St Oswald's Church|
Tradition attributes the first Christian Church on the site to King Oswald of Northumbria in the 7th century, the holy Well outside the west window being the focus of the previous "well" or "spring" worship. The first stone church was built about 1130 though little of this remains and the main features date from 1523. The church is grade 11* listed.
In 1523 the church became collegiate through a charitable foundation of Thomas, Lord Dacre and his wife, Elizabeth of Greystoke, of Kirkoswald Castle. A small community of working parish clergy lived at the College, across the road, but the dissolution brought an end to this in 1547. The flagged approach to the church is the old Priests' walk, and is still the property of the College - since 1590 the home of the Fetherstonehaugh family.
The church is open to the public during daylight hours from Easter to October. The Holy Well decided the site of the church,whilst that of the village was fixed by the mills,dependent on the waterpower of the Raven Beck. In consequence, the Bell Tower built in 1743 and rebuilt in 1893, is sited on the adjacent hill so that the bells could be heard in the village. Kirkoswald was a busy place in the time of King John when it was granted a Market Charter.
The Revd Canon David Fowler