N.B. On this page, recently added text appears at the bottom so you will need to scroll down for it.
- For Cold Ashby's Domesday Book entries click here
- If you wish to view the Cold Ashby Register of Burials (1929 to the present) try this link
- For The Rambler's 'History Beneath Our Boots' click here
- For descriptions of Listed Buildings in this area click here
- For Richard Knolles, Historian ( ?1540 - 1610) click here
- For details of Cold Ashby's 'official' ancient monument click here
- For the names of those from Cold Ashby who served in the Two World Wars click here.
- For a 'Village Link' tribute to Cold Ashby's landgirls click here
- Access the Cold Ashby Militia List for 1777 here
(Photo of St. Denys Church by Lottie Glascodine)
The Rambler would like to collect as much information as possible on Cold Ashby’s History and eventually assemble it in chronological order.
At present, the Rambler is still collecting and researching material so this is more of a 'miscellany' than the finished article!
All contributions, however small, are most welcome.
(You can use the Guestbook/Messageboard page or, if you prefer, send an email to: email@example.com)
Fortunately, a superb document was produced for the Northamptonshire Rural Council in 1995. This was entitled ‘ Round & About Cold Ashby’ and pages from it follow.
The necessary acknowledgements are given first:
The Dyett family on one of their many camping holidays circa 1935-6:
I received this photo from Maureen and Olive, whom I met at The Black Horse Vegetable and Produce Show in September.From their notes, I offer this aid to identification:
‘Scrom’ Tom Mcgeary, Alf Battison, ‘Pap’ Jim Dyett, Anon., Jim Dyett, Joe Dyett, Tubby & Frank Tite (camped in next field to Dyetts), Gus Bott
Hilda Dyett (Joe‘s Wife) , ‘Gran’ Sarah Dyett, Jack Man(n) (Publican, Black Horse) , Rose Dyett (Jim’s wife) Two Mrs Tites
Olive Dyett ( daughter of Jim & Rose), Mick (Pap’s dog!), Frank Tite’s daughter.
The Rambler thanks Maureen and Olive for their memories and the notes sent with the photos.
Here is a (lightly) edited version:
The whole family camped at Cold Ashby for many years. Pap and Nora Jeyes had a boys’ camp first at Hemploe, around 1906 - 1908.Then the family camped at Gardener’s Farm from about 1920 - 1953. The men slept at the camp field and the women and children slept at The Black Horse.
The Black Horse was kept by Jack and Nancy Man (Mann?) , previously by the Merchants and before them it was the Sadlers (see photo).
The bakery (see photo above and information below*) was kept by Gyp Smith who cooked dinners as well as bread for the campers and villagers.
They were all a merry family and loved the camp - we all have happy memories of Cold Ashby.
The men, dogs and equipment all went on the lorry - an open-backed one. Hens and cockerels mostly making a one-way journey and ending up in the pot!
Women and children followed on Saturday morning, all meeting at the Mayorhold to catch the bus.
The Black Horse was the centre of the holiday and the villagers all came there to see the Dyetts, chat, catch up with news, drink a drop or two of ale and sing - a very happy time.
*More on the Bakehouse
According to ‘Round & About Cold Ashby’, Mrs. Charlotte Smith, working with her son Charlie and his wife, supplied cakes and bread to customers in Naseby and Haselbech as well as Cold Ashby - initially by horse and cart and ‘later by motorised van’.
They became famous locally for the cream horns they baked during the Second World War.
Charlie is said to have made night-time deliveries by throwing loaves through bedroom windows, the recipients having retired for the night. He also, apparently, delivered local youngsters to neighbouring village dances, in the van, without charge.
Was Church Lane once a B Road?
[from p.112 National Road Atlas, A. Thomas & Co. (no date given)]
Those who know Cold Ashby will notice that, on this map (of uncertain date - but certainly in use by my father in the 1950s!) the former B 4036 appears to avoid Main Street altogether.
This is probably a cartographic or printing error - but exercises the imagination.
Wright’s Directory 1874
Ashby Cold, or Cold Ashby, is bounded on the East by Naseby parish, on the North by Welford, on the West by Winwick, and on the South by Thornby. It contains 2077 acres; its population in 1801 was 379; in 1831, 385; in 1841, 433; in 1851, 467; in 1861, 444; and in 1871, 402 souls.
The ratable value of the parish is £3,074, and the gross estimated rental £3,605. It is called Essebi in Domesday Book, and, from its high and exposed situation, has since been called Cold Ashby.
The quality of the soil is good, and chiefly of a loamy nature; there is some excellent grazing also corn land. The ground towards the South is undulating, and a valley commences close to the village, which winds along by Guilsborough towards Northampton. The principal proprietors of the soil are: Robert Blencowe (lord of the manor) George Buxton, Isaac E. Lovell, Samuel Walker, and theTrustees of Christ's Hospital ....The Village of Cold Ashby occupies a healthy situation on a tract of elevated ground stretching along the North-Western verges of the county, about eleven and a half miles North-North-West from Northampton, eleven North-East from Daventry, nine South-West from Market Harborough, and six from the Crick Station of the London and North-Western Railway.
There is a perennial spring of soft water in the village, which forms one of the sources of the river Nene, and flowing down the above valley meets with other streams, especially one rising in the village of Naseby, two and a half miles distant, and which is another of the chief sources of the Nene.
The Church, dedicated to St. Denis, or St.Dionysius, is a small ancient edifice, supposed to be originally Norman, the remains of a Norman arch being discernible on the North side. It consists of a nave, chancel, and a low embattled tower, in which are three bells and a clock. One of the bells, which is very ancient, and is said to have been brought fromSulby Abbey, bears this inscription in Gothic capitals, MARIA VOCOR ANO DNI. MCCCXVII.The font is massive and very beautiful. The church was restored in 1840, under the direction of the late patron and incumbent, the Rev. William Mousley, M.A., who presented it with an organ. A handsomely bound set of books for the desk was presented at the same time by Joseph Faux, Esq.
The living is a Vicarage in the deanery of Haddon, rated in the king’s books at £6, Os.5d., and now worth E280 per annum. The Rev.Gregory Bateman, MA., the incumbent of this parish,is the author of 'Sacred Poems', etc. The glebe landconsists of 120 acres. The church land of the parish consists of six acres, producing a yearly rent of £21-10s., which is expended in the repairs of the church.
Post Office - Wall Box. Cleared at 5.20pm ; letters via Welford.
Askew John, shopkeeper
Attfield David, butcher & farmer
Bateman Rev. Gregory M.A., vicar
Beal George, baker
Beal John, carpenter & grzr.
Bennett Charles Wm. vict., Black Horse
Buckingham Miss Susannah, schoolmistress
Cattell Mr. Richard
Cherry Wm., carpenter & shopkeeper
Eames John, vict. Bull, & farmer
Haddon, Mrs. Ann
Haddon David, higgler and grazier
Jeffs Wm. Haddon, shopkeeper
King Samuel, butcher & farmer
Moss Thomas, shoemaker
Odd George Wm., butcher
Perkins Wm., wheelwright & carpenter
Rigby Mrs. Emma
Rigby Mrs. Mary
Walden Wm., gardener
Watts Thos., bricklayer & builder
Webb James, blacksmith
Wickes John, shoemakerFarmers and Graziers
Gilbert Joseph (yeoman)
Gilbert William, Lodge
Wright William and John
Carriers - James Walden and David Haddon to Northampton on Saturday and Samuel King on Wednesday and Saturday.
(NORTHAMPTONSHIRE PARISH 2000, ROUND AND ABOUT COLD ASHBY p.6)
Wright's Directory 1884
COLD ASHBY (anciently called Cole Ashby), is a parish, village, and polling place for the Southern division of the county, hundred of Guilsborough,
union of Brixworth, rural deanery of Haddon, County Court district and archdeaconry of Northampton, 12 miles N.W from Northampton, 11 South East from Rugby, 11 North-East from Daventry, 10 South from Lutterworth, 9 South-Westerly from Market Harborough, and 41/2 South-Easterly from the
Yelverton station on the Rugby and Stamford branch of the L. & N.W. Railway. The village is situated on a lofty plateau, from which very beautiful and extensive views may be obtained of the surrounding country. The river Nene, it is said, takes its rise from the soft water spring on the Western side of the parish.
The church of St.Denis is an ancient stone edifice, chiefly Early English, but containing several Norman decorations. it comprises chancel, nave, with vestry on the North side, South porch, and Western tower containing four bells. The vestry was built in 1882, at a cost of £75, chiefly out the church funds.
In 1877 a handsome brass was placed on the North wall by the rector to the memory of his mother, Mrs. Mary Peake, of Norfolk villa, Surbiton. In 1880 a superb white marble tablet and stained window were erected, and the fourth bell was presented in memory of Mrs. Bateman, wife of the rector. The rector also started a subscription towards the restoration of the church, which is much needed.
It is proposed to take away the unsightly Western gallery (opening the tower arch), and box pews, to restore the tracery of the windows, renovate the stone work generally, and to re-seat the church with open benches. The churchyard also needs improvement, but the rector has done his part towards its embellishment by the erection of a magnificent stone Lych gate...
...70 tons of stone were used in the construction, which has been creditably carried out by Messrs. Allsopp and Monk, of Market Harborough, Mr. W Cherry, of Cold Ashby, acting as clerk of the works. The designs and plans were prepared by Mr.John A. Hanley, of Chester, from a draught design
sketched by the donor. The cost was about £400. It was opened October 23, 1883, the Ven. Archdeacon Braim and other clergymen taking part in the service...
Post Office -
Ward Attfield, receiver. Letters from Rugby through Welford delivered about 8.30am ; box cleared about 5.20pm on week-days only. The nearest Money Order and Telegraph Office is at Guilsborough.
Bateman Rev Gregory, M.A., vicar
Bennett Chs. Wm., in Black Horse
Cattell Mr. Thomas
Cheney Edwin, baker
Cheney Iohn, agricultural machinist
Cheney Iona’s, cottager
Cherry & Vesty, bldrs & contractors
Emerton Miss Frances, mistress of
Gilbert Mrs. Sarah
Illson Coles, miller, h Naseby
Jameson Mr. Thomas M., Cold Ashby hall
King Samuel, cottager and carrier
Perkins Mrs. Mary, dressmaker
Vesty John, of Cherry & Vesty
Watts Thomas & Sons (Walter and Frank),
bricklayers & builders
Webb James, blacksmith
Wickes George, cottager & Bootmaker
Farmers and Graziers -
Beal John, grazier
Douglass James Heger, h Market Harborough
Eames Mrs. Ann, and v, Bull
Gilbert Fdk, Edwin, Ashby lodge
Gilbert James, and landowner
Swingler Thomas, bailiff to Mr. Douglass
Wright Mrs. Maria
Haddon David, to Northampton WS.
King Samuel, to Northampton S.
Walden James, to Northampton S.
Walton Mrs. from Northampton, through
Crick to Market Harborough,Tu.
Grocers and Shopkeepers -
Attfield Ward, and cottager, PO.
Cherry William, & 0f Cherry &Vesty
(NORTHAMPTONSHIRE PARISH 2000, ROUND AND ABOUT COLD ASHBY p.7)
Green Lanes in Cold Ashby Parish
There are three of these former highways in the parish.
Of these two are named ( Bridle Lane and Carvell’s Lane) and the third forms the connection between West Haddon Road and the Jurassic Way (see the ‘Rambler’s Favourite Walk’ on the Local Walks page.)
Bridle Lane was once Cold Ashby’s local route to Welford ( see Local walks page). It is now cut short by the A14 but it is still possible to walk and ( with care!) ride between the villages, thanks to connecting rights of way organised by the Northamptonshire Rights of Way team.
According to ‘Round and About Cold Ashby’ the highway has been used for about 600 years. Certainly, a ‘hollow way’ is clearly visible passing from Bridle Lane, through Grange field, to the present Naseby Road. The present right of way does not include the ancient way, instead crossing almost diagonally from the gate off Bridle lane to the gate opening on to the verge of the Naseby Road. The advantage of this, however, is that the modern footpath allows a closer view of the scarps, banks and closes of the medieval grange which gives the field its name.
The grange* was attached to Pipewell Abbey and according to Bridges’ The History and Antiquities of Northamptonshire (1791), cited in ‘Round and About Cold Ashby’, some of the building was standing just over 200 years ago.
As far as I know, the Grange Field has never been the subject of archaeological investigation but I believe ploughing of the area is forbidden.
This suggests it has value as a site.
* Update : The Grange is now listed as an 'Ancient Monument' (see top of page).
Cold Ashby Industry
There was a steam mill on the site now occupied by Mill House. The engine is believed to have been installed at the eastern end of the present building. That the mill was still there at the beginning of the Twentieth Century is evidenced by several papers in my possession.
On 23rd June 1866 Nehemiah Ilston Coles of Naseby bequeathed :
…his steam mill site … in Cold Ashby in the County of Northampton …with the steam engine, boilers, millstones, tackle, fixtures & appurts. Thrto (sic)
to Priscilla Coles, who, in turn ( if my interpretation of some rather obscure “legalese” is correct!) bequeathed the mill etc. to Thomas Leeson in 1899.
On the 17 September, 1904 an indenture was made conveying:
…a piece or parcel of ground…together with the steam mill, engine house, stable and outbuildings erected thereon …
from Mr N.I. Coles and Mr. T. Leeson to Mr. George Townley.
Illson (sic) Coles is listed as Illson Coles, miller, h Naseby in Wright’s Directory of 1884.
Mill House has recently been sympathetically restored and extended but the elevated section at the eastern end shows where the former steam engine was probably housed. The former 'Journeyman's Cottages', referred to above, are now known as Mill Cottage and Mill House Cottage and incorporate five of the original dwellings - the sixth, at the eastern end of the row, having been demolished.
The Smithy was originally operating just a few paces down Main Street from the Mill. The building remains on the corner of Crabtree Lane, having only recently been converted, again most sensitively, into a pair of garages for the associated cottages. Round & About Cold Ashby states that it was built around 1900 at a cost of £40 by Palmers of Yelvertoft and that Randell Lee and later his son, William Lee continued the business until 1954.
Randell's grandson, Billy Lee, is remembered in the newly built 'William Lee Close' off Crabtree Lane.
No compilation of historical notes on Cold Ashby would be complete without mention of the Church of Saint Denys, believed to date from the Twelfth Century.
A fine, illustrated history of the church is available on the Parish Council’s Website.
There are also some fine, detailed photos available on this excellent blog.
Cold Ashby and The Battle of Naseby
The Rambler has recently discovered the following on this website, dedicated to the letters of Thomas Carlyle. The writer is Edward Fitzgerald:
"Borough Hill is to be seen from a spot close to Cold Ashby. I hear of traces of an army passing through Cold Ashby, but not through Thornby, which is the more direct road from Guilsborough to Naseby: But neither are the directest road, as you will see by any map. I should therefore suppose that it was more probably the Royalist than the Parliament army, since Cold Ashby certainly lies between Borough Hill and Naseby. One story indeed yet extant at Cold Ashby tells of both armies: that the Royalists were busy eating the good man's bacon at the Inn, in his absence: he returned suddenly, and the fellows asked him where the Rebels were: he said, close behind him: on which they decamped and he saved his bacon. Between Cold Ashby and Guilsborough … were found—in a gravel pit—two perfect skeletons of soldiers sitting, rather hunched together: their helmets sticking to their skulls, and bits of chain (like curbs of bridles, I was told) still remaining"
Carlyle replied with the following observation:
'The Cold Ashby tradition is likewise very credible, almost probable. For Ireton with light horse hung all that Friday morning upon the King's rear, scuffling with them; finishing off his dayswork at Naseby, on Langdale's Northern Horse. It is as good as certain the King would go thro' Cold Ashby,—I suppose he was marching on all the practicable roads that led up towards Harborough; Ireton keeping him close company on the main road. Ireton therefore we conclude was the saviour of the Ashby bacon: he would not eat it without paying for it! The two sitting skeletons of troopers would most likely be killed in this skirmishing pursuit;—and the chance rather is, since they were not stript, that they might be soldiers of his own; buried by their friends, pushed into any hole, and at least hidden from insult? Or perhaps not so? One would have liked to see the traces of the inscription on their caps! The "bridle-chains" were probably chin-straps for keeping their helmets on.— Fairfax, as I interpret, would not go thro' either Thornby or Cold Ashby, on Saturday morning, from Guilsburough; but straight up by the nearest road and roads he could fall in with. He took two hours: from 3 till 5 in the morning.'
(Full references and dates are given at Carlyle Letters Online).
As you will find when visiting this excellent website, the anecdote above was recorded in 1842, virtually 200 years after the alleged event.
It would be most interesting to hear from anybody out there who has the tale from another source. If you have please use the Message Board.
An excellent self-guided tour and map of the significant sites, which also explains the movements of the troops and the changing fortunes of each side in the Battle of Naseby can be found here.
The Rambler would also recommend ' Naseby - June 1645' in the Battleground Britain series (Leo Cooper, 2002).
Farming and Agriculture 1940- 2000
The article below appears on page 17, Round & About Cold Ashby (Northampton Parish 2000, pub. May 1995)
Prior to the second World War, the majority of the land in the parish ( Cold Ashby) was permanent pasture. The few fields of arable land grew crops which, in the main, were used to feed the livestock during those times in the year when the pasture would not support them. All this changed in the war, however, and the government directive that the country must be self-sufficient in food production, saw the beginning of the larger arable acreage. Wheat, Barley, Oats, and Potatoes, together with stock-feed crops such as Mangolds, Swedes, and Kale appeared in fields which had been permanent pasture for decades.
The advent of arable machinery and the progressive increase in their size, began to change the face of the countryside, not only locally, but countrywide. The removal of hedges and trees to accommodate the larger machines and to provide more land for production; major drainage schemes which saw many ponds and ditches vanish; and the amalgamation of small farms into larger units, dramatically changed the traditional farming methods in Cold Ashby.
The parish consists of 2075 acres 2 rods 29 perches. In the early 1950’s there were fifteen full-time farmers, employing a large part of the village work-force. All these farms were mixed stock and arable, having cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry, and corn. Eleven farmers produced milk, which was collected daily in 10 gallon churns. The cattle, sheep, and pigs were sold mainly at markets in Northampton, Rugby, and Market Harborough. Eggs were collected from thefarms each week, and cockerels, turkeys, ducks, and geese were fattened for the Christmas trade.
By the mid 1980’s there were nine farmers left on the same land, much of which had been amalgamated into larger units with other farms outside the parish boundary. Only four village residents were now employed on these farms. The majority of the land was arable, producing Wheat,Barley, Oats, Oilseed Rape, and Beans. A dramatic change in stock-farming, saw the disappearance of all the dairy cattle, pigs, and poultry; only sheep and beef cattle remained.
Economics, and the maximum food production policy of the 1960's, dictated the changes in this 30 year period. The 1990’s have seen yet more revolutions in the industry. The over-production of a number of commodities within the European Community Countries, and the awareness of environmental issues, has seen the introduction of the ‘set a side’ policy and the planting of trees andalternative crops, such as Linseed.
The traditional permanent pasture land of the 19th and early 20th centuries, has all but vanished with perhaps as little as 50 acres remaining. Much of this is now within the area of the Golf Course.
*For earlier agriculture and related settlements see History Beneath Our Boots.
Men and women of Cold Ashby who served in the World Wars are listed below:
First World War (1914-18)
Sap Horace Archer
Pte Walter J. Archer
Pte Edwin James Beal
Pte John Beal
Pte Francis Bott
Pte G. Augustus Bott
Pte Frederick Bott
1stClBoy Raymond Cave
Gun Walter E. Cave
Pte Albert John Clark
2ndLieut Sidney Gardner
Pte Alfred Garrett
Pte T.H. Gardner
Sap William C. Gaunt
Pte Ernest Garrett
Pte Alfred E. Gunn
Pte Ernest C. Green
Pte W". Arthur Gunn
Pte Harry Gunn
Pte Alfred Letts
Pte John A. Hardstaff
Pte John Letts
Pte Harry Letts
Pte Scott Letts
Pte Samuel Letts
Pte Tom Lee
Sap Thomas S. Letts
Pte George Linnell
Sgt Tom Lill
Pte William Porter
Pte Charles W Marlow
2ndLieut JohnWm. Slater
Gun Albert E. Sadler
Pte Albert York
Pte Charles Smith
Pte Walter York
Second World War (1939- 45)
Gun Williarn A. Adler
Fl Cpl Frederick Barnett
AB John R Barr
Pte Frank R. Beal
Sgt Clifford G. Bott
Pte Harold F. Bott
LAC Eric L. Cheney
Sap H. John Cave
MstatArms W. Charles Cave
ColSgt W. Leslie Cave
VVRNS Eileen Godfrey
SGT Henry Greaves
Gun Reginald E. Green
LAC Ashley E. Judge
L/Sgt William Lee
Pte Douglas Letts
AB Donovan K Lill
Sap Edward Marlow
Pte Florence Massie
Sap James Massie
Sgt Charles W. Smith
Cpl Larry Spollen
Pte Albert E.Whiting
Maj Peter M.Wiggin
Pte Joan B.Worth
Below is the wording of the Memorial Plaque over the main entrance of the Memorial Hall :
In grateful memory of those from the village
who died in the Great War.
In grateful memory of
Who died in service for his Country 1939-1945.
Second World War Evacuees in Cold Ashby
'Round & About Cold Ashby' states that the first evacuees arrived in Cold Ashby the day after the declaration of war, having been relocated after a few days in Rugby.
They were assembled on the school playground to enable villagers to make their choice and the teachers who accompanied them stayed at The Laurels.
Lessons were initially taught in the Memorial Hall but the children were later enrolled at Thornby or Cold Ashby Schools.
A photograph of evacuees 'admiring' local pigs was published in 'Round & About Cold Ashby' and is now available at this link.
The description of the photo suggests that the children were mostly from Dudden Hill School in Willesden and that Les Swaffield was one such evacuee.
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