A friend has been telling me about her visit to St Oswald’s Church in Hauxwell north east of Leyburn in Wensleydale and I was intrigued to go there and see for myself. So on a beautiful blue day my husband Geoff and I set off on our little trip. Didn’t take long to find the church and what a lovely surprise! The church can be found in a tranquil location just below the village along a short driveway. The building is never locked and we were welcome as long as we latched the door behind us whilst visiting and when leaving to keep the sheep and any other livestock out that might be passing! The church was flooded with sunlight and we felt welcome even though the inside was a little neglected but the next service, we were informed on a notice, was to be on 2 March so I would think the building would look a little different in a few days’ time.
An extract from St Oswald’s website ‘St Oswald’s church is an ancient Grade 1 listed building with parts dating back to the 11th century; there is even a 9th century Anglo-Danish cross-shaft being used as a lintel in one blocked doorway. We celebrate our heritage both ancient and more modern. Dorothy Wyndlow Pattison, ‘Sister Dora’, was born in Hauxwell where her father was the Rector in the mid-19th Century. She was a much-loved pioneer in the first civilian nursing service and practised in Walsall, where a hospice bears her name. We have had many visitors from Walsall coming to visit the Pattison graves which lie within the older section of the churchyard. The Millennium was celebrated by the ladies of the community producing ‘The Millennium Wall Hanging’ proudly displayed on the south wall of the nave. The fine and beautifully intricate embroidery of the wall hanging illustrates many aspects of our church’s history.’
St Oswald lived in the 7th century and was King of Northumbria from 633 A.D. until his death in 641 A.D. and is credited with introducing Christianity into his kingdom, there are six churches in Wensleydale and Lower Wensleydale named after St Oswald at Hauxwell, Castle Bolton, Askrigg, Thornton Steward and nearer to Northallerton at East Harsley and West Rounton.
I wonder if it would make a lovely day seeking out all these churches and taking a peek and travelling around this wonderful part of world just gazing.
Written By Nadine Bell