A Brief History of Ashington

The OPC has compiled this interesting collection of then and now photographs of Ashington with accompanying description.

Although Ashington by name is of Saxon origin archaeologically it is found to have been inhabited as early as the Bronze age 2000 BC. We can also boast the remnants of a Roman Villa 3rd/4th century to the south. Ashington has two derivations for its name. One being the settlement of Aescís people or named for the numerous Ash trees which grow like weeds around the area. Ashington is named in the Doomsday Book under Essingetune where it boldly boasts of having two house-holders and six labourers. Ashington until recently was one of those small villages one just passed through, it was entirely depending on agriculture and horticulture. (Forty-five inventories survive from 1641 to 1751 these have been transcribed). In 1802 with the coming of the toll road over the common and the introduction of the stage coach it became a staging post for horses. In 1801 the population was 173 with 28 houses some twenty years later it had grown to 41 houses. With the coming of the by-pass in 1994 the village changed dramatically. New estates grew up and the village expanded. So from its past insignificance to becoming the winner of the Best Village in 2003/4.

We have two churches. St. Peter and St. Paul and the Ashington Methodist Church. St. Peter and St. Paul is of flint and stone construction possibly dating from the 15th century. It has two bells. One of which is stated to be one of the oldest bells in Sussex dating from the 13th century. This bellís date has been disputed and more recent opinion dates it more likely to the 14th century. The church was radically altered in 1871. The graveyard has been documented and all memorial inscriptions noted. Luckily this was done before a lot of the gravestones were removed. The first Ashington Methodist Church was built in 1888 then enlarged and remodelled in 1894.

St Peter & St Paul Church, Ashington pre 1871
St Peter's and St Pauls Church before 1871

St Peter & St Paul Church, Ashington - 2000
St Peter's and St Paul's Church in 2000

Ashington Methodist Church in 1894
Ashington Methodist Church in 1894

Ashington Methodist Church in 1894
Ashington Methodist Church in 2004

The School had a land title granted in 1872. This building was in use until 2000 when a new school was built to the south.

The Old School, Ashington
The Old School, Ashington

The New School, Ashington
The new school in Ashington

A new community centre was opened in November 2003 superseding the old one which was built 1947. Before this an old scout hut in the school yard had been used since the 1930ís.

The Old Community Centre in Ashington
Old Community Centre

Ashington Community Centre in 2003

The new community centre in 2003

Our only so called claim to fame was when it was reported in the old parish records (since gone missing)
that Queen Elizabeth 1st visited Nicholas Wolfe at the manor of West Wolves north of the village in 1591. Some say she stayed, others believe that she was just passing through on her way to Cowdray. Nicholas Wolfe was married to Mary Covert whose family held the Manor of Ashington up to the 1700s. Since about 1820 the manor has been held by the Dukes of Norfolk.

The windmill has long gone, demolished in 1828. The water mill to the south was more reliable and was grinding corn until well after the second world war. The original water wheel was used until the 1920ís when it was replaced by a turbine.

Ashington Water Mill
Ashington Mill

A high proportion of the villagers today are commuters, working in Worthing, Horsham, Gatwick and even London. Cars have replaced stage coaches. There are houses everywhere. We still have to go outside the village for major shopping and medical requirements.

We now have a fish and chip shop, an estate agents,Co-op stores with post office, a hairdressers and a beauty shop, antique shop and a reproduction furniture shop. To think that just over thirty years ago everything you could possibly want could be obtained in the village. We had a district nurse, a chemist, two grocery shops, a butchers, a dress and haberdashers shop, a travelling baker, greengrocer and milkman. This decline is known as progress!



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