THANK-YOU you for your words about St Andrew's Kildwick in Craven Diary (October 7).

We do indeed rejoice in the award of "major church" status which we share, not just with Bolton Priory but also with Holy Trinity Church in Skipton.

Major Church status is not of itself any real protection against closure. Just as was the case two years ago, the church is still only open infrequently and a possible threat of closure still hangs over the building.

One expectation of a major church is that it should be open to visitors on most days. This forms the bedrock of St Andrew's plans for survival – and the congregation is putting an enormous effort into making the church a welcoming and interesting place to visit.

A vigorous spring clean has been followed by work better to display our heritage that reaches back to Viking times.

Transforming a "Fort Knox" into an open and friendly place is not the work of a moment but it cannot be long now before the key finally turns in the lock.

It will only be by welcoming people over the threshold that the church can return to its significant place in the community that surrounds it.

It is a particular delight that this renaissance coincides with the much-anticipated rebirth of that other staple of village life; the local pub.

A tour round church this weekend revealed features that surprised and delighted even the oldest and most regular members of the congregation.

Your reporter of 1946 reported the destruction of 1272. Researches for the new church history don’t find much evidence that the building was substantially damaged.

One theory is that the dedication to St Andrew saved it from excessive depredations.

What’s clear is that, following the 1314 battle of Bannockburn, in 1318/9 the Scots laid waste all down the Aire and Wharfe valleys - and Kildwick was stripped bare, causing its taxes to be reduced by two thirds.

The "Robert de Steventon" mentioned is labelled on his tomb by the Victorians as "Robert de Styveton" (Steeton).

However, the effigy is very probably not the Robert who died in 1307 - but it's another Robert, his grandson, who is thought to have died in 1353 – and who may well have been responsible for the building of the earliest parts of the church that we can see today.

Kildwick church, with its history of over 1,100 years, has a wealth of fascinating stories to tell and a small team is working hard to explain and interpret all that there is to see.

We'll make a big noise, once the doors are opened – so come and see!

Chris Wright