Thomas Garrett Heritage Rooms Heighington

Heritage Rooms at Christmas Festival

Photo by Thomas Garrett Heritage Rooms

Heritage Rooms at Christmas Festival

By the time Elizabeth I came to the throne of England in 1558 there was already well established a church at Washingborough and a Chapel of Ease at Heighington.  This latter building was to allow parishoners who could not walk as far as Washingborough receive 'ease' of their sins in a holy place.  It was built of brick.

Stephen Garrett, father of Thomas died in 1585.  There had been 4 children but both girls died in infancy, leaving Thomas and William his brother.  William died in 1611, the father of three girls.  He left his furniture to Mary his surviving daughter, but no cash!  She was married to John Chippendale in Notts.  (Where did Thomas Chippendale come from and what are his dates?) William left his estate to his brother.  Thus Thomas was able to describe himself as a 'Gentleman'.  When Thomas died in 1620 his will revealed his intention to do good for others as he willed that there be created a Grammar School for the education of local boys.  They would be taught classic subjects such as Latin and Greek.  His will paid the schoolmaster and the upkeep of the building as the school was to always be housed in the Chapel.

By Victorian times the village had grown and more space was needed so the place was extended, adding the former classrooms we still see today.  The buildings were also clad in stone.  It is interesting to note that years ago stone was regarded as inferior to brick, as you often could just quarry your own locally, whereas bricks had to be brought in, and roads were not always very good!

The income from Thomas Garrett's lands and properties supported the school and local children until the 'new' school at Mill Lane opened in 1975 and Branston school opened about the same time. Local children can still get educational support from Garrett's charity, to which are these days added some other from benefactors more recent that Thomas.

It is believed the tower has Saxon foundation (Saxons came to England in the 7th century), and the blue clockface is the village's memorial to those village people who served in the World Wars.  The rolls of names of those who lost their lives are in church above the organ. 

Trustees still administer the estate and day to day bookings are managed by the Friends of the Garrett's Charity.