Ashbourne Treasures

Ashbourne Treasures

5th July to 25th September 2017

Ashbourne Treasures was an opportunity to see, learn and listen about the history of the town over the summer months in 2017.  The Heritage Lottery Funded Project brought Ashbourne Treasures that have never been in one place before to all residents and visitors.

We are currently updating the website to showcase all the events that took place over the summer months – so come back soon to see more.

See & Learn:


Three exhibitions sites in Ashbourne showcased treasures associated with the history and development of Ashbourne and these were brought together from the British Museum, National Archives, Derbyshire Record Office and various private collections.

The exhibitions included the original 1585 Charter – a beautiful document illustrated by the Queen’s portrait artist Nicholas Hilliard, a Bronze Age axe head, the St Oswald’s flagon, the battle helm worn by Sir Thomas Cokayne in 1537.  Examples of 18th and 19th century longcase clocks, an 1862 oil painting of Shrovetide football, a lace shawl made for the Great Exhibition and many more varied and intriguing items from Ashbourne’s past.  Parts of St Oswald’s Church including the Penelope Boothby marble tomb also formed part of the exhibition.

Listen & Learn: 

Over the summer months, Ashbourne Treasures held a series of talks and events for all interests.  See Events Held for all details.

The talks opened with the welcome return of Ashbourne enthusiast and TV historian Dan Cruikshank who entertained us, in his usual laid back style with an illustrated talk on what lay behind the Georgian age of building Ashbourne’s ‘high society period’ in its development.

As well as building history, there was a chance to get a taste of history, with a unique event which combines the story of the food eaten in Georgian Ashbourne.  Dr Pete Collinge and Pete Dale, formerly of the Dining Room, offered the audience an evening to remember with the story and samples of the food and drink being consumed in Ashbourne 200 years ago.

Audiences also enjoyed a nostalgic night reflecting on some of the more physical exploits and stories around the glorious game – the history of Shrovetide football with an exhibition of leathers and a talk by Revd Tim Baker.

Other events covered every period from the medieval, and how three towns became Ashbourne; to Ashbourne in the civil war, ‘tours of the town from your chair’ and the story of The Old Trust – the unique charity still serving the town after nearly 500 years.

Plus learning about Clockmaking – one of Ashbourne’s onetime biggest industry; the chance to visit the exciting new developments at Buxton Museum  and then all rounded off by TV historian and Tudor expert Susannah Lipscombe.

View, Find and Learn:

The project also replaced all finger posts around the town and installed a “History of Ashbourne Park” sign, now located at one of the main entrances to the park, which covers the extensive period of history of the area.   All new finger posts within the town, which not only display the direction but the walking times, also proudly display the town crest on top.

One of the new finger posts officially unveiled by the High Sheriff of Derbyshire, Annie Hall, and representation from District Councilors, Tony Millward, Tom Donnelly and Ashbourne Treasures Chairman Paul Kirtley.

Missed it all…don’t worry, we have two books that will allow you to see and learn about our history: 

Ashbourne: Its History and Treasures

A booked dedicated to the towns history from Bronze Age to the digital age by Adrian Henstock is still available.  The book also includes images and details of the artefacts that were on display across the summer months in 2017.  Price £5.00+PP (UK only)

Ashbourne Town Heritage Trail Guide Book

40 pages with over 50 photographs many dating back to the early days of Victorian  photography – See the town then and now complete with Town Map and Treasure Trail Route. Price £2.50+P&P (UK only)  

Both the Ashbourne: Its History and Treasures and The Heritage Trail Book are available by post from the Visitor Information Centre, Ashbourne Town Hall, Market Place, Ashbourne, DE6 1ES, Tel: 01335 343666, email: or  in person from Ashbourne Library, Compton, Ashbourne; the Heritage Centre, Church Street Ashbourne, or  St Oswald’s Church, Ashbourne.