the present gates to The Priory, but a walk up the street shows nothing obvious, which is hardly surprising.

The Radcliffe family owned Hitchin Priory from 1553 till 1965. Originally belonging to the Carmelite Friars, it had become available following the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII. The third owner, Edward Radcliffe, died in 1660 and is buried at St Mary’s church. The south chapel contains a large 17th century monument to some of the family, including Edward.

Edward’s will (probate 4 Feb 1660) can be viewed on-line, but is very hard to read. It is also unlikely to produce any more information as it was written 35 years after he gave the almshouses.


The History & Antiquities of the County of Hertford, by Robert Clutterbuck
Vol 3 p53
Printed by and for John Bowyer Nichols, 25 Parliament Street, London 1827

The Victoria County History of the County of Hertford ed. William Page
Vol 3 p20
Issued Archibald Constable & Co 1912. Reprint by Dawsons of Pall Mall 1971 (ISBN 0 7129 0477 8)
Available online at https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/herts/vol3/pp12-21

A Brief History of Hitchin Priory 1317-1967
Hertfordshire County Council Education Committee c1968

The Almshouses of Hertfordshire, by W O Wittering
Article in Hertfordshire Countryside  29 (187) Nov 1974

Edward Radcliffe’s will can be viewed on-line at https://www.ancestry.co.uk/interactive/5111/40611_310347-00367?pid=1017507&backurl=https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D5111%26h%3D1017507%26tid%3D%26pid%3D%26usePUB%3Dtrue%26_phsrc%3DZdx18%26_phstart%3DsuccessSource&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=Zdx18&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true&_ga=2.240516355.1018771361.1561326537-793193661.1561326537 (site accessed Jun 2019)

This page was added on 03/07/2019.

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