Ashdon, is a village and civil parish in Essex, England. It is about 4 miles (6 km) northeast of Saffron Walden and 23 miles (37 km) northwest from the county city of Chelmsford. The village is in the district of Uttlesford and the parliamentary constituency of Saffron Walden. The village has its own Parish Council.
The village is approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) northeast of the nearest town, Saffron Walden. It is on the River Bourn, a tributary to the River Granta, a tributary to the River Cam. The village is close to the Essex/Cambridgeshire county border.
The River Bourn has caused much flooding in recent years to the village of Ashdon in 2000 and 2001 saw heavy winds and rain flood it immensely. On 14 June 2007 the village fell victim to flash flooding when a month's rain fell in an hour causing heavy flooding. Historically, one tenth of Ashdon parish was woodland.
Ashdon has been cited as a potential location [note 1] for a significant battle in 1016, known as the Battle of Assundun. This was a key milestone in the creation of a united England, whereby the Danish King Canute (or Cnut) defeated the English King Edmund II. After the battle King Edmund II ceded England (except Wessex) to Canute. During the summer and autumn of 2016 the Ashdon and Hadstock Millennium Group organised events to mark the event. On 10 September 2016 Waltons Park hosted a re-enactment of the battle which was organised by Ashdon Parish Council, Hadstock village and Saffron Walden Museum, and involved 80 actors In addition to the battle, former archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams came to Hadstock church to deliver a commemorative service.
All of the Bartlow Hills were entirely in Ashdon Parish, Essex when the boundary between Cambridgeshire and Essex ran from Steventon End to the River Granta, then along the Granta westwards to Linton, as shown on Ordnance Survey maps including those dated 1805, 1838 and 1882. There is evidence to suggest former vineyards were in operation near to the church.
As a rural settlement, farming has been a major aspect of village life. So after many years of reduced pay, the farmers formed unions and in 1914, partook in the first agricultural strike. Not only were workers unhappy over pay conditions, which at 13 shillings a week among the lowest paid in the country (just ahead of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire), but also the dismissal of workers who had joined the Helions Bumpstead National Agricultural & Rural Workers Union branch, which had formed one year previously. The strikers used the grounds of The Fox (a former pub) to organise protests and host concerts. In addition to the concerts villages organised processions of flags and banners, as well as torch glowings at night. During the strike 70 police officers were drafted in and resulted in 8 workers being sentenced to a month imprisonment in Cambridge, for refusing to pay fines. Initially the workers demanded 16 shillings and for reduced working hours with a half day on Saturday but settled for 15 shillings and £8 for harvest work, bringing the dispute to a close a day before the outbreak of World War I.
Ashdon Primary School, a non-denominational, built in the Victorian Age, for 4–11 year olds is located in the village and has approximately 90 students and had Iain Dale, a Conservative Blogger. Following an initiative to boost student numbers in 2014, the school was still under capacity 4 years later.
An electoral ward in the same name exists. The district ward contains the "Parishes of Ashdon, Hadstock and Sewards End together with the Little Walden ward of Saffron Walden parish." This ward had a population of 1,736 at the 2011 census.
The village has two cricket teams that play at Waltons Park. There is also a football, bowls. It also will host a trail run this year. It has hosted numerous cycle events in recent years, including the 2010 Regional Championships.
Places of interest
There is a windmill on the hill, Bragg's Mill, which has recently been renovated; it is one of the few remaining post mills in Essex. Historically the mill had a brewery and to celebrate the legacy of the mill an Ashdon Amber ale was brewed by Roughacre Brewery in neighbouring Castle Camps. The restored windmill was opened on 23 September 2006 by Patricia Herrmann OBE, Vice Chairman of the Essex Environment Trust. There is also a village museum with information on local history. The village hall is Midsummer Hill.
There are three religious centres in the village. These are two churches, All Saints Church and Ashdon Baptist Church and the Buddhist retreat at Marpa House. Ashdon Baptist Church has been in the village since 1809. The parish church of All Saints dates from the 13th century, with later alterations. Marpa House Buddhist retreat was established in 1973 and is run by the Dharma Trust and practices the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Businesses include a haunted pub (Rose and Crown which was frequented by Cromwell), as well as many farms.
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