Serving the people of Higham Ferrers

Visit our Town

10 things we love about Higham Ferrers, The Town Tour - by pupils of Higham Ferrers Junior School

Town Guide

You can view our digital copy of the Town Guide here:

Heritage Trail

The Heritage Trail is now INTERACTIVE and available online, so you can take in all the wonderful historical sites of Higham Ferrers from your mobile device!

The Heritage Trail takes you all over the centre of Higham Ferrers to some wonderful sites - take in Chichele College, founded in 1422 by Henry Chichele who became the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Town Hall which used to be the local jail and housed its last inmate in the 1930's, or wander to the Castle Fields Recreation Ground to check out the rabbit warrens, fishponds and moat that would have served Higham Ferrers Castle a few hundred years ago.

CLICK HERE: To take a walk through the rich history of this English market town

Blue Plaque Trail

This trail guides you around the town centre, highlighting the blue plaques that tell the story of the people and places that shaped its history.


Audio Tour

An exciting new audio described walking tour has been launched that provides a fascinating glimpse into the history and main treasures of our beautiful medieval town.

The tour is available for your mobile phones by downloading the Higham Ferrers Audio Tour from Google Play or the Apple App Store. As you listen you will be skilfully guided on your walk around the town by our 3 local narrators.

The audio tour app has been funded by private donation and the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Town Charter Project between the Town Council and Higham Ferrers Tourism, Business and Community Partnership. The project, alongside the valuable charter conservation work, seeks to raise awareness of the town's history and the role the charters have played within this. The tour gives a fresh insight and new way for local residents and visitors to enjoy and appreciate the treasures of the town.

You will begin the tour in the Market Square with its 14th century market cross and important town buildings, including the Town Hall. Moving to St Mary's Churchyard you will hear of the church, which began construction in 1220, and its later additions, the spire and west porch. The Bede House and Chantry Chapel (formally known as the Grammar School) sit within the churchyard and the tour has a dedicated section to both of these intriguing buildings and their function both past and present. Leaving the churchyard, you will continue to the site of the former Higham Castle which fell into ruins by the late 15th century. This was finally demolished in 1523 when Henry V111 granted permission for "as moche stone and lead" be taken to build the new Tudor Wing at his castle in Kimbolton. The Dovecote remains along with fishponds and a warren. The tour proceeds to Chichele College, founded with the Bede House in 1421 and the more recently created medieval style gardens. The notable historic buildings of Pear Tree Cottage and Ivy House mark your return to the Market Square.

Fancy learning more of the rich history of the town? Simply download the app, come to the Market Square, and let your audio described walk begin.

Chichele College

The College founded by Henry Chichele in 1422 was for 8 chaplains, one of whom was to be the Master or Warden, 4 Clerks and 6 choristers.

One of the Chaplains or Clerks was to be assigned to teach grammar and another singing instruction. The public foundation of the College took place in St. Mary's Church on 28th August 1425 with Archbishop Chichele present, together with many other notables. John Small was appointed the first Warden, but no other School master was present.

On 17th July 1428 the Archdeacon of Northampton who had jurisdiction over schools granted he Warden the power to nominate a new Schoolmaster and pay him out of the College Funds. He also provided that no other school should be set up within 10 or 12 miles, saving the existing schools at Northampton, Rothwell and Oundle. The appointment appears to have been made as William Dyne, Master of the Scholars, took over a tenancy of land for a period of 50 years from Michaelmas 1428 for the benefit of himself and his successors in that office.

In the absence of College Registers it is difficult to follow the history of the College for the next century, save that it continued to appoint the Masters of the School, and the College was surrendered to the Crown on 18th July 1542, and on 17th April 1543 the College lands, but not the buildings, were granted to a Robert Dacres.

From this point the buildings fell into disuse and disrepair and seem to have had many different uses including being used as a farm or farm buildings at one point. In 1948 The Ministry of Works took over the College and set about repairing the ravages of several centuries of neglect.

The restored buildings are now used for public art exhibitions and similar events and the College Grounds are open to the public.

Last updated: Thu, 13 Jul 2023 11:54