Ash or 'Aesc', meaning 'at the ash tree' is not mentioned in surviving documents until 1170 but Henley, now Henley Park, within the parish of Ash is recorded as early as c.675 A.D. The settlement was founded by the Saxons on the well drained gravels situated above the valley of the River Blackwater.
The Domesday Survey of 1086 records that 'Henlei' had, unusually, continued to be held by a Saxon, whose name was Azor, after the Norman invasion of 1066. He had bequeathed it to the monks of Chertsey Abbey, who held it in 1086 and retained ownership until the abbey was dissolved by King Henry VIII in 1537. A church is recorded in Henley in 1086 and this almost certainly refers to the church at Ash. Some parts of the present parish church of St Peter may date from the 11th century although the church as seen today is predominately a restoration of 1865.
Henry VIII's son, the youthful Edward VI (1547-1553) granted the manor of Ash to St Mary's College, Winchester, and the wardens and fellows of the college are still nominally lords of the manor to this day. Because of its close proximity to beds of good quality clay, Ash developed as centre for pottery making, especially from the 13th to the 15th century.
The development of the present settlement of Ash owes much to arrival of the army in nearby Aldershot, just over the border in Hampshire, in the 1850s. The railway was built to Ash in 1849 and, until 1870, the village station and a second station at Ash Green, now closed, were the nearest to the rapidly growing army camps. The population of Ash in 1851 was a mere 838, but this had risen to 1481 ten years later and is now over 17,000.