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KIRKBY RAVENSWORTH, (or Kirkby on the Hill) a parish in the wapentake of Gilling West, and liberty of Richmondshire; 5 miles NW. of Richmond. The ancient name seems to have been Kirk by Ravensworth, being the parish Church to six townships (see Churches for photograph), and standing near the village of Ravensworth. Pop. 161.

The village is situated upon a hill, and the houses form a square. The Church, dedicated to St. John, the Baptist, is a neat stone building, and from its white appearance, and elevated situation, seems well adapted to remind the neighbouring villagers of their great duty; it is in the diocese of the Bishop of Chester, who receives the corn tithes, and is the patron of the living. There are two Schools here, one a boarding school of some repute, for young gentlemen, the other is a Free Grammar School, founded and endowed by Dr. Dakin, Archdeacon of the East Riding, about the year 1555. It is free for as many young men and boys as may resort to it, to be instructed in grammar and classical learning; there is also an hospital connected with the endowment, for twenty-four aged persons of both sexes, to be elected from those that were born in the parish, or have lived ten years in it. The endowment of the School, together with the Hospital, is in lands, situated principally in the parish of East Coulton, and the corn tithes arising from the parish of East Coulton, amounts to upwards of £1200. per annum. The salary of the master is about £200. per ann. varying however, with the rent; the usher has a third of the sum. The master must be a clergyman, in priests orders, and cannot hold any church benefice. The whole is under the management of two wardens, who, with the master and poor people form a body corporate, and use one common seal. The office of warden is biennial, and the election is conducted thus: the Churchwardens for the time being, with the Clergyman, nominate six householders, whose names are written upon scrolls of paper, wrapt up in balls of wax, and put in a jar or pitcher, when the minister puts in his hand, and takes two out, and the persons whose names are therein written, are immediately sworn into office; they are the patrons of the living of East Coulton. The School and Hospital, are dedicated to St. John, the Baptist. Cuthbert Shaw, the poet, was born at this place.

The present Church was built in 1397. -Near the church-yard is the Hospital or Alms-house, of St. John the Baptist, and School, founded John Dakyn, L.L.D. (last Rector of the Church and Archdeacon of the East-Riding, and who had been concerned as Commissioner in the reign of Henry VIII. to take an account of the religious houses in Richmondshire) by a license granted to him for that purpose, dated Oct. 26th, in second and third of Philip and Mary, 1566. The original foundation of the Hospital or Alms-house consisted of two guardians, one preceptor, and four poor persons. -The revenue arises from certain lands and tenements near Richmond, and others in the parish of East-Cowton. It is now estimated, says Dr. Whitaker, at 1300L. per annum.

[Description(s) edited mainly from various 19th century sources by Colin Hinson. ©2010]