History of Higham Ferrers to be told in new book

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The history of Higham Ferrers has been chronicled in a new book.

Higham Ferrers 1251 to 1914, a portrait of the town and its people through its historic charters, will be published in June.

Higham Ferrers has six charters, five of which have been stored in the town hall.

The charters, which set out the legal framework for how the borough of Higham Ferrers was to function, have deteriorated over the years – but Heritage Lottery money was recently made available to preserve them after a bid by Higham Ferrers Town Council, supported by the Higham Ferrers Tourism, Business and Community Partnership.

And as part of the conservation process a book has been compiled which gives fascinating insights into life in Higham through the ages.

At nearly 300 pages the book tells the stories of the events that happened to Higham people from 1251 (the first charter) to 1886 (the last charter) and beyond, finishing at 1914.

The book is fully illustrated with both colour and black and white pictures.

Among other things it tells how in medieval times men in Higham were fined 4d for being “common tennis players”, how a mayor of Higham disclosed all the secrets of the corporation, and how St Mary’s Church was in a terrible state in 1637 with large dung hills having been built up against the exterior walls of the church, so large and offensive people could scarcely walk past for the smell.

It relates how the enclosures affected Higham, and later, how typhoid spread amongst the villagers.

It finishes with events such as the development of the railway branch line to Higham and the excitement of Higham people travelling by train for the first time to Rushden, and also delves into the Suffragette movement.

The book has been produced by Brenda Lofthouse, Gwen Tobin and Rachel Smyth and will be formally launched at the town council’s Medieval Day on Saturday, June 29, to celebrate the conservation of the Town Charters.

There is a special offer available for anyone who wants to make sure they don’t miss out on what will be a valuable local history resource in years to come.

People who subscribe before the end of March will not only get a 25 per cent reduction on the published price but also have their name as a subscriber listed in the front of the book.

To become a subscriber and get yourself a copy of the book for £15 instead of the published price of £20 email charterbookhf@gmail.com or pick up a leaflet at Rushden Library, Osborne’s Sports and Toys, in High Street, Rushden, Colemans of Higham, High Street, Higham Ferrers, or Higham Ferrers Library.