Rorflea, Raeflea, Rafflea, Raffley (x cent.); Parva
Ravele, Ravele Minor (xiii cent.).
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
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.
Plan of Little Raveley Church
The 15th-century font has an octagonal bowl with
carved figures on the splayed under-edge, plain octagonal stem and base. The date 1377 is scratched upon
In the nave is a plain 17th-century poor-box.
There is one bell inscribed: J. Taylor & Co.,
Founders, 1771. Recast 1883.
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
The church plate consists of a silver cup and coverpaten of late 16th-century date, but without inscription or date-letter, and a pewter plate dated 1702.
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.
There are no charities for this parish.