All posts by mickflieg

About mickflieg

I am A compulsive comper and spend most of my my day finding and entering competitions on the internet, Over the years I have won a few things but not a hell of a lot ! I must be be an optimist and will keep trying as one day I may win big, heres hoping

Ashton Under Lyne is Stranger Than Fiction – The Black Knight of Ashton

Ashton is Stranger Than Fiction – The Black Knight of Ashton

Sir Ralph De Assheton, The Black Knight Of Ashton under LyneThe Black Knight, Sir Ralph De Assheton was by all accounts a man feared across the lands of Ashton under Lyne and England; but history may have also been somewhat unkind to someone who was also a brave commander and loyal to his King. A loyalty that ultimately may have cost him his life. If the records available are correct Sir Ralph was born in 1422 at Ashton Old Hall, his father was Sir John De Assheton and his mother Sir John’s second wife Margaret Byron. Sir Ralph had a half-brother, Sir Thomas De Assheton, Alchemist to King Edward IV.

Although we don’t have any documentary evidence to support this, we must assume that Sir Ralph becoming Page of Honour to Edward IV was due to his Brother’s position at court as a Knight of Lancashire. The position of Page of Honour is normally awarded to a male at the age of 13, and the title still exists today although the daily duties associated with it are no longer part of the role. A page of Honour was chosen from the houses of the nobility and attended all state occasions with the Monarch; being chosen for this role bestowed honour on the families involved.

It is not clear when his role as Page of Honour ended, but it is clear he married at a young age. In 1439, he married Margaret Barton of Middleton Hall and further research uncovered they were betrothed the year before. This did at the death of Margaret’s father Sir John De Barton mean the Middleton Estate passed into the Assheton family; this remained so until 31stDecember 1765 when another Ralph De Assheton passed away.

Sir Ralph De Assheton’s fearsome reputation grew according to history locally and nationally. It was reported locally thatMarigolds, Sir Ralph De Assheton, The Black Knight Of Ashton each Monday after Easter he rode through his lands around Ashton Old Hall ensuring that all signs of winter were no longer visible. History seems to suggest he despised the sight of Corn Marigolds and if any were found on his lands during these forays; judgement on those responsible was swift. Any of his tenants responsible for this heinous crime were apparently placed in Barrels with nails driven through them. They were then rolled down the local hills to their deaths as an example to others. This reputed behaviour and his time as Vice-Constable of England earned him the title of the Black Knight of Ashton.

Throughout his eventful life, Sir Ralph De Assheton held many positions of honour, he was High Sherriff of York from 1471 to 1473, appointed by his commander the Duke of Gloucester. On the 24th July 1482, he became a Knight Banneret and was Knighted by Richard III of the House of York. Following this in 1483 Sir Ralph was appointed Vice-Constable of England and Lieutenant of the Tower of London; he played a significant role in defending London from the first rebellion against King Richard III. So, although Sir Ralph De Assheton had a cruel reputation; he may not have been the man portrayed by the people of Ashton under Lyne for so many centuries. His crime may have been his loyalty to the man reputedly responsible for the deaths of the Princes in the Tower.

The Second Rebellion Of The House Of Tudor, In Which The Black Knight FoughtIn the second rebellion by the House of Tudor against the rule of Richard III and the House of York, Sir Ralph De Assheton fought at the Battle of Bosworth Field. On this day in history, the House of York fell as Richard died following a charge on Henry Tudor’s position. The charge failed and Richard was slain by the troops commanded by Sir William Stanley. The followers of Richard III were hunted down after the Battle of Bosworth Field and it is reported that Sir Ralph De Assheton was not killed until the following year. History records he was murdered on the first Monday after Easter 1486, April 5th being the date. His reputation was clearly in question as he was seen as a traitor to the House of Lancaster, and many locally would have been loyal to this cause.

What is very clear from history is the fact that following the death of his King, Richard III, he was never pardoned for his loyalty to the House of York. Further research suggests a general pardon for Sir Ralph’s family was issued by Henry VII in 1487 to his son Sir Richard De Assheton of Middleton Hall. Sir Richard did not become a Knight until 1497 under King Henry VII but it was Sir Ralph De Assheton’s grandson, Sir Richard De Assheton that secured the families position for generations.

A brave knight like his Father and Grandfather, he led the Middleton Archers against the armies of James IV of Scotland at the Battle of Flodden. On that day, Thomas Howard Duke of Norfolk was the victor, 10,000 Scots were killed including the last King in history to lead his army into battle, James IV. The Battle of Flodden took place in Northumbria and was a stand against an invading Scottish army in 1513; a memorial to the Middleton Archers still exists in St Leonards Church Middleton and is thought to be the oldest War Memorial in the world.

I can only conclude after reading so much about the De Assheton family Sir Ralph De Assheton, The Black Knight's Horsethat they were men of honour in a cruel time. Sir Ralph De Assheton had a reputation for cruelty in his birthplace of Ashton, but oddly such events were not recorded in the history of Middleton Hall, and you would have to assume that if he despised Corn Marigolds in Ashton the same would apply in Middleton. As history does not record this, it must then draw into question the truth about the man. Was it the case that his family and community in Ashton under Lyne were, in fact, loyal to Edward IV and later Henry VII. Sir Ralph’s Brother Sir Thomas De Assheton died in 1460, his son Sir John De Assheton was we must assume Lord of the Manor in Ashton long after the death of his uncle. Ashton Old Hall remained the seat of the Assheton family until the early 16th Century until the family due to marriage moved to Dunham Massey.

Was the Black Knight then in fact as black as he was painted by the people of Ashton, he was honoured for his bravery in battle and feared as Vice-Constable of England and Lieutenant of the Tower of London. The following poem is associated with Sir Ralph:

Sweet Jesu, for thy mercy’s sake and for thy bitter passion. Save us from the axe of the tower and from Ralph of Ashton

The Riding of the Black Lad also known as the Black Knight Pageant celebrated the death of Sir Ralph De Assheton the tyrant and history suggests he was killed by a member of his own family. The truth is possibly a great deal more complicated than this and he was more than likely killed for his loyalty to Richard III. This could have been done by a member of his family as their loyalties were to Edward IV and the Princes in the Tower. But equally the agents of Henry VII could have been responsible for his death as many of those loyal to Richard III were hunted and killed following the Battle of Bosworth. We will probably never know the whole story, but somewhere in an unread archive or document the truth is waiting to be discovered; on the story of the Black Knight Sir Ralph De Assheton.

Win a dream wedding worth a staggering £25,000

Win a dream wedding worth a staggering £25,000 to celebrate Chi Chi London’s new Bridal range

Even though it’s a once in a lifetime event, planning your dream wedding can add up.

From the crucial wedding dress, reception, catering, venue hire and honeymoon – the cost of a modest wedding can average around £10,000 – £15,000.

So we’re delighted that Chi Chi London and The Holiday Place has partnered with The Mirror to find one couple that deserves a dream wedding and give them their perfect day, a wedding package worth £25,000!

Chi Chi London

Chi Chi London’s Bridal Collection has an ethereal beauty and a feminine touch throughout, ensuring that you fall in love time and time again.

Offering the best quality dresses at head turning prices, Chi Chi London aims to please all shapes, sizes and tastes.

Prices range from £75-£190 at

To celebrate the launch of Chi Chi London’s stunning new collection, they’re offering one lucky couple a wedding day to remember.

The prize fund, worth up to a staggering £25,000 includes…

Venue of winners’ choice up to a value of £15,000

Bride’s choice of wedding dress from Chi Chi London’s newly launched range

Four Bridesmaid dresses from Chi Chi London

Chi Chi London outfits for up to 25 guests

Experience a kaleidoscope of colours with a luxury honeymoon to Thailand worth £7,000 courtesy of The Holiday Place and Amazing Thailand! Discover a fascinating culture and rich heritage with a vibrant city-break in Bangkok for an exciting 3 night stay at the luxury Banyan Tree Bangkok before heading for the 3 night stay at Le Meridien in the heart of Chiang Mai. Finish with a blissful 4 night stay at the island paradise of Santhiya Koh Yao Yai Resort & Spa surrounded by swaying palms and turquoise waters on Koh Yao.

Santhiya Koh Yao Yai Resort & Spa

Win! A family adventure break this summer

Enter our competition to win an adrenalin-fuelled holiday for four with Kingswood

Kingswood family camp


Forget costly flights and budget-stretching holidays this August as we’ve teamed up with Kingswood to offer you the chance to win a family adventure getaway in the UK, worth over £300.

Kingswood’s Family Adventure breaks are new family camps that allow parents to join their kids (aged 6+) on a challenging and adrenalin-fuelled two-night break in breathtaking surroundings in four locations around the UK. Now, kids big and small can experience a range of activities together – from zip wiring and archery to abseiling and water sports.

Each family adventure experience offers its own unique accommodation and can vary from eco pods to adventure lodges. Extra facilities include a communal yurt complete with a log fire to toast your marshmallows, providing an ideal chill-out area, plus adventures including water activities are also available on selected dates.

The winner and their family of four will choose a two-night break in one of four locations: Colomendy in North Wales, Dearne Valley in South Yorkshire, Isle of Wight and Overstrand Hall in Norfolk. The prize must be used by 28 August 2017.

Visit for more information.

Win! A break at the new CBeebies Land Hotel

CBeebies Land Hotel bedroom

We’ve teamed up with Alton Towers Resort to offer one lucky family of four the chance to stay in the brand newCBeebies Land Hotel. Opening in July, the hotel will be home to bedrooms featuring In the Night Garden, Octonauts, Postman Pat, as well as Swashbuckle and Something Special.

Guests can hunt for Pat’s parcels, count the jewels in the Swashbuckle room or stay in one of Mr Tumble’s starry bunk beds. There is also the chance to find the Pontipines around the In the Night Garden room, and sleep in the Octopod in a themed underwater experience with the Octonauts. Featuring interactive games and play items, each themed room is uniquely designed to give little ones a sleepover like no other.
With a jam-packed entertainment schedule featuring 14 hours of entertainment every day, the CBeebies Land Hotel will offer meet and greets with characters Bing and Postman Pat, a Swashbuckle game show and Andy’s Dinosaur Hunt in which children will help Andy follow the clues to find his missing prehistoric items. Guests can also join Bing in a live show and dance the night away with a CBeebies disco. As darkness falls, there will be the chance to take part in some stargazing with the CBeebies Land Hotel presenters before a restful night ready for an action-packed day in CBeebies Land.

The CBeebies Land Hotel will join the existing CBeebies Land at Alton Towers Resort, which will also be introducing new attractions for 2017. Featuring rides, attractions, live shows and meet and greets with characters from the hit channel, CBeebies Land is an interactive area for young children to learn and play.

WIN a £4,000 wardrobe for you and your horse


Horseware, a market leader in innovative horse products which produces the world renowned Rambo rugs and
 ‘AA’ Italian-crafted ready-to-wear and custom equestrian clothing collections, are pleased to partner with Horse & Hound to offer one lucky winner the ultimate equestrian wardrobe for both horse and rider valued at £4,000.

This prize includes a complete Rambo wardrobe for your horse, plus a full therapy offering, Micklem bridle, cooler, exercise sheet and travel accessories.

For the rider there is a complete AA Italian-crafted competition outfit, including a hand-crafted in Italy AA competition jacket, and AA Platinum everyday equestrian wear, up for grabs.

Manchester Beer Week ,Friday, June 23 to Sunday July 2






Manchester’s only city-wide beer festival returns this summer, providing an unrivalled celebration of the nation’s favourite drink across 10 event-filled days.

Now entering its second year, Manchester Beer Week runs from Friday, June 23 to Sunday, July 2, and has secured the backing of the Co-op, which has agreed to become headline sponsor. Co-op will also play a role in creation of the festival’s official beer, which will then be made available in selected stores.

Manchester Beer Week’s first outing was a huge success, showcasing the best of beer through 94 events at 72 venues across Greater Manchester, including pubs, bars, breweries, restaurants and retailers.

And this year’s festival promises to be even better. The opening weekend will shine a light on independent producers with a brewery expo that will see many of the city centre brewers throw open their doors to the public for tours, tastings and talks.

Following on from this, Manchester Beer Week organisers will help to curate a series of unique events, designed to provide interesting beer-related experiences for experts and newcomers alike


Love glasses? Win £10,000 cash and £1,000 worth of specs. Enter Spectacle Wearer of the Year

Enter Spectacle Wearer of the Year

If you are crowned the ultimate Spectacle Wearer of the Year 2017, you win £10,000 cash and a wardrobe of specs to the value of £1,000. Plus two nights in London to attend the star-studded Spectacle Wearer of the Year Awards, a complete style makeover and a fabulous goody bag.

Spectacle Wearer of the Year raises vital funds for anti-bullying charity, Kidscape

Bullying and abuse can destroy childhoods and damage futures. Kidscape has been working for 30 years to keep children safe from harm and to give parents and professionals the knowledge and skills they need to ensure that every child is protected.

Kidscape was the first charity in the UK to tackle bullying and child sexual abuse and remains committed to its mission to support and protect children and help them to grow into happy, confident adults.

Amount raised for kidscape

Kidscape provides face-to-face support for children who are being bullied, working directly with them and their parents through free assertiveness training workshops. The charity also provides resources and training for schools and professionals working with young people. Every year, thousands of children learn how to stand up to bullies and can rebuild their lives with the help of strategies taught by Kidscape.

Kidscape was able to re-launch its Parent Advice Line in 2016, thanks to the support of the Spectacle Wearer of the Year campaign. This means that parents, carers or family members who are concerned about a young person have access to a free, confidential service.

For more information visit or call 020 7730 3300. Registered charity number 326864.

On This Day in History, 5 June

What Happened On This Day – 5 June

  • 1981 The first cases of AIDS are reported

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention described five cases of a rare form of pneumonia, a deadly immune deficiency disease which later became known as AIDS. In 2000, more than 40 million people worldwide were affected by it.

  • 1968 Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated

    The attacker, a 24-year old Palestinian, was disgruntled by Kennedy’s support for Israel. The brother of former U.S. President, John F. Kennedy, died on the following day.

  • 1967 The Six-Day War begins in the Middle East

    Israeli forces launched a surprise attack against Egypt, prompting other Arab allies to enter the conflict. Egypt had previously blocked the Straits of Tiran to Israeli traffic and amassed its troops at the border between the two countries.

  • 1956 Elvis Presley first performs “Hound Dog” live on TV

    Presley’s suggestive hip movements during this performance earned him his nickname, “Elvis the Pelvis”. “Hound Dog” became his best-selling song with about 10 million sold copies.

  • 1883 The first Orient Express leaves Paris

    The legendary train journey from Paris to Istanbul featured in many works of popular culture, including Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” and Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express

Births On This Day – 5 June

    • 1976 Ross Noble

    • English comedian, actor

    • 1898 Federico García Lorca

      Spanish poet, playwright, director

    • 1883 John Maynard Keynes

      English economist

    • 1878 Pancho Villa

      Mexican general

    • 1660 Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough


Deaths On This Day – 5 June

  • 2012 Ray Bradbury

    American author

  • 2004 Ronald Reagan

    American actor, politician, 40th President of the United States

  • 1975 Paul Keres

    Estonian chess player

  • 1916 Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener

    English field marshal

  • 1900 Stephen Crane

    American journalist, author, poet

Fancy winning a trip to Barbados, along with a guaranteed free breakfast?

If you can make it to Regent’s Park in London on Tuesday you could win a cycling trip to the Caribbean

Ahead of the inaugural Barbados Festival of Cycling​​ this September, the event’s organisers are giving one cyclist the chance to win a free trip to the Caribbean. All you’ll need to do to be in with a shot at claiming the prize is get to the Inner Circle Café in Regent’s Park, London, on Tuesday 6th June at 8am sharp.

From those present the winner will be announced twenty minutes later at 8:20am. Even if you don’t win you can still console yourself with a free breakfast and a couple of laps around the capital’s favourite inner city training circuit.

Taking place on the island of Barbados between 4th and 9th September 2017, the five day festival concludes with a round-the-island sportive on the final day.

Setting off from the capital Bridgetown, its 112km route circles the whole island taking in many small coastal villages.

‘Presenting an unmatched opportunity to see the island from a viewpoint that only a handful before have experienced, the gold course will start in Bridgetown and will take competitors anti-clockwise around the perimeter of the whole island.

‘It will expose cyclists to dramatic coastal views of Cattlewash, the lush greenery of St John’s parish, and often-missed small towns and villages along the coast and inland,’ explained Barbados Tourism spokesperson, Cheryl Carter.

If that, or simply the prospect of a trip to Barbados, sounds appealing get down to Regent’s Park bright and early on Tuesday.

Image may contain: bicycle and outdoor


You can see more on the Barbados Cycling Festival Facebook site

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Win £10,000

Evening Standard Contemporary Arts Prize in association with Hiscox: win £10,000




The Evening Standard Contemporary Art Prize in association with Hiscox, is a new competition open to London-based artists. The artist of the winning entry will receive £10,000, Hiscox Fine Art Insurance for a year and a lifetime Arts Pass.

The brief is simply “London” and we urge artists to turn to the city for inspiration.

You must be the artist of your entry piece and it cannot exceed 594 x 841 mm (23.4 x 33.1 in.)

To enter, send three images of your painting (in total not to exceed 14mb) via emailhere. Please submit only one piece of art. This is a painting competition.  

Terms & Conditions: 18+. UK London-based residents only. Promotion closes at 23:59 on Sunday 24 September 2017. There is one prize of £10,000 in cash, a lifetime National Arts Pass and Hiscox Fine Art Insurance up to a maximum premium of £2,500 for one year (the artist must reside within the UK). One entry per person. Artwork must be hung on the wall or displayed on an easel. Art may not exceed 594 x 841 mm (23.4 x 33.1 in.). The winning entry will be the favourite entry selected by the judging panel from all valid entries received. Shortlisted entries will need to be sent for judging by 16 October, details will be provided to those shortlisted. By entering your entry automatically becomes content which may be used by The Evening Standard or Hiscox in future marketing. Shortlisted entries will be required to sign a waiver before their work can be displayed for final judging. Hiscox is solely responsible for the Fine Art Insurance prize. Winners should contact Hiscox with any issues over fulfilment. Usual promotion rules apply, see For further information, please write to Customer Care, Evening Standard Limited, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London, W8. Promoters: Evening Standard and Hiscox.