Home Of The Original Hitchin Virtual Tour.
This is the main road through Hitchin, leading from London to Bedford. The street used to stretch all the way to Tilehouse Street, with the space between Bucklersbury and Sun Street being occupied by semi-permanent market stalls. Clifford Offer, in his book "King Offa in Hitchin" suggests that the street was originally part of the ancient Icknield Way, leading from the East through Hitchin, through what is now the Priory, to Great Offley (where king Offa had a palace) and beyond into the West.
Bancroft contains many fine examples of Georgian buildings, many of them based on much earlier buildings. Along it's route you can find the Skynner's almshouses. These are in the form of a row of quaint terreced cottages behind a low wall. Arched entrances in the wall have plaques on them testifying to their age (built around 1670) and the generosity of their founder. The Grandparents of one of the compilers of this tour lived here for many years. As you walk along Bancroft towards the junction with Hermitage Road, the street is certainly the most stately and dignified in Hitchin. It is perhaps hard to imagine that until 1904 the weekly livestock market used to take place in this street, before being moved to Payne's Park.
At the corner of Hermitage Road and Bancroft used to stand the Hermitage. This rambling collection of buildings grew over time around a 16th century barn. It had over 40 rooms and the various parts were reputed to be connected by tunnels under the roads. It has now been demolished, and its extensive gardens covered by shops.
From here, you
can go to the High Street,
or to Hermitage Road.