Parish Summary: Ashby St Mary

This parish summary provides an overview of the large amount of information which we hold about the parish, and only a representative sample of sites and artefacts from each period are mentioned. If you have any feedback on this article please contact us using the link on the left-hand menu or by emailing

Ashby St Mary is first documented in the Domesday Book. ‘Ashby’ means ‘the farm or village where ash trees grow’ with ‘St Mary’ the name of the patron saint of the parish church. The modern settlement of Ashby St Mary is dispersed and is located between the remains of several commons that were enclosed in the early 19th century.

A Neolithic arrowhead (NHER 10324) and a cropmark of a ring ditch, which may be the site of a Bronze Age barrow (NHER 10325), are the only signs of early occupation in the parish.

Late 19th century headstone depicting woman with flock of turkeys in St Mary's churchyard, Ashby St Mary.Late 19th century headstone depicting man with flock of turkeys in St Mary's churchyard, Ashby St Mary.

Two unusual late 19th century headstones in the churchyard of St Mary's Church, Ashby St Mary (©NCC)

The medieval parish church of St Mary (NHER 10335) stands at the centre of the parish and has an excellent example of a Norman doorway with other early architectural details. In the churchyard there are two unusual headstones depicting flocks of turkeys belonging to a farmer and his wife. Two medieval coins (NHER 21642, NHER 28601) and a medieval buckle (NHER 36979) have been found within the parish.

The site of a post medieval windmill (NHER 15588) is remembered in the names ‘Mill Common’ and ‘Mill Road’ and the site of a post mill (NHER 15587) is also nearby.

Ashby Hall (NHER 22788) is a large 18th century house, but the impressive architecture of the 17th century garden building suggests that an earlier and much grander house stood on this site. Ashby Lodge (NHER 42788) was built in 1788 for the Surgeon General of the East India company, and the house has a ruddled and lined facade.


Sarah Spooner (NLA), 1st August 2005.


Further Reading

Brown, P. (ed.), 1984. Domesday Book: Norfolk (Phillimore, Chichester)

Mills, A.D., 1991. Dictionary of English Place Names (Oxford, Oxford University Press)

Rye, J., 1991. A Popular Guide to Norfolk Place Names (Dereham, Larks Press)

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