Obituary: Michael Hitchcock was known as 'Mr Bardfield'

Obituary: Michael Hitchcock of Great Bardfield, Essex.

The late Michael Hitchcock of Great Bardfield, seen here behind the counter in the village shop Hitchcocks - Credit: supplied by Hitchcock family

A man affectionately named 'Mr Bardfield' has died aged 95.

Michael Hitchcock was a much-loved member of the community who spent the large majority of his life in the village, building on family roots dating back to the 1700s.

Born in Great Barfield to parents William and May Hitchcock, he had an older brother, Peter.

Michael's father William had worked in Tanners local shop and post office on the High Street. He bought the shop and the family moved into the adjoining house.

They all helped with the family business. The shop and house had a staff of 14 and he knew everyone in the village as they came into Hitchcocks.

It was a shop that sold everything, from groceries including hand-cut bacon and cheese, to china, glass and cookware, workwear and clothing, to paraffin oil for lamps.

Michael went to school in Bardfield then to Braintree for High School.

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During his childhood, there was no electricity or mains drains in the house, and oil lamps were used for light at night. There were very few cars and tractors were only just starting to appear.

His grandfather, Walter Goldstone, was a harness maker whose work was for heavy horses that still ploughed the field.

Michael's National Service was with the Royal Navy just before the end of the Second World War and he was sent to the Far East.

He spent time in Ceylon, Australia and Japan, before being released from the Navy in 1948 and returning to the family business once more.

He met his wife-to-be Diana in the White Hart pub, which was run by her parents, Albert and Violet Clapson. They married in 1953, and lived at the pub for several years.

The couple had four children - Judith, Adrian, Mark and Simon - and they moved to Alienor Avenue, then to Prances.

Michael took over the running of the shop from his father, while Peter went to Great Clacton to open another branch of the business.

Michael continued to work at the shop until he was aged 70, latterly being joined by his son Simon. The shop finally closed its doors in 2005.

In retirement, Michael and Diana travelled extensively.

Diana died in 2016. Michael is survived by four children, 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Obituary: Image of Michael Hitchcock, Great Bardfield, Essex.

The late Michael Hitchcock, who was known fondly as Mr Bardfield - Credit: supplied by Hitchcock family