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Ashbourne Town Guide

What to do and what to see in Ashbourne

Ashbourne ROYAL SHROVETIDE FOOTBALL 2024 Date: February 13th and 14th 2024

The organisers behind Ashbourne's famous Royal Shrovetide Football match hope that the game will go ahead

Ashbourne Festival - 21st June to 7th July 2024

The Ashbourne Show will take place on 17th August 2024. The Ashbourne show is a traditional agricultural country with sheep, cattle, goats & horses on show as well as a Pet and Dog show; Handicraft and horticulture; plus trade, craft and food stands.

Free guided tours of Ashbourne mostly run from Easter to the end of September every Saturday and Thursday at 11.00am . with local and knowledgeable guides introducing you to Ashbourne's history. Contact the Ashbourne Tourist Information Centre at the address below. Dates and times may change.

Ashbourne Tourist Information Centre
13 Market Place,
Derbyshire DE6 1EU
Tel 01335 343666

Ashbourne in Derbyshire is known as the gateway to Dovedale, Izaak Walton country, and the Peak District National Park. However, Ashbourne has much to offer the visitor in its own right.

Ashbourne is a market centre for the surrounding for the surrounding area and has been since it was first granted a charter to allow stalls in its market place in 1257 and being made a royal borough in 1276. There were fairs selling sheep and cattle, horse fairs 3 times a year, cheese fairs 4 times a year, and today Ashbourne still has a market in its market place on thursdays and saturdays. Ashbourne market place is used as a car park the rest of the week. On Ashbourne market place there is a statue, erected in 1874, to Francis Wright, a wealthy local indusrialist who owned Butterley Ironworks, and lived at Osmaston Manor.

Photograph from  Ashbourne
Wheel Inn Ashbourne
Photograph from  Ashbourne
Ashbourne at Shrovetide
Photograph from  Ashbourne
Catherine Booths home Ashbourne
Photograph from  Ashbourne
Ashbourne market
Photograph from  Ashbourne
Photograph from  Ashbourne
Ashbourne church
Photograph from  Ashbourne
Ashbourne church memorial
Photograph from  Ashbourne
Old Ashbourne grammer school
Photograph from  Ashbourne
Ashbourne church
Photograph from  Ashbourne
Old Ashbourne alms houses
Photograph from  Ashbourne
Photograph from  Ashbourne
Old Ashbourne alms houses
Photograph from  Ashbourne
Old Ashbourne alms houses

The main place of interest in Ashbourne, and perhaps its glory is Church Street, with its fine Georgian houses, old grammar school, almshouses and St Oswalds Church. The church is one of the glories of Derbyshire, its tower and spire dominating the small town, the spire rising to 212ft. St Oswald was a popular Anglo Saxon saint. He became king of Northumbra(635-642) and brought St Aiden from Iona to Lindisfarne; their efforts were largely responsible for the conversion of that kingdom and the foundation of the Northumbrian church.

The transepts contain 2 chapels dedicated to 2 leading local families, the Bradbournes and the Cockaynes, later the Boothbys. The Boothby chapel is full of monuments, amongst them a memorial to Joan and Edmund Cockayne(1404), Sir Humphrey and Lady Bradbourne(1581) and Sir John and Lady Cockayne(1447), but these are all outshone by the memorial to Penelope Boothby, a six year old who died in 1791. During life, Penelope had been painted by Joshua Reynolds and in death immortalized by Thomas Banks, best known for his memorials to Burgess and Westcott in St Pauls Catherdral. The white currara marble figure of the child is so lifelike that she still appears to be only sleeping. Her epitaph reads `She was in form and intellect exquisite, the unfortunate parents ventured their all on this frail bark, and the wreck was total`.

The church consists of a nave and south aisle, crossing with crossing tower and spire, transepts with aisles as wide as the transepts and a long chancel. A church has stood here, possibly of the same size since Saxon times. A norman crypt was found during excavations in 1913.

It has a 13th century font and there are many fine examples of stained glass to be seen throughout.

Ashbourne`s grammer school, known as the Queen Elizabeth Grammer School, was founded by Sir Thomas Cockayne, whose family`s coat of arms formed the school badge. Building started in 1585 and continued until 1603. The front is symmetrical with 4 small gables in the middle over the school room and 2 larger ones on the sides over the master`s and usher`s houses. There are 2 main doorways.

There have been Cockaynes here, in this region, since the 12th century, at first acquiring a rather dubious reputation as gang leaders who were involved in local warfare with rival families, but by the 16th century they were eminently respectable. Sir Thomas Cockayne (1479-1537) was knighted by Henry the eighth at the siege of Tournai and accompanied the king on the field of the Cloth of Gold, whilst his grandson, also, Thomas(1520-92) was also knighted and served as high sheriff of Derbyshire, 4 times.

Adjacent to the grammer school is Grey House built in the mid 18th century, with its large Doric porch and Venetia windows. This is now used as a girls boarding school. Across the road is 17th century Mansion House where Dr Samuel Johnson, noted lexicographer and traveller, frequently stayed with his friend Dr John Taylor.

There are several blocks of Almshouses. Owfields Almshouses were built around 1640 with an upper storey added in 1840. Adjacent is Peggies Almshouses, built from local sandstone in 1669. Also, there are the Clergy Widows Almshouse, a mid Georgian, 3 storeyed building, around the 3 sides of a courtyard, built in 1733 for `the entertaining of widows of four clergymen of the church of England`. These are all now private flats.

At the town end of church st is Victoria Square, also known as the butchery. Just along the road, crossing the road, is an inn sign for the Green Man and Black Head Hotel. The sign commemorates the amalgamation of 2 coaching inns in 1825.

Behind the Green man is Shaw Croft car park where the `kick-off` takes place for the annual shrove tide football game, played over 2 days, on Shrove tuesday and Ash wednesday. A cork filled leather ball is thrown up by a visiting personality and the 2 sides, the Up`ards and the Down`ards battle it through the streets, through the stream, and across open country between the goals at Sturston and Clifton, which are 3 miles apart. It is pretty much a free for all, with anyone joining in. Shop windows are boarded up, car parks are emptied, and the pubs are filled with visitors and locals alike. In 2019 Ashbourne Shrovetide Football will take place on Tue 5th March - Wed 6th March . More information at Shrovetide Football in Ashbourne

A plaque on the front of a small terraced house in Sturston St, indicates the birthplace of Catherine Booth, wife of the founder member of the Salvation Army, William Booth. A memorial also stands to her in the memorial gardens near the playing fields.

Ashbourne has seen many art galleries come and go over the last couple of decades but its reputation as an arts town has grown considerably through the the annual Arts Festival which has grown from a 10 day event in 2000 to an event which now embraces more than 40 events and exhibitions over 17 days which include poetry, drama, open air opera, jazz and classical concerts, workshops in writing and much more.

In 2004 a new leisure centre was opened offering more amenities for both young and old. Though the Nestle factory closed in 2003 with a loss of over 100 jobs, many new industries have been created largely located within the old airfield on the outskirts of the town.

For information on places to eat and drink in Ashbourne see Ashbourne Food and Drink

Ashbourne Tourist Information

Ashbourne Visitor Information Centre Town Hall Yard Ashbourne Derbyshire DE6 1ES Tel 01335 343666 Email VIC@ashbournetc.co.uk

How to get to Ashbourne

By Road
From Derby follow the A52 north 10 miles to roundabout then turn right along Derby Road into Ashbourne town centre.

From Buxton follow the A515 south. From further afield easy access from M1 and M6.

Br Rail
No rail station in Ashbourne. Nearest railway stations are at Derby 17 miles, Uttoxeter 12 miles, Belper 12 miles, Buxton 20 miles

By Bus

Plenty of local buses run between Ashbourne , Derby , Buxton, Chesterfield, Belper, Matlock and other local towns and villages some more frequently than others. Hourly service from Derby. For bus information please see www.derbysbus.info

Car Parking in Ashbourne

Shaw Croft – 198 spaces
Shaw Croft Overflow
Leisure Centre – 95 spaces
Sainsburys -198 spaces 2hrs only
Market Place- 47 spaces
Bus Station – 44 spaces
Cokayne Avenue – 119 spaces
Cattle Market – 47 Spaces

Doctors in Ashbourne

Ashbourne Health Centre , Clifton Rd, Ashbourne 01335 300 588
Ashbourne Medical Centre ,Clifton Road, Ashbourne 01335 230085

Hospitals in Ashbourne

St Oswald's Hospital on Clifton Rd Tel 01335 230000 NB There is NO A&E service at St Oswalds

Dentists in Ashbourne

Asbourne Dental Practice Town Head House, 58 The Green Rd, Ashbourne Tel 01335345645
Messrs Winfield & Rose - Dental Surgeons 7 Church St Tel 01335 342509

Shopping in Ashbourne

Ashbourne has several supermarkets including a Waitrose and a Sainsburys. Ashbourne is well known for the high quality of its independent shops, antique shops, and speciality food shops. Many are clustered around the historic market place and along the main streets of the town offering a delightful shopping experience.


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