Ravenstonedale Parish History Group

About the Group

The Group’s origins go back to 2010, when it became necessary to find storage for a large amount of Parish archive material, and it was felt that this could be located in the former High Chapel in the centre of Ravenstonedale village (for the Ravenstonedale Community website please click here). At the same time it was decided that the archive should be organised, catalogued and made available to anyone interested in viewing it. This work is ongoing!

The History Room, upstairs at the now renamed Ravenstonedale High Chapel Community and Heritage Centre, is open on Thursday afternoons from 2-4pm from February to December, and at other times by appointment (please phone 015396 23308,  07798 688057 or 015396 20605). Members and visitors are always welcome on Thursday afternoons (tea and coffee at 3pm!)

A monthly winter programme of talks began in autumn 2010, and this too is ongoing on the third Wednesday of every month from September to March at 7.30pm, downstairs at the High Chapel.  We now hold two of the talks in our programme, usually October and one of the winter ones, in the Hall at Newbiggin-on-Lune. Admission: members £2, non-members £3, including tea and coffee.

Membership runs from 1st January annually and costs £5 for one person, £7.50 for a family (at one address), and £10 for an organisation. Membership is free for students under 25.

We are affiliated to Cumbria Local History Federation, a group of over 80 societies and also individuals interested in the local history of our County. Click here for their website



  1. Very enjoyable and interesting talk by Ian Carradice last Wednesday,
    Many thanks.

  2. Please could someone contact me as I have some useful archive (dated from 1922-1946) information/evidence about the old Schoolhouse at Fell End, Ravenstonedale. You may find it useful for your exhibition on 8th/9th October. Many thanks, I look forward to hearing from you.

  3. Many thanks Lynne; we’ll be in touch!

  4. Hello,

    A group of us from the Archaeology Volunteer Network of the Lake District National Park are undertaking an archaeological and historical survey of pillow mounds in Cumbria. Amongst others, we have surveyed the pillow mounds near Ravenstonedale. We about to embark on documentary research to try and date the mounds but, before doing so, I wanted to check whether anyone else has already done this. Your Group would seem to be the obvious organisation to contact about this and I wonder if you know whether anyone has already undertaken research into the mounds and, if so, whether you could put me in touch with them? I also wondered whether your Group have access to any documentation which might help in dating the mounds? Any help would be very much appreciated.

    • Hi – if you are referring to the pillow mounds in the north-east of the parish (which are also known locally as Giants Graves), it is now thought that the mounds are the remains of medieval rabbit warrens which were built to provide food for the Gilbertine monastic settlement in Ravenstonedale. This information is quoted in the Ravenstonedale Companion to the Millennium Map and also by Cumbria Wildlife Trust in their leaflet on Smardale Gill NNR. Hope this helps!

  5. Hello – my name is David Johnson (Maling Pottery Historian) representing The Maling Collectors Society here in the UK. Can anyone give any information concerning the colour artist R. S. Clark, who shared the house/studio (‘Chantry Studios’ Ravenstonedale, Kirkby Stephen, Westmorland – now Cumbria) with illustrator Edward Jeffrey (Toby Twirl books) and his family around 1946? Sincere thanks.

    • Hi David – yes we can certainly give you information about Edward Jeffrey and Richard Clark, and we are also aware of a connection to Maling ware – we know of examples that Edward Jeffrey decorated. We’ll email you about it.

  6. I am interested in finding information regarding my ancestors that came from Ravenstonedale.
    My name is Laurine Morigaki. Recently my sister, my husband and I visited Ravenstonedale. The ladies at the Black Swan gave me your site address.
    The ancestors I know about:

    Matthew Bell (1758-1831 married Alice Webster.
    They had a son, Richard Bell (1791-1881), who married Grace White
    They were married at Chapel of Barnes, Dec. 20,1815
    Their children were William, Richard, Jane, Matthew, Ann, Mary, John, Margaret, and James
    Their son, William (1818-1899),married Ann Thompson on August 23,1842 at the Episcopal Church in Ravenstonedale.
    I have their addresses as Riggend and Weasdale.
    William and Ann Bell left England in 1852 for America and settled in Council Hill, Illinois, where my grandfather was born.
    I believe William’s brother, Richard, also came to the same area in Illinois.
    Do you know of any descendants of Richard and Grace Bell who are still in the Ravenstonedale area? Or elsewhere in the United Kingdom?

    Thank you for your consideration and help.
    Laurine Morigaki

    • Hi Laurine – thank you for your message. We’ll have a look in the archive to see if we have anything about the Bell family of Weasdale and Rigg End and let you know.

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