Ashover is a village in the English county of Derbyshire. It is in the North East Derbyshire district of the county. It sits in a picturesque valley, not far from the town of Matlock and the Peak District national park. The centre of the village is a conservation area. The River Amber flows through the village. Although Ashover is a small settlement, the actual ward boundaries of the village extend for many miles, including the nearby settlements of Alton, Ashover Hay, Kelstedge, Littlemoor, Milltown, Spitewinter, Stone Edge and Uppertown.
A brief history
Known in Saxon times as Essovre (possibly 'beyond the ash trees' or 'ash tree slope'), Ashover was probably in existence during the first taxation survey of England by King Alfred in 893. However, the first written reference to the village occurs in the Domesday Book of 1086, in which Ashover is owned by Ralph fitzHubert and is credited with a church, a priest, several ploughs, a mill. It had previously had a taxable value of four pounds, but it was revalued at thirty shillings.
Ashover was the scene of a confrontation between the Royalists and the Roundheads during the English Civil War in the 17th century. The Roundheads, short of ammunition, demolished the windows of the church and used the lead to make bullets. They also reduced nearby Eastwood Hall to ruins; all that can be seen today are the ivy-clad remains. Royalists slaughtered livestock and drank all the wine and ale in the cellars of Eddlestow Hall while the owner Sir John Pershall was away. Job Wall, the landlord of the Crispin Inn public house, refused entry to the army, telling them they had had too much to drink. But they threw him out and drank the ale, pouring what was left down the street. Outside, affixed to the front wall of the pub is a signboard with a history of the inn.
Ashover's industrial history is linked with lead mining and quarrying, both of which date back to Roman times. Butt's Quarry is a large disused example, previously excavated by the Clay Cross Company for its works three miles (5 km) away. During the Second World War, prisoners of war held at Clay Cross were taken daily to the quarry to make concrete blocks. It is now home to a wide range of different species, including jackdaws which nest on the quarry face. Part of the village was home to the stocking frame knitting industry, which once rivalled lead mining in importance. The area is called Rattle, which is believed to be a reference to the noise made by the machinery.
Electricity came to the valley in the 1920s, but the village was not connected to the National Grid until a decade later. Some outlying settlements were not connected until after the Second World War. It was not until 1967 that gas street lights were replaced by electric lighting.
Until 1963, there was a hydro in the village, sourcing its own private water supply from a tank on a hillside. Ashover had two such institutions, which were popular in the 19th century due to the belief in 'healing water'. Subsequently purchased by the electricity board, the building is today divided into private apartments, with further expensive new houses built in the grounds.
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