Higham Ferrers Town Council

Serving the people of Higham Ferrers

Mayor 2018/19

Clerk: Mrs Sandra Mitcham
The Town Hall, Market Square
Higham Ferrers
Northamptonshire NN10 8BT

Tel: 01933 312075

Town Charters to be Conserved Thanks to Lottery Funding

Posted: Thu, 13 Sep 2018 12:24 by Alicia Scholfield

Town Charters to be Conserved Thanks to Lottery Funding

Higham Ferrers Town Council in association with Higham Ferrers Tourism, Business and Community Partnership has received a Heritage Lottery Grant of £29,900 to enable the conservation of the Town Charters. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the project enables the professional conservation of the 5 Town Charters and Byelaw currently held in the Town Hall.

The essential conservation work commences this month and will take 9 months to complete. The conserved Charters will be stored at Northampton Record Office. However, to allow the public to view them, digital images of the Charters will be taken. From the images full size prints of the Charters will be framed, and alongside interpretative material, they will go on a touring exhibition in the town and wider area next summer. A variety of volunteer opportunities will go in hand with the touring exhibition, with volunteers given training so they can help share the importance of these Charters and their heritage value. The digital images will also be online through a dedicated website charting the progress of the conservation work and essential project information.

In addition to the conservation work the project incorporates an exciting educational programme being taken to schools, initially Higham Ferrers Junior School. A Charter week is scheduled at the junior school for May 2019 where the children with take part in fun activities to raise their awareness and understanding of the Charters and their historical context within the town. The week will incorporate the children writing a script, story boarding, filming, directing and starring in their own commemorative Charter film. They will also be developing a commemorative booklet and children's town trail.

The Charters and Byelaw are legal documents which mark phases in the progress of self government of the town. The Charters date from 1556 to 1886, with the Byelaw dated 1616. There were also two earlier Charters and from copies of these we know that freedom was given to 91 people of Higham Ferrers in 1251.

To celebrate these Charters and the town's heritage a historical event day is planned in Higham Ferrers for Saturday 29th June 2019 focusing on the medieval charters period. There will be medieval encampment displays featuring living history demonstrations and the public will be able to have a go at medieval trades and entertainments. The day will coincide with the monthly Farmers' Market and the public will experience present day market stall holders joining with medieval period traders for an unforgettable day of sharing in the celebration of local heritage.

Higham Ferrers Town Council and the Toursim Partnership are also providing funding for the project and are supported by a grant from East Northamptonshire District Council.

Commenting on the award, Anna Sauntson, Town and District Councillor and Member of the Tourism Partnership said: "We are delighted to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players. The Charters have played a pivotal role in the heritage of Higham. It is wonderful to know that we are not only preserving these documents for future generations, but enabling them, through exhibition and activities in the town and wider community to now be shared with and appreciated by so many.

Jonathan Platt, Head of HLF East Midlands said "Thanks to National Lottery players we have been able support the conservation and interpretation of these historic town charters. As well as preserving these important documents, this project will provide an opportunity to let people know about their important role they have played in the development of rights that local people still enjoy today."

Tags: News, News History, Heritage