The village of Cold Ashby sits astride the 200 metre (656 feet) contour line on the highest ground for miles around. The height of the village may have something to do with its name. In years gone by the village was often snowbound during the winter, sometimes cut off for weeks.
The modern village is still small with a population of around
200 and is largely unspoiled by development. There is a public house,
The Black Horse and a church, St. Denys's, next to what was presumably
the 'big house' in the village, but apart from residential houses,
Cold Ashby was one of twenty four villages bestowed on the Abbey of Coventry by Earl Leofric, the founder, in the reign of Edward the Confessor (1042-1066). The church of Cold Ashby was given to Daventry Priory by Hugh Poer, probably in the reign of Stephen (1135-1164). A list of incumbents from 1258 to 1969 inside the church suggests that it is possible that earlier incumbents may be listed in the register of Daventry Priory.
The Church of St. Denys dominates the village, built of stone in the early English style. There is a chancel, clerestorial nave, south porch and a crenellated western tower with pinnacles.
The tower contains the (working) clock and four bells which were rehung in 1914. One of the bells is inscribed
Maria Nocor Ano Domi MCCCXVII
which suggests that it was cast in 1317 during the reign of Edward II making it one of the oldest bells in the country.
There is a large wall mounted memorial to Alice Wickes, the wife of John and daughter of George and Mary Townsend of Warwickshire, who died November 23rd 1779, aged 21.
The font, a work of an early date, is carved from a single block of basaltic granite.
The porch on the southern side of the church was built in 1696.
The vestry was rebuilt in 1881 and incorporates part of a saxon arch in the doorway.
Major repairs to the church were carried out in 1840.
The interior was previously plastered, but this was removed in the early part of this century to reveal the rough hewn stone.
The Lichgate faces the new parish cemetery across the main road from the Black Horse.
The churchyard surrounding the church is full of very old headstones, many too eroded to read. Others are barely legible through layers of lichen. However, a cursory examination reveals many bearing the names Wickes, Wikes, etc.
The new parish cemetery also contains more recent headstones bearing the same names.
The parish register dates from the year 1560. The parish is in the Diocese of Peterborough and the Deanery of Brixworth.
Cold Ashby is just over 2 miles (3 kilometers) from Naseby, site of the great battle of the Civil War in 1645. It is believed that Cromwell's troops camped in Elkington Cover prior to the battle and Cromwell himself stayed at the house in Cold Ashby called "The Cedars". Elkington Cover can be seen from nearby Honey Hill, but "The Cedars" was knocked down some years ago. The date stone of the house was preserved and is incorporated in the wall almost opposite the church on the Thornby Road, marking the site of the original house.