Ascott Martyrs Educational Trust (AMET) – who do you think you are?

The memorial benches for the Ascott Martyrs on the Green at Ascott

Could you be a descendant of the Ascott Martyrs? If so, AMET would love to hear from you.

The story of the Ascott Martyrs is a remarkable part of our local Wychwoods history. In May 1873 sixteen women tried to prevent two youths working in place of their menfolk who were on strike for better wages. The men were working on Crown Farm, farmed by Robert Hambidge, and the two youths were John Hodgkins and John Millen from Ramsden.

The women involved were Levia (Lavinia) Dring, Fanny Honeybone (later Rathband), Amelia Moss, Ann Moss (nee Hudson), Ann Susan Moss (nee Owen?), Caroline Moss (later Phillips), Charlotte Moss, Jane Moss (nee Honeybone), Martha Moss (nee Baylis), Mary Moss (nee Edginton), Elizabeth Pratley (nee Osman), Ellen Pratley (nee Shayler), Mary Pratley (nee Panting), Martha Smith (nee Hart), Mary Moss (Smith – later Pratley) and Rebecca Smith (nee Belcher).

The women, two of whom had babies, were subsequently arrested, tried, convicted, and imprisoned with hard labour in Oxford Gaol. Their case was soon national news, resulting in a surge of support for the women and the issuing of a royal warrant to relieve them of the hard labour to which they had been committed. Their sentences served, the women returned home to Ascott where great celebrations ensued; thereafter they continued their lives. More details regarding the Martyrs, their story and others involved in this event can be found on the AMET website: www.AscottMartyrs.co.uk.

Some readers may remember, or even took part in, the 100th celebration in 1973. AMET is planning a 150th celebration event for 2023.  We are lucky enough to have found several descendants, and would love to hear from anyone who believes they could be connected to these women, the farmer, the two youths or others involved.  AMET is committed to ensuring that any events truly reflect and celebrate the Martyrs’ story.

If you would like to find out more about the Martyrs, you can find more details on the AMET website – www.AscottMartyrs.co.uk along with a Facebook Group that you can join and link up with AMET.  If you are researching your ancestry, AMET also has a study group and we are happy to share information from our research material.

The next time you are passing through Ascott, if you haven’t already done so, please take a look at the seats under the tree on the green.  There are plaques commemorating these brave women.  There is also a wonderful textile completed by a working group, including descendants, hanging in Ascott church that is well worth a visit.

Paula Nielsen-Tickner, AMET Trustee.

October-November 2021