Ashover is a pretty village, situated in the Amber valley, Derbyshire, just ouside the Peak District National Park, 4 miles N.E of Matlock, off the B6036 Matlock to Chesterfield road.
Ashover stands very high above sea level and the village is surrounded by hills from which there are extensive views into several of the neighbouring counties. One of these hills , called The Fabric was once the site of an old Druid temple, and is a landmark that can be seen from a great distance. The village and parish was first mentioned in Domesday when it was known as Essovre, derived from village standing beyond the edge of the Ash Forest, and it has been called the valley of 'silence and wild flowers'.
It's past industries included shoes, baskets, lace, nail making,stockings and lead mining, which has been going on since Roman times. None of these industries still exist but evidence of their being may be found everywhere. One part of the village was known as the Rattle because of the sound of the looms rattling in the making of stockings.
The Ashover Light Railway was built in the 1920's and was the last British narrow gauge passenger line of any length. It ran for about 25 years as a local railway more concerned with mineral traffic than passsengers, so was little missed when it stopped running.
The Church of All Saints is a prominent landmark in the valley. The oldest part of the church is the South porch, built in the Early English style in the late 13th century. There is some very noticeable contrast between the N and S arcades, the N being Decorated whilst the S is Perp with much taller and slender piers. The diagonally buttressed west tower is 14th century, though it was not completed until after 1429, when the Babington family came to Ashover.
The church contains a lead lined font dating from the 12th century, one of only 30 in this country. On the bowl are carved standing figures, thought to represent the 12 apostles, under a series of arcades. There is also a fine alabaster tomb chest with effigies of Thomas Babington and his wife. He was an important local landowner who died in 1518, almost a century after the first Babington had moved into the area. In the churchyard 4 memorials can be found to members of Florence Nightingale's family.
There are several good pubs in the village, the Red Lion, the Black Swan and the Crispin Inn, which claims to be one of the oldest pubs in the Peak District, built in 1350 and licensed in 1416. Historical detail is provided by a sign outside the pub. See photo link below.
Overton Hall, built in the early 18th century was once the home of Sir Joseph Banks the celebrated naturalist, and the ruins of Eastwood Hall, destroyed by Parliamentarians after the defeat of the Royalists in 1646, can still be seen about 1 mile to the east of the village.
An annual agricultural show is held in Ashover in August.
Ashover Photographs at Derbyshire Photographs