Ash Chapel Museum is now officially open and contains exhibits showing the history of the Ash local area. For more information visit the Ash Museum website.
Opening hours – every third Sunday of the month between 2:00pm – 4:30pm
Due mainly to a rising population, overcrowding in church graveyards became a serious health risk during the mid 19th Century. As a result, in 1853 a Burial Act was passed enabling local authorities outside London to administer their own cemeteries with vestries electing their own Burial Boards to manage them.
Approximately 33 years afterwards, on 29 October 1886, Ash Vestry, the forerunners of Ash Parish Council, agreed that a new Burial Ground should be provided and that day appointed a 7 member Burial Board. By 31 December 1887 the purchase had been completed, at a cost of £152, of a field near St Peter’s Church, covering 1 acre 2 rods and 4 perches. By agreement at the June 1913 annual parish meeting, a further plot of land covering 4 acres 2 rods 19 perches was purchased for £225.
The estimate for providing and laying out the burial ground and building a Chapel on the site came to £970, including £360 for building the Chapel. Having submitted the lowest tender of £540, Tompsett and Kingham were appointed to carry out the construction of the Chapel using Bath Stone in preference to more expensively quoted Portland Stone.
The Chapel, approximately 25’ 2” long by 14’ 1” wide, has a high pitched tiled roof and a large wooden south doorway. Inside are believed to be several of the original furnishings such as the pulpit, the vestments cupboard, organ which is still in working condition and evidence of pews being fixed to the west wall.
On the afternoon of Sunday 4th February 1921 the donor Henry Morris Chester LLD from nearby Poyle Park, unveiled the stained glass window at the east end of the chapel. The window was made by J Wippel & Company Exeter & London. Both this window and the West End window added by Dr Chester the following year, were dedicated to the memory of the men of Ash, Wyke and Normandy killed in the Great War 1914-1920 who died that we might live in safety. Completing the memorial are two windows on the north wall and one on the south wall.
Ash Cemetery Chapel continued in use, with coffins being hand-pulled on a bier until c1977, but eventually the Chapel became a storage space and largely unused, until plans began to turn the building into Ash and District Local History Museum.