Ansty, with a population of around 120 (2011), is a small village of some 56 households and a civil parish in South Wiltshire. The village is just north of the A30 road between Shaftesbury, (6 miles or 10 km to the south west) and Salisbury, (15 miles or 24 km to the north east). The parish includes the tiny hamlet of Ansty Coombe.
Ansty and Ansty Coombe are situated in the Cranborne and West Wiltshire Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The main part of Ansty is designated a conservation zone. Today it remains a small but thriving community set in a rural paradise, rich in diverse landscapes, habitat and wildlife.
The original Saxon settlement of Ansty has a fascinating history dating right back to Neolithic times and it once housed a Commandery of the Knights Hospitaller often referred to as the Order of St John of Jerusalem. The fine stone house of Ansty Manor was probably once the domestic building of the Commandery. From 1594 until 1946 the Manor of Ansty was in the possession of the Roman Catholic Lords Arundell of Wardour.
The tiny church of St James is still in use today as a regular place of worship and was originally built by the members of the Commandery, with their local helpers, and completed in the year 1230. This was more than a quarter of a century before the main part of the new Salisbury Cathedral was finished.
The Ansty Maypole is one of the tallest in the country and could well have been in existence since Saxon times and possibly earlier. Apart from a few years in the mid-17th century when the Maypole was removed by Puritans, May Day has been celebrated under the maypole right up to the present day.
Ansty won several awards for winning the ‘Best Kept Small Village’ category in Wiltshire for the year 2019 -2020, sponsored by the CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) and others.