The village, civil parish and former market town of Kirkoswald lies in the Lower Eden Valley of Cumbria, formerly Cumberland, about 9 miles (14 km) from Penrith. The village is usually referred to locally as KO.
The village’s name means Church of St Oswald and the parish church is dedicated to Saint Oswald, King of Northumbria. The body of Oswald is believed to have been taken through the village. The church lies on the southern edge of the village overlooking the River Eden close to the bridge which connects Kirkoswald to Lazonby. St Oswald’s Church is unique in having a 19th-century bell tower on top of the hill 200 yards from the church itself. Parts of the church date from the 12th century, the chancel being added in 1523, when the “College” was founded by Thomas Dacre, 2nd Baron Dacre and his wife. A sacred spring lies under the nave of the church, and a well is found on the west wall.
One of Kirkoswald’s most splendid buildings is the “College”, its name recalling the days when St Oswald’s Church was a collegiate church. Originally built in 1450 as a Pele Towerit became home to the Fetherstonhaugh family, after dissolution in 1547, who previously lived at Featherstone Castle in Northumberland.
The village consists mainly of one main street rising up a steep hill passing through a market place on which the village’s two pubs (“The Crown Inn”, and the “Fetherston Arms”) are situated. There is a thriving village store in the village where you can but most essential items as well as papers and even grab a coffee and home baked cakes. A cash dispenser is also available during shop hours.