The Charter Project

To save our heritage

Higham Ferrers Town Council, supported by Higham Ferrers Tourism, Business and Community Partnership, successfully achieved Heritage Lottery Funding to restore and safely house the five Royal Charters of the Ancient Borough of Higham Ferrers and one set of Byelaws for everyone to see and enjoy.

How it all began …

The original Charters were rarely seen. The parchment on which they were printed had sadly deteriorated due to age and inadequate storage facilities, making them too fragile for display.

A small group, from the Town Council and Higham Tourism, got together in 2014 to investigate a way to solve this problem and The Charter Project began.

We aimed to:

  • restore and preserve the five Royal Charters and Byelaw in a safe environment for future generations

  • create copies to exhibit in the town and present online so all can see and enjoy

  • develop activities and events to encourage everyone, young and old, to find out about the importance of the Charters to the history of our town.

Our research

We carried out two surveys of the public perception of the Town Charters – one in 2016 and the other in 2018.

The second one surveyed customers of the House of Fraser at Rushden Lakes to:

  • establish current awareness of the Charters of Higham Ferrers

  • draw a comparison with awareness measured with the earlier survey of October 2016

  • identify public support for the Charter Project

  • seek public opinion as to how the Charters should be shared with the community

  • seek ideas as to how they might be celebrated.

Feedback was very positive showing a raised awareness since the 2016 survey.

    • Good luck

    • A great idea

    • Thank you for bringing an important part of our local history to our attention

    • Looking forward to seeing them

    • Wish the project every success

    • Very important

    • Tourism does a tremendous job out in the community pursuing this very worthwhile project.

Heritage Lottery Funding

In 2017, we submitted a bid for Heritage Lottery Funding to conserve the ancient and precious Royal Charters belonging to the town.

In 2018, we were thrilled to announce that we had achieved Heritage Lottery Funding to restore the Town’s Charters for everyone to see and enjoy.

Now in 2019:

  • the restored original Charters are stored in safe conditions at Northampton Record Office

  • digital images and framed full-size prints of the restored Charters are available for everyone to see

  • the town held a Charter Celebration Day

  • school children learnt about their local heritage and the importance of the charters to the development of the town.

"We are delighted to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players. The Charters have played a pivotal role in the heritage of Higham. It is wonderful to know that we are not only preserving these documents for future generations, but enabling them, through exhibition and activities in the town and wider community to now be shared with and appreciated by so many.”

Anna Sauntson, Town and District Councillor and Member of Higham Ferrers Tourism, Business and Community Partnership