About The Parish
Ashford-in-the-Water is a village and Civil Parish situated in the heart of Derbyshire, and the Peak District National Park. Located on the banks of the River Wye about two miles upstream from the market town of Bakewell, Ashford has a recorded history stretching back over a thousand years and within the parish and it’s environs, there is evidence of occupation for much longer than that.
As the name suggests, Ashford has been a crossing point on the Wye from pre-historic times before any bridges were built here. The suffix,”in-the-Water” appears to be a 19th century addition to distinguish the village from several other Ashford’s in the British Isles, although, unfortunately, parts of the village can actually be in the water from time to time.
A stroll around the village will be rewarded with many things of interest to see, not least of which is the distinctive, and possibly unique, Sheepwash Bridge. This scheduled ancient monument is identified by the gated stone sheepfold built into the bridge on the South side of the river,which was used when local farmers washed their sheep in the river,a practice which continued into the 1960’s. The bridge, originally a narrow pack-horse bridge, was later widened, and was finally closed in the 1960’s since when it has become a favourite and special place for residents and visitors alike.
Nearby is a curious octagonal shelter known to older residents as the Bottom Pump. This shelter was erected in 1881 to cover one of the main village water sources. The pump mechanism has long since been removed but the well still exists beneath the modern structure which was erected in 1977 to celebrate the silver jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. At the other end of Fennel Street is another pump site usually referred to as the Top Pump. This shelter was also erected in 1881 and the seat was installed after the First World War as a celebration of Peace. There are several other wells situated around the village all worth a visit especially during the annual Well Dressing Festival held to coincide with the Patronal Festival of the Parish Church.
Overlooking this shelter is the Old School, founded in 1630 as a Free Grammar School by the Will of William Harris. Following the introduction of compulsory education a new school building was erected and opened in 1895 when for the first time girls were admitted alongside the boys. The original school remains as the adjoining School House. The school closed in 1988 and the building is now maintained for community use and planned for refurbishment by the Church.
The Holy Trinity Parish Church is thought to date from around 1205 or even earlier. The building we see today is essentially a Victorian rebuild which re-opened for worship in 1870. The Tower however was largely untouched and remains 13th century in character. Inside the porch over the South doorway is a fine typically Norman, tympanum depicting a boar and a wolf beneath a tree. Inside the church are the 14/15th century font in front of the tower arch of similar date. Above the tower arch is the Royal Hatchment of 1724 restored in 1985. The pillars and arches of the north aisle are late 16th century. A particular treasure are the four remaining funeral garlands, or “virgins crants”, the oldest of which dates from 1747. Very few of these once common objects have survived to the present day. Please see www.ashfordparishchurch.co.uk for more details.
Behind the church, in Court Lane is the former Wesleyan Chapel. Originally built in 1830 on the site of a blacksmiths forge, the date over the porch 1899 refers to the extension and refurbishment of the chapel when a school room and the porch were added. The building is now a private residence.
River Wye Winter 2017 Storms River Wye Summer 2018