Mayor, Jason Smithers, recently attended the traditional Bedesman Day service at St Mary’s Church, Higham Ferrers with a roast beef lunch afterwards at the Bede House.
Henry Chichele founded the Bede House in 1423 to house twelve poor male inhabitants of the Borough aged over 50 years, with one Bedeswoman to look after them. The word Bede means prayer and the twelve men had to live by a definite rule divided in monastic style into periods of prayer and manual work in the garden.
Although the Bedesmen no longer live in their communal life they are still appointed and wear ceremonial cloaks with a red star, together with the appointed Bedeswoman, for all civic occasions and for their feast day that of St. Thomas before Christmas, the 21st of December, when they meet for a service in St. Mary’s Church and then adjourn for a meal in the Bede House and to sit by a roaring log fire and reminisce of former times.
Pictured with the Mayor are the 11 of the Bedesmen, the Bedeswoman, Town Clerk and Deputy Lord Lieutenant Morcea Walker MBE.
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