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Friends of St. Mary's

The Friends of St. Mary’s is a Registered Charity whose members are dedicated to the preservation of the magnificent Grade 1 listed buildings that have dominated the life of Higham Ferrers for 800 years:

  • St. Mary's Church

  • Chantry Chapel

  • Bede House.

The Friends are a secular organisation; you do not have to belong to any church or denomination to become a member of ‘the Friends’. You just need to share our desire to preserve this wonderful heritage.

All funds raised through membership and any other fund raising activity, are for the specific purpose of supporting the exterior preservation, repair, maintenance and restoration of these buildings, and the churchyard in which they are situated.

What we have achieved since 2013

  • Funding

    • Restoration of the World War One Memorial and creation of a Memorial Garden

    • Drainage repairs

    • Framing of the Life of Henry Chichele in fabric and thread now housed in the Bede House

    • Repair of the churchyard lantern

    • Creation of an external oak cross.

  • Churchyard planting

    • Yew tree, rose bushes, herbaceous plants in the memorial beds and thousands of spring flowering bulbs

    • Maintenance of the planting with involvement of children and young people.

  • Events

    • Many fundraising social events from Coffee Mornings to Cheese and Wine Evenings

    • Afternoon Teas with SERVE

    • Dementia awareness training

    • Involvement in local heritage projects including the Town Charter Project and Heritage Family Fun Days at Rushden Lakes

    • Contributions to Chichele Society Heritage Exhibitions

    • Conducting Town Tours.

  • Research

    • Churchyard memorials: World War One, Richard Hacon and the Jolleys

    • Publication of book on Richard Hacon and Typhoid in Higham Ferrers

    • Exhibition on Richard Hacon; Higham’s Forgotten Hero.

  • Conservation

    • Churchyard Wildlife Conservation Project creating a wildflower meadow, dead hedge, Bug Hotel and Bee Bed

    • Surveys of wildflowers, moths and a bat watch, recorded sightings of insects, birds, and mammals

    • Outdoor exhibition of information boards featuring wildlife in the churchyard.

Are you a Friend of St. Mary’s?

If you like what we do, perhaps you would like to join us?

Application forms are always readily available in the waterproof container in the World War One Memorial Garden or you can download one from our website.

Or email us on

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