We pushed open the door to St Oswald’s church. It is still with a feeling of anticipation that we cross the threshold of these ancient places of worship. Churches that look incredible from outside have sometimes been so unsympathetically restored and reordered over the centuries that they lack all character. Others, with unpromising exteriors, reveal wonderful things at their hearts… we never know what we might find.
St Oswald’s church in Kirkoswald is an old one. It is likely that there was an early church on the site before the current building was begun nine hundred years ago. Nothing now remains of the original building, which would probably have been made of wood, though a fragment of a wheel cross, inscribed with an eight-pointed star and around twelve hundred years old, still rests in a window embrasure.
In the nave, the Norman columns remain from the twelfth century church, but…
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