United Benefice of St.Mary, Higham Ferrers, and St. John, Chelveston
ST.MARY THE VIRGIN
St. Mary's is a 13th Century church unusual in that is has a double nave. The chancel of one contains the High Altar and the other the Lady Chapel in which the Blessed Sacrament is reserved. It is a Grade 1 listed building.
The church was founded by a charter of Henry III in about 1220 and part of the tower, the nave and the south aisle still remain from the early building which was enlarged over subsequent years.
The church site owes much to Henry Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1414 to his death in 1443.
Henry was born in Higham Ferrers circa 1362 and despite his advancement to one of the highest positions in the country he never forgot the town of his birth. He was a very generous benefactor to the Borough and in addition to his founding of All Souls College in Oxford and Chichele College in Higham he built and endowed the Bedehouse and the Grammar School, now the Chantry Chapel, which still stand today in the churchyard of St. Mary's and are still in use by the church.