Aston-cum-Aughton History Group
The Aston-cum-Aughton History Group was originally formed in 1970, meeting in Aston Reading Room and then in a local junior school. We researched the history of Aston Parish, going back to Saxon times when the village was a cluster of thatched timber buildings around a timber church. Many hours were spent poring over the Registers of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, as well as the Accounts of the Parish Constables, Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor. Interest in the work gradually dwindled and only four members remained. These four continued to meet and in 1977 produced the book “Some Aspects of the History of Aston-cum-Aughton”. Two members of the group then moved away and the History Group was disbanded.
In 1998 the group was re-formed in conjunction with the Workers’ Educational Association and the two remaining members of the original history group joined the new group. One of the two re-typed the first book onto a computer and re-printed it for the millennium year.
We then began further research into the parish, with more emphasis on local people’s recollections of the villages: the church, shops, post offices, public houses, chapels, mines and houses. The work was assembled and in 2001 a new book was produced called “Top O’T’ill—Further Aspects of the History of Aston-cum-Aughton”.
We turned our attention to gathering the memories of local parishioners and in 2005 a collection of these were published in a book called “Memories: Aston, Aughton, Swallownest, North Staveley, Fence and Ulley”.
In 2011 we published two further books: “More Memories”, a further collection of stories and reminiscences by local people of life in the villages of Aston-cum-Aughton and “Memories in Photographs”, a collection of photographs of the churches, schools, pubs, farms and other buildings in Aston-cum-Aughton.
Our “The Fallen” was published in 2013 and is a record of service men and women killed in the First and Second World Wars who are remembered on the war memorials in Aston-cum-Aughton.
Our latest book was published in 2021 and is entitled “Volunteering in Wartime: Local Defence in Aston-cum-Aughton 1939 to 1945”. This includes the names of all the volunteers listed in the 1939 register and the formation of various local voluntary organisations and reports in the newspapers of the time concerning the preparations for war.
The Group has been involved in local heritage issues, such as support for the renovation of Aston Reading Room, the reinstatement of the Verelst cenotaph in the grounds of Aston Hall Hotel, the erection of the War Memorial on the land at the side of the William Layne Reading Room on Aston Lane, the fitting of a Blue Plaque on the Reading Room in memory of Reverend William Mason 1725-1797 and the memorial stone for Thomas Lee, native of Abyssinia and servant to the Verelst family, whose gravestone was rapidly deteriorating. In 2014 we asked the Parish Council to erect a flagpole close to the William Layne Reading Room and this was installed in time for the Remembrance Service at the War Memorial.
We continue to meet on the first and third Mondays of the month in the William Layne Reading Room, Aughton Lane, Aston and new members are welcome to join us.