An obelisk made of rose marble, stands on the north side of St Mary’s Church.
The memorial is to a surgeon named Richard Alfred Hacon who died in 1871 aged 29 years old. Of the different memorials in the churchyard it is the only one that was erected by public subscription to honour the individual named, and it was done so to record Richard’s valiant work in tending to the people who had contracted typhoid fever during an outbreak of the disease in Higham Ferrers during the 1870–1871.
The beauty of this memorial had diminished a little over the years as algae had grown over the surface and so, Trustees of the Friends of St. Mary’s decided to clean it up to reveal its original colours.
Outbreaks of typhoid fever were a not uncommon experience for people whose water supply was dependent on communal public wells, and any contamination of this water could quickly spread disease amongst the local populace. Yet despite the poverty in Higham Ferrers and the surrounding area, 1,157 people (“chiefly of the working classes”) had contributed to erecting a memorial to this man. He evidently meant a great deal to the people he had worked for, and they wished to express their gratitude to him.
Given this significant acknowledgement of Richard’s efforts on behalf of the people, an investigation between the links connecting typhoid fever and the water supply in Higham was undertaken by Trustee, Brenda Lofthouse.
The outcome of the research was published alongside work that Eric Fowell had put together. The money raised from the sale of the books will be used to help renovate the WWI memorial situated on the north side of the Church. A few books remain should anyone wish to purchase them and support this worthy cause.
This book is on sale at £10.00 each (plus £2 for postage and packing). Please contact Eric Fowell on 01933 353292 or email John Garley at email@example.com
Richard Alfred Hacon