Aston, South Yorkshire
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Unlike other places of the same name the village's name does not mean "eastern farm or village". Aston's name instead originates from the Old English words tun "farm, village, estate" with an uncertain first element. The name was recorded as Essetone in 1039, suggesting Old English ǣsc "ash tree" (as in Ashton and Ashton-in-Makerfield) but this is not certain.
Aston was traditionally a farming village and a good number of old farm buildings along the main road survive. A number of distinguished and beautiful structures are cared for today as private residences. 'High Trees', on the corner of Church Lane, is a grand old house commonly referred to as 'The White House' by villagers, and has been the subject of many ghost stories among village children for decades. Legend has it that the ghost of the White Lady roams the property nightly, lamenting her violent and untimely death at the hands of her cruel husband who dispatched her by throwing her down the stairs. Those brave enough to enter the house (let alone live in it) will observe the indellible blood stain at the bottom of the stairs. The house on Worksop Road at the bend opposite the church, now named The Grange, is the former Red Bull public house and is particularly beautiful. Today, Aston is primarily a residential village rather than an industrial one. Historically, though, the increase in population in the early 20th century came about as a direct result of the arrival of several coal mines in the area.
Aston All Saint's Church is featured in the Domesday Book and has a rich and well recorded past. The building, in places, displays evidence of pre-conquest architecture and is certainly, at its base, the oldest surviving structure in the village. The churchyard is surprisingly secluded and peaceful.
The housing estate known as "The Chase" is so named because it was the traditional hunting ground of the land owning family of the hall. Today, this area of land is drained and heavily populated.
Aston Hall, adjacent to the church, has been variously a large country house, hospital, and most recently a hotel and restaurant, and gives its name to Aston Hall Cricket Club which plays home games close to the Hall. The original hall was destroyed by fire. The hall and, indeed, most of the original Aston estate was occupied by the Verelst family for many years prior to its eventual break up and sale.
Aston-cum-Aughton was sorely neglected during the strikes of the early eighties. The heavily weighted Labour vote continues as a result. The recent shift in popular politics has ensured that left wing parties have stayed low in the village's sentiments. The Labour Party remains the choice of the majority despite a steady rise towards the right. The Socialist Labour Party, following a series of poor candidate choices, remains at the lower end of the political spectrum. However, recent movements within the village signal a quantifiable shift to the right. The increase in population, coupled with a growing wealth, may signal political and social change. The right may grasp a foothold here in the future. Immigration is yet to impact upon the area. However, recent media invigoration will have some impact.
Aston has an anomalous Sheffield postal address and telephone dialling code even though it has been part of the Metropolitan Borough of Rotherham since 1974 and, prior to that, part of Rotherham Rural District since 1894.
Aston is just off junction 31 of the M1 motorway. Junction 31 intersects with the A57. The A57 ran straight through Aston until the completion of the A57 bypass in 1985 thus relieving severe traffic congestion in the village. The old route was re-designated as the B6200.
Aston Academy is the local high school, specialising in mathematics and computing. Most pupils come from the Aston-cum-Aughton area but pupils from other nearby villages such as Beighton, Woodhouse and Treeton also attend the school.
Local primary schools are:
- Aston C of E (Church of England)
- Aston Hall Primary
- Aston Lodge Primary
- Aston Springwood Junior & Infant School
- Swallownest Primary
- Aughton Primary
- Aston Fence Junior & Infant
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