Ravenstone

Description

Description of Ravenstone from J.J. Sheahan, 1861.

The parish of Ravenston, Ravenstone, or Rowenstone, adjoins Olney on the west, and, like that parish, is bounded on the north by Northamptonshire, and on the south by the river Ouse. Its area is 2,230 acres; population about 450; rateable value £2,023. The soil is various – clay, gravel & loam. Limestone is quarried here, and occasionally used for building purposes. There are about 200 acres of woodland.

The Village is large and stands about 3 miles W. by S from Olney, and 5 miles N.N.W. From Newport Pagnell. The surface in the northern portion of the parish is somewhat undulated but is generally flat towards the Ouse in the south.

Priory of Ravenstone. This house was for monks or canons regular of the Order of St. Augustine. We have seen that Peter de Chaceport was its founder, and that he endowed it with the Manor of Ravenstone which he had purchased from Saher de Wahul. This endowment included the capital mansion belonging to the estate, and the advowson of the Rectory. As before intimated this Convent with its property was given to Cardinal Wolsey in 1524 when the community consisted of a Prior and only four canons, who were translated to other monasteries. The conventual church is said to have bee pulled down, and the present parochial edifice built out of its materials. Browne Willis was unwilling to credit this tradition, as there was not in the parish church, even in his day, any ancient monuments, or painted glass, or signs of antiquity, notwithstanding that the edifice appeared to be of much earlier date than the Reformation.

There are no remains of the conventual buildings, but Willis states that in his time a small portion of the ruins were visible. The site of the monastery, a short distance west of the church, is occupied by a farmhouse; and near to it are indications of buildings in the very uneven ground. “On the decent from the hill on which the church stands,” writes Dr. Lipscomb, “is a large orchard, moated round, in which was formerly a fish-pond, since filled-up, and a well of clear water, covered with an ancient wrought stone, through the cavity of which, the stream proceeding from it runs into a small brook. The spring appears to arise here, but the stone is evidently part of a niche, seemingly inverted.” Another writer says that near the farm-house, on the site of the Convent, “is a well called Holy Well, over which is placed in an inverted position, probably the only existing vestige of the Priory, which appears from this specimen to have been built in the florid style of English architecture. The measurement of the stone is 4 feet 3 inches, by 1 foot 8 inches, and seems to have formed the heads of three niches, one of each is almost entire”.

The Vicarage House was built by the present Vicar in 1825.

The School is a neat stone building, with a residence for the teachers, pleasantly situated on high ground, and surrounded by a garden in the centre of the village. About 30 children attend daily. At the south end of the village is a small Dissenting Chapel, used both by Baptists and Independents. It is simply a cottage with the partition removed.

Education

Ravenstone Parish (Pop. 430)

One Daily School, containing upwards of 80 children of both sexes, endowed with a salary of  £12 per annum, with house and garden for the master, and an allowance for stationary and firing.

Two Sunday Schools, in which about 40 males and 40 females receive gratuitous instruction.

ABSTRACT OF EDUCATION RETURNS, 1833.