The Church of St Helen, Thornby, is set
back from the western side of Welford Road and St Helen's Close,
with the Thornby Road junction close to the south. A large part of
the village still belongs to one family while the church originated
in the 1200s, with fourteenth century additions and expansion. It
employs squared coursed and regular coursed lias with ashlar
dressings and a slate roof to form a nave, north aisle, chancel,
vestry, and three-stage west tower.
The substantial north aisle was added and the
chancel restored by E F Law in 1870. The font is dated to the 1100s,
with fragments of ancient carving around it. Its origins seem to be
unrecorded, but there is no mention of a previous church building on
this site so it likely came from elsewhere. In 2000 it was
discovered that a major restoration had to be carried out on the
church and, within a period of about fifteen years, conditions were
right for the interior to be redecorated.
The Church of St Denys (or St Denis
in older usage), Cold Ashby, sits inside the v-shape formed by
the junction between Church Lane and Thornby Road to its north.
This modest stone church is set high above the village centre.
Its original structure is twelfth century, with additions up to
the fourteenth. Built in regular coursed and square coursed lias
with ashlar dressings and a lead roof, it consists of nave,
chancel, and three-stage west tower with a two-light west window.
That tower was built no later than the fourteenth
century, and probably towards the end of that period as with a large
number of other English churches. The porch is seventeenth century
and the vestry, north door, and organ gallery are nineteenth
century. The building underwent restoration work around 1840. The
walls and roof have also been restored so that they show the original
stone and timbers. The 1778 Royal Coat of Arms of George III were
restored in 1970.
Cold Ashby Monastic Grange occupied
grounds on the western side of the road on its southwards
approach to Main Street from the direction of the A5199 (close to
the 'N' of 'north' on the map). More formally known as the monastic
grange of Sulby Abbey, both grange and abbey are known to
have existed within the area but the precise location seems to have
been lost. The abbey was founded in 1155 as a daughter house of the
Abbey of St Mary and St Martial in Newsham.
St Michael's Church, Winwick, is at the
north-western corner of this hamlet, with the manor house on its
north-western flank. It is a thirteenth century cruciform building,
with a Perpendicular west tower and a chancel that was removed in
1853 and replaced with a larger, Gothic version by E F Law. Winwick
is famous as the home of Sir Thomas Malory, lord of the manor in
the late fifteenth century and author of 'Le Morte d'Arthur' which
was printed by William Caxton in 1470.
Two photos on this page originally published on
Lynne's 'Echoes of the Past' blog and reproduced here with permission,
and three kindly contributed by Rex Harris via the 'History Files:
Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group. Additional information
from Lynne's 'Echoes of the Past' blog, and by Rex Harris.