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A Brief History of Higham Park

part of a map of Higham Park, showing Higham Park Farm

“The History and Antiquities of Northamptonshire”, J Bridges, 1791

Within Rushden liberty is HIGHAM-PARK consisting of certain inclosures with one house. It appeareth to have been first imparked or at least enlarged by Hen. II. whilst the estate which had been possessed by William Peverel was in the hands of the crown. It was given in the first year of king John to the earl of Ferrers with the hundred and manor of Higham. The year following certain lands which had been inclosed by Hen. II. belonging to Richard de Niewton, William de Niewton, and Helenod Boscard, in exchange for which they had lands in other places, were restored to them, and the lands given them in exchange surrendered to the earl of Ferrers. Of this park mention is made in the thirty fifth year of Edw. I. and again of the park and capital messuage in the inquisition taken in the first of Edw. III. after the decease of Thomas earl of Lancaster. The yearly profits of the pasturage were then valued at iv l. and the underwood cut down every year at xx s.

In the twenty second of James I. a proclamation was issued for apprehending Edward Ekins of Stanwick, who with other persons had committed certain outrages in the king's park of Higham-Ferries, by killing and carrying away the deer, and beating and wounding the keepers.

It is now in the hands of Sir Robert Long Bart. whose ancestors became possessed of it by a grant from the crown. Higham-park-house pays tithes to Mr. Ekins, and Rushden parochial perambulation takes in a part of it.


The Higham Estate of the Earl of Lancaster was split into four and Higham Park was with Rushden. The Park area was bounded by

  • the open fields of Rushden
  • an area outside the open fields called Bencroft
  • Newton Bromswold parish
  • the parish of Knotting in the adjoining county of Bedfordshire

About one fifth of the Park lies within the parish of Knotting and the whole Park had previously been extra-parochial to Rushden, but it is now part of Newton Bromswold parish. In 1672 Charles II sold the Park to Sir Robert Long and since then it has been privately owned.

The Park was created for hunting and the ramparts were topped with dead hedge fencing to keep the deer within. The Park also had coppiced wooded areas. The farmhouse stood by a moat but today the whole area is arable land with few clues to its past. The farmhouse was sometimes called Park Lodge but today is known as Higham Park Farm.

Higham Park Farm

Tenants

Martin Tucke was a yeoman farmer there and his will was proved in London 1601.

Later John Mackarness farmed there and when he died in 1714 an inventory of his estate was made. In about 1825 Joseph Dearlove was the tenant and in 1828 he set aside a room in the farmhouse to be used as a Wesleyan Methodist Chapel with seats for 80 worshippers but had an average attendance of 30. (Religious Census 1851) The farmhouse is still standing; it is a listed building and the remaining moat area is a scheduled ancient monument.

Park Lodge

Close by was the Park Lodge, the residence of the Bailiff of Rushden where the Manor Courts were held, in a lane off the main London road. Today access to Higham Park Farm is via a lane off Avenue Road.

Window Tax 1750
Forename Surname  
No. of windows
Tax
John HIGGINS assessor
17
14. 9
NRO Ref: Box X2255 Window Tax 1750

Listed Building - Grade II - Department of National Heritage

SP96SE 10/102 - 10/06/74
Higham Park, Higham Park Farmhouse (Formerly listed Under Rushden UD)

Manor house, now farmhouse. Medieval origin, mainly early C16 and C17. Squared coursed limestone with old plain tile roofs. Originally probably L-shape plan, now U-shaped. 2 storeys. Centre of main front is of 2-window range with one 4-liqht stone mullion window, with arch-head lights, to first floor left. Other windows are C19 casements under wood lintels, with one C19 canted wood bay to ground floor left. Gabled cross wing projects to left and has various C19 casements. Flat-roofed porch is attached to return wall and has plank door with moulded wood surround with 4-centred arch head. Twin gabled range projecting to right, was originally outbuildings, now forms part of house. Brick and stone stacks at ridge with C15/C16 circular stone flue at right gable end. Interior not inspected. Near site of medieval moated house which formed part of the estate of Higham Ferrers Castle. C12 origins, building accounts from C14 and C15 ave been traced for this latter house. (Higham Ferrers and its Ducal Park, Rev. W.J.B. Kerr, 1926).



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