Last updated

Market Street, looking west
Leicestershire UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within Leicestershire
Population12,370 (2011 Census) [1]
OS grid reference SK3516
Civil parish
  • Ashby-de-la-Zouch
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
UK Parliament
Website Ashby de la Zouch Town Council
List of places
52°44′46″N1°28′34″W / 52.746°N 1.476°W / 52.746; -1.476 Coordinates: 52°44′46″N1°28′34″W / 52.746°N 1.476°W / 52.746; -1.476

Ashby-de-la-Zouch [2] or Ashby de la Zouch ( /ˌæʃbidələˈzʃ/ ) [3] [4] is a market town and civil parish in North West Leicestershire, England, near the Derbyshire border. Its 2001 census population of 11,410 rose to 12,370 in 2011. [5] Ashby de la Zouch Castle was important in the 15th–17th centuries. In the 19th century the town's main industries were ribbon manufacture, coal mining, and brickmaking. From 1849 it was served by the Leicester–Burton upon Trent line of the Midland Railway. [6]


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. [7]


Ashby de la Zouch castle Ashby de la Zouch castle view through the trees.JPG
Ashby de la Zouch castle

The town was known as Ashby in 1086. [8] This is a word of Anglo-Danish origin, meaning "Ash-tree farm" or "Ash-tree settlement". [9] 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. [10]

Ashby de la Zouch Castle was built in the 12th century. [11] 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. [11] 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. [12]

Many of the buildings in Market Street, the town's main thoroughfare, are timber framed. Most of this structure 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 no longer be seen from the street. [13] A short distance further down Market Street is a shop, currently occupied as a LOROS Charity Shop, which retains its original Elizabethan timbers in full street view. [14] Regency buildings are also standing in this street. Bath Street has a row of Classical-style houses called Rawdon Terrace, dating from the time of the 1820s, when the town was a spa destination.

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.

Notable buildings


Holy Trinity parish church Ashby de la Zouch Holy Trinity Church.JPG
Holy Trinity parish church
Methodist church Ashby de la Zouch Methodist.JPG
Methodist church
Congregational church Ashby de la Zouch Congregational Church.JPG
Congregational church
Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic church Ashby de la Zouch Our Lady of Lourdes.JPG
Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic church

St Helen's Church is Ashby's original Anglican parish church. It is a late 15th-century Perpendicular Gothic building. The outer aisles were designed by J. P. St. Aubyn and added in 1878. [15] St. Helen's contains notable memorials to various members of the Hastings family and other notables. [11] It also holds a rare 300-year-old finger pillory, [16] which may have been used to punish people misbehaving in church.[ citation needed ]

Holy Trinity Church is a Gothic Revival building designed by H. I. Stevens in the Early English Gothic style and built in 1838–40. [11] It has galleries supported by iron columns. [11] The chancel was added in 1866 and the ironwork chancel screen in 1891. [11]

The Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of Lourdes was designed by F. A. Walters and built in 1908–15 [11] at the expense of the 15th Duke of Norfolk. It is neo-Norman, with three apses and a tower at the southeast corner. [11]

The Congregational Church was built in 1825 in a neoclassical style with Tuscan columns. [17] The Methodist Church was built in 1867–68 in a Gothic Revival style.[ citation needed ] There is also a Christadelphian meeting hall in the town. [18]

Ivanhoe Baths

The water tower at Ashby de la Zouch cemetery, prior to its conversion into a dwelling Tower at Ashby de la Zouch Cemetery - - 822289.jpg
The water tower at Ashby de la Zouch cemetery, prior to its conversion into a dwelling

The Ivanhoe Baths was an 1822 Neo-Grecian building with a Doric façade 200 feet (61 m) long. [17] Unused, it was derelict by 1960, [17] and was demolished in 1962. [19] [20] Mineworkers discovered a copious saline spring when working coal at Moira Colliery, 3 miles (5 km) west of the town, in 1805. Here developers built the Moira Baths, with a large hotel nearby for travellers. After a few years, however, it was decided to convey the water to Ashby, where the Ivanhoe Baths were built. The Royal Hotel, originally called the Hastings Hotel, was built in 1826 to accommodate visitors to the growing spa. [17] It has a Doric porte-cochère and additional Doric columns in its hall inside. [17] The hotel closed in February 2018. [21]

Water tower

The Grade II-listed, 19th-century water tower, located in the town's cemetery on Moira Road, has been converted into a dwelling. The conversion was controversial since it involved a number of modern additions to the building. [22]

Loudoun Monument

In 1879, Baron Donington, the widowed husband of Edith Rawdon-Hastings, 10th Countess of Loudoun, had the Loudoun monument erected to her memory in Ashby. The octagonal monument by Sir George Gilbert Scott is based on the Eleanor cross es and is a Listed building. [23] It is located at the junction of Bath and South Streets, opposite the Roman Catholic church.


In the 19th century Ashby's main industry was leather working. There was also a cotton textile factory and a glue factory. Ashby was surrounded by coalmines but was never a coalmining town itself. By far the largest employer in the town today is United Biscuits, providing about 2,000 jobs at its distribution centre, which stores its products and transports them nationwide, and its KP Snacks factory in Smisby Road. The firm formerly had a larger presence in Ashby. McVitie's biscuit factory on Smisby Road closed in 2004 with the loss of 900 jobs. [24]

Other employers in Ashby include Tesco, Ashfield Commercial & Medical Services, Timeline Communications, Eduteq Limited and TAC UK Ltd, a firm of energy consultants. Standard Soap Ltd, a significant industrial employer within Ashby-de-la-Zouch since 1928, closed in early 2012, resulting in the loss of 155 jobs. [25] The city has a concentration of high-tech employers. The video game software house Ultimate Play the Game, was based in Ashby. Now called Rare, it has moved to Manor Park near Twycross.

The UK government's swine flu help-line centre for England was based at Ashby.


Willesley Park Golf Course is set in rolling countryside, partly in parkland and partly on heathland, covering 230 acres of gentle undulating countryside. 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 [26] 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. [27] A second club, Ashby Town Cricket Club [28] 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. [29]

The town also has a bridge club (Ashby Bridge Club), and a Notably Successful Hockey club (Ashby Hockey Club)

A greyhound racing track, was opened on 3 April 1931. The racing was independent (not affiliated to the sports governing body the National Greyhound Racing Club) known as a flapping track, which was the nickname given to independent tracks. [30] Racing was held on Tuesday and Saturday evenings and distances included 200, 350, 550 and 525 yards. The date of closure is thought to be around 1935. [31]


The town was to be served by Ashby Canal from 1804 but the canal never reached Ashby, as it was constructed only to the town of Moira. Ashby had a station on the Leicester to Burton upon Trent Line of the Midland Railway from 1845. 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.

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. [32] The restoration of passenger train services remains part of Leicestershire County Council's Structure Plan as a project awaiting funding.[ citation needed ]

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 A511road004.JPG
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 sponsored by the district council. [33] This features local artists, musicians, songwriters, 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, where domestic servants and farmworkers would be hired for the year. During the fair in the 21st century, Market Street, the main road through the town (the former A50 trunk road), is closed for nearly a week. The traffic is diverted along narrower roads either side of Market Street. Locals call this event "The Statutes".

A song "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." [34] (Ashby-de-la-Zouch is close to the centre of England, almost as far from the sea as is possible.) [35] 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. [36] Ashby-de-la-Zouch is twinned with Pithiviers in north-central France.

Notable people


Neighbouring communities include Lount, Normanton le Heath, Smisby, Packington, Donisthorpe, Oakthorpe, Moira, Measham and Coleorton.

Related Research Articles

Moira, Leicestershire Human settlement in England

Moira is a former mining village about 2.5 miles (4 km) southwest of Ashby-de-la-Zouch in North West Leicestershire, England. The village is about 3 miles (5 km) south of Swadlincote and is close to the boundary with Derbyshire. The population is included in the civil parish of Ashby Woulds.

Ashby de la Zouch Castle Grade I listed ruins in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, United Kingdom

Ashby de la Zouch Castle is a ruined fortification in the town of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, England. The castle was built by William, Lord Hastings, a favourite of Edward IV, after 1473, accompanied by the creation of a 3,000-acre (1,200 ha) park. Constructed on the site of an older manor house, two large towers and various smaller buildings had been constructed by 1483, when Hastings was executed by Richard, Duke of Gloucester. The Hastings family used the castle as their seat for several generations, improving the gardens and hosting royal visitors.

The National Forest (England) Environmental project in central England

The National Forest is an environmental project in central England run by The National Forest Company. From the 1990s, 200 square miles (520 km2) of north Leicestershire, south Derbyshire and southeast Staffordshire have been planted in an attempt to blend ancient woodland with newly planted areas to create a new national forest. It stretches from the western outskirts of Leicester in the east to Burton upon Trent in the west, and is planned to link the ancient forests of Needwood and Charnwood.

Donisthorpe Human settlement in England

Donisthorpe is a village in the North West Leicestershire district of Leicestershire, England.

Coalville Town in Leicestershire, England

Coalville is an industrial town in North West Leicestershire, East Midlands England, with a population at the 2011 census of 34,575. It lies on the A511 trunk road between Leicester and Burton upon Trent, close to junction 22 of the M1 motorway where the A511 meets the A50 between Ashby-de-la-Zouch and Leicester. It borders the upland area of Charnwood Forest to the east of the town.

Swadlincote Town and unparished area in South Derbyshire district, Derbyshire, England

Swadlincote is a former mining town and civil parish in the South Derbyshire district of Derbyshire. It borders with Leicestershire and Staffordshire and is about 5 miles (8 km) south-east of Burton upon Trent, 5 miles (8 km) north-west of Ashby-de-la-Zouch and 11.5 miles (19 km) south-south-west of the city of Derby. It is an unparished area and the largest town and administrative centre in its district. It also covers Newhall, Oversetts, Midway and the contiguous villages of Church Gresley and Woodville, with the sub-district of Goseley. The combined population is about 36,000. Castle Gresley is under 2 miles (3 km) to the south-west and Albert Village 1.5 miles (2 km) to the south, in Leicestershire.

Measham Human settlement in England

Measham is a large village in the county of Leicestershire, England, close to its borders with Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire. It lies off the A42, 4.5 miles (7.25 km) south of Ashby de la Zouch, the closest town, and within the National Forest. Historically in Derbyshire, it lay in an enclave absorbed into Leicestershire in 1897. The name is thought to mean "homestead on the River Mease".

A511 road road in Staffordshire, Derbyshire, and Leicestershire, England; formerly part of A50

The A511 road is a 21-mile (34 km) stretch of mainly single-carriageway road which runs northwest from Markfield in Leicestershire, England to Foston in South Derbyshire.

Henry Hastings, 1st Baron Loughborough was an English Royalist army commander in the Midlands during the English Civil War.

Ivanhoe line

The Ivanhoe line was the local passenger service operated on the Midland Main Line between Leicester and Loughborough between 1993, when three intermediate stations were re-opened, and June 2005, when the separate Leicester–Loughborough service was withdrawn. Intermediate stations on the route are now served by East Midlands Railway's hourly service between Leicester, Nottingham and Lincoln.

Loughborough (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1885 onwards

Loughborough is a constituency in Leicestershire represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2019 by Jane Hunt, a Conservative.. From 2010 until 2019, it was represented by Nicky Morgan who served under the governments of David Cameron and Boris Johnson. In 2020, she was elevated to the Peerage and became a member of the House of Lords. The constituency is a considered a bellwether, as it has reflected the national result at every general election since February 1974.

The Bath Grounds is a historic recreational ground and cricket ground based in the town of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire. It is home to Ashby Hastings Cricket Club and Ashby Bowls Club. The grounds are subject to conservation area protection. and are designated a "sensitive area" in retained policy E1 of the most recent Local Plan.

Newhall, Derbyshire Human settlement in England

Newhall is a suburban settlement located in Swadlincote, South Derbyshire, England. As of the 2011 census it had a population of 776. The village of Stanton is nearby.

Leicester–Burton upon Trent line Freight-only railway line in England

The Leicester–Burton upon Trent line is a freight-only railway line in England linking the Midland Main Line south of Leicester to the Cross Country Route at Burton-on-Trent. The line closed to passengers in the 1960s, since when various proposals have been made to reopen it.

Smisby Human settlement in England

Smisby is an ancient manor, civil parish and small village in South Derbyshire, England. It is 4 miles (6.4 km) from Melbourne and near the Leicestershire border and the town of Ashby-de-la-Zouch. The village including the outlying farms and houses has a population just over 200 that occupies some 110 properties. The population at the 2011 Census had increased to 260.

Ashby de la Zouch railway station Former railway station in Leicestershire, England

Ashby de la Zouch railway station is a former railway station at Ashby de la Zouch in Leicestershire on the Leicester to Burton upon Trent Line. The Midland Railway opened it in 1849 and British Railways closed it in 1964.

St Helens Church, Ashby-de-la-Zouch Church in North West Leicestershire, UK

St Helen's Church is the Anglican parish church of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, in the deanery of North West Leicestershire and the Diocese of Leicester. There was a church in the town in the 11th century, but the core of the present building mainly dates from work started in 1474, when the church was rebuilt by William Hastings at the same time that he converted his neighbouring manor house into a castle. The church was refurbished in about 1670 to create more space, but the large and increasing size of the congregation led to further work in 1829, and a major rebuild in 1878–80, including the widening of the nave by the addition of two outer aisles.


  1. "Area selected: North West Leicestershire (Non-Metropolitan District)". Neighbourhood Statistics: Full Dataset View. Office for National Statistics. Archived from the original on 24 September 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  2. "Ashby-de-la-Zouch". Ordnance Survey . Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  3. Wells, John (3 April 2008). Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. Pearson Longman. p. 47. ISBN   1405881186.
  4. So spelled officially: Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  5. "Town population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Archived from the original on 11 October 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  6. Scott, W (1907). The Story of Ashby de la Zouch. London and New York: White Lion Publishers. p. 245.
  7. "Market Street, Ashby de la Zouch". Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  8. Archived 29 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine Open Domesday: Ashby-de-la-Zouche
  9. Watts, Victor; Insley, John; Gelling, Margaret, eds. (2004). The Cambridge Dictionary of Place Names. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. not cited. ISBN   0-521-36209-1.
  10. "Ashby-de-la-Zouch". Archived from the original on 27 March 2009. Retrieved 17 August 2009.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pevsner, 1960, page 51
  12. "The Ashby Garrison In The Civil War". Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  13. "Modern photograph of The Bulls Head". Ashby Museum website. Ashby Museum. Archived from the original on 20 November 2008. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  14. "Photograph of 51 Market Street, Ashby de la Zouch". Ashby Museum website. Ashby de la Zouch Museum. Archived from the original on 20 November 2008. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  15. Pevsner, 1960, page 50
  16. Nikolaus Pevsner, Elizabeth Williamson and Geoffrey K. Brandwood Leicestershire and Rutland , p. 79, at Google Books
  17. 1 2 3 4 5 Pevsner, 1960, page 54
  18. "The Church in The Heart of Ashby". Ashby Christadelphians.
  19. Nikolaus Pevsner, Elizabeth Williamson and Geoffrey K. Brandwood Leicestershire and Rutland , p. 84, at Google Books
  20. Kate Noble The Game and the Governess , p. 420, at Google Books
  21. Pegden, Tom (18 March 2018). "Why historic county hotel has closed". leicestermercury. Retrieved 18 March 2018.[ permanent dead link ]
  22. KATIE BOWLER (29 November 2012). "Thumbs-up for water tower housing plan". Burton Mail. Retrieved 25 May 2013.[ dead link ]
  23. Stuff, Good. "Loudoun Monument, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire". Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  24. Annual and Transition Report, Foreign Private Issuer", SEC, 06 April 2005. Quote: "During 2003, we announced a proposal to close our biscuit factory at Ashby-de-la-Zouch by the end of 2004 to improve our factory utilization and enable us to effectively support growth in our priority brands. We transferred approximately one-third of production to other sites and completed the first phase of the redundancy program...During 2004...[we also completed the closure of our biscuit facility at Ashby-de-la-Zouch."
  25. "Jobs lost as Standard Soap factory closes". BBC News. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  26. "Ashby Hastings Cricket Club". Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  27. "AHCC Web Site". Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  28. "Ashby Town Cricket Club". Archived from the original on 20 July 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  29. Club site [ Retrieved 10 July 2016.]
  30. Barnes, Julia (1988). Daily Mirror Greyhound Fact File, page 410. Ringpress Books. ISBN   0-948955-15-5.
  31. "ASHBY DE LA ZOUCH". Greyhound Racing Times.
  32. "Connecting Communities – Expanding Access to the Rail Network" (PDF). London: Association of Train Operating Companies. June 2009. p. 19. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  33. "Ashby Arts Festival". Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  34. ScrambledEggs1969 (4 October 2012). "The Merry Macs - Ashby de la Zouch By The Sea (Castle Abbey) 1946 Zooch" . Retrieved 5 April 2018 via YouTube.
  35. "Notes & Queries: Which British town is furthest from the sea?". the Guardian. 25 April 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  36. Hoffman, Al; Livingston, Jerry; Drake, Milton, 1912- (1945). "Ashby-De-La-Zouch (Castle Abbey)". D. Davis & Co. Retrieved 22 June 2020.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  37. "Michael Wakelam obituary". the Guardian. 24 April 2020. Retrieved 4 May 2016.