LONG ASHTON LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY 1988-2020 By Jean Pullin, Founding Member

During 1987 Ruth Poole and Jean Pullin discussed the formation of a local history society but not wishing to step on the toes of SCALA (Society for Conservation at Long Ashton) approached their officers to see if they wished to form a history branch. The offer was declined so in May 1988 Ruth and Jean advertised a meeting at the Library for anyone interested in forming a local history society to attend, bringing any memorabilia of past village life. Approximately 40 people came and the decision was taken to go ahead. Officers agreed were: Chairman, Jean Pullin; Secretary, Ruth Poole; Treasurer, Dr Michael Marston. The first committee members were Norman Yeo and Pam Horler.

A constitution was drawn up and a programme put together with the first meeting held in October 1988 in Long Ashton Library. Meetings continued there until 1996 when a move was made to Keedwell Church. A final move came to the present home in the Jubilee Pavilion in 2004. Membership has always been very healthy, especially in comparison to many village organisations, holding steady over all the past 32 years at an average of 65-70.

To raise funds in the beginning, with help from Skeeles Chemist shop, the society produced a set of six coasters using photos taken in the 1960s and 1970s by Ruth Poole. These sets proved so popular that it was swiftly repeated using a different set of photos from Ruth’s collection.

The next project was a tea towel again with local buildings drawn by a Leigh Woods resident and also sets of notelets with local focal points drawn by a Long Ashton resident. A further project involved Clevedon Pottery who produced, exclusively for the Society, small pottery trinket trays engraved with wildlife subjects and the name of the society. The final project involved printing Christmas cards using a photograph of the eastern entrance to the village. All these items sold out very quickly.

The society was given a recording machine (by Dr Marston) which was used by some committee and other members in visits to older long-standing residents to record their reminiscences of village life. Some of these tapes have been transcribed and both are held by the society.

The early years were quite busy and productive. In 1991 the first edition of Estune made an appearance. In all, ten editions were produced over 20 years, until 2011, with the majority of the articles and stories written by Ruth Poole and Roy Pullin. 200 copies of each edition were printed with some going to 100 copy reprints. All sold very quickly when launched.


In 1997 a request was made for any village photos held by residents. Three members made a selection from the large numbers offered and with a short, written history of the village, were incorporated into the Book of Archive Photographs of Long Ashton published by Chalford Publishing and still available online.

WG Grace

In 1993 the Churchyard Trust was formed with representatives from the Parochial Church Council, SCALA and the Local History Society. John Stenner and Norman Yeo represented the Society. They didn’t just attend meetings to talk about management, but got down to some real hard work mending tombs, renovating and even, with block and tackle, removing table tops for repair. Not bad for men in the 80s and 90s.

Also commencing in the early 1990s two or three members began recording the inscriptions on the tombstones in the churchyard culminating, after about 10 years, in Roy Pullin assembling all material to publish a wire bound record in 2002. Copies of all four volumes are held by the Society, North Somerset Library and All Saints Church. These have proved invaluable in the requests received by the Society from this country and abroad in trying to track down ancestors of the enquirers. It was completed just in time as now many of the inscriptions have been lost due to weather and erosion.

The Society is affiliated to Avon Local History Society and two members usually attend their study day in April which is a good source of speakers available for future meetings.

Because a healthy sum was raised in the early years, which has provided a cushion of reserves through subsequent years, and because membership has remained high and steady, it has been possible to keep the subscription very low. Originally £5 in 1988 it is now only £15.

Much has been done to visually illustrate the history of the village. The society has instigated the placing of plaques, information boards and milestones in the village over the last 20 years. It has received grants from the Parish Council and LALWE (Long Ashton and Leigh Woods Environmental) a body, now defunct, which awarded grants from tariffs charged to the waste and recycling industry. These grants have been used in conjunction with the Society’s funds to carry out the following:

WG Grace

The LALHS Green Plaques

Date Placed Location Historical Significance
2000 125 Long Ashton Road The former vicarage and home to Rev John Collinson, Somerset Historian, and vicar of All Saints 1787-1794.
2000 126 Long Ashton Road Site of Mrs Grace's Seminary for Young Ladies. Elizabeth Grace was the grandmother of the cricketer W.G.Grace.
2000 153 Long Ashton Road "Sunnymead". Dating from 1403, it was a butcher's shop from 1730, and has a knot garden dating from the 1840s.
2000 Old Northleaze School Raised by public subscription, opened in 1862, now apartments.
2000 1 Church Lane A Church of England School in 1818.
2000 Providence Lane The former Village Club that was at the bottom of Providence Lane. Latterly the Royal British Legion, plaque now removed.
2000 Providence Lane The last remaining standpipe for water piped from Weston Road to cottages on the upper slopes of the lane.
2000 Community Centre, Keedwell Hill Built in 1959 as the Village Hall to commemorate those who did not return from WWII.

Long Aston Church

Other Projects

2002 Information Boards Cambridge Batch & Clarkencombe
2006 Milestones (replacements) "3 Mile" at Church House and "4 Mile" at Wild Country Lane / Weston Road.
2013 Peel Park Memorial Plaques (x2) Two on plinths, in memory of resident, Andree Peel, a member of the French Resistance in WWII.