English archbishop, founder of All Souls college, Oxford, was born in the Borough in 1362, the youngest of the 3 sons of Thomas and Agnes Chichele. Thomas Chichele was a yeoman farmer and was Mayor of the Borough in 1373.
The family lived at 67 High Street, Higham Ferrers - the property still remains.
Chichele was taught in a small school by Henry Barton, the Schoolmaster, and in view of his outstanding abilities he was introduced to William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, who was working in the Castle on plans for the building of New College, Oxford.
He accompanied the Bishop to Winchester to continue his studies and later to Salisbury. His further appointment was to the Archdeaconry of Salisbury, then Chancellor of Salisbury. His further appointment was to the Bishopric of St. David's, and in 1414 he became Archbishop of Canterbury.
During his career he practiced as an advocate in the principle ecclesiastical court and from that time an extraordinary number of posts fell to him including a much heralded diplomatic career. He acquired livings and canonries wholesale.
He was with the English force under the Earl of Arundel which accompanied the Duke of Burgundy to Paris in 1411 and there defeated the Armagnacs; and in 1413 was sent by Henry V., with the Earl of Warwick, to France to conclude peace.
He was certainly at the Battle of Agincourt with Henry V and there was a charge, versified by Shakespeare (Henry V. act 1, sc.2) from Halls Chronicle, of having tempted Henry V. into the conquest of France for the sake of diverting parliament from the disendowment of the Church.
Chichele was present at the siege of Rouen, and the King committed to him the negotiations for the surrender of the city in 1419 and for the marriage of Katherine. He crowned Katherine at Westminster in February 1421 and in December of the same year baptised her child, Henry VI.
Chichele is renowned chiefly for his educational foundations. He endowed a chest or loan fund for poor scholars at New College, and another for the university at large. He founded at least three colleges, one at Higham Ferrers and two at Oxford. The licence for the first was given by Henry V in May 1422 and was closely modeled on Winchester College, and to it was attached an alshouse for 12 poor men (more of the Bede House later).
He retained the position of Archbishop of Canterbury until his death in 1443, at the age of 81 years. He was the longest serving Archbishop of Canterbury.
His tomb is located within Canterbury Cathedral.
The College, The Grammar School and the Bede House were all founded by Chichele in the 15th Century.
His brother, Robert became Lord Mayor of London in 1402, 1411 and 1421. His other brother William - was Master of the Grocers Company, a member for the City of London, and Sheriff in 1409 - he owned property in Friday Street, in the parish of St. Margaret's, Westminster.