Asenby is conveniently located close to the A1 and A19 at the northern most end of the Vale of York, near Thirsk, the home of famous vet and author James Herriot. Asenby sits between the Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorkshire Moors National Park bordered by the Howardian Hills, which are designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The name Asenby reveals the ancient Anglo Scandinavian origins of the village, which is attractively placed beside the river Swale. A short riverside walk takes you to the village of
Topcliffe reached by the historic bridge of 1622, an important crossing of the Great North Road – a nearby cast-iron mile post records ‘London 209’.
As you journey between the two villages you will notice, ahead of you, the imposing church of St Columba, its newly restored tower a landmark for miles around. This mediaeval church was completely rebuilt in the 1850’s, but its foundation dates to before 650AD. It has an outstanding palimpsest brass, nearly 6ft in length, of Thomas de Topcliffe (d.1365) and his wife Mabel (d.1391), which is one of the most important in the country, and a fine stained-glass window of ‘The Annunciation’ by Sir Edward Burne-Jones.
Because of the river crossing, Topcliffe became an important centre in mediaeval times noted for the de Percy family (later Earls of Northumberland) who set up residence after the Norman Conquest at nearby Maiden Bower; the earthworks of their motte and bailey castle still remain. Topcliffe market was justly famous and the three day July Horse and Sheep Fair continued well into the 1960’s, the Tollbooth, once the local court house, providing a useful lock up for those in need of sobering accommodation. Charles I stayed overnight in 1646 as prisoner of the Scottish army and some records suggest that it was at Topcliffe in the same year that £100,000 was paid for the king to be delivered up to the Parliamentarians; ‘…it would seem that this was the only market in England for the sale of kings!’
Guests at Asenby Hall, however, can be assured of a thoroughly restful stay enjoying the tranquillity of our home and garden.