In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Ashwell like this:
ASHWELL, a village and a parish in Royston district, Herts. The village stands at the source of the river Rhee, an affluent of the Cam, 2 miles N of a station of its own name on the Hitchen and Cambridge railway, and 4½ NNE of Baldock. It is thought to have been of Roman origin; it bore anciently the name of Escewell; and it was a seat of the Saxon kings, a borough, and a market-town. ...
It now consists of several scattered streets; and has a post office‡ under Baldock. The parish comprises 3,852 acres. Real property, £7,509. Pop., 1,507. Houses, 293. The manor was given, before the time of Edward the Confessor, to Westminster Abbey; and passed, at the dissolution, to the see of London. The Roman road, Icknield-street, passes ½ a mile S of the village; and the Roman camp of Arbury occurs there, covers an area of 12 acres, and has yielded Roman coins, and other Roman relics. A small dell adjacent to the village leads up to a steep rocky bank, from the foot of which a number of springs gush out to form the river Rhee. Building-stone is quarried. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Rochester. Value, £513.* Patron, the Bishop of Rochester. The church is ancient and good: consists of nave, aisle, and chancel; has a tower at the W end, surmounted by a spire 175 feet high; and contains several old slabs, formerly inlaid with brasses. There are Independent, Baptist, Wesleyan, and Quaker chapels, an endowed school with £17 a year, and other charities with £55. Cudworth was vicar till his death in 1688.
Ashwell is now part of North Hertfordshire district. Click here for graphs and data of how North Hertfordshire has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Ashwell itself, go to Units and Statistics.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Ashwell in North Hertfordshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 30th March 2017
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