Ashfield in History

Ashfield cum Thorpe is a village and civil parish in the Mid Suffolk district of Suffolk, England, between the town of Framlingham to the East and the village of Debenham to the West.

It is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is mentioned in the Domesday Book, when it had a population of around 45 adult men (and total population probably similar to the current figure of just under 200). Since the 11th Century, the population has at times been significantly higher, and was recorded as being 343 in White’s Suffolk of 1844.

Ashfield has a church and a village hall, and used to have a school, a pub and two shops. Some of the houses in the village date back to the 15th century.

The name “Ashfield cum Thorpe” (Ashfield with Thorpe) refers to the civil parish, which consists of the village of Ashfield and the nearby hamlet of Thorpe. The church of St Mary existed in Ashfield at the time of the Domesday Book, and at some time after, St Peter’s church was built at Thorpe. This latter fell into ruins by around 1600, and the church at Ashfield was used by both sets of villagers. Thorpe church was rebuilt in 1739, retaining its late Saxon tower. By the late 18th Century, Ashfield church was in disrepair, and it was the turn of Ashfield villagers to use Thorpe church. This went on until 1853, when Lord Henniker of Thornham Magna paid for a new St Mary church in Ashfield. Alas, Thorpe church is now in ruins, only part of the tower remaining.