Ravenstonedale – St Oswald’s Church
St Oswald’s Church, Ravenstonedale, erected on the site of a previous church, dates mainly from the 18th century, with a few fragments of the older church built in to the fabric.
It is approached through a long straight path through the large peaceful churchyard, with its imposing trees.
Saxon relics indicate that Christian worship here goes back many centuries. Near the porch is the base of a Saxon cross, the oldest relic of Christian worship in Ravenstonedale.
Unusually for a church in Cumbria, St Oswald’s follows the ‘collegiate’ plan, where rows of pews face into the central aisle.
The handsome oak-panelled three decker pulpit, complete with sounding board, is built in a central position on the north side, and also faces the centre.
The stained glass windows are of particular interest.
The Saint Aiden window was installed and dedicated in 1986, originally part of the East window at nearby Newbiggin-on-Lune, which was closed in 1984.
‘St Cecilia’ with portative organ, by D. Cottier, is based on Sir Edward Burne-Jones‘ picture of the saint.
‘The Good Samaritan’ by Powell of Leeds.
One of the East windows, by Shrigley and Hunt, is dedicated to Elizabeth Gaunt, the last female burnt at Tyburn for the protestant cause, who came from nearby Brownber. The church was a sanctury to assure a fair trial, if the accused could toll the bell once.
On the north side of the building are the foundations of the Gilbertine Abbey built about AD 1200, and excavated in 1920. Church leaflets give detailed information about St Gilbert and the Gilbertine Order, and how they came here from the Priory of Watton in Yorkshire. The site looks out on Scandel Beck.
Aerial photos and stained glass window photos by Simon Ledingham.
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