Infobox UK place
country = England
official_name= Ashby de la Zouch
latitude= 52.7666
longitude= -1.4666
map_type= Leicestershire
civil_parish= Ashby de la Zouch
population = 12,758 (2001 Census)
shire_district= North West Leicestershire
shire_county= Leicestershire
region= East Midlands
constituency_westminster= North West Leicestershire
post_town= ASHBY DE LA ZOUCH
postcode_district = LE65
postcode_area= LE
dial_code= 01530
demonym= Ashbeian
os_grid_reference= SK355165

static_image_caption=Market Street Ashby-de-la-Zouch looking west.

Ashby de la Zouch (often shortened simply to "Ashby") is a small market town and civil parish in north west Leicestershire, England, within the National Forest. Prior to 1974, Ashby-de-la-Zouch had its own local government district, but since 1974, it has formed part of the North West Leicestershire local government district within the administrative county boundaries of Leicestershire.


"Ashby" is a word of Anglo-Danish origins, meaning "Ash Farm". The Norman French addition dates from the years after the Norman conquest of England, when the town was given to the Zouche family in the reign of Henry II.

It has a historic 15th century castle. The castle area was the setting for "Ivanhoe" by Sir Walter Scott. A local high school is named after the book (Ivanhoe College, for 11 to 14-year-olds). In 1464 the town and castle came into the possession of the Hastings family. Later the town was one of the Royalists' "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. [ [ Henry Hastings and the Siege of Ashby] ]

The local upper school, Ashby School, previously Ashby Grammar School, is a mixed comprehensive school for 14 to 18-year-olds and has its roots in the 16th century.The parish church, St Helen's, houses a rare 300 year-old finger pillory, which may have been used to punish people misbehaving in church.

Many of the buildings in Market Street, the town's main thoroughfare, have timber framing, but most of this is hidden by later brick facades. The "Bull's Head" pub retains the original Elizabethan half-timbering. There are also Regency buildings in this street. Bath Street has a row of Classical-style houses dating from the time that the town was a spa.


By far the largest employer in the town is United Biscuits, which provides about 2000 jobs. One of its production plants closed in 2004, resulting in the loss of 900 of these posts.

Other employers in Ashby include Standard Soap, Tesco, the art materials manufacturer Calder Colours, Ashfield Healthcare, Eduteq Limited [ [ Edutec] ] and TAC [ [ TAC] ] . There is also a concentration of high-tech employers. Ashby was home to the video game software house Ashby Computer Graphics, also known as Ultimate Play The Game, now called Rare. They have since moved to a custom built premises at Manor Park, just down the road from Twycross.


*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.
*Nearby villages include Packington, Donisthorpe, Oakthorpe, Measham, Coleorton, and Moira.


The Midland Railway reached Ashby in 1845, placing the town on an important route between Leicester and Burton upon Trent. In the 20th century the passenger train service through Ashby was withdrawn. The Leicester - Burton railway continues to run through the town, but now it carries only freight. In the 1990s there was an unsuccessful plan to restore passenger services as a branch of Leicestershire's Ivanhoe Line; however, it remains within Leicestershire County Council's Structure Plan as a project awaiting funding.

Formerly, both the A50 Leicester to Stoke-on-Trent road and the A453 Birmingham to Nottingham road passed through the town centre. The heavy traffic which previously travelled through the town has been substantially relieved by the A42 and A511 bypasses, which replaced the A453 and A50 respectively.

The nearest railway station is in Burton upon Trent, over 12.8 km (eight miles) away. Leicester railway station also provides an efficient 1hr 10 minute Midland Mainline high speed rail link to the London terminus station at St Pancras which became the home of international Eurostar trains in November 2007. Calls have been made for the Leicester to Burton upon Trent Line to be opened as part of the Ivanhoe Line. Ashby station closed in the 1960s.

East Midlands Airport is 9 miles (14.5 km) north of Ashby (approx. 12 mins drive) and provides flight connections in the UK and Europe.

Frequent bus routes provide an hourly direct service to Leicester and Burton-upon-Trent (Arriva Midlands X2 & 8) and the National Express Coach Network links to Leicester for intercity connections and a daily direct service to London.


Every August, Ashby holds an arts festival currently sponsored by the district council [ [ Ashby Arts Festival] ] . 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.

The Statutes Fair is a funfair instituted by the Royal Statute held every September.

Ashby is twinned with Pithiviers.

On a tangential note, in April of 1946 the American jazz bassist and composer Charles Mingus recorded a tune called "Ashby de la Zouch" with his band, dubbed Baron Mingus and His Octet. It was issued as a single on 4 Star Records but has never been reissued in any form. Rather than having much to do with the town, the title was probably a nod to guitarist Irving Ashby's participation in the record session.

Notable people

*Joseph Hall, 1574-1656, the renowned satirist and bishop, was born in Ashby-de-la-Zouch.
*Dolly Shepherd, 1887-1983, the famous Victorian aviatrix, made her return to parachuting from balloons in a display at Ashby, after recovering from a potentially fatal accident.
* James Martin, an IT consultant and author, was born in Ashby-de-la-Zouch.
*Alastair Yates, a presenter on BBC News and BBC World News went to Manor House School, Ashby and his farming family still live in the town. He was at BBC Radio Leicester in the mid-1970s.
*Formula One driver Roger Williamson was born in Ashby-de-la-Zouch.
*The Young Knives formed in Ashby-de-la-Zouch.
*Russell Hoult a footballer was born in Ashby de la Zouch, and still lives locally now, in Coleorton
*Adrian Mole, a fictional character who wrote diaries including "The growing pains of Adrian Mole" and "The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13¾" (written by Sue Townsend). Adrian moves from Leicester to Ashby-de-la-Zouch during his lifetime. His girlfriend Pandora Braithwaite later becomes MP for the town.
*Retired Grand Prix Motorcycle Racer Niall Mackenzie lives in Ashby-de-le-Zouch.


External links

* [ A humorous guide to Ashby de la Zouch]
* [ A comprehensive guide to Ashby de la Zouch]
* [ Ashby Radio]
* [ Ashby churches]
* [ Ashby Hastings Cricket Club]

Geographic Location (8-way)
Centre = Ashby
North = Ticknall
Northeast =
East =
Southeast =
South =
Southwest =
West =
Northwest =

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Ashby de la Zouch — (spr. äschbī dĕ lä sūsch), Stadt in Leicestershire (England), mit Schloßruine (15. Jahrh.), gotischer Kirche, Strumpfweberei, Kohlengruben, Mineralbad (Ivanhoe Bath) und (1901) 4722 Einw. In der Nähe Ruine des Nonnenklosters Grace Dieu (1236… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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  • Ashby de la Zouch railway station — Ashby de la Zouch was a railway station on the Leicester to Burton upon Trent Line, built by the Midland Railway (MR) to serve the town of Ashby de la Zouch in Leicestershire, opened on the 1 August 1849 and closed on the 7 September 1964. The… …   Wikipedia

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