Charles Hitchcock

Charles Hitchcock owned and supervised the Fiddington House asylum for much of the second half of the nineteenth century.

Fiddington, as ever, provides a slight inconvenience in that the area with that name was in West Lavington (although physically separated from the main part of that parish) and later it was transferred to Market Lavington.

But Charles started life, born at Cliffe Pypard which is to the north of Avebury, in Wiltshire. He was born about 1812 and we know nothing of his early life. In fact the first firm date we have is that of his marriage to Elinor Knight on 29th December 1835 at Piddlehinton in Dorset.

From the birth and baptism records of his children (at Market Lavington Church), we think that Charles was probably working at Fiddington House by the time of the 1841 census, but not living at Fiddington. We cannot trace Charles on the 1841 census which suggests he lived in the parish of Market Lavington. The 1841 census for Market Lavington has not survived.

But in 1851 we can find Charles as the proprietor of Fiddington House asylum, living on the premises which were then in West Lavington, with wife Elinor and five children all of whom had the middle name, Knight, and all of whom are listed as born in Market Lavington. Their ages varied from 1 up to 12. We know of other children who, sadly, died.

For the 1861 census, Charles was away from home, perhaps engaged in one of his hobbies for he was at Hythe in Kent and listed as Lt of Volunteers (Lieutenant?). Elinor, his wife, was at Fiddington, along with two daughters one of whom was married to a man serving in the Canadian Rifles.

It would have been about this time that Charles acquired the magic lantern projector we have featured before on this site.

In 1871 Charles was still in charge at Fiddington, with Elinor his wife, and a married daughter and family with him.

Elinor died in 1876 aged 62. She is buried in the churchyard at Market Lavington and the burial record says she lived in Easterton. But in 1881 Charles was still in harness at Fiddington. In fact we have featured a directory advert for Fiddington House, with Dr Hitchcock that was published in 1880. Click here to see it.

Charles was still at Fiddington in 1891, but now he was with his second wife. He married Mary Jane Weekes in 1889 when he was aged 77 and she was a mere 38. She was a Market Lavington born governess. Maybe that’s why our photo shows him looking so sprightly.


Charles Hitchcock (1812-95), physician and owner of Fiddington House Asylum

Charles died in 1895 and is buried in Market Lavington churchyard.

Six years later, in 1901, we find Mary Jane living on her own means at Weston on the edge of Bath

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2 Responses to “Charles Hitchcock”

  1. Nick Says:

    “But Charles started life, born at Cliffe Pypard which is to the north of Avebury, in Wiltshire. He was born about 1812 and we know nothing of his early life.”

    Charles’ family background is covered in more detail in this blog post on his father, Harry Hitchcock, who moved from Cliffe Pypard to Chitterne in 1832:

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