Ashwell Statie

Photo:An article taken from the Herts Express 7 July 1906 describing the Ashwell Feast

An article taken from the Herts Express 7 July 1906 describing the Ashwell Feast

Jackie Embury

Document typed by Jackie Embury from Miss Hislop's handwritten green book owned by Janet Chennells

Ashwell Statie


Later in time Ashwell had a Statute Fair or Statie held at Michaelmas (29 September), opposite the Three Tuns.  Here domestic and farm workers were hired for the year, standing in rows with distinguishing marks, ploughmen with whipcord in cap, shepherds with a crook, carters with a whip etc.

If you want a young man with a true honest heart
Who knows how to manage a plough or a cart
Here is one to your purpose come, take me and try
You’ll say you ne’er met a better than I.
My masters and mistresses hither repair
What servants you want you’ll find in our fair.
Men and maids fit for all sorts of stations there be
And for wages I’m sure we shall not disagree”.

Much of our parish was covered in earliest times with dense wood, thicket or shrub and over much of the rest stretched dismal swamps.  Pack horse trains wore tracks over the hills, and these were called trade routes.  These roads were only intended for traffic without wheels. 

Farmers could not use their wains and wagons in the winter up to mid seventeenth century.  Everything had to go by pack horse or pillion.  The air was musical with the faint tinkling of the horse-bells.

One of the features of Ashwell was the Arbour Bushes which stood out prominently in open fields devoid of hedges.  They gave pleasant shade.  There were Arbour Bushes in North Field, Redlands, Forty Foot Field;  the Clement Bush, Forty Foot Hill Bush and Redlands Bush.

Clay Bush Trees were two noble elm trees planted by Joseph Kirbyshire on Claybush Hill.  They can be seen twenty miles away.

Before the enclosures there were four common fields, Clay Bush, Quarry Fields, Redlands and North Field.

Cow common was used by all who possessed the right, and cattle were taken by the Common Herdsman from the various homesteads and brought back at night from May Day to October.

Ashwell is part of the great Vale of Ringdale “where the sail is mist with a white marle, which yields the choicest wheat and barley, such as makes the best mault that serves the King’s Court or the City of London.  Ringdale extends from Barkway to Offley.

In Drayton’s Poems we read:

“Vale of Ringdale of the vulgar falsely called Ringtaille,
For greatnesse of my graine and fianesse of my grass
This Ile scarce hath a vale
That Ringdale doth surpasse.”

A boy in a country lane near here was asked “where does this road go to?”  He replied “I have been living here for sixteen years, and it has never moved to my knowledge.”


This page was added on 06/10/2011.

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