Cold Ashby Hall
(photo, believed to be taken in 1893)
Cold Ashby Hall was originally built in the late 18thCentury as a vicarage which explains its proximity to the church. It is still possible to discern traces of the bricked up doorway in the wall which now separates the churchyard from the grounds of the hall. The building was listed Grade II in November 1985 thus:
Late C18. Brick with ashlar dressings, now painted, and slate roof. Originally probably double-depth plan. 2 storeys. Entrance front of 3-window range with central glazed door having a wooden canopy with entablature and cornice supported on fluted cast-iron columns. Casement windows with glazing bars under flat arch heads; that to right of entrance is a French door. Flat string course between ground and first floor. Rusticated ashlar quoins. Hipped roof with brick stacks at ridge. Garden front similar, probably extended in C19. Interior not inspected.
Some interesting people have lived here ...
In the Nineteenth Century there was Rev. William Mousley M.A. who presented the church with its fine, small pipe organ in 1840 and was overseer of a thorough refurbishment of the interior which included new pews and the plastering of the walls. He also gave the land on which the School and school house were built.
He was author of Moral Strength or The Nature and Conquest of Evil Habits Considered (Hatchard & Son 1843), the subject matter and general tone of which may be gleaned from the following extract from the preface of that treatise:
[The Author] humbly hopes that his efforts may be productive of usefulness especially at the present crisis of anxiety when a degenerate standard of morals and false principles of religion are so widely adopted, or rather when immorality and irreligion are so equally prevalent, occasioning, as their natural consequences, daily increased wretchedness and a feverish discontent, which convulses the very elements of society and threatens with a fearful overthrow, both social order and domestic peace.
The Rambler notes that commas are as ‘prevalent’ in this man’s prose as ‘immorality and irreligion’ clearly were in Cold Ashby in 1843!
It appears the Hall was sold to Thomas Hazlehurst DL JP as a private house after Rev. Mousley’s sister gave what is now styled ‘The Old Vicarage’ to the village in the mid 1800’s.
('The Old Vicarage', believed to have been taken in 1893)
Thomas was Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant for Leicestershire and High Sheriff in 1900. He Married the Hon. Blanche, daughter of Reverend Robert Devereux, the 13th Viscount Hereford.
Captain Hazlehurst was regarded as the local squire and maintained a soup kitchen at the hall for the benefit of Cold Ashby’s poorer residents.
The Honourable Blanche Hazlehurst was ‘alleged to be eccentric – once setting fire to the curtains in the hall’ (Round & About Cold Ashby,1995, p.56). Fortunately her housemaid extinguished the blaze!
Following the death of Blanche Hazlehurst, the hall was purchased by George Townley of West Haddon in 1929, having been unoccupied for several years.
From this informative, local website we learn that he was a water engineer and well-digger who allegedly inherited a patent for a water system for castles.
He demolished part of the original house and boundary wall, building a new wall about 2 yards into the hall grounds and giving the land thus lost to the church.
Lt. Colonel Peter Dollar and Mrs Beryl Dollar moved to the hall in the 1940s.
Peter Dollar served in the Fourth Hussars during the Second World War and was taken prisoner in Greece. According to the Rambler’s source (Polo in Britain: A History, Laffaye, McFarland 2012, p161) he was ‘an unwelcome guest at various POW camps culminating in confinement in Colditz Castle, the place for troublesome officers.’ Apparently, Peter arrived in Colditz in 1942 for ‘putting up a rude notice’ in another camp. He spent 30 days in the cells.
Colonel Dollar shared a double bunk with Wing Commander Douglas Bader where they clearly became friends. For Bader’s recollections of their time in Colditz click or tap here.
Mrs Dollar and her daughter Jane continued to live at the hall after Peter’s death in 1984. Mrs Dollar was a JP and a keen gardener. She regularly opened the house and garden for charity – her garden was the highlight of Cold Ashby’s annual Open Gardens' Weekend for many years. She died in 2008, aged 92, having lived at Cold Ashby Hall for over 60 years.
An article appeared in Country Life Magazine in 2008, when the hall was again for sale. In this her son, David Dollar, talks of fond memories of the hall, some former owners and his mother. Access this article here.
Thank you for your interest ...
see more of Cold Ashby's History here.