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Higham Ferrers Grammar School

The Grammar School
An advert from 1900

Archbishop Chichele also founded this beautiful little chantry Chapel, with crocketed pinnacles, sometime after the Bedehouse. The chapel became the Grammar School after the dissolution, and continued for over three centuries. At the west end there is a statue of Archbishop Chichele.

In 1899 Alfred George Collins Vann became Head Master of Chichele Grammar School. He came from a working class background, studied hard and frequently attended courses at Oxford University, gaining his MA degree in 1898, and was previously the School Master at South End Elementary School in Rushden and his wife, Hannah Elizabeth Simpson Vann was a certificated teacher at the same school. Their son Bernard William Vann was awarded the Victoria Cross in WWI.

Wellingborough News, 5th December 1890, transcribed by Kay Collins

Higham Ferrers
(Founded 1422)

BOYS Prepared for Oxford and Cambridge Locals, College of Preceptors, and other examinations by experienced and successful tutor. Vacancies for boarders. For terms, &c., apply to the Head Master.


Wellingborough & Kettering News 17/01/1890, transcribed by Peter Brown

GRAMMAR SCHOOL—We hear that the Grammar School is to be re-opened at an early date by Mr. Smith, who has an establishment at Rushden.

18th January 1890 - Northampton Mercury

Grammar School—We hear that this school is to be re-opened early date by Mr. Smith, who has an establishment at Rushden, and we further hear it has rather disconcerted the officers of the Young Men's Club, who, for more than fifty years, have held their meetings in the room free with the exception of the gas consumed, Mr. Smith having notified them that he does not consider that is enough.

Wellingborough & Kettering News 07/02/1890, transcribed by Peter Brown

GRAMMAR SCHOOL—The following paragraph appears in the current number of Truth:-Higham Ferrers Grammar School was founded in 1422 by Archbishop Chichele, who left £10 per annum in real estate to endow it. In the reign of Henry VIII., Robert Dacres was granted the estate on condition that he should maintain a schoolmaster and keep the school and Bede-house in repair. In 1734, the descendants of Robert Dacres sold the estate to the Earl of Malton, and it now is in the possession of Mr. W. C. W. Fitzwilliam. In 1839 the schoolmaster, Mr. Sanderson, had the use of a house in Higham Ferrers, and received a handsome salary from the estate. He was succeeded as schoolmaster by Mr. Clough, who had the use of a house. A new master has recently been appointed. He has no house; in vain he has called upon Mr. Fitzwilliam to renovate the school and outbuildings, and in vain he has asked for a salary. A handsome stained-glass window has been removed from the school and has been given to a church in the vicinity, while the lead roof has been taken away and replaced by a tiled one. It is evident that the estate on which the salary of the schoolmaster and the maintenance of the school are charged must be worth a good deal now, if it was worth £10 per annum in 1422. Action should therefore be taken to oblige Mr. Fitzwilliam to fulfil the obligations under which he holds it. The facts are interesting as showing how moneys left for the public benefit are absorbed by individuals.

The Grammar School, one of the oldest in the country, closed in 1906. The building was sold to the Church in 1911 for £200.

carving plaque
The carved goat's head on one of the pinnacles
Plaque in the church to commemorate the men of the RWF who fell in WWI. Their mascot had been a goat.

About 1920, the carved masonry of the old Grammar School was undergoing repairs, and one of the masons carved a goat’s head which now looks down from one of the pinnacles.

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