- Steeple Ashton
infobox UK place
country = England
static_image_caption=The village, as seen from across a field
population=939 (as of
region=South West England
Steeple Ashton is a village and a
civil parishin Wiltshire, England. The village has approximately 1000 inhabitants, although it had twice as many according to the 1981 census [http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/getcensus.php?id=233] . It was also at that time the place of the main local market, the market crossfor which still stands upon the Village Green. A great fire however destroyed the few mills within the small town and when it came to rebuilding the textile mills moved to the nearby town of Trowbridgewhere the River Bissprovided better power. The Market was later moved to Market Lavington.
The village is named partially after the church built there. The church was struck by lightning in the 17th century and the spire was rebuilt, only to be struck by lightning a second time. It was not rebuilt again, and the present day church has only a tower. Locals have it that a third spire was abandoned on the basis that the first two lightning strikes intimated divine disapproval of the steeple. Some villagers still believe that, whilst others have looked up 'lightning conductor' in the encyclopedia.
Steeple Ashton today is a busy village. It has an award winning local shop, run by volunteers, a thriving and improving pub, a football team, an active Trust supporting the Church which organises many events, a day nursery, recently a 'screen in the sticks' local cinema and an informative village magazine published monthly, not to mention a number of special interest groups. The school closed about five years ago and children are now educated at nearby Keevil school, which has grown from about fifty to over a hundred pupils in the last three years. Its annual end of year stage productions are gaining legendary status and tickets allegedly exchange on ebay at a premium.
The village also abuts Keevil Airfield, an active military aerodrome which served throughout World War Two as home to squadrons of Bomber Command, and also a launch site for gliders taking part in Operation Market Garden, made famous in 'A Bridge Too Far'. These days there is a well-attended Gliding club at the airfield, and the army and air force regularly train there, too. There is an annual 10k run around the airfield, and last year, the world record for a three legged race was broken on the perimeter track.
Steeple Ashton is the location of a 26.5
hectare geological Site of Special Scientific Interest(gbmapping|ST914558), notified in 1998.
* [http://www.english-nature.org.uk/citation/citation_photo/2000307.pdf English Nature citation sheet for the site] (accessed 23 July 2006)
* [http://www.english-nature.org.uk English Nature website] (SSSI information)
* [http://www.2sa.co.uk/ Steeple Ashton Online] (Steeple Ashton Online)
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