Snapshot of a special day Charter Celebration Day

Saturday 29 June 2019 was the day when Higham Ferrers went back to its medieval roots to celebrate the restoration and return of its Charters.

Beginning in the Town Hall for a Mayor’s breakfast the Mayor and his Sergeant then made their way to the Market where tythes were collected for the royal purse as befitted the tradition.

Mayor's Breakfast in the Town Hall
Official Opening of the Farmer's Market
Collection of the tythes for the royal purse

On to the Bede House to view an exhibition of the Charters to include framed copies of the town’s rarely seen 5 Charters and accompanying interpretations.

Charter of Philip and Mary 1556

Charter of Charles II 1664

Charter of Charles II 1684

Charter of Queen Victoria 1886

Being premiered was the film by the pupils of Higham Ferrers Junior School showing a history of the Charters and promoting the heritage of the town.

Also in this building by Henry Chichele, his life was displayed in fabric and thread by the Material Girls for all to see.

The procession then moved to the Castle field to officially open the event within the arena which later featured skirmishes and battles. Surrounding the field, a medieval encampment encouraged visitors to watch and have a go at archery, leather and chainmail working, spinning and weaving and children’s games.

Castle Field

Within the grounds of Chichele College, a Chapel Tent reflected its holy origins when secular canons were resident. As well as finding out about life as a medieval knight, were demonstrations of cooking, knights and combat and a barber surgeon.

On the hottest day of the year to date, medieval cocktails namely Monk’s ruin and Chichele Gin Fizz were well received.

In the cool of the medieval building Higham Ferrers Archaeology and Research Society displayed more treasures of the town accompanied by model castles made by local school children.

Also within Chichele College, visitors could treat themselves to the wonderful new book, Higham Ferrers 1251-1914 A portrait of the Town and its people through its historic charters.

Plenty to see and do throughout the day across the town with tempting offerings at the market and the little Castle Field.

Regular tours of the church were conducted, and many made their way back to St. Mary’s Church at 3pm for concert of madrigals sung beautifully by the Bedford Chamber Choir.

Medieval minstrels played medieval music throughout the day and the Scriptorium showed the fascinating and complex process of crafting charters and manuscripts.

At 4pm the highlight at the Castle Field was the Medieval Battle attracting a rousing crowd.

Not too sure if they are wounded or just collapsing in the heat!

Finally, at an enchanting Medieval Evensong, often called vespers, the congregation prayed for rest and peace for the night. This beautiful and reflective service, when candles were lit and thanksgiving was made for the day served as the perfect end to a very special event.

Another precious memory to be treasured in the archives of Higham Ferrers.

Visit our website if you would like to know more about the Town Charters.