Ashby de la Zouch – Leicestershire – Photos

Ashby de la Zouch castle

Ashby de la Zouch castle

Ashby de la Zouch – the name of the town has always fascinated me.  I was convinced that there was some deep rooted French connection there, but I was only partly right.  The town was already known as Ashby as far back as the Domesday Book.  The name means ash tree farm according to Wikipedia.

The name was extended when the town was given to the La Zouche family during the reign of Henry III.  This was after the Norman conquest so I’m guessing that the La Zouche family were French.




Ashby de la Zouch castle

The castle is set within the town and it dates from the 12th century.  I didn’t go right into it, but it’s amazing how much of it still survives today.  It’s run by English Heritage and they have a fascinating article about it that you can read here.  I had noticed some connection with Ivanhoe in the town  and apparently this is because Sir Walter Scott placed a tournament in the grounds of Ashby Castle in his novel Ivanhoe.

Altar in St Helen's Church

Altar in St Helen’s Church

St Helen’s Church

I was on a bit of a flying visit to Ashby, but I spent far longer in the church than I had intended.  It is beautiful.  The church dates from the 15th century and is surprisingly large for such a small town.  Naturally I was on the lookout for floor tile designs to give me inspiration for quilts.  I found inspiration more or less throughout the church.

The altar was gorgeous with so much to look at.  The stained glass windows above it had beautiful designs but these didn’t show up very well in my photos.

Baptismal font

Baptismal font

This baptismal font was placed quite near the entrance and it really dominated the area:  all that lovely stonework and the flowers working up from the base.

Candle kneeler cushion

Candle kneeler cushion

These kneeler cushions were beautifully made and enormously varied.  So much love and time must have gone into stitching them!

Crown kneeler cushion

Crown kneeler cushion

I have shown just two designs in this article, but there were many wonderful cushions in the pews.

Bargello style knee rest

Bargello style knee rest

You may have heard me mumble on about how wonderful it was to see the original Bargello chair backs when I was in Florence.  This knee rest used the same design which I was thrilled to see.

Huntingdon tomb

Huntingdon tomb

Just one more note from the church:  the stonework on this tomb was very intricate and the tomb itself took up a surprisingly large area of the church.  The inscription shows that it contains the 2nd Earl of Huntingdon and his wife.  Now the interesting thing about this is that the English Heritage history of Ashby mentions both the 1st and the 3rd earls but makes no mention of the 2nd earl who occupies such a prominent position in the church.

Festive hay bales

Festive hay bales

East Leake

From Ashby I travelled a bit further to East Leake.  You may remember that last week I mentioned that I was visiting a friend for lunch.

We had a lovely lunch at the Manor Farm.  This wonderful Father Christmas was placed at the entrance.  It’s made from two bales of hay – what a wonderful idea.

Thanks for visiting my blog.  I hope to see you again soon.

Rose

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