Tuesday, 22 March 2011


Origins of village names are fascinating and we (& others!) have been doing a little delving into our railway's home village history. It seems the village dates back to the 10th century or even earlier! There are several interpretations as to the origin of the village name, the most popular seemingly of Anglo - Saxon influence, being 'the enclosure of the 'aescmann' or pirate ! 'aesc-mann' was 'pirate', 'haugh' from 'haga' or 'hagi', a fenced enclosure (for sheep?). So in ancient records can be found 'Assemanhaghe' (around 1175), 'Ashmanhag' (1183), 'Assemaneshawe' (1254), and 'Ashmonhawe' (1535). There was a Bryant map of 1836 which gave the spelling as 'Ashmanhaugh'. Nowadays the most popular pronunciation locally seems to favour 'Ashman'or'.
The village boasts a lovely round tower church, St Swithins, being the probably the smallest one out of 124 in Norfolk, and there is another nearby at Beeston St Lawrence. The 2001 Census shows the village population as being 197 in 74 households. (hope you've done your 2011 one?)
Today the village, although appearing to be quiet and sleepy, is a very active place with the old Village school now the centre of activities being the village Hall (the Preston Room), hosting a wide variety of events throughout the year for the villagers, and others, young and old. There are gardening, art, Senior Residents and Bookworms Clubs, film nights, themed meal evenings, Jumble sales, quizes and there is of course a thriving cricket team. Apart from the usual farming activities there is also a coal yard and a boatbuilding facility!
Thanks to various sources, particularly Bob Payne and the Village Parish Council website.