A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1932.
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The parish of Little Raveley has an area of 751 acres of clay land, most of which is agricultural. The land is fairly level, being for the greater part a little more than 100 ft. above ordnance datum. Raveley Wood, within the parish, and Wennington Wood, just outside in Abbots Ripton parish, form a considerable stretch of woodland along the southwest border. The village lies on the winding road from Broughton to Great Raveley at a point where a branch road goes westward to Wennington and Abbots Ripton. It consists only of the church, which is in the north-west angle formed by these roads, and some four farm houses, four cottages and four county council houses, the population in 1921 being only 45 persons.
LITTLE RAVELEY was a berewick or outlying hamlet of Wistow (q.v.) and was granted to Ramsey Abbey by St. Oswald, Archbishop of York. (fn. 1) Oswald's grant was confirmed by King Edgar in 974, by William the Conqueror in 1078 and by later sovereigns and popes. (fn. 2) It is not specifically mentioned in the Domesday Survey, but was included in the 9 hides entered under Wistow. The manor was held in demesne by the Abbot of Ramsey (fn. 3) down to the dissolution of the monastery in 1539 when, on 4 March 1539–40, the manor and advowson were granted to Richard Williams alias Cromwell. (fn. 4) The Cromwells held the manor until they became impoverished during the Civil Wars. About 1667 it passed to Lord Sandwich. (fn. 5) In 1691 (fn. 6) and 1749 (fn. 7) it was settled on behalf of the then Lord Sandwich. It was sold in December 1889 by Lord Sandwich to William Henry Fellowes, second Lord de Ramsey, (fn. 8) and his grandson Ailwin Edward Fellowes, third Lord de Ramsey, is now lord of the manor.
The church of ST. JAMES consists of a chancel (19¼ ft. by 14¾ ft.) and a nave (31 ft. by 16¾ ft.). The walls are of rubble with stone dressings partly plastered and the roofs covered with tiles. The chancel was probably built c. 1230, and the nave rebuilt late in the 14th century, when it was widened to the south. The chancel was restored in 1914.
The 13th-century chancel has a two-light east window of c. 1350, and just north of it is a foliated corbel-capital, of c. 1230. The north wall has a 14th-century square-headed two-light window. In the south wall is a similar window, a 13th-century doorway with bracketed lintel, a square-headed low-side window, a 13th-century piscina with trefoiled head, and a plain square recess. The arch is of early 16th-century date, of two orders, the inner carried on engaged shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The roof appears to be of late 15th-century date. The altar table is of mid-17th century, with turned legs.
The north wall of the late 14th-century nave has two original two-light windows and a blocked doorway. The south wall has two early 16th-century windows, a doorway of similar date and a 15th-century piscina with shelf. (fn. 9) The windows contain small fragments of ancient glass. The west wall has no window, but a large buttress in the middle; in the gable above is a bell-cot for two bells, formerly standing up above a flat roof, but now, by the raising of the gable, incorporated in the western wall and below the line of the present roof. The nave roof is mostly modern, but has three old tie-beams and braces.
The registers are as follows:—(i) Baptisms 1595 to 1782, burials 1576 to 1782, and marriages 1577 to 1750; (ii) the official marriage book, 1756 to 1808. No doubt it covers the period 1754–1812, but the marriages were few; (iii) baptisms 1793 to 1801, and burials 1800 to 1812; the usual modern books.
Little Raveley was a chapelry subordinate to Wistow (q.v.) apparently until Wistow obtained parochial rights in 1351, when it was directly dependent upon Bury (q.v.). The chapel is first mentioned in the bull of Pope Alexander in 1178. (fn. 10) It is uncertain when it first acquired the parochial rights of baptism, marriage and burial, but the font is of the 15th century and the parish registers go back to 1576. The living was a donative, the incumbents, who were called chaplains or curates, being collated by the lord of the manor. In the Parliamentary Survey of 1649 (fn. 11) Little Raveley is said to be a chapelry of Bury and a donative worth £12 a year, and that Great Raveley, lying within a quarter of a mile, having neither church nor chapel, was very convenient to be joined to Little Raveley, but this proposal was not carried out. About 1867 Lord Sandwich, as lord of the manor, relinquished his right to the donative and the living became a vicarage in his patronage. The advowson passed with the manor in 1889 to Lord de Ramsey, whose grandson is now patron.