Visit and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire. One of the few towns in Leicestershire, Ashby (deriving from the Old English ęsc for ash and the Scandinavian byr for a habitation) received its distinguishing nomenclature from the Breton nobleman, Alain de Parrhoet la Souche, who acquired the manor by marriage in about 1160. The town is pleasant. South of the west end of the street is the Grecian, or Spa, quarter which contains Gilbert Scott's 70-ft cross to the memory of Lady Loudoun, who died in 1879 gratefully remembered by the people of Ashby for her goodness. Her house, built in the 19th century, is now part of the Boys' Grammar School.
Lady Loudoun was a member of the famous Hastings family so closely associated with the impressive ruin, Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle, which stands to the east of the town. Originally a Norman manor house, it was granted to the first Baron Hastings by a grateful Edward IV in 1461. Towards the end of the Wars of the Roses in which Lord Hastings and his private army played a leading part on the Yorkist side, the magnificent tower was added, designed as a self-contained fortress. In 1569 and 1586 Mary Queen of Scots stayed in Ashby Castle as the prisoner of Lord Hastings's grandson, who had been created 1st Earl of Huntingdon by Henry VIII. She occupied the mainly 15th-century solar, a long, narrow room with a beautiful fireplace and great twelve-light mullioned windows. James I visited the castle with his entire following in 1617, almost impoverishing the earl. Charles I and Henrietta Maria stayed there in 1634, but when Charles returned 11 years later it was only to rest for a few days before and after the Battle of Nasery. By then Henry Hastings, Lord Loughborough, brother of the earl, was holding the castle for the king. He held out against the Commonwealth troops for more than a year. After his final surrender the castle was slighted disarmed and demolished - by Lord Grey. The remains comprise the tower, parts of the walls and solar, and various domestic buildings including the huge kitchen dating from about 1350. Sir Walter Scott laid the scene of the famous pageant and tournament in Ivanhoe in the fields nearby.
Not far from the castle is St Helen's Parish Church where the east window contains some ancient heraldic glass taken from the ruined castle chapel. There are various Hastings monuments, including one to Lady Selina, who joined Wesley and formed Lady Huntingdon's Connexion of Nonconformist chapels. There is also the only known survival of a finger pillory, consisting of two beams with 13 grooves each, which were fastened with a lock on the hands of those who were absent from, or misbehaved in church.
Nearby cities: Leicester
Nearby towns: Atherstone, Burton upon Trent, Castle Donington, Hinckley, Loughborough, Market Bosworth, Tamworth
Nearby villages: Appleby Magna, Breedon on the Hill, Bretby, Calke, Chilcote, Church Gresley, Coalville, Coleorton, Donisthorpe, Hartshorne, Heather, Hugglescote, Ibstock, Measham, Moira, Osgathorpe, Overseal, Packington, Ravenstone, Smisby, Snarestone, Swadlincote, Swannington, Swannington, Thringstone, Ticknall, Whitwick, Worthington
Have you decided to visit or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a bed and breakfast (a B&B or b and b)
- a guesthouse
- a hotel (or motel)
- a self-catering establishment, or
- other accommodation