Ravenstonedale Parish History Group

Summer and Autumn Programme 2018


We are currently working with the Friends of St Oswald’s on an evening event to mark the centenary of the end of the Great War entitled From Westmorland to the Western Front – A Parish Remembers WWI – an evening of words, music – and knitting!  This event will be held in St Oswald’s Church on 9th November. Rehearsals have started – we are learning our lines…

The History Group will be providing an exhibition focussing on what life was like in the Parish during the War years, and we are lucky to have two first-hand accounts in the Archive which will form the framework of the exhibition. This will be in the Church to view after the performance and for the whole weekend, including Remembrance Sunday, the hundredth anniversary of the signing of the Armistice on 11th November 1918. The exhibition will move to High Chapel for Val’s talk about the soldiers from the Parish at High Chapel on Wednesday 21st November.

Our next talk this season also deals with the Great War and its impact on Cumbria – No Labour – No Food – No War by Richard Preston. This will be on Wednesday 17th October at 7.30pm in Newbiggin on Lune Public Hall, which was built in the immediate aftermath of the Great War as a place of recreation for the returning soldiers – to try and keep them out of the public house!

Our first talk of the season on Wednesday 19th September 2018 was a fascinating and informative account of 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 we were especially pleased to welcome him as he is the current Chairman of Cumbria Local History Federation, to which we belong. A good turnout of members and non-members attended – in spite of the weather!

We enjoyed two summer evening history walks:

Outside the Ravenstonedale pig house where the Parish pig was fattened up…you can still see the feeding slot where the slops were put in

But…no-one really knows why this structure is here…or where it came from originally…

Our evening walk round part of Ravenstonedale village with Andy Lowe on 27th June – for once a beautiful summer’s evening – was attended by 28 people who were treated to a very informative and entertaining guide to what can be learned from looking at the outside of the houses, as to when they were built, and why certain features were designed as they were – most of which have stood the test of time and are still working well today. We’ll never walk through the village again without noting the clever designs to take rainfall away from windows, or how the carts were stopped from hitting the walls – or which house owners and builders were wealthy enough to incorporate the latest technology and fashions (sometimes many at once!) into their new houses.  We also saw some of the more unusual window designs in the village as we walked up the main street. Our thanks to Steve and Val for the refreshments afterwards, and our thanks also to those who were kind enough to let us view internal features such as a cruck beam, a (re-used) medieval timber post, cast-iron beam-mounted brackets for storage shelves, and original HL hinges too.



The second summer evening walk on Wednesday 11th July was led by local Orton resident and guide Wendy Higgins, and was an interesting two hour walk around Orton village. 14 members attended and enjoyed an informative talk on another warm summer’s evening. The tour started at the Market Hall, revealing the history of the very ancient market charter and a tale of an evening in the Vicar’s cellar that led to a court martial in the English Civil War. Orton Hall was discussed, and a number of buildings built by the Revd John Septimus Sisson, as denoted by initials in stone carved above the door of each property. On one of these properties, there is a porch possibly re-utilised from one of three vicarages built over the years. The Mill, now being faithfully restored as a dwelling, and  other notable homes in the pretty lane along the Chapel Beck were described in terms of their history.  The walk concluded with a tour of the Church, showing features inside the building that give an insight into the date of construction including the ancient Parish Chest, and also the mystery door revealed in recent restoration work. Excellent tea and biscuits refreshed the walkers, who all thoroughly enjoyed the evening.



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


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