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Ashby-de-la-Zouch is a market town in the North West Leicestershire district of the county of Leicestershire, England.

"Ashby" is a word of Anglo-Danish origins. The Norman French addition dates from the years after the Conquest, when the town was given to the Zouche family in the reign of Henry II.

It has an historic 15th century castle which was formerly owned by the Hastings family. It was one of many sleighted by Cromwell's forces in the English Civil War. It is now managed by English Heritage.

Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle

Mary, Queen of Scots is said to have been temporarily kept in the castle.

The castle area was the setting for Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott.

The parish church, St Helens, houses a rare 300 year-old finger pillory, which apparently was used to punish people misbehaving in church.

Many of the buildings in Market Street, the town's main thoroughfare, have timber framing, but most of this is hidden by later brick facades. The "Bull's Head" pub retains the original Elizabethan half-timbering. There are also Regency buildings in this street.

Bath Street has a row of Classical-style houses dating, as the name suggests, from the time that the town was a spa.

Dolly Shepherd, 1887-1983, the famous Victorian aviatrix, made her return to parachuting from balloons in a display at Ashby, after recovering from a potentially fatal accident.

The town itself has been one of the fastest growing in the Midlands in recent years, and the historic centre is now surrounded by executive housing.

The heavy traffic which previously passed through the town has been substantially relieved by the A42 and A511 bypasses.

By far the largest employer in the town is United Biscuits[?], which provides about 2000 jobs. One of its production plants will close in 2004 with loss of 900 of these posts.

Other employers in Ashby include Standard Soap, Calder Colour (paint) and Phillip Harris (laboratory supplies). There is also a concentration of high-tech employers.


For more information on the town see


For more images and detailed information on Ashby Castle

See http://www.theheritagetrail.co.uk/castles/ashby%20castle.htm

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