Historic Higham Ferrers
Chichele College St. Mary's Church
Chantry Chapel The Bede House
The Town Hall
Higham Ferrers is extremely fortunate to have a unique set of buildings some of which owe their existence to Archbishop Henry Chichele who was born in the Town from whence he was plucked from obscurity by a visiting Bishop who recognised something in the young plough boy that could lead to greatness. Chichele never forgot his birthplace and built three unique foundations, Chichele College, The Grammar School and The Bede House.
Chichele College is situated in College Street amongst contemporary houses, was closed down at the Reformation, and was for many years semi-derelict before being taken over by the Ministry of Works in 1948 and restored together with the enclosed College Gardens.
The Grammar School is situated next to St. Mary's Church and was last used as a school in the early 20th century, being used now as a Chantry Chapel and contains some interesting etched graffiti on the walls from earlier centuries.
The Bede House is also situated in the Churchyard and was founded to be a community of 12 Bedesmen with one Bedeswoman to look after them. The word 'bede' in this context means prayer with the men having to be of sober disposition, and had to pray daily for their patrons and benefactors. The bedesmen and bedeswoman are still appointed, although they no longer reside together, and receive a small pension annually, with the Bede House being used by the local community.
St Mary's Church has a fine West Door with intricate carving as well as a fine crotcheted spire which replaced the original one , which has recently been extensively renovated. The interior is also very fine with a double nave and a rood screen by Sir Ninian Comper.
The Market Square contains a very well preserved set of fine stone properties including the Town Hall which was built in 1808 to replace a much earlier edifice. The Town Hall contains a fine Council Chamber with original features which is still used for all Council Meetings.
In College Street is also to be found The Green Dragon which is an ancient coaching inn, and which has the former Castle Dovecote situated at the rear which has recently been restored. There is much conjecture as to the site of the castle which existed in former times but the general consensus is that it existed close to this location,
Also worthy of mention are the former College Fishponds in Vine Hill Drive, and Castle Fields in Kimbolton Road which contain the site of a Motte and Bailey Castle and part of the moat.
For a list of Mayors from 1723 click here
The Green Dragon