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G4URH - A Little Bit About Ashby de la Zouch

Ashby Castle
Click on Ashby History to go to Ashby History
Ashby History
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The ancient market town of Ashby de la Zouch in North West Leicestershire is about as far away from the sea as it is possible to get in Great Britain which is probably why some wags earlier in the century saw fit to write a music-hall song with the title "Ashby de la Zouch by the Sea ". See below!

It is probable that there was a settlement in the area in Roman times. There was certainly a manor of Ashby at the time of the Norman invasion which the Domesday Book valued at the princely sum of ten shillings.

The name Ashby is Saxon and simply means "Homestead where Ash Trees Grow". In 1160 a Norman nobleman, Alain de Parrhoet la Zouch inherited the manor and his name was added making Ashby de la Zouch.

Ashby Castle is the setting for an important scene from Walter Scott's novel, "Ivanhoe". In a tournament held there Ivanhoe and Robin Hood both won fame. Occasional mock tournaments are still held in the remains of the Castle.

Sir William Hastings built the castle in the early 15th century. During the Civil War it was a Royalist stronghold. It was beseiged in 1644 by Parliamentary forces and surrendered in 1646. Cromwell's forces slighted (or partially destroyed) the castle. From time to time the Sealed Knot re-enact the battles of the Civil War in the castle grounds.

In the 19th century Ashby became a spa town. The water had to be imported from the nearby village of Moira (where it had been discovered in a coal mine!) Cook's Tours used to run trips to Ashby for people to "take the waters". The Ivanhoe Baths was a magnificent building consisting of Pump Rooms and Ballroom, Billiard Room and Card Room. Many of the Georgian style buildings in the town were built to accomodate visitors to the Baths. There was also a swimming pool which was used as late as 1920. The buildings were demolished in 1962.

The town today has a goodly number of pubs - some dating back as early as the 14th Century, and is equally well endowed with Churches including 2 Anglican, a Roman Catholic, a Methodist, a Baptist and a Congregational Church. There is also an Alliance (Evangelical) Church and a Christadelphian Ecclessia.

The words to the old music-hall Song
Ashby de la Zouch By the Sea

There's a village that I love in Leicestershire
Always had my heart enthralled.
Where the stars are bright above in Leicestershire
Believe it or not it's called

Ashby de la Zouch, Castle Abbey
That's the only place that I long to be,
Skies are full of blue, and the cows are full of moo
In Ashby de la Zouch by the sea

Ashby de la Zouch, Castle Abbey
It's a little bit of heaven to me
Girls have pretty curls, and the boys have pretty girls
In Ashby de la Zouch by the sea.

It's just a little humdrum place,
But you'll be glad that you came,
It's such a beautiful some place
Ain't it a shame that it's got such a name?

Ashby de la Zouch, Castle Abbey
That's the only place that I long to be,
If you wanna smooch and be happy as a pooch,
Go to Ashby de la Zouch by the Sea.

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