Hitcham is a parish and village situated seven miles north from Hadleigh
and seven miles south-west from Stowmarket in the County of Suffolk.
The area of the village is 4,308 acres and the top soil is chiefly
heavy boulder clay with a subsoil of chalky clay and gravel. There
is no river in Hitcham and surface water drains by means of natural
water courses and artificial ditches; from the north of the village
into the river Gipping and Orwell, and from the south into the rivers
Brett and Stour. The official population figure for Hitcham in the
year 2000 is 600, with 520 persons over 18 listed on the Register of
Political and administrative
European Parliamentary Constituency Eastern Region
English Parliamentary Constituency South Suffolk: Member, Mr T. Yeo
County Council Electoral Division Cosford: Member, Mr J Pembroke (01787
Babergh District Ward Brett Vale: Member, Mr D Keane (01449 741686)
Hitcham Parish Council seven members: Roger Saunders (Chairman), Allan
Scott (Vice-Chairman), Paul Beedham, Wendy Crease, Janice Gant, Brian Hubbard,
Pauline Squirrell, Clerk Mr G. Hill (01449 740272)
Babergh District Council is the authority responsible for collecting
the annual Council Tax which, in 2011/12, was £1450.29 for a
Band D property. Of this, £1126.53 was claimed for services by
Suffolk County Council; £160.74 by Babergh District Council; £139.01
by Suffolk Police Authority; and £24.01 by Hitcham Parish Council.
Policing of Hitcham is organised from Hadleigh and PCSO Jamie
Fudge is Hitchams liaison police officer.
Children from Hitcham attending maintained schools travel to Bildeston
County Primary School (511), Hadleigh High School (1116), and Great
Cornard and Sudbury Upper Schools (1618).
Medical attention in Hitcham is provided by Bildeston Health Centre.
Domestic refuse collection is arranged by Babergh DC and
each household is issued with a wheelie bin.
Water for domestic use and sewage services are supplied
by Anglian Water and each household in the village has mains electricity.
There is no piped gas in Hitcham but British Gas owns the
Cross Green Communications Tower.
Development in the latter decades of the 20th century has been controlled
by a strict planning policy, administered by Babergh DC, which has
limited new development on unused land to a narrow strip of roadside
land between Browns Hill and the last house before Causeway House Farm.
Despite this, approximately 48% of the current housing stock in Hitcham
was built in the 20th century.
The Parish Church is the only building in the village that is entirely
medieval in structure but many of the farmhouses and older cottages
have features dating from the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th centuries and
approximately 32% of Hitcham houses may originate from these early
periods. Only about 20% of the remaining houses have predominantly
19th-century appearances and only one, Hitcham House, the former Rectory,
was built in a classical/Georgian style.
Many of the older cottages and farmhouses were enlarged and modernised
in the latter years of the 20th century.
The Parish Church of All Saints is within the establishment
of the Church of England in the diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich,
the Archdeaconry of Sudbury and the Rural Deanery of Lavenham. Its
priest-in-charge is the Rev Robin Excell of Rattlesden. The parish
churchyard is available for the burial of any person resident in Hitcham.
Hitcham Free Church, built in 1919, offers nonconformist worship.
Both churches have regular Sunday worship.
Commercial and economic
Approximately 80% of Hitchams acreage is in agricultural use.
Wheat is the dominant crop followed by barley, sugar beet, oilseed
rape and potatoes. There are nine family-owned farms in Hitcham of
which three exceed 1,000 acres, although some of these farms acreage
extends into neighbouring parishes.
Fewer than 50 residents of Hitcham are directly involved in agriculture and
many bread winners have to seek employment outside the village. There is, however,
a growing number of home workers in the village, mainly working in computer-based
activities, and a surprising number of small-scale family enterprises based
in Hitcham. These include:
- Post Office and general store
- The White Horse public house (beverages and cooked meals)
- Household milk deliveries
- Bed and breakfast and holiday accommodation
- Coach hire and bus services
- Catering services
- Vehicle repairs
- Electrical repairs
- Horticultural repairs
- General building and repairs
- Plumbing services
- Cesspit emptying
- Haulage contracting
- Flower decorations
- Rocking horse manufacture