The large triangular market place at Ashbourne was almost certainly laid out as part of the medieval planned town. By 1547 semi-permanent structures had already been built over the southern half, suggesting that this was the site of the original medieval market stalls. Much of the rest of the area would have been reserved for livestock. The swine market was near the point where the Market Place today becomes Buxton Road and the horse market was further down the slope. The block of encroachments was known as the Middle Cale and now divides the original medieval space into three areas, the present market place, Victoria Square, still known locally as The Butchery, and lower St John’s Street. By 1536 a moot hall stood somewhere in the centre of the market place. (1).
A plan of Ashbourne dated 1547 depicts a market cross towards the northern end of the market area. Assuming its position to be correctly shown, the cross appears to have been relocated at some point during the post-medieval period to a point near where the eastern apex of the market place joined St John’s Street. At that time it was probably a roofed structure, since a shop was attached to it by the late 18th century. The last reference to it, and to a free-standing Market House which stood nearby, is in c. 1790, when both appear to have been demolished for road improvements. (2).
The earliest references to a market at Ashbourne come from the second half of the 13th century. A deed of 1269 mentions ‘the market place of Esseburn’ while another deed, undated but said to be pre-1272, refers to a clothier’s stall (ludam pannariam) in the market of 'Esseburne'. The market was held weekly on a Saturday and its importance is indicated by the fact that between the years 1200 and 1350 only two other Derbyshire markets were also held on Saturdays. The medieval Shambles at Ashbourne comprised stalls with a chamber above, constructed of oak cruck frames. The walls were of wattle and daub lined with oak boards, while the roof was covered with wooden shingles. The Wright Memorial was erected in the market place in 1874. A bull ring was once sited near it. (3)
The surface of the Market Place, Victoria Square and flanking pavements is grade 2 listed and was laid out in the 18th or early 19th century, or possibly earlier. The surface is mostly limestone setts with some flagstones, there are raised pavements to the west and north-eastern sides of the main Market Place. Victoria Square has a narrow modern surfaced footway through centre. (4)
Bibliographic reference: Henstock, A. 1971. Ashbourne: The Historical Setting.
Bibliographic reference: Henstock, A (ed). 1991. A Georgian Country Town. Ashbourne 1725-1825. Volume Two: Architecture.
Listed Building File: Historic England. 2011. The National Heritage List for England. List entry number 1279486 and 1293138.
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Centred SK 1804 4676 (117m by 164m)
ASHBOURNE, DERBYSHIRE DALES, DERBYSHIRE
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Record last edited
Jan 9 2020 3:40PM
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