Welcome to Ashford
Ashford-in-the-Water appears in the Domesday Book as ‘Aisseford’, a pure Saxon word meaning ‘the ford of the ash tree’. This reference originates from the site of the famous medieval Sheepwash Bridge located in the heart of the village. Over time Aisseford developed into Ashford and the suffix ‘in-the-Water’ is of quite recent origin, adopted to distinguish the village from any other Ashfords in England.
The Sheepwash Bridge was once a packhorse bridge, and until recently sheep were brought to be washed in the water prior to shearing. The concept was to pen lambs on one side of the river and throw the mothers in the other side. The mothers would swim towards their young, ensuring a good soaking and a silky fleece.
The village is also famous for its colourful well-dressing ceremony where the six wells are dressed with a mass of flower petals and leaves. In the past, Ashford was also a centre for candle making, lead mining and was made famous by the discovery of Ashford marble which was first extracted by Henry Watson in 1748.