Top Field has been the home ground of Hitchin Town F.C. since at least 1871. It is probably the third oldest home ground in English football behind Bramall Lane (Sheffield United, 1857) and Field Mill (now One Call Stadium, Mansfield Town, 1861).
Top Field used to be, and technically still is, a common land meant for grazing of animals. The grounds is under the management of the Cow Commoners Trust (CCT, previously The Cow Commoners), and was leased to Hitchin Field F.C. under the basis of charitable sporting use. However, CCT grew uncomfortable with the arrangement because the club has become a purely commercial enterprise and rejected attempts by the club to build permanent structures on the ground.
A panoramic view of Top Field, the home ground of Hitchin Town F.C. Image courtesy of Alistair Lockyer
In 2011, there were rumours that CCT is negotiating the use of the land with a major supermarket chain (rhymes with Besco). This prompted the club to seek legal redress to declare the land as common land. The court agreed, but still left the ownership of the land to CCT. A heated public debate ensued, which culminated with the CCT trustees offering the club a 25-year lease, which will expire in 2039. There is currently no binding legal mechanism to extend the lease, and the club has not announced any plans to move as well.
Capacity and Facility
Top Field has a maximum capacity of 4,554, which includes about 400 seats. Part of the seated area is situated under a wooden grandstand. The grass field is fully bordered with a three foot gate.
Top Field has an area called the Canary Corner, which is located at the western corner of the ground. Inside, there is a club house, club shop, bar and snack hut.