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Ashby-de-la-Zouch facts for kids

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Market Street, looking west
Ashby-de-la-Zouch is located in Leicestershire
Population 12,370 (2011 Census)
OS grid reference SK3516
Civil parish
  • Ashby-de-la-Zouch
  • North West Leicestershire
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Ashby-de-la-Zouch
Postcode district LE65
Dialling code 01530
Police Leicestershire
Fire Leicestershire
Ambulance East Midlands
EU Parliament East Midlands
UK Parliament
  • North West Leicestershire
Website Ashby de la Zouch Town Council
List of places
52°44′46″N 1°28′34″W / 52.746°N 1.476°W / 52.746; -1.476

Ashby-de-la-Zouch, sometimes spelt Ashby de la Zouch and shortened locally to Ashby, is a market town and civil parish in the North West Leicestershire district of Leicestershire, England. The town is near to the Derbyshire and Staffordshire borders. Its 2001 census population of 11,410 rose to 12,370 in 2011. The castle in the town was an important fort in the 15th–17th centuries. In the 19th century the town's main industries were ribbon manufacture, coal mining, and brickmaking.

The civil parish includes the hamlets of Shellbrook to the west and Boundary to the north-west. Swadlincote, Burton upon Trent, Melbourne and Coalville are within 10 miles (16 km), with Derby 11+12 miles (19 km) due north. Ashby lies at the heart of The National Forest, about 24 miles (39 km) south of the Peak District National Park, on the A42 between Tamworth and Nottingham. In 2018, Ashby Market Street was named "Best Shopping Experience", and in 2019 it made the final of the rising-star category for UK high streets.


The town was known as Ashby in 1086. This is a word of Anglo-Danish origin, meaning "Ash-tree farm" or "Ash-tree settlement". The Norman French name extension dates from the years after the Norman conquest of England, when Ashby became a possession of the La Zouche family during the reign of Henry III.

Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle was built in the 12th century. The town and castle came into the possession of the Hastings family in 1464 and William Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings enhanced its fortifications from 1473. In the English Civil War the town was one of the Cavaliers' chief garrisons under the control of Colonel Henry Hastings, 1st Baron Loughborough and commander of the North Midlands Army. When the town fell after a long siege in March 1646 it was counted a great relief to the surrounding towns and villages.

Many of the buildings in Market Street, the town's main thoroughfare, are timber framed, but most of this is hidden by later brick facades. The Bull's Head public house retains its original Elizabethan half-timbering although most of this was plastered over some years ago and can now no longer be seen from the street. A short distance further down Market Street is a shop, currently occupied as a LOROS Charity Shop, which does retain its original Elizabethan timbers in full street view. There are also Regency buildings in this street. Bath Street has a row of Classical-style houses called Rawdon Terrace dating from the time that the town was a spa in the 1820s.

The local upper school, Ashby School, previously Ashby Grammar School, is a mixed comprehensive school for 14- to 18-year-olds that was founded in 1567. There were formerly two other endowed boys' schools of 18th century foundation.

A local high school, Ivanhoe College, for 11 to 14-year-old children, is named after the historical novel Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott which was set in the area of the castle. In Scott's novel the town hosts an important archery competition held by Prince John, in which Robin Hood competes and wins.

Manor House School is an independent day school in the centre of Ashby for boys and girls aged four to 16. The school is located between St Helen's Church and the ruins of Ashby's historic castle. Pupils travel to the school from a wide geographical area.

Notable people

  • Mark Chadbourn (born 1960), author and screenwriter, was born in Ashby de la Zouch Cottage Hospital and still lives in the area.
  • Anthony Gilby (c. 1510–1585), Puritan sage
  • Joseph Hall (1574–1656), satirist and bishop, was born in Ashby de la Zouch.
  • Frank Abney Hastings (1794–1828), British naval officer and Philhellene
  • Annie Haynes (1864–1929), mystery author
  • Russell Hoult (born 1972), footballer, was born in Ashby and still lives locally (at Coleorton).
  • Lara Jones (1975–2010), children's author, was born in Ashby.
  • Robin Beanland (born 1968), video game music composer, musician and Ivor Novello Award winner.
  • Grant Kirkhope (born 1962), video game music composer and musician
  • Niall Mackenzie (born 1961), Grand Prix motorcycle racer, is now retired in Ashby.
  • James Martin (1933–2013), an IT consultant and author, was born in Ashby de la Zouch.
  • Dolly Shepherd (1887–1983), aviator, made her return to parachuting from balloons in a display at Ashby, after recovering from a near-fatal accident.
  • Rosemary Harris (born 1927) was born in Ashby and is most known for playing May Parker on the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films.
  • Tim and Chris Stamper (living), brothers who were video game programmers, were known for founding the Ultimate Play the Game and Rareware companies.
  • Paul Taylor (born 1964), England cricketer, was born in the town.
  • Bernard Vann (1887–1918), taught at Ashby School, before entering the priesthood and then winning a VC, an MC and a Croix de Guerre as an army officer in the First World War.
  • Roger Williamson (1948–1973), Formula One driver, born in Ashby de la Zouch
  • Alastair Yates (1952–2018), former presenter on BBC News and BBC World News, went to Manor House School, Ashby; his farming family still live in the town.
  • Young Knives, band formed in Ashby
  • Michael Wakelam (1955–2020), molecular biologist, director of the Babraham Institute in Cambridge, England.


Willesley Park Golf Course is set in rolling countryside, partly in parkland and partly on heathland. The course was opened for play in April 1921. The first hole is played along an avenue of lime trees which once flanked the old coach road from the old Norman castle in the town to the now demolished Willesley Hall.

Ashby Hastings Cricket Club was founded before 1831. Its ground, the Bath Grounds in the centre of Ashby, hosts Leicestershire CCC 2nd XI matches each year. The club runs three Saturday League sides, all of which play in the Everard's Leicestershire County Cricket League. The 1st XI play in the Premier Division, the highest level of club cricket available in Leicestershire, the 2nd XI play in Division 4 and the 3rd XI play in Division 8. The club also run a Midweek XI who play in the Premier Division of the Loughborough Cricket Association League and a Sunday XI who play friendly cricket. The club's Junior Section includes sides at Under 15, Under 13, Under 11 and Under 10 age groups. A second club, Ashby Town Cricket Club was formed in 1945.

Ashby RFC has its grounds in Nottingham Road. It plays in the League Midland 3 East (North). It also has mini and junior sections for girls and boys from age four, as well as seniors and seconds side and an O2 Touch team for players of all ages and both genders.

The town also has a small bridge club (Ashby Bridge Club).


The town was to be served by Ashby Canal from 1804 but the canal never reached Ashby, as it was constructed only to the village of Moira. The town was served by the Leicester–Burton upon Trent line of the Midland Railway. Where it had a station on the Leicester to Burton upon Trent Line of the Midland Railway. After the canal was abandoned in stages between 1944 and 1966, British Railways withdrew the passenger service and closed Ashby de la Zouch railway station in September 1964. The railway remains open for freight. There was also connections to both the Melbourne Line and Ashby and Nuneaton Joint Railway connecting the town with the towns of Melbourne, Market Bosworth, Hinckley and Nuneaton. As well as the city of Derby. But these lines closed between 1950s and 1980s. Both of these lines now form footpaths with some of the old stations still present but others now demolished.

In the 1990s BR planned to restore passenger services between Leicester and Burton as the second phase of its Ivanhoe Line project. However, after the privatisation of British Rail in 1995, this phase of the project was shelved. In 2009 the Association of Train Operating Companies published a £49-million proposal to restore passenger services to the line, which would include reopening a station at Ashby.

The nearest railway station is Burton-on-Trent, 8 miles (13 km) away. The fastest train to London in the mornings and evenings is from Tamworth (12 miles from Ashby) to Euston at 1hr 2mins average non-stop at peak hours.

A511 Ashby bypass

The A50 Leicester to Stoke-on-Trent road and the A453 Birmingham to Nottingham road used to pass through the town centre. The heavy traffic, which previously travelled through the town, has been greatly relieved by the A42 and A511 bypasses, which replace the A453 and A50, respectively.

Bus routes provide an hourly direct service to Coalville and Burton-upon-Trent (Arriva Midlands 3, 9/9A & 16). The National Express coach network is available in Leicester, which has a daily direct service to London.

East Midlands Airport is 9 miles (14 km) north-east of Ashby. It provides flights to and from other parts of the UK and Europe. For International travellers Birmingham Airport is 26 miles away (c. 30 mins) and provides international flights


Every May, Ashby holds an arts festival currently sponsored by the district council. This features local artists, musicians, song writers, poets, performers and story tellers. The multiple sites around the town host exhibitions, musical performances, workshops and talks, and the town centre is decorated with flags and an outdoor gallery.

Ashby Statutes, a travelling funfair, is held every September. Instituted by Royal Statute, it was originally a hiring fair when domestic servants and farmworkers would be hired for the year. Market Street, the main road through the town (the former A50 trunk road), is closed for nearly a week and the traffic is diverted along the narrower roads either side of Market Street called North Street and South Street. Locals call this event 'The Statutes'.

A song called "Ashby de la Zouch (Castle Abbey)", written by Al Hoffman, Milton Drake and Jerry Livingston, was recorded by the Merry Macs in 1946 on Decca No. 18811. It includes the lines "If you wanna smooch and be happy as a pooch, go to Ashby de la Zouch by the sea." (Ashby-de-la-Zouch is close to the centre of England, almost as far from the sea as is possible.) In April 1946 the American jazz bassist and composer Charles Mingus recorded a tune called "Ashby de la Zouch" with his band. The title or choice of song could have been an acknowledgement of guitarist Irving Ashby who took part in the recording.



The local upper school, Ashby School, previously Ashby Grammar School, is a mixed comprehensive school for 14–18-year-olds. It was founded in 1567. The town formerly had two other endowed boys' schools founded in the 18th century.

A local high school, Ivanhoe College, for 11 to 14-year-olds, is named after the historical novel Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott, which he set in the area of the castle. In Scott's novel the town hosts an important archery competition held by Prince John, in which Robin Hood competes and wins.

Manor House School was an independent day school in the centre of Ashby for boys and girls aged four to 16. The school was located between St Helen's Church and the ruins of Ashby's historic castle. Pupils travelled to the school from a wide area. The school entered into administration on 13 December 2018.

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Ashby-de-la-Zouch para niños

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