THE PARISH COUNCIL
Ashingdon Parish Council comprises 11 Councillors and a Parish Clerk.
The Parish Council meets once per month at 7.30pm on the first Monday of each month except August, except when the first Monday is a public holiday, when the meeting will held on the first normal Monday thereafter.
Parish Council meetings all take place in the Ashingdon and East Hawkwell Memorial Hall in the Committee Room.
Parish councils were established as separate legal entities in 1894. Before 1894, there were various groups responsible for parish administration and a system of local government based on ecclesiastic parish boundaries by or under the guidance of The Church dating from feudal times from about the 8th century. In 1894, the law permitted the transfer of civil administration of parishes and small towns from The Church to parish councils.
ASHINGDON and SOUTH FAMBRIDGE PARISH COUNCILS HISTORY
Parishes have been ecclesiastic administrative areas based on the parish boundaries of each church since Saxon times before the year 1000. They were well established since then and had firm boundaries and administered church and civil duties from the Middle Ages until recent times, with amendments only taking place from the late 1800s and during the 1900s. Before 1894, there were various groups responsible for parish administration and a system of local government based on ecclesiastic parish boundaries by or under the guidance of The Church dating from feudal times from about the 8th century. Parishes also served as local administrative areas for such matters as churches, schools, law and order, the collection of local taxes and church tithes, for building the amenities of a village, maintenance of the infrastructure, care of the poor (parish relief) and many other civil matters.
Every parishioner was obliged to attend their own parish church every Sunday, or rather every Sabbath, which could include Saturday night – after dark. Sometimes the parishioners lived quite a distance from their own parish’s church and another church in a different parish could be much nearer. But, they could not attend that nearer church and had to make the longer journey to their own parish church. This is one of the reasons for the existence of many footpaths, tracks and roads, which today seem to lead in a curious direction. They were a short cut from where the parishioners lived and led to their parish church.
In 1894, the law permitted the transfer of civil administration of villages and small towns from The Church to new civil parish councils. The establishment of civil parishes operated alongside the church parishes. The civil parishes of Ashingdon and South Fambridge were both established and both held their first Parish Meeting on 4th December 1894. Ashingdon held their first meeting in the “National School Room” at Ashingdon Schools and the meeting was chaired by Mr John Jolly, a local farmer, their first Parish Council Chairman. South Fambridge held their first meeting in the “Rectory Farm House” and the meeting was chaired by Mr Hugh Crawford, their first Parish Council Chairman.
It seems that the civil parishes ended at some time during the early 1900s, because by March 1931, Ashingdon applied to The Essex County Council “to form a parish council” and on 4th August 1931 five parish councillors were elected to this new parish council. Also, on 27th August 1933, proposals were put forward for Hawkwell to be incorporated into the Ashingdon Parish Council, but this did not succeed. In May 1934, South Fambridge applied to the Essex County Council to form a separate parish. This was granted and elections were held on 13th August 1934, after which, this new parish council held its first meeting on 27th August 1934. A few years later, the government suggested the amalgamation of smaller parish councils and on 27th June 1938, South Fambridge objected to the amalgamation with Ashingdon Parish. However, it was approved and although a public notice of the approved amalgamation was displayed, it was postponed, probably due the imminence of war in Europe.
However, by 1946 and during the post-war reorganisation, Ashingdon and South Fambridge were merged and they held their last meetings as separate parish councils on 28th March 1946, after which, they formed one new larger parish and held new council meetings as “Ashingdon Parish Council”. South Fambridge is represented in the combined Parish Council and has their own elected representative on the Rochford District Council.