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Great Ashfield

Photo from Great Ashfield

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Population (2011) of Great Ashfield: 378.


Local licensing authority for Great Ashfield is Mid Suffolk.

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About Great Ashfield

Great Ashfield is a dispersed settlement, recorded in Domesday as "Escefella" and also historically called Ashfield Magna. It appears on John Speed's 1610 map as "AÅ¿hfeilde".

There are no pubs here any more, but pub nights are held in the village hall (advertised on the green by the village sign).

The parish was the birthplace of Lord Thurlow (eldest son of Rev. Thomas Thurlow) in 1735. After Cambridge & Inner temple, Edward Thurlow first worked as a solicitor until he became solicitor-general in 1770, attorney-general the following year and lord chancellor in 1778. He was critically involved in George IV's "illness" in 1788-89 when his "integrity shone conspicuous". He never married and died at Brighton in 1806.

Castle Hill is the site of a medieval Motte. Some Roman tiles have been found here.

RAF Great Ashfield was on high land just 2km south east of the village and was first used by the Royal Flying Corps, flying BE2s during the Great War. Then a grass field, it was rebuilt by John Laing & Co before the USAF 385th Bomber Group, with their B17 (Flying Fortress) aircraft arrived. They were to be very busy here until all operations were completed in June 1945 by which time 296 missions had been flown, with the loss of 129 aircraft in action and 40 destroyed in other incidents. One notable event in May 1944 was when a solitary Junkers 88 bombed the airfield destroying a B17 in a hanger - apparently the only one to be destroyed in England on the ground by enemy action in World War Two.

Acknowledgements

Some historical information from English Heritage's National Monuments Record.

Some details from "Suffolk Airfields in WW2" by Graham Smith.