SIR - I was delighted to see St Oswald's Horton-in-Ribblesdale in today's (March 19) featured church though Penyghent our famous mountain that looms behind it was hidden by a cloud worthy of Moses.

Some historians claim that St Oswald's was built in the reign of Henry I (1100-35), the fourth son of William the Conqueror. Others claim it was built around 1150 in the reign of Stephen, William's grandson.

St Oswald's belonged to Jervaulx Abbey and was served by monks and priests from there, the first vicar appropriately named Adam in 1200.

There were disputes with the monks of Fountains Abbey who owned and farmed land nearby, a saga finally settled by Edward II in 1315. He found in favour of Jervaulx.

At the end of the 14th century the church was extended eastwards and the tower rebuilt. The 19th century saw three restorations where box pews and a three-decker pulpit were installed, then removed along with the historic minstrels' gallery and the clerestory windows. The windows let in light and air above the nave, so are still missed today, and the minstrels were replaced by a pipe organ from Leeds.

The south door and font have Romanesque dogtooth markings as well as grooves on side stones from the sharpening of arrows. Other Romanesque features are the sturdy pillars that bear their mason's markings, and thick walls. All the pillars now lean markedly to the south.

St Oswald's boasts six magnificent bells that are rung nearly every week by Gillian Parrington and her peripatetic team. The windows are mainly Victorian in memory of the Foster family and represent stories from the Bible, though some are 1920s art deco.

With the coming of the railway in 1870 Horton gained its first road. The old packhorse road went from Cam to Clapham through Thornes and Selside, though it can still be seen and followed on Alum Pot Lane.

Hundreds once lived in parish, excavating quarries, building Ribblehead Viaduct or farming. There were three schools and the registers show that, before the Great War, there were 220 Easter communicants.

St Oswald's has a small but dedicated congregation who are all involved in other societies in the village. A kitchen was installed in 2019 and the Lady Chapel restored in 2018 through the generosity of the Morphets and Shirley Pate MBE.

Fundraising continues to raise funds for a toilet, and as the church is on the Pennine Way there are Marmalade Festivals and cake stalls to extract money from the now hundreds of ramblers, runners and cyclists.

The church organises two rambles of its own around the parish, and last year 59 people attended an amazing Lambing Service at the Davidson's farm nearby. Morning Prayer continues throughout this present crisis, and we pray for the day when we can share bread and wine again.

The Rev Stephen Dawson

Priest in Charge of Langcliffe with Stainforth and Horton in Ribblesdale