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  ASHBY  WALK?   In Handbook



The parish of Ashby St Mary is situated in the county of Norfolk in the region of England known as East Anglia.   It is one of 118 towns and parishes within the local authority area of South Norfolk District Council.
The parish lies approximately 7 miles south east of the city of Norwich. The village is bordered by Thurton, Claxton, Bergh Apton and Carleton St Peter.  It is located to the north east of the A146 road that extends from Norwich to the most easterly point in England at Lowestoft.   
Ashby was named after all the ash trees that grew in the village. St Mary was the name of its church so the village eventually became known as Ashby St Mary.  The parish covers an area of almost a square mile at just under 204 hectares.   As at 2006 it comprised about 125 dwellings with a population of approximately 300 inhabitants.


If you are interested in ancient relics, ruins, old coins, land markings, and earthenware fragments then this page deserves viewing.
The 'finds' occurred within parts of local parishes including Ashby St Mary, Carleton St. Peter, Chedgrave, Claxton, Hellington, Langley, Rockland St Mary, and Thurton. Two documents list the 'finds' made within those areas while two maps show the position of each list entry. There is even a reference to the discovery of an engine from a crashed aircraft.
See some of Ashby's history including pictures and other exhibits supplied mainly by parish residents over the period of 9-11th July 2010. Contributions of any village memorabilia were invited to be submitted and placed on show at a specific village occasion for the purpose. 
It provides information from the 1800s and a snapshot of village life from the early 1900s onwards.


- CIRCA 4000-2500 BC
In late February 2011, Mike Harris was ploughing his field in Ashby when he caught sight of an object that turned out to be a Neolithic Axe Head. The Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service in Norwich issued the following information about Mike's find.
"The object is a part polished axe. The dimensions are 159 x 72 x 34mm (approx 61/4" long x 27/8" high x 13/8" thick). It has a rounded polished cutting edge at the widest point with the polish extending up to the mid length. It has a flaked broad and rounded butt. The flint is pale grey, speckled and with little patination, but has scattered spots of iron staining. Apart from a small chip on the cutting edge the axe appears to be complete.
Polished, part-polished and flaked axes of this form are characteristic and diagnostic of the Noelithic period when, with the introduction of agriculture there was the need to clear scrub and trees from the land.


     Showing axe head size           Note the chip on left end              Top edge                Top edge - side view

Mike was told the axe head was probably discarded due to the chip on the cutting edge. With thanks to Mike for contributing to part of Ashby's history - it is surely ironic that he was doing with a plough what others did over 4-6000 years ago with axe heads like this one.

- CIRCA 4000-2500 BC
A former resident, Marianne Grayson, found the Ashby website, and in November 2015 she wrote -
" I saw on your website the neolithic axehead found in Ashby in 2011. I thought you might be interested in my own Neolithic Ashby find, from 1975 (when I was 11 years old), and the letter I had from the Museum about it, which confirms it was from just the same period as Mr Harris's find. It's smaller than his axehead (the coin is a pound coin, for size). I found it in the field behind the church - I can't remember what I was doing there at the time - not ploughing anyway - but ever since, when walking in fields with flints in I've always looked out for, but never found, another. I lived at Ashby Rectory as a child and teenager from 1973 - 1982 when my father, Kit Chalcraft, was vicar.


In a letter dated 13th January 1975 the following information was provided by the Norfolk Museums Service -      
"I return with thanks the flint which you sent us via Mr Rose of the Norfolk Archaeological Society.  I am very grateful for being allowed to see it, especially nas it the first object reported to us from that particular spot and may indicate a habitation site.
It is of the Neolithic or New Stone Age, between 4000-2000 BC.   Objects of this sort are known as 'Leaf shaped points' and were used as knives or spearheads"

- CIRCA 1000 AD
Ashby St Mary was referred to in the Domesday Book when it was drawn up between 1084-86. At that time the parish was known as Ascebei.   
Two principal landowners in the area held parcels of land as a direct tenancy from King William the Conqueror in right of  “Knight’s services", this being the provision of a contingent of armed soldiers when required by the King.  These two chief tenants were Roger Bigot and Godric the Steward.
The next tenant in the hierarchy under Roger Bigot was Robert of Vaux. In turn Robert of Vaux was Sweetman. It seems probable that Sweetman was an Anglo-Saxon and not a Norman since he is recorded in the Domesday Book as having held land in Ascebei before the Norman Conquest. Under Sweetman there were  “10 freemen … at 30 acres. Always 1 plough; meadow, 2 acres”. Sweetman’s holding also included  “7 halves-a-freeman, at 27 acres. Always 1 plough.”
In the other part of Ascebei, the immediate tenant under Godric the Steward was Ralph. Under Ralph there were “6 whole freemen and 6 halves under the patronage of Aslac and Leofric, at 20 acres of land. Always 11/2 ploughs.”  Godric’s land also included parcels mainly in Claxton  “under the patronage of Edwin”  which also brought in a further  “freeman and a half, 5 acres”  in Ascebei.


                           For a fine scanned photo (in sepia)                      For a larger map of the former
                           of the above picture, click HERE                           Ashby Mill site, click HERE

Ashby St Mary Postmill is recorded as having been constructed in 1757. Evidence shows that until the 1st World War, the windmill (see Gallery below for picture) used to stand opposite the present site of the Ashby St Mary village sign. Information taken from Whites and Kelly’s Directory of Norfolk indicates the Mill was owned by William Young in 1845, by John Rushmore in 1864, by Daniel Burroughs in 1883, by Frederick George Chapman in 1901 and by Albert Arthur Culling in 1916. It is understood that a parishioner’s father, born in 1902, recalled that on a journey from Thurton School to his home in Sandy Lane, witnessed the Mill being pulled down by a traction engine, which also places the existence of the Mill up to 1916 or beyond.

For an extensive history of the Mill including advertisements of sale and recorded owners, this website is recommended -

- 1854
The following entry appears in the History, Gazetteer and Directory of Norfolk, 1854
"Ashby parish contains 249 souls, 58 houses, and 485 acres of land and is situated 3 miles N.N.W. of Loddon, and 71/2 miles S.E. by E. of Norwich. Robert Gilbert. jun., Esq is the chief landowner; there are also several smaller land proprietors, but Sir Chas.H.Ric, Bart is lord of the manor, and he and Sir W.H.Proctor are alternate patrons of the rectory, valued in the King's book at £6 and consolidated with Carleton St. Peter.  The Church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a spacious edifice, with a square tower and three bells. In 1843, it was thoroughly repaired, new windows added, and seatly fitted up with open seats. There are 28 acres of glebe, and the tithes are communted for £176 per annum.
Directory:- Rt. Gilbert, jun.,Esq., the Hall ; Rd. Eldon, wheelwright ; Mrs Amelia Maillet, Ashby House ; Rev. David Pegg, (Baptist) ; Isaac Shreeve, shoemaker ; Wm. Todd, butcher ; Wm Young, corn miller ; and Goe, Basey, Wm. Goodram, Daniel Mansfield, Jas. Mays, and Jac. Smith, (and parish clerk), farmers."

[, Gazetteer and Directory of Norfolk 1854, Loddon Hundred, page 517]

'An Act for Dividing, Allotting, and Inclosing the Open Fileds and Open Lands, Commons, and Waste Grounds, in the Parishes of Ashby and Hellington, in the parish of Norfolk'.

Title, Introduction & Index of Claimants
Claimants 1-4    Barham, Basey, Batchelder, Burton & Barcham
Claimants 5-12   Berry, Churchwardens & Overseers of Hellington, Clarke, Coldham, Colman (2), Cooke & Denny
Claimants 12 (cont'd) -19   Denny, Elden, Goodrum, Hurlock, Kent, King & Marshall
Claimants 19 (cont'd) -22   Marcon, Marshall & Miller
Claimants 23-29  Mansfield, Playford, Proctor, Rich, Ringer, Scarlet & Shreeve
Claimants 30-37   Starling, Trustees of Doughty Hospital, Todd, Wolsey, Wortley, Whall, Webster & Yallop

If you have any details to add to the background of these documents please contact
With grateful thanks to parishioner Mike Carr for finding the Claims details and forwarding them for parishioners interest.

- 1937
The following entry appears in Kelly's Directory of Norfolk, 1937 (21st) edition:-
"ASHBY ST. MARY (near Norwich) is a village and parish, 71/2 miles from Norwich (Norwich Thorpe being the most convenient station), 3 miles south-west from Buckenham station (by ferry) on the Norwich, Yarmouth and Lowestoft sections of the London and North Eastern railway, and near the navigable Yare, and 31/2 north-west from Loddon, in the Eastern division of the county, Loddon hundred, Loddon and Clavering petty sessional division, Loddon rural district, county court district of Norwich, rural deanery of Brooke, archdeaconry of Norfolk and diocese of Norwich.
The church of St. Mary the Virgin is an ancient structure of flint in the Norman and Early English styles, consisting of chancel, nave, south porch and an embattled western tower containing 3 bells; the tower was restored in 1928 : the south porch is a fine specimen of Norman work : the church was restored in 1849, and in 1903 the chancel was new-roofed and repaired : during the progress of the work an ancient aumbry was discovered in the north wall: in 1914 an organ was given by Mrs. Wyndham Gray : the church has 120 sittings.
The register dates from the year 1620.
The living is a rectory, with the vicarage of Thurton annexed, joint net yearly value £327, including 10 acres of glebe, with residence, in the gift of the Governors of Wrekin College, and held since 1934 by the Bev. Thomas Sewell Wontner M.A. of Selwyn College and Ridley Hall, Cambridge.
The poor's allotment consists of about 6 acres, let at £9 yearly.
The principal landowners are R. T. E. Gilbert esq. J.P.; William H. M. Andrews esq. and the Rev. J. J. Woolsey M.A.
The soil is light sandy ; subsoil, sand and brick earth. The chief crops are wheat, oats and barley, sugar beet and market garden produce. The area is 503 acres ; the population in 1931 was 165.
Letters through Norwich, via Thurton. The nearest M. O. office is at Bergh Apton & T. office, Loddon.
Andrews, William H. M., The Lodge  /  Child, Miss, Ross Arden  /   Gilbert, Robert Thomas Edwin J.P., Ashby hall
Ward, Miss, Ross Arden  /   Wontner, Rev. Thomas Sewell M.A. (rector), Rectory
Basey-Fisher, George, farmer. Hill farm  /  Catchpole, Leslie Wm., market gardener, Ashby villa
Catchpole, Nelson A., market gardener, Vally farm  /   Cotton, Robert Major, farmer  /   Forder, William, market gardener
Frost, Frank, market gardener  /   Gifford, George, market gardener  /  Harwood, Bertie John, market gardenr. Chapel rd
Hoddy, John, farmer & licensed horse slaughterer; best prices given for live & dead horses & cattle, Hill house. Thurton 23
Hurrell, Arthur. market gardener  /   Parfltt W. & Sons, market gardeners, Grange Garden house
Rich, Reginald Wm. saddler  /   Smith, James, market gardener  /   Watkinson, John Henry, market gardener
Whiles, Charles, market gardener  /   White, Jas. Alfred, wheelwright"

(With acknowledgement to Kelly's Directories Ltd)


At the 1841 Census it is recorded that “263 Souls” resided in the parish.
By 1861 there were 257 Inhabitants. For the next 100 years the population declined gradually.
In 1881 the figure was just over 200.
In 1901 it stood at 176, remaining reasonably static for the next two decades.
The figure dropped to 165 in 1931 falling to a low point of 155 in 1971.
By 1991, due largely to a development of newly constructed dwellings, it had risen to 240 and rose again to 290 by 1998. 
There are currently in the region of 300 inhabitants.

Ashby Family Research Genealogy -

British Towns and Villages Network -
This site claims to receive around 1.4 milion hits per week. Following an invitation from the network, it now contains a link to the Ashby St Mary website.

UK Villages -
A community website for finding a wide variety of information.

PARISH REGISTERS   - Currently under construction   
Pages from old Ashby parish registers dating from the 1500's



Commissioned by Ashby St Mary Parish Council to celebrate the millennium, the village sign was unveiled during 2000 (see Gallery below for picture).  Its entire nurture to life and manufacture was fittingly provided by residents of the parish. The particular design of the sign was arrived at in the knowledge that history records a link between the windmill, the Lady and the geese depicted on it, to Ashby St Mary. It has been established that it was the practice in the 18th and 19th centuries to walk geese which had been bred in Norfolk to London in readiness for the Michaelmas trade. For protection their feet were bound with webbing and covered in tar. This journey took some 10 to 14 days and they were fed en route by grazing the corn stubbles.

A carving of a lady with geese is to be found on a tombstone situated in Ashby churchyard (see Gallery below for picture).  Pictures of it have been published in many books and magazines.
(With acknowledgement to parishioner David Catchpole)

Click HERE to see a gallery of some pictorial features of Ashby St Mary parish

Includes details and pictures of events since 2007

2024 [January] - Ashby Amblers post Christmas lunch
Fourteen attendees at the long-awaited inaugural gathered at The Ferry, Surlingham, sadly reduced from the aniticipated       nineteen due to winter illnesses. Naturally it took place in the middle of the group's weekly Tuesday ride. A delightful occasion       was had by all, enjoying hearty lunches that for some included desserts that simply could not be resisted. The company were       surprised when the group's organiser distributed awards to colleagues that he considered worthy of certiificates in categories       of 'Champion Hostess', 'Loud Hailer', 'Super Ambler', Leading Ambler', 'Where are we going to', 'Most Improved Ambler',       'Swervyn Mervyn', 'Most Bizarre Ambler' and finally, for the most 'Spectacular Accident'.
      Following lunch, the party rode home to conclude their Tuesday ride, probably for many, a well-earned rest and recuperation.


2023 [April] - Ashby Amblers Cycling Group
Having been formed in Easter 2022, the Ashby Amblers Cycling Group enjoyed its first year by the same time in 2023.
       The group title describes the average sort of ride undertaken - a meandering amble.
       Having developed from an initial two village cycling enthusiasts, the group started to advertise its existence, first meeting
       outside the village hall entrance and later the more noticeable location, outside Thurton's George & Dragon public house,
       ready for its local rides that take place every Tuesday morning from 0930.
       Mostly by word of mouth, the Ambler group has steadily grown to over 20 cyclists who are not only from Ashby but those from
       Thurton, Claxton, Rockland St Mary, Framingham Earl, Heckingham, Thurlton and even Norwich have joined in its leisurely,
       social rides. Friendships have been made and endured as a result. Rides are about 20 miles in length that usually conclude
       before lunchtime, but very occasionally can go over 30 miles. Amblers always have a 'coffee' stop en route for which over
       20 establishments have been identified and used for the all-important R and R - refreshment and refuelling! 


       The Amblers do not label themselves a club, more a friendly group of like-minded enthusiasts, most of whom are aged 50+.
       Adverse weather does not automatically mean a ride is cancelled - Amblers just dress accordingly - and only one ride has
       ever been cancelled since the group got together. One caveat - Norfolk and Suffolk are not flat! It's got no hills, just inclines!
       New participants can be assured of being given a warm welcome whatever their age, ability or mode of bicycle they ride.
       The Amblers ride traditional bicycles, racing bikes, electric bikes and even tamdems but the group has no unicyclists [yet]!
       For any more information, email with your details being sure to also include a mobile number -
       or why not meet us next Tuesday (see above) and experience the sheer pleasure of an Ashby Ambler ride for yourself!

2022 [September] - New parish noticeboards
New noticeboards were recently erected by Andrew Rudd, occasionally assisted by Mark Rolph (Ashby parish councillor), at Chapel Road (a replacement) and Spong Lane/Low Common (an addition). The new boards are enclosed which should mean the notices placed in them should survive all weathers and be readable for longer. The boards they replaced, despite being of heavy density wood and very well made by a parishioner, were finally surcoming to age. One had become unstable and was therefore a safety risk but the other board was in a sufficiently satisfactory condition to remain in place for local groups to put their notices on as desired.

2020 [April] - Announcement & Tribute to Edgar Hoddy
  [1955 – 6th April 2020]
[On behalf of the Ashby St. Mary parish council]
Edgar was elected onto the parish council from 16th May 2003, serving his parishioners until his tragic and untimely death. Reflecting his love of the countryside, Edgar was perfect for role of the council's designated responsible officer for footpaths and trees which he took very seriously.
As well as a captain of a local darts team Edgar was also a captain of the Buckenham Ferry 'A' pool team, in the days when it existed. Both the 'A' team and the Buckenham Ferry 'B' pool team, which were based at the Beachamp Arms pub at Langley, competed in the same local pool league. The captain of the 'B' team recalled how, one year, in the annual Captains Cup, he met the 'A' team captain - Edgar - in the final at the Kings Head pub in Loddon. In the best of three games Edgar needed to win the second game, but despite leading it, luck deserted him. Edgar inadvertantly caused the black ball to be pocketed illegally resulting in him losing the game and the match. The irony of this was that Buckenham Ferry pub still benefited from being the winners of the Captains Cup but just not in the way Edgar would have wanted it! Ever the gentleman, Edgar congratulated his vanquisher by warmly shaking, not his hand, but his throat! The Ashby webmaster was his opponent.
The countryside experience Edgar afforded the parish council will be almost impossible to replace from within Ashby's close community. The parish council extends its heartfelt condolences to all his family and friends. Ashby has truly lost a giant of a character.

[With acknowledgement to the Eastern Daily Press]
"Passed away at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital on April 6th, 2020, aged 64 years. Much loved and sadly missed by all his family and friends. Due to the current situation, there will be a private burial for family members only. Details of a memorial service will be announced at a later date."

[With acknowledgement to the Broads Authority]
"Tributes have been paid to a “gentle giant” with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Norfolk countryside, who spent many years as a countryside ranger.
Edgar Hoddy was born and bred in Norfolk and lived in Ashby St Mary for the duration of his life.

He went to school in Loddon before joining the family business, Hoddy Brothers Farm, at the age of 14, and worked all over East Anglia.
In 2002, Mr Hoddy volunteered with the Broads Authority for three months and was soon offered a job as a countryside ranger, a position he held for 17 years until his retirement.
A much-loved employee at the Broads Authority, where he largely worked on patrol boats, Mr Hoddy was famed for dressing as Santa
Claus every Christmas throughout his career.
John Packman, chief executive of the Broads Authority, said: “Edgar was a huge personality within the ranger team. He was well known for the ‘Edgar lean’, propping himself
against a gate or fence at Whitlingham Country Park whilst he regaled tales and anecdotes of his time in the Broads, especially his daring rescues. He will be greatly missed by many in the Broads.”
Mr Hoddy, who was known as a fantastic teacher, ran a forestry school for disadvantaged children at Whitlingham, where lessons, which focussed on basic skills for adult life, included woodwork, tree felling and bow-making.
Outside of work, Mr Hoddy was a captain for a local darts teams and enjoyed long family drives in the countryside, which he knew like the back of his hand, accompanied with binoculars for wildlife-watching.
He was married to Lesley Hoddy, who passed away four years ago, for 29 years, and had a daughter, Lucy, and a stepson, Andrew.
Lucy Hoddy said: “He was a wonderful and devoted father and I could ask him for guidance on anything and he was so proud of anything I achieved. Everyone adored him in the community and every time he went to a pub everyone would try and buy him a drink. He was a gentle giant and the most generous and kind person I have met.”
Mr Hoddy passed away in hospital this month after suffering from health problems, at the age of 64.

2020 (January) Burns Night Supper

The traditional Burns Night Supper was held at Ashby St Mary and Thurton Village Hall on Saturday 25th January 2020.
As can be seen, the event was sold out. The evening included the Management Committee Supremo, Carol Powell, parading the haggis and Pinning-The-Sporran proved quite a success. Management Committee member Steve Read was compere for this traditional annual occasion.
With thanks to all those who attended to support the evening.

2019 (April) Grand Opening of Ashby & Thurton Playground Project

On Friday 5th April 2019 the Grand Opening took place of the Ashby St. Mary & Thurton Village Hall Playground Project. Stemming from an idea of local mums who wanted to see better, safer and more playground items for local children to enjoy and play on, their long awaited aim finally came to fruition. It took much planning, lots of fund-raising and hard work by a lot of people, chiefly from the two villages, before the big day arrived.
The screams of delight from the children when they were let loose on the new apparatus could, allegedly, be heard miles away. Very well done to all concerned. So what's next?!
Below can be seen The Ideas Department; Ashby TAPPers fundraising cyclists; some of the new playground equipment; and children on the opening day.

2018 (October) Harvest Supper

A harvest supper was held at Ashby St Mary and Thurton Village Hall on Saturday 13th October 2018.
Forty Eight local residents attended and enjoyed the main courses of Cottage Pie, Lasagna, Chicken Curry, Fish Pie and Beef Bourgignon all cooked by our splendid Lady Chefs in Ashby St Mary.
Second and some third helpings ensured that nearly all the main courses and desserts disappeared during the evening.
The food was then followed by a talk by Chris Bailey whose entertaining discourse on hosting major music events in Norfolk and across the UK completed an enjoyable evening.
The event and donations resulted in a magnificent £1,005 being added to St Mary’s Church accounts.
Many thanks to our chefs and all who helped in preparing for the event.
A special thanks to all those who attended and helped clear and clean the hall at the end of the evening.
A true community effort. [Terry Kitt]

2016 (July) Strawberries and Cream

Saturday 23rd July saw the annual evening of parish gluttons feasting in aid of Ashby church funds. Blessed with fine dry weather, the usual fund-raising took place with whisky squares, raffle, tombola and even an impromptu auction.  Pictures show the ensemble, Arnold inspecting his raffle win and it was difficult to miss our roving reporter promoting strawberries and cream in that top! Ben and Jess at Woodland Stoves, the event hosts, provided the perfect venue for the occasion for whom, along with all the organisers, a vote of thanks was enthusiastically endorsed by everyone.

2016 (June) Ashby Cheese and Wine

The annual Cheese and Wine gathering took place on Saturday 23rd June at the home of hosts Mike and Wendy. Held in aid of Ashby church, its funds will indeed have been swelled as a large contingent of villagers eagerly tucked in to the majestic spread on offer. Visual attractions included a range of restored agricultural implements and a static cricket match (see pictures) - definitely not your average party animals! The occasion was happily rain-free and the evening was clearly much enjoyed by all.   
A vote of thanks to the hosts was given by winemeister for the evening, Terry Kitt.

2016 (June) 'Ashby St. Mary Street Party' in Celebration of Her Majesty the Queen's 90th birthday

Saturday 11th June saw over 60 residents gathered for an Ashby St Mary Street Party to celebrate the 90th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11.  A very wet start eventually gave way to a pleasant evening of food (thanks Jim Le Chef), refreshments (thanks Ashby ladies), accordian accompaniment from Alan Sissions, and recreational games at the end of which (in keeping with the occasion) a royal toast was offered and the national anthem sung.
Connect 4, badminton, swingball and croquet were all played along with the extraordinary sight of a malteser challenge.  Using a steel tape measure, the challenge was to see how far a malteser could travel to be caught in a recipients mouth without falling from the tape measure! After several (independently witnessed) attempts the Todd family reigned supreme with the female members outshining their male counterparts, the winner being Maria achieving 15' 3"!  If only Her Majesty could have been there to witness it - or have a go!  
Thanks to the hosts, David and Betty, and their army of Ashby helpers (too many to mention) for a truly memorable celebration. Next up - the 100th!


2015 [August} Ashby CC v Ashby Xl Cricket Match for the Roy Roebuck Cup

2015 [August] Marriage of Nicola Rolph from Ashby St Mary 

On Saturday 15th August the marriage took place of Nicola Rolph and Yanto Barker.
Nicola was 'born' in Ashby in 1984 where she lived with her parents, Anita and Mark (who still live in the parish), and her brother Tim.   Nicola left Ashby when she studied for a degree at Sheffield University and has lived in London since 2011. She works for UK Sport, the country's governing body for sport, and her husband is a successful professional cyclist and manufacterer of sports clothing. In beautiful calm summer weather, the wedding ceremony and post-marriage celebrations took place at Kimberley Hall near Wymondham and was attended by over 100 family members and friends.

2015 [July] Annual Strawberries & Pimms - with a difference....

On Saturday 4th July, fabulous weather ensured an excellent attendance of villagers enjoyed the annual event that is the favourite of many. Hosts Mike and Wendy made everyone very welcome, supplemented by Mike's wonderful display of largely former agricultural implements, all neatly on display for villagers to view. They brought back a good few memories for some!    It was the first fundraiser event for Ashby's new vicar, Chris Ellis and he will certainly attend again as he pulled his own raffle ticket as a winner!  £722, a record it is understood, was made on the night in aid of supporting Ashby church funds. Thanks go to all those who helped in the organisation of the occasion and especially to Mike and Wendy for their hospitality and efforts.

2015 [June] Induction of Reverend Christopher Ellis, Ashby's new vicar.

On Tuesday 30th June over 200 residents of the villages of Ashby St Mary, Thurton, Bergh Apton, Framingham Pigot and Alpington with Yelverton attended the Induction at Bergh Apton Church of the Reverend Christopher Ellis as Rector of the Thurton Benefice. The induction was held in the presence of the Rt Revd Alan Winton, Bishop of Thetford and Ven. Stephen Betts, Rural Deacon.
Symbols of his Ministry were presented to Christopher by representatives of each village. Ashby presented water for the Font as a symbol for Baptism. After the service the congregation was invited to take refreshments in a marquee erected in the churchyard.

2015 [May] - Parish Council assists Ashby church project

The much publicised donation by Anglian Water Authority to each parish affected by the lack of a water supply in January 2015 is to help finance the enticingly named 'Ashby church loo fund' project.  The donation of £1000 sent to the parish council was handed over at Ashby's Annual Parish Meeting in May.
Ashby church's grateful representative, Arnold Miller (left) receives the donation from council chairman, Robert Todd.

2015 - Parish councillor Edgar Hoddy rescues family in Broads boat drama [16th April]
[Acknowledgement to Eastern Daily Press - edited account]


Donal MacGarry, his wife, their daughter and grandson, were enjoying a day on the water in their rowing skiff yesterday when they hit a wooden stake. Architect Mr MacGarry, from Kirby Bedon, said the stake tore through the 60-year-old timber boat at about 1.30pm outside the channel near Rockland Broad. As the drama unfolded, all the family could do was wait as they stood beyond their waists in water.  Broads Authority ranger Edgar Hoddy 59, of Ashby St Mary, arrived just in time and pulled the group to safety.
Now Mr MacGarry said he wants to thank Mr Hoddy. He said: “He rescued us single-handedly and was just great. He got most of our belongings out too and even after that the rangers went back to help me salvage the boat and oars.”
Mr Hoddy (left) said it wasn’t until afterwards that he fully appreciated what he had done and the danger the family were in.  He said: “I was just doing my job and didn’t think about much more. But I woke up early the next morning thinking about them in the water with just their heads visible and realised how bad the situation could have been, especially as two of the family weren’t wearing life-jackets. They were in quite some distress but were very grateful when I got them onto the launch safe and sound.”

2015 - A Tribute to Roy Roebuck
    [Kindly provided by David Catchpole]
[1st February 1945 – 18th February 2015]


Many villagers were somewhat stunned and extremely saddened at the sudden death of Roy Roebuck who passed away on 18th February 2015, aged 70 years. Having been born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, he first came to Norfolk when he was appointed Chief Engineer at Reckitt & Colman of Norwich. His next appointment was as Chief Engineer at Christian Salvesen of Oulton Broad, subsequently becoming a director of that company, a position which involved him travelling the length and breadth of the UK as well as many countries overseas. He was a Past President of the Engineering Society.   Being quietly proud of his Yorkshire roots, he was a member of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club, always following the fortunes of his county side as well as the national team, whose form recently had not given him much pleasure.

He was currently Vice-Chairman of the Chet Valley Probus Club and should have commenced his year as Chairman in April. With his father having been an aircraft engineer working on Lancaster Bombers during World War II, Roy took a keen interest in aircraft and to this end had given illustrated talks on The Spitfire. Similarly with his engineering interest he gave talks on The Life & Works of Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Since his retirement, together with his wife Margaret, he had been a driving force in fundraising towards the upkeep of the Parish Church. He successfully applied for grants towards the restoration of the Church Bells and for the last 4 years had been Churchwarden.  His administrative skills in that post will be sorely missed.

For the last 10/12 years, each October, Roy, would begin the time consuming task of decorating his garden with Christmas illuminations. The ‘Annual Switch On’ at the beginning of December was an event much looked forward to by both parish children and adults alike.  Each night during December these colourful displays brought joy to people far and wide.   At the funeral, Arnold Miller who gave the Eulogy, said ‘there will be a dark corner in the Parish this coming December’.  200 people attended Roy’s funeral, held in Ashby St Mary Church on the 5th March.

2014 - Bramerton Group Quiz
On Saturday 17th May, 11 teams of eager competitors representing teams from Ashby St Mary, Bergh Apton, Bramerton, Carleton St Peter, Claxton, Thurton and Yelverton took part in the annual Group Quix night. It was held in the Ashby & Thurton Village Hall by virtue of it being the 'home' venue of Ashby Roebuck, last year's winning team, In a slightly unusual approach, teams had to select their favoured 8 subjects from 11 that were on offer, plus being given a pot luck section added to which was a Faces section for answering during the whole evening. Armed with considerable quantities of liquid refreshment and brainpower, the teams bravely tackled the tasks set them and could watch how they were progressing as the section scores were added to a large scoreboard. Bergh Apton triumphed in 1st place by an impressive margin but as can be seen below, the next 3 places were separated by only 2 1/4 points which proved how critical the decision was, of when and for which subject, to play their joker (double points).

The teams
and players
Victorious Bergh Apton captain (left)
Final scoreboard

[Click HERE for a larger picture of the scoreboard]

2014 - Cycling For Fun! - Easter Monday 21 April
Your webmaster, Mark, was joined by a total of 8 other cyclists (Nicola Roffey, Tim Rolph, Robert Todd [Ashby Parish Council chairman] and his family, Maria, Sophie and Sam, all from Ashby, and Keith and Julie Lincoln from Thurton) for the gentle 7 mile local cycle ride on Easter Monday.
The route went on quiet roads from outside the George & Dragon PH at Thurton via Alpington, Yelverton and Bergh Apton and included a stop for refreshments. The earlier anticipated poor weather did not materialise and turned out to be perfect cycling conditions - sunny and only a light breeze. All agreed another ride should be arranged so look out for news of this on Ashby's noticeboards or contact me at With thanks to the above named who made the all too brief occasion the success it turned out to be.

2013 - Bishop's X1 v an Ashby X1 Charity Cricket
match was held on 27th July between teams of the Bishop of Thetford and Ashby in a 26 overs per side innings. The weather forecast had predicted rain for a large part of the day, but it turned out to be a mainly warm, sunny, summmer day.
The Ashby team, which included village guest players, batted first and made a very respectable total of 180 all out after which 'tea' was taken by the palyers.  In reply the Bishop's X1 made 78 and never looked like gaining the upperhand during their innings although a fine caught-and-bowled by the Bishop must surely have meant he went home happy!

                                               The Ashby X1                                      The Bishop's X1                  

                                      A fine stop (look closely)                    Ashby's very own 'Barmy Army'?!


                                                          Bishop's batsmen watch Ashby fielders 

At the conclusion a barbeque and raffle was held for all the players and the many watching spectators. Other highlights included a 6 into the grounds of Ashby Hall, a 4 which resulted in a 'lost' ball amongst the cars and a dog surprised by another 4 despite minding its own business.

LOOK BELOW - Click on a play arrow to watch some cricketing action*.
In both videos the Bishop's X1 are batting and the Ashby X1 are fielding - one shows a wicket being taken.
Click the centre arrow to start. To view again, click the symbol at the the lower left corner.
To avoid the vocal accompaniment of several excitable children and snatches of spectator converstions, you may wish to turn your volume down or off!
(The assistance of Andy O'Connor is gratefully acknowledged in providing his technical assistance)     
 * Please note - this will operate only if you have suitable software.




2013 - The village Strawberries and Pimm's event held on Friday 28th June took place amidst the wonderful surroundings of the Ashby Cricket Club with its magnificent new pavilion.
The occasion was as popular as ever although the weather was decidedly awful being predominantly wet and cool. Nevertheless numbers appeared only slightly less than the usual turnout, the strawberries and Pimm's went down a treat, and the ever popular raffle was well supported by villagers and guests alike.
With thanlks to the hosts Chris and Anita plus helpers Margaret, Betty, Eve, Wendy, David and Roy - plus Arnold, the master of ceremonies

2013 - Annual Parish Meeting
Ashby's roving reporter snapped this picture of democracy at work.
It shows the Annual Parish Meeting in session with the Chairman explaining a point to parishioners.
The Parish Council thanks all those who attended the meeting on 23rd May 2013.

2012 - Strawberries & Pimm's Church Fundraising Evening
Another successful annual Strawberries and Pimm's gathering in aid of Ashby Church funds took place on Friday 29th June at the home of hosts Jim and Linda. Despite the cool but fine weather, an impressively large turnout of villagers ensured an enjoyable evening was had by all. A giant tombola, entry ticket draw, raffle, and win-a-bottle-of-spirits resulted in a host of lucky winners. Thanks go to Jim, Linda, organisers Roy and Margaret, David and Betty and all their helpers. (Both pictures below are before most villagers had arrived)

                                         Giant tombola                            The marquee begins to fill

2012 - Visit by Norfolk Church Tours
Norfolk Church Tours visited Ashby St Mary's church on Sunday 17th June. There were approximately 40 visitors who were later entertained to drinks and cakes at the home of Roy & Margaret with helpers from the congregation. The visitors were very impressed not only by our church but also our hospitality and we received donations from them of over £300. (Account kindly supplied by Terry Kitt)


2012 - Ashby residents celebrate the Queen's Silver Jubilee

On Sunday 3rd June some Ashby residents gathered to celebrate Queen Elizabeth ll's silver jubilee, several in their finest and appropriate attire of red, white and blue. The momentous occasion was hosted by Margaret and Roy who provided a veritable feast for all the guests that was then followed by renditions of patriotic songs and music, all of which combined to warm everyone up on the cool, sunless day. Other highlights included the wonderfully decorated marquee, an impromptu royal flypast of handmade napkin airplanes, and of course a royal toast.

        Happiness is a balloon
                   Practising their 'royal' waves                  Most of the ensemble
        Hosts Roy and Margaret                    Patriotism starts young!                    Explanation welcome!
   Celebraters - with empty bottles                 ....the party's over                  Bunting adorned our village sign

2011 - A Hole-ly Mess
Following two heavy spells of rain on Tuesday 13th September, a hole appeared in the road along Low Common. It was extremely hazardous to all users of the road, especially walkers and cyclists during the hours of darkness. One of the parish's roving reporters, Scoop, took the pictures below. Having reported the presence of the hole to our District Councillor it was filled by 1 p.m. on Thursday 15th September. The photo with the shoe gives an idea of the hole's size - not that the wearer has disappeared down the hole!


2011 - A Successful Arts Festival
Ashby St Mary Church held a varied arts festival over ten days which was opened by Wendy Shaw on Friday 28th August 2011 at the Arts & Crafts Exhibition.   Six successful workshops were held during the festival, covering plant drawing and painting, creative writing and rug making.
On Friday entertainment was provided by Elaine Smith and her talented students Lauren Talford, Charlotte Odell and Ruth Whybrow. A magical performance of a Woodwind Recital of Bach, Wagner and other composers.

On Saturday the Red Beans 'n' Rice New Orleans Revivalist Jazz Band played to a packed church. Audience participation was achieved by The Bands Parade Master leading a parade of the audience down the aisle, all waving parasols to jazz classics. Afterwards food was provided by Jim Archer in the form of giant bangers. A truly superb village event.   The festival ended on Sunday 4th September 2011 with a Festival Service of thanksgiving.

Jazz_organiser | Raring_to_start | Fix_parasols | Young_and_old | Participation | More_participation | Sausages

2011 - Annual Strawberries & Pimms Church Fundraiser
Another wonderful evening with a gathering of parishioners took place on 2nd July. Held at the kind invitation of Arnold at his home in the village, the weather and company, not to mention the strawberries and pimms, were perfect.


2011 - Dramatic sunset
Taken towards where The Street meets The Common at the top of the hill, this was the scene at 7.24 on the evening of 16th August. It definitely gives the impression Norwich is on fire.

Above photo in larger size - Distant_sunset      Another photo in large size - Close_up_sunset

2011 - Two Diamonds seen in Ashby!
Ashby St Mary has seen not one but two couples celebrating their diamond wedding recently. Not only that, but coincidentally, they did so on the same day! Jack and Betty Kleeman and Ken and Julie Baish are neighbours in the village where both celebrated 60 years of marriage on Thursday 11th August..
Ken, 81, and Julie, 80, have lived on Mill Road for 21 years while Jack, 84, and Betty, 83, have lived in the village for 46 years. They met the Kleemans during 1991, after moving to Ashby St Mary a year earlier, when both couples happened to be in the same restaurant near Hales. During their conversation they discovered they were both celebrating their 40th wedding anniversaries - and have been friends ever since.

2010 - Proms In The Park (Sandringham) - Russell Watson & The Poringland Singers
Ashby St Mary was represented at Proms in The Park at Sandringham on Sunday 8th August when Poringland Singers backed the principal act, tenor Russell Watson. Ashby residents David Catchpole and Julia Buckland are proud members of the locally acclaimed choir which was honoured to receive an unexpected invitation to perform just 14 days before the big day! After receiving the music score, there was time for only 2 rehearsals for Poringland Singers to perfect their performance of traditional ‘prom’ music and songs.
After singing in front of an audience of over 7000, by far the largest they have played to, Poringland Singers were publicly thanked at the end of the evening for their singing and professionalism – by no less than Russell Watson himself.

1. Watson, Orchestra and Singers  |  2. Watson, Orchestra and Singers  |  3. Watson, Orchestra and Singers

2008 - Ashby Parish Council at the Ashby & Thurton Village Hall Family Fun Day
Ashby PC stall  |  Ashby PC assist  |  Ashby PC listen  |  Ashby & Thurton residents tug-of-war

2007 - Ashby Strawberries and Bubbly evening
the garden  |  deep in conversation

2007 - Ashby Church Fete
in the shade  |  raffle winners  |  a roaring trade  |  hoopla action  |  chilling out

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