Portrait of Sir Robert Hitcham belonging to the National Portrait Gallery, and on display in the Royal Courts of Justice

Sir Robert Hitcham (1572? – 1636) was a Member of Parliament and Attorney General under King James I.

Early lifeEdit

Robert was born of lowly origin in Levington, near Ipswich, and educated at the Free School at Ipswich and later Pembroke College, Cambridge,[1] studying law. He was admitted to Gray's Inn on 3 November 1589 from Barnard's Inn and was called to the Bar in 1595.

Political careerEdit

He became a Member of Parliament for West Looe, Cornwall from 1597 to 1598; for King's Lynn, Norfolk from 1604 to 1611; for Cambridge in 1614 and for Orford, Suffolk from 1624 to 1626.

He held a number of posts including: Attorney-General to Anne of Denmark, Queen Consort to James I (1603–?); Sergeant-at-law (1614–?); and King's Senior Sergeant-at-law (1616–?). He was knighted on 29 June 1604 by King James I.

Later lifeEdit

Framlingham Castle poor house

On 14 May 1635 he purchased Framlingham Castle, Suffolk from Theophilus Howard, 2nd Earl of Suffolk for the sum of £14,000.

He died on 15 August 1636 and now lies in a tomb in the Church of St Michael the Archangel, Framlingham.


His will stated that the castle, save for the outer walls, be demolished and the stone used to build a poor house. The inner buildings were duly demolished and a poor house, Sir Robert Hitcham's Almshouses, was built in its place. He also endowed a school for local children (originally boys only), which was the foundation of the current Framlingham Sir Robert Hitcham primary school. [2]

He bequeathed the site of the castle to the Master, Fellows and Scholars of Pembroke College, Cambridge. Some of the land he left was later given by the College as the site for Framlingham College, a school built as a memorial to Prince Albert.

Hitcham's Cloister in Pembroke College (built 1666) was named after him [3] as is the Hitcham House at Thomas Mills High School.


  1. ^ "Hitcham, Robert (HTCN587R)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. ^ "History of the School". Sir Robert Hitcham’s Primary School.
  3. ^ http://www.cambridgeonline.co.uk/articles/Pembroke_College/