In Roman times, Higham occupied a position midway between the Roman camp at Ribchester and the Roman colony at Colne. An old Roman road, now a country lane, runs along the top of the village, but was once the ‘Highway of the Legions’.
The Saxons followed and left some evidence of their passage.
The name Higham comes from two Saxon words: Heg (High) Ham (small place/village)
During Norman times, most of the land now known as Pendle Forest, was uncultivated land and available for hunting. Originally called Pendle Chase, it came into the possession of the De Lacy family. Gradually the severity of the Norman regime was relaxed. After the De Lacy estates had passed by marriage in 1311, to Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, Pendle Chase became subject to the laws of the Forest of Lancaster.
A notable building in Higham is the manor house, Higham Hall, built in 1327, where the Halmote Court was held twice a year, in April and October.
The De Lacy’s would send a representative from Clitheroe Castle to receive payment from the leaseholders in the Pendle Forest. The farmers would pay a rent of a few shillings, whilst the cottagers would pay 1d as the Duke’s rent. The records also show records of disputes about boundaries, changes of ownership, and fines for breaking hedges, blocking up roads and leaving gates open.
A jury would be summoned to consider cases of property transfers. If rent was in arrears, fines would be imposed, and there was a gaol at Higham House, one the oldest buildings still standing in the village.
Higham Hall was found to be unsuitable for the court around the middle of the 19th Century, so it was transferred to the Four Alls Inn. The Halmote Court, though shorn of its old powers, continued to be held in Higham until the early 20th century.
There are place names connected with horses e.g. Hunterholme and Dame Fold. In the 14th century, there was thought to be a horse breeding establishment owned by the King’s representative, which bred horses for the Black Prince.