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Derbyshire, United Kingdom.


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Towns and villages around Hartshorne

Ashby de la Zouch

The town's rich history is set against a backdrop of people and events shaping this country over the last 1000 years. The name Ashby is said to be derived from the Saxon 'AESC', meaning an Ash, and 'BYR', a habitation.

The unusual ending 'de la Zouch' was added in 1160 when a Norman Nobleman, Alain de Parrhoet la Zouch inherited his position as Lord of the Manor by marriage. During Norman times Ashby was recorded in the Doomsday Book as a settlement of about 100 people situated around the present site of St. Helen's Church.

In the 15th Century, Edward IV granted Ashby Manor to his favourite counsellor, Lord Hastings. He converted the manor house into a castle and rebuilt nearby St Helen's Church. The town became the main seat of the Hastings family and there followed a long period of prosperity and growth.

The Grammar School was founded in 1567 and skilled craftsmen such as silversmiths, gold beaters, pewterers, swordsmiths and clock makers began to move into the 'courts' at the rear of Market Street.

During the Civil War, a Royalist garrison occupied Ashby Castle under the command of Henry Hastings, who became Lord Loughborough. However, following a yearlong siege of the Castle by the Parliamentarian Army, the Royalists surrendered in 1646 (a model of the Castle under siege is on display at Ashby Museum).

After the war, the Castle was partly destroyed and largely forgotten until the publication of Sir Waiter Scott's classic historical romance 'Ivanhoe' in 1820. He used the Castle as a backdrop for the fictional tournament in which Ivanhoe was victorious on the field of combat and Robin Hood won the archery competition by splitting the shaft of his opponents arrow with his own.

In the 19th Century, the town's fortunes prospered further as it tried to become a Spa Town. Water with medicinal qualities had been discovered nearby at a coal mine in Moira and transported to Ashby. The magnificent Ivanhoe Baths were built in 1822, along with the adjacent Hastings Hotel (now Royal Hotel). The opening of the railway through the town in 1849 and subsequent pioneering rail tours organised by Thomas Cook from Leicester, brought a further influx of visitors to the town. Unfortunately, after 40 years of prosperity, the Ivanhoe Baths began to decline and were closed in 1884.

Today, the town's prosperity is based on light industry and its excellent range of shops. Due to its geographical location, Ashby is a much sought after residential area being situated close to the major urban areas of Birmingham, Derby, Leicester and Nottingham. A continuing link with the past is Ashby's Statutes Fair which has been held every September since it was started by Charter of Henry III in 1219. Therefore, while Ashby has all the amenities and facilities expected of a modern town, it has lost none of its original character and charm.

For more details vist the Ashby de la Zouch Website

Source: North West Leicestershire District Council leaflet, 1999.


The town is situated in the centre of England, in the South East of Staffordshire, close to the border with Derbyshire, 126 miles north of London. It is 11 miles South of Derby on the A38, and almost equidistant between the cities of Birmingham (to the South West) on the A38, Leicester (to the South East) and Stoke-on-Trent (to the North West) on the A511 (formerly the A50), and Nottingham (to the North East)) all of which are approximately 30 miles away.

The town straddles the River Trent and the Trent & Mersey Canal passes through. Trains stop on their route between Nottingham and Birmingham.

Burton-on-Trent is world renowned for the brewing of beer. A centuries-old industry, which was started by the monks of Burton Abbey, and has persisted to this day thanks to the high quality of the water drawn from wells deep around the town. The heyday of the brewing industry was at the turn of the century, when dozens of breweries were in operation. A dense network of brewery railways criss-crossed the town joining and supplying them. The last trains ran in the 1960's and virtually all trace of a once distinctive part of the Burton scenery has disappeared.

Until recently four breweries continued to brew within the town. Many of the old breweries closed or merged to create huge multinational companies such as- Bass's, Ind Coope and Marston's. The larger Carlsberg Tetley bought up Ind Coope Burton Brewery early in the 1990's, the old Ind Coope Brewery was to be closed down. Thankfully Bass's, who's brewery backs on to the old Ind Coope site, agreed to buy it's old rival, thus creating one of the biggest breweries in the world. Carlsberg Tetley remains in name only now having been its self merged into Basses. Sadly some much loved beers like Ind Coope's "Burton Ale" looks set to disappear into oblivion.

Fancy having a look at the Bass museum? Click here to visit thre museum on line.

Marston's continues to brew it's famous "Pedigree" bitter using the traditional Burton Union system of fermentation, this has brewery appears to be going the way of all the others, and has early in 1999 been acquired by Banks' of Dudley, we are promised that brewing will continue on the site for the foreseeable future. (We've heard it all before).

The last independent brewery in the town, the tiny Burton Bridge Brewery continues to brew its excellent own real ales.

The breweries still dominate the landscape of Burton, but the town is also blessed with some fine natural scenery - the Trent Washlands at the heart of the town provide an oasis of green amidst the industrial scenery.

For more details vist the Burton-on Trent Website


Known originally as Wooden Box.


Work in progress


Work in progress

For more details visit the Ticknall Village Website


Repton is a thriving village with a fascinating past. It's situated in the Trent valley between Derby and Burton-on-Trent in the county of Derbyshire. On one side of the village is the Old Trent, the remnants of the former course of the river, on the other three is attractive rolling farmland.

The village dates back to Anglo-Saxon times and was the place where Christianity was first preached in the Midlands. In the crypt of the church there are still well preserved remains of Saxon architecture. The church with its tall spire is not the only distinctive building - Repton has a wealth of these, many associated with the ancient school.

For more details visit the Repton Village Website


Work in progress


Smisby is an ancient farming settlement deriving its name from the Old Norse of 'Smidesbie', literally Smith's Farm. The parish includes the hamlets of Annswell and Boundary. Of particular interest are St. James' Church (13th century), the Old Manor (16th century) and the village lock-up (early 18th century).

Smisby was settled in Saxon times, and the name is derived from the Old Norse name of 'Smidesbie', which translates into Smith's Farm. The first part of the name of 'smeth' or, in it's Anglo Saxon form, 'smed' means smiths. The second part comes from the Scandinavian 'by' which is a common final element of Britain's town names and is found all over the former Danelaw. It means farmstead or village. The village was referred to as Smidesbi in the Domesday Book.

For more details visit the Smisby Village Website

Page Updataed (20.05/09)


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