Medieval musings, monks, music and a special menu

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Higham Ferrers' schoolchildren have just had a special history lesson and some of them even sampled a recipe from a bygone era.

They had been invited along to the town's medieval Chichele College and the neighbouring Duchy Barn Garden by Higham Ferrers Tourism to celebrate the Great Big Green Week.

''We organised creative activities for them in keeping with the medieval origins of Chichele College when the college was a monastery and was home to monks who grew herbs and plants for cooking. The herbs and plants were also used to cure people of sickness,'' said Carol Fitzgerald, a Tourism committee member and chair of the sub-committee, The Chichele College Management team.

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More than 150 children from both Higham Ferrers Junior and Higham Ferrers Henry Chichele Primary School visited the College over two days and the pupils from the Junior School also got the chance to sample the pottage, made from vegetables grown at the time the College was a monastery.

Jack, left and George get a lesson on how to make a hedgehog nest from Jackie BestwickJack, left and George get a lesson on how to make a hedgehog nest from Jackie Bestwick
Jack, left and George get a lesson on how to make a hedgehog nest from Jackie Bestwick

Made by two guest chefs, the pottage was flavoured with medieval herbs that are still grown in the college garden.

''It was a different type of taste and although not everyone enjoyed it, most did,'' Carol said.

Pupils also got creative and made medieval style pendants with the help of HiFars, The Higham Ferrers Archaeology and Research Society.

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And they helped to make music with percussion instruments as they accompanied the visiting folk group, 2 steps 2 words.

Pupils of Higham Ferrers Junior School taste the PottagePupils of Higham Ferrers Junior School taste the Pottage
Pupils of Higham Ferrers Junior School taste the Pottage

Then, to encourage biodiversity, the local ''Hedgehog mother'' Jackie Bestwick (pictured) told them how to encourage hedgehogs into their gardens and how to make hedgehog nests.

And not to be left out of the Big Green Week, members of The Gateway Club which cater for adults with learning disability and who meet up at the Chichele College and Duchy Barn Garden, had a special painting session.

Their paintings of birds, bees and flowers are now on display at Chichele College, alongside the artwork of local schoolchildren who recently entered Higham Ferrers Tourism's children's art competition.

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