A special display of meteorites has landed at Saffron Walden Museum to commemorate 100 years since a meteorite fell on Ashdon.

On March 9, 1923, at 1pm, a thatcher called Frederick Pratt was working in a wheat field at Ashdon Hall Farm when he heard a 'sissing' sound.

He looked up to see "the earth fly up like water", and later dug up the stone from two feet in the ground, with the help of another farm worker called Curven.

Frederick took the stone to the police station in Saffron Walden, then to his vicar in the village of Wendens Ambo.

Revered Francis W. Berry purchased the meteorite and donated it to the Natural History Museum, where it was investigated by the keeper of the minerals, George T. Prior.

The meteorite was classified as a stony chondrite meteorite, and contains minerals feldspar, pyroxene and olivine, as well as specks of nickel-iron and material from which the solar system formed 4.5 billion years ago.

Witnessing a meteorite fall is a rare event, and this is the only meteorite that has been found in Essex.

The Ashdon meteorite 12cm x 9cm x 6cm in size and weighs 1.27kg. When it landed it weighed 1.3kg, however two pieces were chopped off to find out what it was made off, and the Natural History Museum took a thin section for microscopic examination.

Saffron Walden Museum's plaster cast of the Ashdon meteorite is on display until Friday, April 14, along with other amazing meteorites from the collection of a local geologist.


These rocks from space include meteorites that landed in Africa, Greenland, North America and Russia.

You can also see pieces of rock ejected from Mars and the Moon, which landed on Earth as meteorites.

More information about the meteorite fall in Ashdon in the 1920s has been provided thanks to Ashdon Village Museum, Essex Rock and Mineral Society and the Geologists' Association. 

A booklet about the Ashdon meteorite is on sale at the museum reception for £3.

Saffron Walden Museum is open from 10am to 5pm on Wednesdays to Saturdays, and 2pm to 5pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays.