Ash Bull was Joyce’s uncle, her mother’s brother. Please see Joyce’s Notes for additional Ash Bull details.
The older generation of Ringstead remember a hermit who lived at the woods at the bottom of Ham Lane in what was known as Ash’s wood where Joseph Ashley Bull lived out his life. Born in 1894 and died in 1982 Ashley Bull was quite a clever man, born and schooled in Ringstead, he lived firstly in a terraced block of three, which have since long gone but stood opposite the church. Ashley was a very quiet person, kept himself to himself and in his own way a proud man. He joined the Flying Corps as a mechanic in his teens was a very good boxer and football player. He did learn the trade of a tin smith as his father once was.
After coming out of the RAF Ashley had a shop & workshop on Raunds square where anything tin was repaired and made and Ashley lived where now is being used as a garage in Chapel street next to where his Father’s (William Bull) shop still stands. Incidentally his father William (tinker) Bull ran the Swan Inn In 1900. When he died in 1913 his wife Emma took the helm. In his late 50s he gave up living in a house and brought a plot of land up Ham Lane. He was teased by a few friends on what to actually do with this land and many thought he might build his own house on this acre of land. It was just a few shack type huts and one 6×4 tin shed. Where he was to live for 37 years. Little did he know that for all those years that was going to be his home for ever. It was said to have once been a Victorian herb garden. Ash lived there with his chickens and cats.
After a bad winter, Ashley Bull succumbed to the cold and in 1982. He was very old and got frostbite in his leg, there was a day or so where no one had seen him in the village shop or about the village so someone decided to check on him. He was discovered sitting in his chair barely alive and it’s said it took quite a few minutes to get his body out of the tin hut. He was taken to Kettering General in an ambulance and ended up having his leg taken off. He never pulled through well enough and died a few days later in hospital.
We do know that Ashley was seeing a girl prior to Ww1, she was Annie Richardson, a seamstress for the Ideal clothing factory Raunds but when Ashley arrived at Ringstead railway station assuming his sweetheart was there to meet him but soon disheartened later finding out she had gone off with another man. This really upset Ashley and we think played a part in to how he played his life out years later