Our History

The Black Swan

History of the Hotel

The history of Ravenstonedale itself is a long one, stretching all the way back to the Romans. You may have noticed on the way into the village that you went down a very straight road from Tebay. This is believed to be one of the original roman roads stretching from west to east across the country. This later became the blueprint for the train line which stopped at Newbiggin-on-lune. If you would like to take a stroll for a few miles you can enjoy this pretty village via the cycle route at the west entrance to the village.

Behind the church is another clue to the history of Ravenstonedale’s ancient past. There lies a quite fantastic ruin of a Gilbertite monastery with several rooms still clear to the eye and stairs leading down if you would like to explore.

The hotel itself has links to Halifax and Manchester during the 1700s, 1800s and throughout the industrial revolution through the Carver family. The Carver family began simply with Thomas Carver’s packhorse haulage business and a pub in the Halifax area. His packhorse business grew, transporting goods from Halifax to Manchester once a week on Tuesdays at the end of the 1700’s and into the early 1800s. In 1804 a warehouse was commissioned on Dale Street in Manchester, the first on the Rochdale Canal, and still standing today. The Rochdale Canal was a huge commercial success and it would appear that Thomas Carver and his son, William, capitalised on it also. By 1836 it would appear that the Carver haulage business was booming, now transporting all around the UK and overseas.

 

William Carver met Elizabeth Airey (born 1795) while working in Manchester and they married in Manchester on the 29th of August 1822.One must assume it was a happy marriage having had seven children together in the coming years . Her family were originally barrel makers from Ravenstonedale who had also ventured to Manchester to make their money in the industrial boom of the early 1800s. Eventually in 1859 his business ventures lead to William loaning his twin sons, John and Thomas, the equivalent of over £800,000 to invest in Manchester’s cotton industry. The carver family had come a very long way in three generations from their humble beginnings of their grandfather in Halifax only 60 years prior. Taking this new found wealth out of the city, John Carver bought The Black Swan Hotel in his mothers home village. A coaching inn had stood on the site itself and what is now the beer garden for what is believed to be some centuries before this. However, John felt that modernisation was needed and the building was nearly completely demolished and rebuilt in the modern style of the day. He did, however, rebuild with some of the historical elements of the building in mind. This can be seen with the sewing gallery above the bar entrance which would have originally been an open area for locals to make socks. Ravenstonedale was known historically as a sock producing area and it would have been the place to come in the 1700’s for a nice pair of woolly foot warmers. Although John himself never lived in the village, he acquired a large portfolio of properties and left them to his children and extended family. If you have the time during your stay have a wonder down to the graveyard at St Oswald’s church and see how many of the Carver’s graves you can see here in the village still.

Pictures of the original designs and the Victorian occupants of the village can be seen around the hotel and bar areas. The book from which this information is taken is also on sale at The Black Swan. It has been lovingly compiled by Val Fermer of Ravenstonedale and includes beautiful illustrations and huge amounts of detail on the history of the village and its occupants. Please enquire at the hotel reception – copies are £18 each.

The history society of Ravenstonedale also have an active website and research group. Their website is available at: https://www.ravenstonedalehistory.org.uk/

If you have questions for the history society or are trying to track down links to the village they would be more than happy to help with any research you may have.

Behind the church is another clue to the history of Ravenstonedale’s ancient past. There lies a quite fantastic ruin of a Gilbertite monastery with several rooms still clear to the eye and stairs leading down if you would like to explore.

The hotel itself has links to Halifax and Manchester during the 1700s, 1800s and throughout the industrial revolution through the Carver family. The Carver family began simply with Thomas Carver’s packhorse haulage business and a pub in the Halifax area. His packhorse business grew, transporting goods from Halifax to Manchester once a week on Tuesdays at the end of the 1700’s and into the early 1800s. In 1804 a warehouse was commissioned on Dale Street in Manchester, the first on the Rochdale Canal, and still standing today. The Rochdale Canal was a huge commercial success and it would appear that Thomas Carver and his son, William, capitalised on it also. By 1836 it would appear that the Carver haulage business was booming, now transporting all around the UK and overseas.

Book A Table

It is always best to call us to make a table reservation. Please call us on 015396 23204 or alternatively email us on [email protected] and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Thank you Louise & Team

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Need some further information?

Please do call us on 015396 23204 or email us on [email protected] for an informal chat.

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