In 1837 John Henslow – Regius Professor of Botany at Cambridge – came to Hitcham, a village described at the time as being “a populous, remote and woefully neglected parish, where the inhabitants, with regard to food and clothing and the means of observing the decencies of life, were far below the average scale of the peasant class in England.” As Rector he set about improving the life of his parishioners.

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