Higham is situated on the edge of Pendle, and was one of the eleven vaccaries (cattle farms) of Pendle Forest. Its name originates from two Saxon words - Heg (meaning high) and ham (meaning a small place or a village). Prior to that the Roman influence can still be evidenced by the old Roman road from Ribchester, which is now a lane to the North of the village.
By the 15th century farming was becoming more important than hunting, and large areas of it were deforested by Henry VII and enclosed, with the land being leased out to farmers. Farming in the centre of Higham is further evidenced by an area which used to be a pinfold or poundfield, which was a pound in which stray animals were kept. Pinfolds go back 500 years or more.
Four Alls Inn
According to tradition, criminals tried by John of Gaunt, at Ightonhill Park, were executed here. Probably the oldest building in Higham is Higham Hall, which was built in the early 1300s. This was the site of the Halmote Court. Eventually Higham Hall was considered unsuitable for the court, which was then transferred to the Four Alls Inn. Outside the Inn, which is still open today is a sign, on which are the portraits of a clergyman, a king, a soldier and a farmer, the first saying "I pray for all", the second "I govern all", the third "I fight for all", the fourth "I pay for all". The Four Alls Inn opened in 1792.
As with almost every other village in the area, there is a connection with the Pendle Witches. This comes from Alizon Devizes confession, where she claimed that "Anne Whittle, alias Chattox, was suspected for bewitching the drinke of John Moore of Higham gentleman" and for causing one of his sons to die.
Farming income began to be supplemented by that obtained by handloom weaving in the cottages and farmhouses in the village. Then in the eighteenth century, as in many of the surrounding villages, two weaving factories were set. Fir Trees Mill was built in around 1838 by the Wheatley Lane Shed Company and originally contained 138 looms. As with other mills in the area, it at one stage suffered from a serious fire, but was rebuilt and enlarged to hold 260 looms. The mill ownership changed many times down the years until a manufacturer of aircraft parts moved into the mill in 1967. The mill was closed in 1983, and then demolished with the site used for housing.
Clover Croft Mill opened in 1852 to house 300 power looms. It expanded down the years, with its use being changed in 1970 when Cloverbrook took it over to use it for dyeing. Winchester furniture took over the mill in 1995 and used it until 2004. It was demolished in 2006 to make way for further housing.
The other industry to make a small mark upon Higham was mining. Higham colliery operated in the early 1900s and Fir Trees drift mine from 1948 to 1959.
There used to be a Wesleyan Chapel in Higham, but this was demolished in 1983. St John the Evangelist Church was built in 1876, next door to the school. It is said a certain Thomas Clayton paid for a new window in the church. When he saw it he disliked it so much, that he smashed it with his cane and commissioned another to be made. The next, and final one, was made by Charles Kemp, a famous local artist. His characteristic signature, a sheaf of wheat, appears in the window.
Higham Methodist Chapel sign
St John the Evangelist
Higham Village Hall
Higham also has a village hall, which used to be part of the school.
Probably Higham's most famous resident was Sir Jonas Moore (see Fence town description for full details), who was born at White Lee. Both Higham and Fence could have claim to Sir Jonas, with White Lee now lying between the two, but at the time White Lee lay within Higham's boundaries. He was a regular at the court of Charles II and was the driving force behind the set up of Greenwich Observatory.
Higham Post Office
Higham until very recently had a post office, which as part of the Government's closure program, was unfortunately closed on 9 May 2008.
|Walks near Higham|