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Church: A Brief History

The original church may date from the 11th century but the tower was built about 1250. In 1670 the roof was lowered and an upper storey was built with a row of windows to light the inside of the church. The original line of the steep-angled pitched roof can still be seen on the east wall of the tower.


In 1255, Ravenstone Priory was founded for the St Augustine Canons, by Peter de Chaseport, Keeper of the Royal Wardrobe. It was dissolved in 1524 by Cardinal Wolsey, prior to the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII between 1536 & 1540, to raise money for the Crown.

  Church

A few years later the Finch chapel was built on to the south side of the church to receive the body of Lady Elizabeth Finch who succeeded to the estate on the death of her father in 1595, becoming one of the richest women in England. The chapel monument in black and white marble is inscribed in Latin and English and is attributed to either Joseph Catterns or William Stanton.
  Church Back View

Lady Elizabeth’s grandson, Heneage, the First Earl of Nottingham also became Solicitor General and Baronet of Ravenstone in 1660. He lived at Nottingham House for a time and it was later bought by William III who changed the name to Kensington Palace.(www.royal.gov.uk) Many members of the Royal Family have since been born or died there. Sir Heneage Finch of Ravenstone, Bucks is mentioned in the diary of Samuel Pepys in 1660 & 1661. (www.pepysdiary.com) He died and was buried at Ravenstone in 1682.

  Church from a distance

A special feature of the Church is the new east window, dedicated in 1965. At the top of the window is the all-seeing eye of God, the Father. Immediately below is the hovering Dove of God, the Holy Ghost, who, with the central figure of God, the Son, make up the Blessed Trinity. On either side are the crossed swords of the Martyr Saints and the crossed palms of victory for All Saints, to whom the church is dedicated.
Across the base is a collection of buildings representing the village of Ravenstone.

  Church entrance

The church tower houses three bells: one dates from the 14th century and the other two from the 17th century. The pancake bell was rung in Ravenstone up to 1852 and is still rung in Olney every year.

There are four churches in Ravenstone Parish, known locally as the Gate Group and it includes Stoke Goldington, Ravenstone, Weston Underwood and Gayhurst. The vicar is Janet Lawrence.
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  Church Lychgate