The village, originally on the main route between Leicester and Coventry, is now on the B4065 and B4109 roads and is located on the Warwickshire/Leicestershire border in an outlying part of the borough of Rugby; the village is, however, more than north-west from the town of Rugby and is closer to Nuneaton (five miles to the north-west) and Coventry (eight miles south-west). It is also close to the source of the River Anker. The medieval hamlet of Bramcote forms a western part of the parish, where Gamecock Barracks - the former HMS Gamecock - is situated.
The village name dates back to Saxon times but Neolithic and Bronze Age discoveries suggest earlier occupation. The Roman road, Watling Street, forms part of the parish boundary. It was a market centre in the 12th century with separate townships of Bramcote and, now deserted, Little Copston or Copston Parva. The most important historic event in Wolvey occurred in 1469, during the Wars of the Roses, when Warwick the Kingmaker captured King Edward IV on Wolvey Heath.
A farming community, in the nineteenth century knitting and weaving became important trades in the village for as time. Milling provided an important service for the area and it is reputed at one time to have had 27 windmills in the area, although none now remains.
The village still retains some older buildings including the church of St John the Baptist which includes a 12th-century doorway and contains the monumental tombs of Thomas de Wolvey (c 1305) and his wife Alice; also that of Thomas Astley and his wife, Catherine (c 1603). The Baptist Chapel dates to 1789, and 'The Blue Pig' public house and village pump are also of similar date. Much of the village consists of modern housing.