Friends of
St Oswald's

Ravenstonedale

An invitation to the inhabitants of Ravenstonedale

To all inhabitants of Ravenstonedale and to those of you who appreciate our village and our church.

In these days of economic difficulties, dwindling congregations and spiralling costs, St Oswald’s church, the building we see today, is in danger of being lost to future generations.

St Oswald’s is the focal point of this beautiful village.  It has served its parishioners as a place for worship, weddings and burials for all members of the community for generations.

If the cost of repairs cannot be met, the church will cease to be as it is today. The funds needed to keep the church in good order, as well as to make it more comfortable and accessible for us all to use, come entirely from the congregation, regular fundraising and the generosity of donors but unfortunately this income does not cover the maintenance and repair costs.  Without extra help, deterioration, dereliction, or conversion are the potential options, which might ensue within the lives of our younger generation.

In my life time the fully resident population of Ravenstonedale has halved due to many factors such as farm mechanisation (less farm men), supermarkets, loss of jobs for youngsters and unaffordable housing.  The large village shop, post office, blacksmith, butcher, roadmen, railway workers at Tebay and Kirkby Stephen, gardeners, and the village policeman have all gone and the church could be the next loss.

Whilst away from home or abroad most people enjoy visiting churches or places of historic interest.  St Oswald’s is not only a sacred place of worship; it is a physical landmark in our history.  Its nationally important historic and architectural significance has been recognised by English Heritage and it is a Grade I listed church, the highest grade there is.

Now and in the future, St Oswald’s will increasingly depend upon donations.  As it is such a special building, I urge you to become a Friend of St Oswald’s, no matter what your beliefs.  I also ask you to encourage your friends and relations to contribute.  Although they may have moved away, they may have had use of the church's facilities and have fond memories of St Oswald’s.

The Friends of St Oswald’s will hold events in the church and help to make it more comfortable so that more members of the community can use and enjoy it.  If you would like to get involved in the work of the Friends, or want to suggest or organise events please contact Caroline A Morris, Monor House, Ravenstonedale CA17 4NQ. Tel 015396 23308.

I feel our grandchildren will never forgive us if this wonderful building were to become an extension of the Gilbertine ruins. The churchyard without this church would become a desolate lonely place and so would the village.

Thank you in anticipation of your support,

Chris Metcalfe-Gibson  BA.  M.A.  M.B.  B.Chir. (Cantab) LRCS.  LRCP (London) FRCS (London)

Gilbertine Ruins

In the grounds of St Oswald's there are some Gilbertine ruins which have been excavated to form a very impressive glimpse of history.

Gilbertine Monastic Ruins, St Oswald's Church, Ravenstonedale

Strictly speaking it was not a monastery but a house.
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