Ravenstonedale Parish History Group

23rd February 2018
by rphg2015

Summer Programme 2018

We have now arranged two summer evening history walks:

The first date for your History Group summer diary is an evening walk round the village of Ravenstonedale with Andy Lowe, who gave us such a entertaining and informative talk on Lakeland farmhouses last November. Details are being finalised as to which house or houses we will visit to see architectural features inside and out, but please make a note of the date: Wednesday 27th June 2018 at 7pm, meeting in the “triangle” Car Park by the Nursery School. Refreshments will be provided afterwards.

The second summer evening walk will be in Orton on Wednesday 11th July 2018, when we will have a guided tour of the village with Wendy Higgins, a Blue Badge guide and a member of Orton and Tebay Local History Society. It will start at 7pm from the square by the Market Hall (where you can also park) and will last for approximately one and a half hours (weather permitting!)

Our first talk of next season, on Wednesday 19th September 2018 at High Chapel, will be on Cattle Droving through Cumbria by Peter Roebuck, author of the book Cattle Droving Through Cumbria 1600-1900. Peter is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Ulster, and is the current Chairman of Cumbria Local History Federation, to which we belong. Not to be missed!

We are planning a collaboration with the Friends of St Oswald’s to present an evening event to mark the centenary of the end of the Great War.  This event will be held in St Oswald’s Church on 9th November, and we intend to give an idea of what life was like in the Parish from 1914-1918. If you can help at all with any family history of Ravenstonedale Parish at that time, please leave a Comment on this website and we’ll get back to you.

Thanks to all who attended the AGMThe Friends of Tarn Gill Bridge also held their AGM recently.


20th December 2017
by rphg2015

Thursday afternoons

The History Group archive upstairs at High Chapel is open to visitors from 2 to 4pm on Thursday afternoons from now until the end of the year (we don’t open in January).

13th November 2017
by rphg2015

Recent visitors

We’ve been pleased to welcome several visitors to the archive who are undertaking family history research recently, including a brother and sister descended from Thomas Carver. They had contacted us as a result of a newspaper report of Val’s talk on the Carver family and their connections to the village, and we were able to show them, among other things, the family gravestone in High Chapel burial ground (which incidentally is duplicated in St Oswald’s Churchyard). Thomas Carver and his brother John were both trustees of High Chapel, and in the 1890’s were responsible for renovating the Chapel, the upstairs Schoolroom and the Manse and for enlarging the burial ground in memory of their mother Elizabeth Airey. This is recorded on a wall plaque in the main part of High Chapel which the visitors were able to photograph. We have subsequently sent them some photographs, including one of their ancestor Elizabeth Airey. We thank them for their kind donation to the History Group.

27th October 2016
by rphg2015

History Room refurbishment

The good news is that we are now able to resume opening the History Room at High Chapel upstairs on Thursday afternoons between 2 and 4pm. The bad news is that we have to do a lot of sorting out in the archive and cataloguing that we haven’t been able to do for several months – but we are able to welcome members and visitors! We have a new floor now in the History Room – and a radiator – so we will be reorganising our storage over the coming weeks. We now have some new shelves, tailor-made by two members of the Committee and a Group member who isn’t on the Committee (but who is married to a Committee member!). This has enabled us to reorganise our growing archive, and to display books, scrapbooks and folders which until now have been kept in boxes. We are very grateful to Phyllis and Jon Ring (who visited the village from the USA earlier this year) for their donation enabling us to refurbish the storage in the room – members of Phyllis’s family lived at The Chantry and Chantry Lodge for many years. We are also purchasing archive-standard storage boxes for the more fragile paper items as our funds allow.

20th May 2016
by rphg2015

This Season’s Programme

This season’s evening talks began on September 20th 2017.

Our final talk of this season was Les Neal’s presentation on 21st March on the changes in Ravenstonedale Town up to the early 1900’s, featuring stories of landowners, tenants and the farms and cottages. We learnt about the families who became part of the village’s history –  some of the surnames have now disappeared from the village because the family had no male heirs, such as the Bovells. Les also showed how the houses and cottages had changed over time – this will be an aspect on which Andy Lowe can focus during his walk with us round Ravenstonedale village on the evening of 27th June.

On 21st February Jackie Wedd spoke about the life and work of Edward Jeffrey, a versatile and talented artist who lived in Ravenstonedale from the late 1940’s until just before his death in 1978.  About twenty original watercolours by Edward Jeffrey were on show, kindly lent to the History Group for the evening – along with many well-loved copies of the Toby Twirl books, many of which show local Ravenstonedale references in his artwork. Other books with his illustrations were also on show. A summary of Jackie’s talk appears here, along with brief notes about previous talks this season: Continue Reading →

11th December 2015
by rphg2015

Christmas Get-together 2017

On Wednesday 13th December at 7.30pm in High Chapel we held our annual Christmas get-together with a Quiz. Dave’s Quiz this time was an Eggheads inspired list of multiple choice questions on the Lakes and Dales, followed by the killer Sudden Death questions (no choices) to sort out any ties between the teams….all did very well with the winners scoring an impressive 29 out of 40. Thanks to Bill for his keyboard accompaniment to our carol-singing and to Ann for the Christmas decorations.

18th September 2015
by rphg2015

Annual Exhibition 2017

Our annual exhibition on 14th and 15th October in High Chapel from 2pm to 5pm each day featured some of the old maps of the Parish and sales prospectuses which we hold, including a bound copy of the first Ordnance Survey maps of the Parish dating from 1859, donated to the History Group earlier this year. More of our photographic archive relating to Parish gardens past and present, and more of the history of Ravenstonedale School – photos and yearbooks from around 2000-2001 – were on show too, as well as the story of how the Parish Millennium Map was created.

Continue Reading →

12th February 2015
by rphg2015

Tarn Gill Bridge saved?

Chantry Bridge 1970s

Tarn Gill Bridge (known locally as Chantry Bridge – but is it really Artlegarth Beck Bridge – see below), Townhead, Ravenstonedale, has been saved from demolition – for the moment. Friends of Tarn Gill Bridge commissioned a survey, design and specification for repairs from a firm in Kendal, but this was not acceptable to Cumbria County Council (who own the bridge) as they do not agree with the surveyor’s findings that the problems are all in the superstructure of the bridge. The Friends have now submitted an application to Historic England for the bridge to be added to the National Heritage List for England by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, and have now commented on the Consultation Report produced by Historic England. The Friends are intrigued to learn that HE refer to the bridge as Artlegarth Beck Bridge – at least the fourth name the bridge has been given! Meanwhile a site meeting is being arranged so that discussions can continue between the Friends and the County Council about the best way to investigate the perceived problems with the bridge and the best way forward with repairs. The Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership, whose bid for Heritage Lottery Funding for projects in the area will be finalised in July 2018, could be a possible source of funding for part of the repairs. Continue Reading →