Ashbury’s first Village Hall was constructed, with financial assistance from Lady Craven, from three condemned cottages located opposite the gate of St Mary’s church. Named the Jubilee Hall, it was used for many years, not only for social functions, but also as a base for the Home Guard and for performances by a travelling cinema that toured the Vale at that time. In 1724 money was raised by local gentlemen and Lord Craven for a Charity School in Ashbury so that children of the poor, aged between 7 and 12, could be rescued from a life of vagrancy and theft. The National School was built in 1864 and comprised one large hall, heated by stoves, with a dais at the centre where the master stood to supervise the pupils. Attendance was initially at the discretion of the parents or employers but in 1880 attendance was made compulsory and in 1891 education became free. Following construction of the new Ashbury with Compton Beauchamp C of E Primary School in 1961, the vacated National School was used as a Village Hall. At her death, Lady Craven bequeathed the National School building and the adjacent Head Master’s House for the use of the people of Ashbury.
On inspection the building was found to have fallen into disrepair. Fund raising was a constant problem but loans secured from Oxfordshire Rural Community Council, Department of Education and Social Service eventually enabled the repairs to proceed. In 1975 a new ceiling was installed at a cost of around £400 and the main hall floor was repaired in 1983 at a cost of £1100. Interestingly, these works uncovered the original school cane. Ashbury Parish Council subsequently paid for modernisation of the ladies cloakroom. In 1984 an oversight was discovered with regard to the late Countess of Craven’s will. To everyone’s astonishment it transpired that the Head Master’s house, next to the Village Hall was part of the bequest to Ashbury Village. Since house prices were high at that time it was agreed that the house should be put onto the market. The funds thus raised were invested in a Trust which generates a modest monthly income to help maintain the fabric of the Hall. In 1989 for example, the vestibule was refurbished at a cost of £2,000. Today, the business and upkeep of the Hall are overseen by a local Committee. The Hall is used on a regular basis by a number of Village groups and it also hosts several community functions each year.
Ashbury’s Jubilee Hall located in Church Lane, opposite St Mary’s Church – 1960 (courtesy P.A.W.)
Ashbury School (left) and School Masters’ House (right) – 1915 (Courtesy P.A.W.)
Ashbury School (left) and School Master’s House (right) – 1920 (Courtesy P.A.W.)
Ashbury Village Hall (left) and private dwelling (right) – 1992 (Courtesy Peggy Burns)
Village Hall (left) and private dwelling (right) – 2008 (Courtesy Diane McLaren)
Ashbury Village Hall – 2008 (Courtesy Margaret Smith)
Past events held at the Village Hall
2018 December – Christmas Mosaic Workshop
2018 February – Mosaic Workshop
Twelve people attended the Mosaic Workshop in Ashbury Village Hall on Saturday 10 February. Lucy Cooke, the tutor, provided everything needed to make a mosaic and some people brought along sentimental pieces of china to incorporate into a new design. The end results were very pleasing and we hope Lucy will make a return visit, this time running a Christmas mosaic workshop. Jackie says about her photograph: “This sums up how much concentration is needed to make a mosaic. …we had to do homework and grout our tiles – mine was doubly difficult as I had to do both sides. However, I’m very pleased with the end result which needed a much wider variety of skills than I ever imagined. It’s a lovely way to remember my first days as a student choosing my own coffee mug.” (Jackie had brought her old coffee mug and dissected it so the pieces could be used in the bird mosaic). Jackie’s daughter, Caroline, made the coaster. Claire who has recently moved to the village enjoyed making the love heart.
2017 December – Christmas Wreath Workshop
On 12 December Marianne Astor ran another inspiring Christmas Wreath workshop. Wreaths quickly took shape under Marianne’s guidance. It was amazing how much greenery was used, and then various decorative items were added to the wreaths. The end results were well worth the effort and participants took home some splendid wreaths to adorn their front doors!
2017 December – Christmas Cake Decorating Workshop
Ashbury Village Hall was transformed, helped by the new stage lighting and the work of Richard Pallasio and John Clements on the evening, into a venue to stage Michael Garland’s “Are You Sitting Comfortably?” – Ten Tall Tales Told to Terrify. Michael Garland performed all the ten stories holding the audience enthralled. A lasagne supper was served afterwards.
2017 – Willow Workshop
2014-2015 – Textile map
See how the textile map hanging in the hall was created here.
Booklets of the map, including a postcard, are available for £2.50. Please contact 710800.
2013-2015 – Upgrade and re-opening
Information on the re-opening of the hall following extensive refurbishment can be found here
2009 – Fundraising
August 2009 – Ashbury Summer Ball
(held in the Manor House Barn with entertainment provided by the tribute band “Abbaration”)
February 2009 Valentine Dance
(Photos courtesy of Margaret Smith)
Beautifully decorated Hall awaiting guests Last minute preparations for serving supper