Ravenstonedale Parish 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 to accommodate our growing archive, and enabling us 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.

20th May 2016
by rphg2015

This Season’s Programme

The next programme of evening talks begins on September 20th 2017 at 7.30pm.
We are very pleased to welcome back Ian Carradice, who will be talking about aspects of life in Ravenstonedale from about 1905 to 1920, seen through the picture postcard album of Lizzie Fothergill who lived at Wray Green.

The annual Ravenstonedale Parish History Group newsletter will be published in early September and emailed to all members before the new programme of talks begins.. (Members who do not have access to email will continue to receive a copy in the post.)

Over the summer we have organised several events. 

On Friday 1st September eleven members of the History Group visited the Swaledale Museum in Reeth, where the Curator Helen Bainbridge gave us insights as to how we could best reorganise our ever-growing archive to make it more easily accessible to members and researchers, particularly those interested in their ancestral ties to the Parish.  We are also discovering families who migrated in the past between Swaledale, Arkengarthdale and the Eden Valley (nowadays linked by the spectacular route from Kirkby Stephen through Nateby).  We can thoroughly recommend a visit to the Museum – probably more than one as there is so much to take in! Their website is at http://www.swaledalemuseum.org/index.html

The History Group AGM was held on Wednesday 17th May 2017 at 7.30pm. Our thanks to all the members who attended. Our Treasurer and Membership Secretary who has filled these roles since the Group began is now standing down. We are very pleased that we have had a volunteer (yes really!) to join the committee and details of the new committee and their responsibilities will be in the Newsletter.

On Thursday 22nd June, some members of Hesket Local History Group visited Ravenstonedale for a walk around the village, similar to the walk we organised for Shap Local History Society last year. We visited the Church and the Coldbeck area before returning along High Dykes to Townend, and then walked up the hill past Low Chapel to High Chapel. Three members of our committee kindly shared their local knowledge about the buildings and the history of this part of the village and it was much appreciated by the visitors, and some local people who joined the walk.

Four Ravenstonedale village gardens, the allotments and the Kilnmire traditional haymeadows (as pictured in High Chapel) were open for the National Garden Scheme over the weekend of 1st and 2nd July. The History Group put on an exhibition of photographs of Parish Gardens Past and Present in High Chapel, where the refreshments were on sale between 11am and 5pm each day.  The exhibition showed photos and plans of former Victorian Parish gardens, as well as photos taken during Parish “garden trails” in the early 2000’s which raised funds for St Oswald’s Church. There was also a display about the history of Tarn Gill Bridge (aka Chantry Bridge) and the History Group’s contribution to the Friends’ ongoing efforts to save the bridge from demolition. Some folders featuring previous Local History exhibitions were also on display.

The NGS opening raised over £2500 for the various nursing, medical and carers’ charities which are supported, and this includes over £700 takings from the excellent teas, coffees and cakes served in High Chapel co-ordinated by the High Chapel Community and Heritage Centre Committee. 50% of the refreshments takings goes to High Chapel and 50% to the NGS for their charities.

On Wednesday 19th July, eight History Group members enjoyed a guided walk around Shap by kind invitation of Shap Local History Society. Arriving in a torrential downpour, we sought refuge in the Heritage Centre where we were given an introductory talk by Jean Scott-Smith. When the rain stopped, we visited the church and walked around the village, noting the different styles of architecture and hearing about aspects of life in Shap from pre-history onwards…ending up back at the Heritage Centre for delicious homemade scones and cake!  Our thanks to Jean and to Liz for their hospitality.

Our exhibition in 2017 will be on 14th and 15th October in High Chapel from 2pm to 5pm each day. It will feature some of the old maps of the Parish and sales prospectuses which we hold, including the first Ordnance Survey from 1859, as well as 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. As ever, we need help with putting names to faces….Entrance is free but a charge will be made for refreshments.

Last year’s exhibition entitled The Three Parish Schools – or is it Four? on 8th and 9th October 2016 was a great success – over 100 people attended over the two days and we were very pleased to welcome former pupils from Ravenstonedale, Newbiggin-on-Lune and Fell End Schools who were able to help us identify many of the pupils in the school photographs we have been given. Our thanks to everyone who lent or donated items for the exhibition – we are particularly pleased to have been able to show the cast-iron fireguard which stood round the stove in Fell End Schoolroom to one of the former pupils who used to stand next to it to keep warm during the 1940’s when she attended the school from the age of 5.



The first evening meeting of last season was on Wednesday 21st September 2016Continue Reading →

11th December 2015
by rphg2015

Christmas Get-together

Our annual Christmas get-together of members and friends took place on 7th December in the High Chapel Community and Heritage Centre. We enjoyed mulled wine, nibbles and mince pies – with soft drinks on offer for those who unfortunately had to drive – and we were treated to another of Les Neal’s entertaining quizzes. He did promise it would be easier than last year’s on the Norse-derived place names in the Parish – hmmm! If you are a devotee of BBC2’s Only Connect you will understand it when I say that the “Christmas Connecting Wall” – including anagrams as well –  seemed very difficult to me, although the “missing consonants” section (rather than the Only Connect missing vowels) was slightly easier. The winning team managed to remember all Santa’s reindeer names (including Rudolf of course), not to mention all the gifts in the Twelve Days of Christmas in the correct order, and were presented with their prize of a bottle of wine made from grapes grown in the village. Congratulations to them and our thanks to Les and to our members who helped with decorating the hall – and the washing-up afterwards! Continue Reading →

18th September 2015
by rphg2015

Annual Exhibition

When Ravenstonedale School closed we were given numerous photos, yearbooks, trophies and art and craftwork which formed the basis of one of the displays. Our visitors to the exhibition were extremely helpful – see above! Our thanks to everyone! Continue Reading →

12th February 2015
by rphg2015

Tarn Gill Bridge saved?

Chantry Bridge 1970s

Tarn Gill Bridge (known locally as Chantry Bridge), 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 Highways (who own the bridge) as they do not agree with the surveyor’s findings. Although the Council have reinstated the sum of £15,000 into their budget for the bridge, they are not prepared to use any of this to investigate the problems with its structure, which they are sure stem from the bridge support being eroded by water disappearing down a sinkhole upstream. The Friends are therefore exploring other sources of funding for investigation and repairs, including the Orton Fells Hidden Landscapes Project, an initiative to bid for Heritage Lottery Funding for projects in the area which became part of Yorkshire Dales National Park on 1st August 2016. Continue Reading →