Ashwell is today a large nucleated village located about twelve miles north of Stevenage in Hertfordshire. It lies on chalk at 50-60m OD, adjacent to the site of a spring which is the source of the River Rhee. The settlement today has a very regular plan, with the High Street running south-west to north-east flanked by parallel streets and others perpendicular to these to give a distinctly gridded appearance. The parish church is dedicated to St Mary and lies within the north side of the present settlement, a little isolated from the commercial centre of the present settlement. The church is renowned for its medieval graffiti, including several on the wall of the tower which refer to the devastation wreaked by the plagues and adverse meteorological events of the 14th century. Ashwell Bury and a moat near Farrows Farm lie on the edges of the present village. Beyond the village, the hillfort of Arbury Banks lies a mile to the south-west, while several moats and the presence of Ashwell End west of the village hint at a medieval settlement pattern that may not have been exclusively nucleated.
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