Ashburnham has a long history and is mentioned in the Domesday Book. It gets its name from the local stream, which is the Ashbourne. The village is scattered over a wide area and is concealed in a labyrinth of lanes. It was once the centre of a thriving iron ore industry and its blast furnace was the last to close in Sussex.
Ashburnham Place lies in a beautiful park and gardens, designed by Capability Brown. The Ashburnham family had connections with the village, which can be traced back to the 12th century, until 1953 when Lady Catherine Ashburnham died. Today the Ashburnham Christian Trust uses the family house and buildings.
St Peter's parish church lies close to the house and is well worth a visit as it holds remarkable monuments dedicated to the Ashburnham family. It is said the John Ashburnham, who served as the King's Groom of the Bedchamber to King Charles I brought back some clothes worn by the king at the time of his execution in 1649. These relics were kept in the church, as they were believed to have healing properties if touched.