Ravenstonedale (St. Oswald)
RAVENSTONEDALE (St. Oswald), a parish, in East ward and union, county of Westmorland, 4¾ miles (S. W.) from Kirkby-Stephen; containing 973 inhabitants. The manor belonged to the priory of Watton, Yorkshire, and, in common with the other possessions of that monastery, afforded the privilege of sanctuary. The steward and jury of the manor anciently held their court for the trial of felons and other offenders, in the church, near which was an arched vault for the confinement of malefactors; and Gallow Hill, a short distance hence, appears to have been the spot where capital punishment was inflicted. The parish is composed of numerous valleys and fells, among which rise several streams, forming the source of the river Lune; the substratum contains a peculiar kind of red-sandstone, which becomes very hard on exposure to the air. A small market is held on Thursday. A fair takes place on the second Thursday after Whit-Sunday; and there are fairs for horned-cattle and sheep, lately established, on the Wednesdays before the second Thursdays in March and April, on the 29th of August, and the 26th of October. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Earl of Lonsdale, as lord of the manor; net income, £110; impropriators, the inhabitants. The church was rebuilt in 1744. There is a place of worship for Independents. The free grammar school was founded about 1688, by Thomas Fothergill, B.D., master of St. John's College, Cambridge, aided by members of his family, natives of the parish; a good school-house was built by contributions in 1758, and the endowment now amounts to £39 per annum. At a place called Rasate are two tumuli, in which, on being opened, human bones were found; and near Rother bridge is a circle of stones, supposed to have been connected with Druidical worship. The family of Fothergill has produced several distinguished men, among whom have been George, principal of St. Edmund Hall, and Thomas, provost of Queen's College, Oxford.
Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.