Ravenstone is in the N of the county, in the Domesday hundred of Bunsty. The village stands in rising land on the N side of the Great Ouse, and Ravenstone Mill, on the river, is 1½ miles S of the village centre. The church is on high ground at the N end of the village, and NW of it is the site of Ravenstone Priory, an Augustinian house founded by a bequest in 1254 by Peter Chaceporc (or Chaseport), Keeper of the King’s Wardrobe, and dissolved in 1524. The buildings were demolished, but traces of priory fabric were discovered during the conversion of a barn into a house (Priory Lade) and were built into the house. Nearby to the W is a fishpond and a moat.
All Saints church has a nave, chancel and a W tower, and a S aisle added to the nave is continued eastward to form a S chapel. Construction is of grey coursed rubble with some herringbone masonry in the N nave and chancel walls. The tower is 13thc work with a plain, very low tower arch inside and pointed double bell-openings with a polygonal central shaft. The nave and chancel are older, as indicated by the herringbone masonry, the tall proportions of both and the high, steeply pitched nave roofline visible on the E wall of the tower. Late on in the 12thc the S aisle was added, but only the two E bays of the arcade belong to the first campaign. The W bay was added in the mid-13thc. Clerestory windows were added on both sides of the nave in the 15thc, and a plain, straight-headed S doorway and buttresses on the N side were added in 1670. The S chapel was built to house themonumentofHeneage Finch, Earl of Nottingham and Lord Chancellor of England who died in 1682. This enormous four-poster tomb with the reclining figure of the earl is attributed by Pevsner (following Gunnis) to William Stanton or Joseph Catterns. The E wall of the chancel appears to have been rebuilt in the 19thc. The only Romanesque sculpture here is in the S nave arcade.
The manor of Ravenstone was held by Hugh from Walter Giffard in 1086, being assessed at 5 hides with meadow for 6 ploughs and woodland for 300 pigs. No church was recorded. Before the Conquest it was held as a manor by Leofwine, a thegn of King Edward.
The manor was held by the Giffards and the de Wahuls of Odell, Bedfordshire until it was purchased by Peter de Chaceporc, founder of the priory, in the mid-13thc and his son gave it to King Henry III who granted it, with the advowson of the rectory, to Ravenstone Priory, where it stayed until the priory was dissolved.
The parish is now in the benefice of Gayhurst with Ravenstone, Stoke Goldington and Weston Underwood.
The capital has a multi-waterleaf design with two units on each face. Below the leaves, the bell is decorated with a band of intersecting round-headed arches in relief. The necking is a plain roll and the impost is as the E respond.
N. Pevsner and E. Williamson, Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire. London1960, 2nd ed. 1994, 613.
RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in theCountyofBuckingham. Volume 2 (north).London1913, 251-52.
Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. I (1905), 381-82 (on Ravenstone Priory).
Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. IV (1927), 439-45.