The Higham Family
of Highams Farm
In the 15th and 16th centuries various members of the Higham or Heigham family resided at Highams Farm, which is in Goldhanger Parish but right on the border with Tolleshunt Major Parish. The most notable local record of their involvement within the village is in St Peters Church as the family are said to have been responsible for the building of the South isle and Lady Chapel, and one of their tombs remains in that chapel. There is also a family tomb and a plaque in St. Nicholas Church, Tolleshunt Major.
Highams Farm in the early 1900s
The family seems to have built or acquired Highams Farm before the time of the Reformation, which is when Henry VIII gave what was to become Beckingham Hall and its estates, to Sir Thomas Seymour, and then subsequently gave it to Stephen Beckingham in 1543. Although Highams Farm was later included in the Beckingham Hall estate it is uncertain if it was gifted at the time by Henry VIII.
In 1975 a member of the Higham family wrote a 78-page booklet on the family history. Four pages of the booklet refer to Highams Farm and the members of the family who lived there. Extracts from these pages are available on this website...
Family members known to live at Highams Farm...
Robert Higham d:1427+ Letecia Heigham, buried in St. Nicholas (Morant)
Robert Higham d:1429 + Margaret Heigham, buried in St. Nicholas (Morant)
Robert Higham d:1460 + Johanna, buried in St. Nicholas (Morant)
Thomas Heigham d:1531 + Awdie & Francis Heigham, buried in in St Peters (Morant)
Anthonye Heigham/Heyham d:1540, buried in St Peters (Morant)
Anthonye Heigham/Heyham d:1540 + Anne Heigham, buried in St Peters (Frickl)
as described by Philip Morant in 1768...
a brass effigy of Awdie Heigham
in St Peters Church...
Family members identified elsewhere...
There were many members of the Higham family, particularly in Suffolk at around the same time, and that also had the first names of Thomas and Robert, making it difficult to track the family relationships. However, it highly likely that the family came from the village of Higham near Dedham in the early 1400s and returned to the hamlet of Cowlinge/Cooling near Bury St Edmunds in the mid 1500s...
There were several generations of Thomas Heighams in the village of Higham near Dedham in Suffolk, they were born in: 1368, 1398, 1400, 1420
"...but the Heighams went back to their family seat in Suffolk in 1545"
Antony HIGHAM died on 15 Nov 1540 in Goldhanger.
He had the following children:
Robert HIGHAM died in Cowlinge.
Robert married Margaret.
Cowlinge Church, Suffolk,
"Robert Higham Esq died the 10 day of May AD 1571 aged 45"
"Robert's father Antony and Anne and grandfather Thomas are in brass at Goldhanger Essex"
From The Visitation of Suffolk...
Other references found to the family have included...
The earliest reference found to a Heigham family member in Goldhanger, dated 1417...
Letters & Papers of Henry VIII: February 1544...
Grants in February 1544
Wm. Tooke. Annuity of 20l. out of the manors of Battell Herons, Higham and Wikham, and lands in Bradwell, Tollesbunt Major, Goldhanger, Althorne and Danberye, Essex, which belonged to Ant. Higham, dec, and are in the King's hands by the minority of Robt. Higham, s. and h. of the said Anthony; with wardship and marriage of the said heir.
from Kelly' s Directory - Essex 1882...
Tolleshunt Magna (or Major or Beckingham), Essex
The Church of St Nicholas is half a mile south east of the village and comprises a chancel, nave and brick tower with 3 bells: in the church is a memorial with effigies and an inscription to Robert Higham and his wife: he died 23 June 1427: and other inscriptions to Robert Higham, secondus, 10 August 1429 and Margaret his wife: and Robert Higham, tertious, 4 February 1460 and Johanna his wife, daughter of Thomas Barrington.
Many persons with the surname of "Heigham" have been found associated with the parishes of Heigham in Norwich city and Potter Heigham in Norfolk from around the same period, however it is not known if there were family connections.