"It stands upon the Source of the River Rhee, which breaks out of a Rock in this Vill from many Springs, with such Force as to form a Stream, remarkable for being clear, and so cold, that it gripes Horses not used to drink it. Around the Spring Head grow Ash Trees very kindly, which gave occasion to the Name. The Water here bubbles out at as many Places, and in as great Abundance, and with just such a Bottom, under a Hill, as does the famous Isis or Thames in Gloucestershire. It quits the County when it goes out of this Parish, and runs by Shingay, Arrington and Barrington, to Haslingfield, where it falls into the Cam, whose Course is from Essex to Cambridge."
Salmon, History of Hertfordshire, 1728
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