The Hampshire Church Treasure Ashe
What is it about this part of the world that nurtured those blessed to write about the lives and times in which they lived? Here at Ashe, a little whirlwind of talent was formed, the rectory, home of the mother of Mary Russell Mitford, Anna Austen Lefroy, niece to Jane and wife of the rector at Ashe, Benjamin Lefroy and an authoress in her own right and the great Jane Austen living less than two miles away and a frequent visitor here.
But that is to digress, treasures abound here but one so delightful it cannot be ignored is tucked inside the church of Holy Trinity and All Saints, by the rood screen, Find the tiny door and open.
There sits little robin, remembered for all time, where once she sat. When the church was being renovated in the C19th, the little bird would come to share the workmen’s lunch, as robins so often do, perched on the handle of a spade. It then made it’s nest and hatched it’s young. So attached had the workmen become to robin that the carpenter made the tiny cupboard and created a carving of their robin friend on it’s nest and there she sits for us all to enjoy. The delight of opening the stiff door with it’s very substantial hinges and ‘discovering’ the little bird remains. A Hampshire church treasure of a very different kind.
Close by to Ashe is the village of Steventon, birthplace and home to Jane Austen and a few miles up the road Oakley birthplace to William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury in the early C16th and a major player in Tudor politics. This area of Hampshire, from where the great chalk stream of the River Test springs, overflows with intriguing history. Use the map to help you discover more.