I arrived at Ashton-Under-Hill (Google Earth 52.039141°, -2.003869°) at roughly 9.08 am. This village intrigued me the most because it bigger than the two I had just visited, and it had an interesting mix of old buildings. There was a War Memorial and a church with two CWGC graves in it. The Saturday bus also seems to take a slightly different route to the weekday bus and that affected what I had to do because the bus dropped me off past my intended targets.
There it goes now! I stayed with this raised embankment because the War Memorial was situated on it. From what I read this was not the original location of the memorial, and it appears to have been originally located on private land.
It is described as “Cross, with laurel wreath wrapped round the shaft, on a stepped square base,” it has 8 names from the First World War and 2 from the second. The front is engraved as follows:
There are also shorter name lists on either side of the memorial.
The memorial looks out over the “Ashton First School and Village Hall”
The rent was partly paid, and I continued my walk to my next stop which is the church of St Barbara which is roughly 200 metres away.
If you did not know the church was there you would probably have missed seeing it, as it is set back from the road and only the lych gate and a badly eroded 15th century cross is situated in front of it. The 17th century thatched cottage is what drew my attention originally and I wonder whether it was the rectory?
There are two casualties buried in the churchyard, 1 from each of the World Wars.
There is a small door that can be seen between the two windows in the image above, and it is engraved 1624. Like so many parish churches it is a mix of old and older. The oldest parts date from Norman times, represented by the South doorway with its characteristic rounded arch. The Tower with its 6 bell ring, was begun in the 13th century. while the Chancel was rebuilt in 1624 by Sir John Franklin, then Lord of the Manor. St Barbara is the patron saint of armourers, gunners and blacksmiths. (https://www.ashtonunderhill.org.uk/organisations/st_barbaras/). The lych gate dates from Mach 1931
Amazingly the church was unlocked and I was able to see inside of it.
It is not a spectacular church, but it did have some lovely stained glass in it. The ROH was small but there were 3 personal memorials in it, one of which I am reproducing here because it is such a poignant one.
Then it was grave hunting time and I battled to find the one grave which was a private memorial. It too had been recently restored which is probably why I could not find it. Many of the private memorials are in a poor condition and are the responsibility of the family. The rent was paid, it was time to look around and get my bus onwards to Evesham. It was due at 10.22 but it was only 9.43. There was one more building that I wanted to find and apart from that I had the 40 minutes to idle.
Twas time to enjoy the view.
The village history says:
“… A walk along the almost mile long village street (now called Beckford Road to the south and Elmley Road to the north) will take the visitor past a wide selection of the local rural architecture typical of both the Cotswolds and the Vale of Evesham.
In addition to timber-framed and stone cottages there is a black and white farmhouse dating back to the 15th century, an elegant stone manor house built before 1700, tall brick houses from around 1800, also many red-brick Victorian cottages and a scattering of 20th century houses in a variety of styles. The non-conformist chapel was built in the 1920s. The village also has two schools; the old Village school in the centre built in the 1860s with the more modern village hall attached, and at the north end the 1960s Middle School. The village pub ‘The Star Inn’ offers a warm welcome, traditional Ales and home-cooked food.”
The “non-conformist chapel” mentioned in the history of the village is the other building that I was interested in.
It had quite a number of unveiling stones on it, which was quite odd, it is possible that everybody wanted to be a part of it.
Unfortunately I was not able to get into the building, but it cannot be very large inside. It is however, a very interesting shape.
My meanderings continued.
Like the other two villages I had passed through, Ashton-Under-Hill has a mention in the Domesday Book.
- Head of manor: Beckford.
- Taxable units: Taxable value 8 geld units. Taxed on 8.0.
- Value: Value to lord in 1086 £30.
- Households: 10 villagers. 4 smallholders. 8 slaves. 3 female slaves.
- Ploughland: 4 lord’s plough teams. 6 men’s plough teams.
- Other resources: 1 church. 0.75 church lands.
- Lord in 1066: Thorbert, Earl Harold’s thane.
- Overlord in 1066: Earl Harold.
- Lords in 1086: Cormeilles (Sainte-Marie), abbey of; King William.
- Tenant-in-chief in 1086: King William.
And just in time for my bus too. I am off to Evesham to get more images from the museum, I will continue this grand tour at a latter time, visiting Beckford and Sedgeberrow. As they say in the classics:
Next up is Sedgebarrow; just follow the arrow…
DRW 2018. Created 21/10/2018. The Open Domesday Project and the associated images are kindly made available by Professor J.J.N. Palmer. Images may be reused under a Creative Commons BY-SA licence.