Hitchin is first noted as the site of a religious house founded by Offa, King of Mercia. The name comes from the Hicce people who lived there. By 1086 Hitchin is described as a Royal manor in the Domesday Book.
The town flourished on the wool trade, and located on the Icknield Way and by the seventeenth century Hitchin was a staging post for coaches coming from London. With the advent of the railways in the nineteenth century, the town developed as a centre for the grain trade. By the close of the twentieth century, Hitchin had become a satellite dormitory town for London.