Work is set to begin on medieval-style garden

Chris Holden, of the U3A, committee member Celia Ingram and Simon Wiles of Chichele Management Group
Chris Holden, of the U3A, committee member Celia Ingram and Simon Wiles of Chichele Management Group

Work is set to begin on a medieval-style garden which has been in the pipeline for five years.

Higham Ferrers Tourism, Business and Community Partnership is set to develop the garden in the grounds of Chichele College in the town.

The partnership has been given a grant of more than £21,000 from The Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces initiative for the project. The cash will pay for work including hard landscaping.

The rest of the project will be paid for using a donation from the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund and cash raised through fundraising events. Many of the plants will be paid for by people who have pledged cash towards a plant.

Chichele College was founded in 1425 by Higham’s most famous son, Archbishop Henry Chichele, and was used to house secular canons.

The college is owned by the Duchy of Lancaster and run by English Heritage as custodians.

The site has scheduled monument status, which is given to archaeological sites of national importance to protect them from unauthorised change.

Project manager Carol Fitzgerald said: “It’s been five years in the planning. Higham Ferrers Tourism, Business and Community Partnership thought it would be lovely to bring this hidden gem to life.

“Many weren’t aware of its existence and those who were weren’t aware it had public access.”

The garden is set to include a quiet area with a cloister garth – a garden made up of four grassed quadrangles, divided by paths wide enough for wheelchair and pushchair access and with a Gothic urn as a centrepiece.

The urn has been donated by Haddonstone and Northamptonshire Gardens Trust and will be filled with medieval-style plants.

The garden is also set to include trees, roses, honeysuckle, vines and lavender, as well as seating.

Hundreds of volunteers will be involved in the creation of the garden including local schoolchildren, who will do some of the planting.

Higham Ferrers mayor Bert Jackson said: “So many people pass by and say ‘we didn’t even know it was here’. Once it’s done I’m sure it will be a very good asset to Higham Ferrers.”

The garden is set to be finished in time for a grand launch event in June.