St Oswald’s Church

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Askrigg is an attractive small village with stone built houses in Wensleydale. The church almost seems too big for the village now.

Although the church dates from the C15th, this has been a site of Christian worship since the C12th. The Cistercians had a small abbey close to Askrigg and used the area to graze their sheep. After the Dissolution of the monasteries, Mary I gave the tithes to Trinity College, Cambridge and they became responsible for appointing the priest.

The church is probably the most impressive in Wensleydale with battlemented tower, nave and chancel. It was built about 1466 in the Late English/Perpendicular style. The south aisle was rebuilt around 1770 which explains the difference in pillars between north and south arcades. It underwent a heavy restoration by the Victorians in the mid C19th. The windows were altered and furnishings date from then.

Inside it is a fairly spartan building. There is no chancel arch which makes the church seem very long. Walls are whitewashed and the clerestory windows flood the building with harsh light. The wooden roof was described by Pevsner as “the finest in the dale”. It is supported on carved corbels.

The simple font is C15th and still bears marks of the locked lid from when fonts had to be locked to prevent the theft of Holy Water from them.

There is a lovely C19th Minton tile reredos beneath the east window, with the Lord’s Prayer, Ten Commandments and the Creed.

The church is open daily and there is plenty of parking on the road outside. We felt the outside was more impressive than the inside.

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