Arthur Ashfield was a small-holder and market gardener on Bushey Heath. When he died in 1866 he left a staggering £5000.00 to the school, despite the fact that he was an ordinary working man and not a member of the local gentry like the school’s original founder. Little else is known about him and he appeared to have no connection to the school. The bequest was left on condition that his family graves in St James Church were looked after. The school was able to abolish is fees or “School Pence” as it was known, due to this generous legacy. The school was named after him in 1908.
Bushey War Memorial
Just down the road from Ashfield at the bottom of School Lane is a war memorial. The memorial was sculpted by Sir William Reid Dick in memory of Bushey residents, many of whom were Ashfield boys, who died fighting in the Great War 1914-1918. It is a figure of a woman in mourning with head bowed and her left hand delicately positioned under her chin. In her right hand she holds a wreath. The figure is carved from Portland stone. The inscription includes the words “TRANQUIL YOU LIE, YOUR KNIGHTLY VIRTUE PROVED/YOUR MEMORY HALLOWED IN THE LAND YOU LOVED”. The Bushey War Memorial was unveiled on the 17th March 1922 by Lt General The Earl of Cavan. Sir William Reid Dick also sculpted the decorative features which adorn the Menin Gate at Ypres, including the lion at the very top. The Menin Gate marks the start of one of the main roads leading from Ypres to the Front Line. Further inscriptions were added after the Second World War to show those from Bushey who died during that conflict.
Lucy Kemp-Welch was born in Bournemouth. She showed an early excellence in art and exhibited for the first time when she was 14 years old. She moved to Bushey to study Hubert Von Herkomers art school at the age of 19. As one of Herkomer’s best and most favoured students, she was able to set up her own studio, in an old former inn known as ‘Kingsley’. She took over the direction of the School after Herkomer in 1905 and ran it until 1926, when she spent several summers following Sanger’s Circus, recording the horses.
She resided in Bushey, Hertfordshire for most of her life and a major collection of her works is in The Bushey Museum. They include very large paintings of wild ponies on Exmoor, galloping polo ponies, the last horse-launched lifeboat being pulled into a boiling sea, heavy working horses pulling felled timber and hard-working farm horses trudging home at the end of the day.
As well as pictures of horses, she painted other animals, flowers, and landscapes. Colt-Hunting in the New Forest (1897) became her best-known picture after being purchased for the Chantrey Collection for 500 guineas. It is in the Tate Gallery.
View the paintings of Lucy Kemp-Welch here
If you have any old photos of the school or classes and would be happy for them to be displayed on this web page we would love to have copies! You can email any Ashfield memories, information or photos which we could include, or pop into the School Office.