From early times the parish of Ardley was traversed by an important highway - the road from Oxford into Northamptonshire. Known as the Oxford Way in 1679 it was made a turnpike in 1757. The village of Ardley lies on the point where branch roads to Fritwell and Bucknell meet the main road.

The village seems never to have been very large, or rich. In 1662 only eleven houses, most of which were humble dwellings, were listed for the hearth tax. Twenty houses were recorded in 1768 and thirty-five in 1821.

Ardley Castle was a motte and bailey structure. Believed to have been built in the early 12th century, during the civil war between King Stephen and Empress Matilda. It was demolished by order of Henry II sometime after 1154 and now exists only as an earthwork, an oval enclosure, some 100 yards in diameter, with a shallow ditch. In 1823 the existence of subterranean passages was recorded on the site, though these were believed to relate to a medieval manor house.

St Mary's Church
St Mary's Church

The church of St Mary dates back to at least 1074, when a grant of its tithes was made, though the original church was demolished and completely rebuilt in the late 12th century. The present nave was built in 1793 but the chancel and bell tower still contain some re-used Norman stonework.

A village school was built in 1861, at the expense of the Duke of Marlborough, with accommodation for 60 children, but an education of sorts was available before that. In 1808 a few children were looked after and instructed by a ‘poor woman’. And in 1815 twenty one children attended a school supported by the Rector where they were taught the principles of religion, at their parents’ expense. The village school eventually closed in 1914, when the children were moved to Middleton Stoney School.

The Great Western Railway completed their new main line from London to Birmingham in 1910 and, as it passed only a few hundred yards from the village, a station was opened on the main road just to the south of the village. Ardley Station remained in use until its closure in 1963.