Wednesday, 12 October 2011


The Ash Heritage Group tea towel is on sale now, price £4.
It features eight familiar local scenes and landmarks and comes in green on a white background, surrounded by the Heritage Group logo.
Tea towels are available from Ash Post Office and Welcome, or by phoning 01304 812121.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011


The red ribbon was cut and the wall plaques uncovered on Thursday, September 22 when Ash Heritage Centre was opened.
The idea of a centre to store and conserve photographs, maps and historical documents concerned with Ash heritage was born in November 2007 and Ash Heritage Group was formed with this in mind.
The community play, about the Swing Riots of the 1830s, funded by Awards for All and scripted and produced by Chalkfoot, raised awareness of the project and involved more than 100 parishioners.
The location for the centre was decided to be an extension at the back of the Village Hall. With the help and encouragement of the Parish Council and Village Hall management team, the project moved forward.
£70,000 was raised through the Parish Council, local village trusts, Kent County Council and Dover District Council, the Christina Foyle foundation, Bridging the Gap, generous local donors and the Heritage Appeal Fund. A purpose built centre with a mezzanine was the result.
The opening ceremony was attended by the D.D.C. chair, councillor Sue Nicholas, plus local D.D.C. councillors Sue Chandler, Mike Conolly and Trevor Bartlett.
K.C.C. Councillor Leyland Ridings performed the opening ceremony. Invited guests who have helped the project, representatives of local organisations and 100 supporter membes of Ash Heritage Group filled the Village Hall to capacity.
The evening started with a fantastic trumpet fanfare by a young Manwoodian dressed appropriately in Napoleonic era scarlet uniform
This heralded a 15 minute scene from the Swing Riots Community play, performed by members of the committee and Ash Drama group.
Speeches by the Ash Heritage Group chair, Ann Foat, and the chairman of the Village Hall, Jean Ryan, followed - thanking the committee members and supporter members for their wonderful support throughout the projec; both financial and practical, acting as stewards and helpers at events, making coffee and putting up plaques among other things.
Without this community input the funding applications would not have succeeded. Ann Foat was thanked for her role in leading the project.
After a lighthearted speech warning us of his many mishaps when opening things, Leyland Ridings formally opened the centre and managed to cut the red ribbon and unveil the plaque without further mishap.
Everyone then enjoyed a glass of wine and the splendid refreshments provided by Ash W.I. All seemed very engaged by the exhibition of material already held by the Ash Heritage Group, which ranged from old trade books and old sale documents to many old photographs and memorabilia of World War Two in the village.
Our next project is Ash in World War Two, for which Ash Heritage Group is collecting memories - either on paper or recorded - as well as any old photographs and artefacts. Please contact us if you can help.
The centre is not yet regularly open to the public, as all the material needs collating and shelving needs to be installed. The exhibition set up for the opening can be seen again on Saturday, October 22 at the centre, Ash Village Hall from 10am to 12noon.
Anyone who is interested is very welcome. Heritage tea towels are now on sale from Ash village shops or 01304 812121

Details of our activities are on:

Thursday, 22 September 2011


The Heritage Group AGM will be on Monday, November 28 at 7.30p.m in Ash Village Hall Library. This will be followed by a short meeting for all those who have volunteered to help.


The annual David Downes Memorial Lecture will be on Thursday, November 3 at 7.30p.m. in the Village Hall. We welcome Anthea Jones (Newman) who will talk on 'Ripples — some personal observations on Ash history.’

Sunday, 7 August 2011


Ash Heritage Centre will open for the first time on Thursday, September 22. The opening ceremony will be performed by Councillor Leyland Ridings.
This event is only open to invited guests and supporter members as space is limited.
The Centre will be open on Saturday, September 24 from 10a.m. to 12 noon when all interested parishioners and others with an interest in local history are invited by the Ash Heritage Group to view the new centre.


The Ash Heritage Group Historical Walk - led by Peter Ewart - will be on Thursday, August 25, as part of the Sandwich Festival.
Meet at the village car park opposite the Chequer Inn at 2.30p.m. It's an easy two-hour walk around the interesting and historic buildings of Ash, but be sure to wear adequate footwear!
Cost is £5 per person. Pre-booking is essential, as places are limited. Children under 16 years must be accompanied by an adult. Sorry no dogs.
Please phone: 01227 720835 or 01304 812121


St Nicholas Church, Ash will be holding an Open Day on Saturday, August 27, as part of the Sandwich Festival Fringe events.
There is plenty of historical interest to view. Come and see the new flooring of the re-ordered Tower crossing. The Tower will be open to visitors from 2p.m to 4p.m
This is also a chance to see the huge historic tithe map of Ash, and learn about some of the historic brasses and monuments linked to the history of the village.
There will be a display from local artists, plus craft demonstrations and other activities. Light lunches, teas and cakes will be served.
Finish with a quiet stroll through the churchyard and admire the view.
Proceeds will go to the Church Mission Society to support our Mission Partners Andy and Susie Hart in Tanzania, as well as church funds.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011


A Special General Meeting will be held on Thursday, July 7 at 7.30p.m. in the library of Ash Village Hall. We are becoming a charity, and - in order to register ourselves - we have been advised to change the object of the Ash Heritage Group on the constitution.


A proposal to change Clause 2 Objectives in the constitution to:

‘To advance the education of the public in the history and heritage of the Parish of Ash through the collection, preservation and making available to the public material and artefacts of historic significance, by the establishment and maintenance of an archive and collection for the preservation of such material and artefacts.’

Monday, 30 May 2011


Congratulations to Ash Bowling Club, which celebrates 100 years of bowling in the village this weekend. The club's bowling green, in Moat Lane, was opened on June 6, 1911.
The club was formed in June 1910, when the first general meeting was held and officers elected. The annual membership fee was five shillings (25p) in modern money. But agricultural labourers in the area then earned only 13 shiliings and fourpence (67p) a week!
Centenary celebrations - including a dinner and invitation tournament are planned for July 1,2 and 3.
For a brief history of the club, compiled by its members, go here.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011


Saturday July 9 , Ash Heritage Group presents...
Tickets £5 on the door or reserved beforehand.
Phone: 01304 812121

Here's some background about the choir (pictured, right), from its website (

The opening of the new Kent coalfield, at the start of the 20th century, brought miners from all over Britain, anxious to find work. Many were from south Wales and Yorkshire, and brought with them

strong choral traditions. Soon the collieries at Snowdown, Betteshanger, Tilmanstone and Chislet all boasted male voice choirs. In 1948, all four combined to give a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Sadly, the Snowdown Choir is now the only one left.
The Snowdown Choir was formed in 1929 by John Yorath, a Welshman, who was the choir-master of St Peter's Church Aylesham, and the choir has now been based in the village for 80 years. In this time the choir has given more than 2000 concerts, at venue as small as Tilmanstone church and as large as the Albert Hall, in towns and villages in England and Wales, as well as France, Belgium and Holland. The choir has raised an estimated £750,000 for worthy causes.
Although originally a miners' choir, the closure of the coalfield means that it now draws members from all walks of life and from a wide area of Kent.

Friday, 22 April 2011


This article from the East Kent Mercury of April 21 details the long and fascinating history of the Chequers, the only remaining pub in Ash village centre.
The pub was originally built as a manor house in the 14th century. It did not become an inn until almost 300 years later.

Monday, 18 April 2011


The Heritage Group will run a FREE archaeology fun afternoon on Saturday, June 25 at Cartwright and Kelsey school, from 2pm to 4pm.
Entry is free for all, thanks to the University of Kent, which is organising and sponsoring the event!

Thanks also to local museums for their input.

*Come and practise on geophysical equipment, and find out what's beneath the playing field.

*Bring your finds for identification by experts.

*See examples of finds from Canterbury museum

*Children’s activities run by university students

*Short explanatory talks on Anglo Saxons and Romans in our area


Friday, 8 April 2011


Our thanks to Clare Ungerson for her very interesting talk and presentation last night on 'The Jewish Refugee Camp at Stonar' (Richborough). She spoke for nearly an hour - illustrating her talk with many contemporary pictures - then answered questions from the large audience in Ash Village Hall.
Thanks also to everyone who helped with the organisation of the event.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011


This map of East Kent shows just where Ash is...
Our village (population approximately 3,000) straddles the A257 main road between Canterbury and Sandwich. Ash is around nine miles from Canterbury and three from Sandwich.
The village, which has its own parish council, is part of the Dover Council local authority. Ash is also one of the outlying areas of the Thanet South parliamentary constituency.

Saturday, 5 March 2011


Here's a slideshow of photos from Ash, Richborough and nearby south Thanet. (Click the arrow in the centre of the screen to start the slideshow.)


1) Ash war memorial, in the centre of the village; 2) The towering spire of St Nicholas church dominates the local landscape; 3) The rich interior of St Nicholas church; 4) Ash's 'chapel' - the URC, much more austere than St Nicholas (CofE) along The Street; 5) The Street, on a wet October afternoon in 2006. Alldays, the Co-op outlet on the left, is now 'Welcome.' Winner, the Chinese takeaway on the right, has since closed; 6) Londis, one of Ash's two mini-marts(we're lucky, some villages don't even have a shop!); 7) Ash in the snow, February 2010; 8) Richborough power station, derelict since 1996.

Friday, 4 March 2011


Here's a terrific video posted on YouTube by lestermusicuk which gives a tour of St Nicholas Church, Ash.
Music by Mr Handel - I know that my redeemer liveth. Click on the link and enjoy!

Sunday, 27 February 2011


Ash is a large parish in the centre of an important agricultural area, as it is part of the East Kent fruit belt. It was once relatively much more important than it is now and supported a wide range of small shops and businesses such as Gardners Brewery and all the supporting agricultural businesses like blacksmiths.
It is now largely a dormitory village, but there is a keen interest by the community in its heritage. This goes back at least 50 years, stemming originally from a local history exhibition in the village hall in 1952.
Many written records of village life as it was once lived here still survive. Old deeds, farm and business accounts, club and voluntary organisations’ committee minutes, collections of old photographs going back to the 1870s, as well as a few artefacts, including old farm implements and archaeological ‘finds’
These have already come together informally from many sources into several houses in the village. Especially prized are the original ’family reconstitution records’, derived from the parish registers from 1558 and other records in a joint project with the Cambridge School of Population Studies.
The sheer bulk of papers is already something of an embarrassment, and their caretakers - as they grow older - are worried about their future safe custody. It is believed that more, perhaps many more documents and other such things are still scattered about the parish on farms and in private houses.
But it is also known that while owners are keen to deposit papers, they often want to feel that they will remain safely in the parish in or for which they were originally created, rather than elsewhere in larger repositories in less sharply focused collections.
During 2007 and 2008 there were discussions in the village, in which both the Parish Council and the Ash Village Hall Committee were involved. A Heritage Group was formed and investigated the need for a centre and the interest within the parish for such a centre.
Many people expressed an interest and concern during the Parish Plan Open Day. It was evident that there was enthusiastic support for a project to provide a dedicated and safe repository in the parish, where parishioners and research students could consult the archives, and where indeed the children and young people of the village might discover an interest in - and perhaps derive inspiration from - the heritage of the community in which they live.
The Parish Council expressed a willingness to take part. So did the Village Hall Committee, so that successful fund raising in 2010 resulted in an extension to the village hall with access to the foyer and facilities of the main building.
The extension is using the grassed area at the back of the storage area, which is owned by the village hall.
It is a flat roofed extension in order to be totally in keeping with the present flat roofed building. It is a brick/concrete block construction in order to safely store archive material. This is suitably clad to be in keeping with the present building.
It is approximately 30 t by 14ft, to allow for storage space and space for the archives to be used by members of the community and anyone interested in historical research.
The community use of the archives is a vital part of the project, which is why this is such an excellent site. The hall is the centre of village activities, so parishioners can feel ownership of the Heritage Centre.
It will be practical to manage and has the added advantage of a library in the same building. We are grateful to K.C.C., The Foyle Foundation, the Jack Foat Trust, The Kingsland Trust, Ash Parish Council, the Neighbourhood Forum, Bridging the Gap and the many private donors who helped us to raise the funds - and the Village Hall Management Committee - for their support.
The next task is to fund and put up shelving and furnish the interior to accommodate the archival material.

Please tell us if you have any historic photos or documents about Ash.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011


The Chequers, in Chequer Lane, and The Volunteer at Guilton are the only pubs left in the village now.
High running costs and cut-price competition from supermarkets have forced many pubs across east Kent to close.
Yet 40 years ago, there seemed to be a pub on almost every corner of Ash. As you came in from Canterbury, there was The Volunteer, The Chequers, then The Ship and The Lion about 100 yards apart on opposite sides of The Street.
As you headed out of the village towards Sandwich, you passed The First and Last. If you took the other fork in the road towards Wodnesbrough, you soon came to The Crooked Billet on New Street.
Houses now stand on the sites of The Ship, The First and Last and The Crooked Billet.
The Lion became an Indian restaurant, Lagaan, until it was seriously damaged by fire in January 2009.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011


(From the Dover Express, January 28, 2010, under the headline: Ash Heritage Centre appeal)

AN appeal to raise the cash for a heritage centre in Ash will be launched next week.
The Ash Heritage Group are on a mission to gather £70,000 to build the centre, which will house items as diverse as 16th Century parish documents and 1950s cine films.
The idea was first mooted two years ago by group chairman Ann Foat. Since then planning permission has been gained and the group have already raised £27,500. Part of the cash came from Kent County Council and a £6,000 Big Lottery grant.
The lottery cash enabled the Ash and East Kent Community Project to put on a promenade performance, re-enacting the Swing Riots of the 1830s through the streets of the village. The performance last year generated cash for the centre and was used to get residents and school-children interested in the history of Ash.
Grandmother-of-five Mrs Foat said: “We want to build the heritage centre on the back of the village hall. There is a lot of stuff in the village, all in private houses, which we would like to keep.
"We have historic photos and books which go back two centuries. There are records from the parish council and cricket club which cover quite a considerable length of time.
“We have the planning permission and now we are in the business of trying to attract funding.”
The appeal will launch on Saturday, February 4 at the village hall where there will be a showing of 1950s cine films of the Ash Flower Show. The show became a massive event over the years with thousands of people flocking to the village to see the displays, high-wire acts, gymkhana and ice shows.
Mrs Foat, 69, said: “The flower show was a massive event. It got so big it had to be stopped in the end because it was too difficult to maintain. It is a part of our history.”
The fundraiser will also have a DVD showing of the Swing Riots performance, which took place last summer.
The planning application made to Dover District Council by the Ash Village Hall Management Committee it says: “It is evident there is enthusiastic support for a project to provide a dedicated and safe repository in the parish where parishioners and research students could consult the archives. Schoolchildren and young people in the village might also discover an interest in, and perhaps derive inspiration from, the heritage of the community in which they live.”
The application also says the heritage group hope to be able to put on exhibitions several times a year.
The heritage event starts at 7.30pm. Entry is £3, or £2 for group members.
Mrs Foat, married to group treasurer Graham, said: “Hopefully people will come along and also pledge to give a note for heritage.”
The application also says the heritage group hope to be able to put on exhibitions several times a year.
The heritage event starts at 7.30pm. Entry is £3, or £2 for group members.
Mrs Foat, married to group treasurer Graham, said: “Hopefully people will come along and also pledge to give a note for heritage.”
Anyone who is unable to attend on the night but would like to pledge cash can call Mrs Foat on 01304 812121.


Each year, the Heritage Group intends to arrange events of interest to members, and to supplement the income from subscriptions.
Four such events are planned in 2011.
1) Thursday, April 7 - a talk will be given at Ash Village Hall by Clare Ungerson, entitled 'The Jewish Refugee Camp at Stonar.'
2) There will be a Heritage Walk as part of the Sandwich Festival.
3) Saturday, July 9 - the Snowdown Male Voice choir will perform at St Nicholas church in aid of Heritage funds.
4) The 'David Downes Memorial Lecture' will be held in the autumn.


It is time to renew your annual subscription for the Ash Heritage Group. It was decided at the annual general meeting of the group in December that membership should be £5 each year. As you will have seen, the building of the Heritage Centre is proceeding well and there will be a grand opening later in the year. The yearly subscriptions from members will be essential to pay for the day to day running of this room where the Village Archives will be kept and made available to the general public.