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Adamthwaite Reunion in Ravenstonedale
8th July 2009
We had a splendid time in Ravenstonedale at the first Adamthwaite Reunion. There were representatives from the VIOLET line, TURQUOISE line, and two branches of both the OLIVE and YELLOW lines, plus accompanying family members.
After a warm welcome at the High Chapel 'Open House' with coffee and cakes, we were shown around the chapel itself, and met the volunteers who run this community centre and maintain the historic building. For anyone visiting Ravenstonedale in the future, try to be there on a Wednesday morning between 10.30 and 12.00 so you can look around and study the material they hold in their local history collection about the village and surrounding area, and also find out more about the local red squirrel population.
You will find more information about the Open House on the Ravenstonedale Community website. Open House now run at the Low Chapel every Wednesday morning by volunteers from the local community. If you feel you would like to help please contact Frank Chalmers. Whether it is helping serve visitors with refreshments or assisting with our programme of activities your contribution will be most welcome. If you are not in a position to help in person, then financial donations are also acceptable!
After a snack lunch we hurried to the meeting place for the 'Exploring Ravenstonedale' walk organised by the Sedbergh History Society and led by Caroline Morris. Much to our surprise (and Caroline's!) far from the 20 or so people expected to attend the walk, there must have been well over 50 of us. Add to that the fact that there was a huge funeral taking place at St Oswald's Church which also began at 2pm, the little village of Ravenstonedale was somewhat overwhelmed with visitors.
After a last minute route-change to avoid the funeral, Caroline led as around the village and told us about how the area had changed over the past centuries. She had prepared excellent laminated sheets of old photographs of the streets and houses which we were able to pass around amongst us to compare 'then' and 'now'. Caroline's talk was enlivened with little stories about her own childhood memories of growing up in the village, along with fascinating snippets about considerably more ancient, long-departed residents.
We ended up in St Oswalds - an intriguing little church with a most unusual layout of pews facing each other across the central aisle, and an intricately carved three decker pulpit. See left for some photographs taken during the walk ... these are just from me and Paula - if any others who were there have more photos, please forward them to me for inclusion!
Disappointingly, there are no Adamthwaite graves in the churchyard, despite there having been so many early Adamthwaites living in the village and surrounding hamlets. All the existing stones have been recorded and a plan of the graveyard is on the noticeboard inside the church. However, if you visit, you may still find evidence of other families linked to your early ancestors from Ravenstonedale (see the index to recorded graves on the Ravenstonedale website)
I had hoped that we would be able to visit Adamthwaite Farm after the walk, but sadly this proved impossible to arrange. So we had time to rest our vocal chords after all the chatting before those of us who were staying in Ravenstonedale met up again for a drink before dinner at the Black Swan.
A big thank you to all those who were able to attend our very first get-together. Perhaps we can organise another reunion in a few years time, lasting several days, so that we can also visit other Adamthwaite haunts such as Kirkby Stephen, Winton, Brough, Bowes and Stainmore?
The Ravenstonedale website has an illustrated copy of their Millenium map, which was drawn by Caroline (using her professional surname of Metcalfe-Gibson**) and shows the places we visited, plus many many more in the surrounding area. You can view it at http://www.ravenstonedale.org/general/millennium/map/image_map.htm where you will also find details of where to purchase your own copy. [HINT: if you click on the link for the 'Interactive version' you can view enlarged sections of both maps]
** No, it is not a coincidence! One of Caroline's early Metcalf ancestors is the very same Agnes Metcalf who married William Adamthwaite of Adamthwaite way back in 1742. Which makes her a member of the YELLOW line by marriage.