Parlington Hall :: Introduction

Introduction to the site.

This page is the best starting point if you are a new visitor. The purpose of this site is to provide a comprehensive history of Parlington Hall, there are many gaps in the story of this old hall and during it's long existance, many, many things have happened here that we shall never learn of, but slowly and surely we are uncovering some of the mysteries surrounding this historic place. For example, the discovery some years ago [2005] of the cellar beneath where the Small Drawing Room used to be.

Parlington Purchased in 1546

The Gascoignes' were a prominent family in the West and North Ridings of Yorkshire for centuries, first living at Gawthorpe, below Harewood House at the foot of the hill near the area now covered by the lake on the Harewood Estate, then at Lasingcroft, (East Leeds) and then Barnbow Hall up the hill from Shippen near Scholes and Barwick in Elmet. John Gascoigne bought Parlington on 8th March 1545 from Thomas Lord Wentworth, and on 23rd April 1546, the King granted a licence for the alienation of the estate. The fine is dated Trinity Term, 38 Hen VIII., and on 7th October of the same year, Edward VI. Being now king, Sir John Tempest acknowledged the receipt of one hundred shillings for the licence, ' an acquittance for the king's silver'. From this time Lasingcroft seems to have ceased to be used as a dwelling house for the family and in course of time Barnbow, which had succeeded it, was given up and Parlington became the chief place of the estate.

The Barnbow Plot

One of the earliest events to affect the Gascoigne family, that has supporting documentation is the Barnbow Plot, similar in nature to the idea behind the Guy Fawkes plot of 1605. Except that the plot was a cruel lie, perpertated on Sir Thomas Gascoigne 2nd Baronet and others by Robert Bolron a former Gascoigne employee as a Steward of his [Gascoigne] coal works. Brief details of the plot are detailed in the note below click on the "Show" icon to reveal.

So did the the Papists who were behind the Barnbow Plot meet here at Parlington?

360 Years as a Family Home: Left to ROT, for another 55 Years

Parlington was the family home from 1546 to 1905 a total of THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY YEARS. It was left to become a ruin by the then head of the family Frederick Richard Trench-Gascoigne (known affectionately to his friends and family as Dick), who was by then living at Lotherton Hall nearby, after the death of his father aged 91 years at Parlington in June 1905. The large mansion house was dismantled piece by piece where parts were to be re-used; the Porte Cochère being an example re-erected at Lotherton Hall as a garden feature. Other sections being pulled down and much of the broken brick masonry used to surface the estate roads. Parts of the timber from the roof trusses, can still be found lying scattered in Parlington Woods. Other large pieces of masonry, not used for other projects, were dumped unceremoniously in some of the quarries on the estate. The final years saw the property stripped down to three separate blocks; the Stables and West Wing - to the west; the early Georgian centre block built for Sir Edward Gascoigne; the Drawing Room - to the east, probably the last work for Sir Thomas Gascoigne before 1810. The Georgian centre block and Drawing room were demolished some time prior to the estate sale of the early sixties. The West wing and Stable block escaped the demolition and were offered as lot 1 at auction on 2nd of October 1964, with the benefit of an OUTLINE PLANNING APPLICATION for the erection of a high-class residence.

1964 Auction of The Parlington Estate

The auction at the direction of Mrs Yvonne Studd-Trench-Gascoigne, daughter and only heir of Sir Alvary Trench-Gascoigne of Lotherton Hall, was as recorded;
"An Outstanding Agricultural, Woodland and Sporting Estate known as The Parlington Estate" of approximately 2,270 acres. Comprising:

The Auction Properties

  • Lot 1 Superb site for residence of character (Parlington Hall site)
  • Lot 2 Gardens House (Principal source for fruit and vegetables from the walled gardens since the late 18th century)
  • 7 Highly productive arable and stock farms (let and producing £5,746.00 [£87,250 at todays rates, 2009, based on the retail price index] per annum) lots 3-9.
  • Lot 3 Park House Farm ~ 360 acres (Included Wakefield Lodge and two cottages)
  • Lot 4 South Lodge Farm ~ 153 acres
  • Lot 5 Leyfield Farm ~ 246 acres
  • Lot 6 Home Farm, Parlington ~ 177 acres
  • Lot 7 Manor Farm Garforth ~ 311 acres
  • Lot 8 Throstle Nest Farm ~ 153 acres
  • Lot 9 Swan (Mill) Farm, Aberford ~ 111 acres
  • Lots 10-12 242 acres of Parkland
  • Lots 15-19 470 acres of productive and valuable Woodland, with vacant possession.
  • Numerous cottages at Aberford and Saxton, some with vacant possession. (60 in total) as follows
  • Lot 13 Hookmoor Lodge (North)
  • Lot 14 Hookmoor Lodge (South)
  • Lot 20 Keeper's House, Parlington
  • Lot 21 Assbridge Lodge
  • Lot 22 Pike Head Lodge
  • Lot 23 Lake Cottage
  • Lot 24 Staithe Cottage
  • Lot 25 Lilly Pit Cottage
  • Lot 26 School Grounds, Aberford
  • Lot 27 Sewage Works, Garforth
  • Lot 28 Parlington Lane Cottage
  • Lot 31 Northern Cottages, North End, Aberford
  • Lot 32 Northern Cottages, North End, Aberford
  • Lot 33 Northern Cottages, North End, Aberford
  • Lot 34 Northern Cottages, North End, Aberford
  • Lot 35 Northern Cottages, North End, Aberford
  • Lot 35a Garden Ground, North End, Aberford
  • Lot 36 Pair of Cottages, Banks Row, Aberford
  • Lot 37 Pair of Cottages, Banks Row, Aberford
  • Lot 38 Bridge Cottages, Aberford
  • Lot 39 Bridge Cottages, Aberford
  • Lot 40 Bridge Cottages, Aberford
  • Lot 41 Bridge Cottages, Aberford
  • Lot 42 Bridge Cottages, Aberford
  • Lot 43 Bridge Cottages, Aberford
  • Lot 44 Pair of Cottages, Chursh Terrace, Aberford
  • Lot 45 Church House, Aberford
  • Lot 46 Post Office, Aberford
  • Lot 47 Shop with living accommodation and cottage, Aberford (Bennetts)
  • Lot 48a Oliver Cottages, Aberford
  • Lot 48b Oliver Cottages, Aberford
  • Lot 48c Oliver Cottages, Aberford
  • Lot 48d Oliver Cottages, Aberford
  • Lot 48e Oliver Cottages, Aberford
  • Lot 48f Oliver Cottages, Aberford
  • Lot 48g Oliver Cottages, Aberford
  • Lot 49 Depot Cottages, Aberford
  • Lot 50 Cottage, Main Street, Aberford
  • Lot 51 The Gables, Aberford, (Pair of Cottages and Joiners shop)
  • Lot 52 Old Gas House, Lotherton Lane
  • Lot 53 Police House, Aberford
  • Lot 54 Cottage, Bunkers Hill, Aberford
  • Lot 55 Pair of Cottages, Bunkers Hill, Aberford
  • Lot 56 Cottage, Bunkers Hill, Aberford
  • Lot 57 Cottage, Bunkers Hill, Aberford
  • Lot 58 Cottage, Bunkers Hill, Aberford
  • Lot 59 Cottage, Bunkers Hill, Aberford
  • Lot 60 Cottage, Bunkers Hill, Aberford
  • Lot 61 Pair of Cottages, Bunkers Hill, Aberford
  • Lot 62 Pair of Cottages, Widow's Row, Aberford
  • Lot 63 Building Site, Aberford
  • Lot 64 Building Site, Aberford
  • Lot 65 Allotments Gardens, Bunkers Hill, Aberford
  • Lot 66 Allotments Gardens, Saxton
  • Lot 67 Pair of Cottages, Scarthingwell Lane, Saxton
  • Lot 68 Pair of Cottages, Scarthingwell Lane, Saxton
  • Lot 69 Cottage, Saxton
  • Lot 70 Cottage, Saxton
  • Lot 71 The Forge, Saxton
  • Lot 72 Pair of Cottages, Saxton

So ended 360 years of Gascoigne dominance of the district. A few years later Lotherton was bequethed to Leeds City Council and everything that had once been in the Gascoigne domain was consigned to history!

Parlington, a Mansion House

Parlington was a second tier country house in contrast to more prestigious homes such as Castle Howard in North Yorkshire. But it was the main seat of the Gascoigne family for generations and their sway over all things in this local can still be seen today. It evolved as a family home and was modified many times before it disappeared at a time when people seemingly cared less about their heritage, or was it that the dreadful wars of the first half of the twentieth century literally wiped out an entire way of life and Parlington was one more victim. Not content with letting things lie, we are set upon a course of discovery, attempting to find out more about the Old Hall and some of the people associated with it over the generations.

A Brief history of the final years from 1905

The photograph of the Hall, above, is from a postcard[1] dated 27th July 1904, whilst not the best picture available it resembles the appearance of Parlington at around the beginning of the twentieth century. It is the most commonly viewed elevation, the exact appearance of the rest of the Hall is unknown, but has been reverse engineered from an old nineteenth century plan and other available information into a 3D virtual computer model to better appreciate how it looked.

Many of the family heirlooms and even parts of the building fabric, such as marble fireplaces were dismantled and taken to Lotherton Hall, to be prominent features in the re-modelling of the house in the early twentieth century. Significant pieces of the structure were also moved, around 1930[2], to provide a feature garden at Lotherton, suitably titled the Parlington Gardens. The centre piece was the old Porte Cochère, pictured below. Recent evidence from a collection of Gascoigne family pictures, which includes the period when Lotherton was used for the rehabilitation of British Military personnel in the First World War, shows that the gardens at Lotherton were enhanced by the inclusion of the Parlington Portico much earlier, probably before First World War. A picture showing soldiers seated at the foot of two columns can only be the right-hand side of the Parlington Porte Cochère. [See the image beneath the modern shot of the Porte Cochère] A fountain similar to that which had been the focus of the gardens at the old hall was also built as part of the new Parlington Gardens

The Former Entrance Portico [Porte Cochère]

Entrance Porch, Porte Cochère

Soldiers Rehabilating at Lotherton Hall in WW1

The picture above taken in recent years, shows the Porte Cochère in the leafy garden setting at Lotherton, it is odd to imagine the soldiers below sitting at the right hand end, beneath the columns some ninety or so years ago! Whether any records exist of the troops who were treated at Lotherton is not known.

Although the photograph is clearly that of the Porte Cochère it would have been much better if the photographer had stood back and included more of the surroundings, he or she might also have taken the time to position the camera further to our left, relative to the subjects, thus obtaining a picture without the shadow of him or her, as can be seen in the bottom right.

Entrance Porch, Porte Cochère

Lotherton Hall during World War One

During the first World War, various photographs were taken for the Gascoigne family album of some of the troops who were treated at the hall. Click here for a selection of these images.

Parlington and the Military

Over the years mounting evidence has been collected which indicates that the Parlington Estate was used from time to time by the army, in the early years of the twentieth century and during both World Wars. Also the Scout movement enjoyed many camping holidays, right up to the 1950's and perhaps beyond. Although no direct evidence of the military using the hall itself, except for the account from the Skyrack Courier in the notes here, many structures from the second world war exist to this day and are scattered about the estate. This old photograph shown below from around WW1 is taken near the Triumphal Arch in Parlington Park.

Troops in Parlington Park circa First World War.

Troops in Parlington Park

The clipping from a postcard shown below, was sent from Aberford in 1924 states:

..I am spending my holidays 1 week at camp with the Rangers
at Parlington Hall. The 3 windows where X is is the room we have
there are 2 more companys here. This is the village where
my mothers people come from...

Section of a Postcard Dated 1924

Enlargement of a postcard, showing X marks the spot

Additional evidence of the activities of the scouts are shown in the two pictures[3] below, believed to be from the 1920's, taken in Parlington Park.

Camping in Parlington, Meal Time.

From the trees and level of the ground it suggests that the scouts are camped in an area which has in recent years been turned over to agriculture, up near the Triumphal Arch on the south side of the driveway. Judging by the shadows and the fact that the tents have the sides rolled up, I think it must be later in the day, perhaps lunchtime!

Camping in Parlington, the lone dish washer!

Conversations with people over the last few years gives considerable evidence of scouting and guide activity at Parlington throughout the first half of the twentieth century. Indeed at a meeting held in November 2007 at Leeds Civic Trust a delegate introduced herself and stated how she recalled camping at Parlington in her youth as a member of the guides! The account from the Leeds Skyrack in the notes[4] to this section is further evidence.

From 1905 Parlington Hall started its slow decline into oblivion. The section that remains today, having escaped demolition in the 1950's and 60's was formerly known as the West Wing with utility rooms on the ground floor such as the Still Room and the first floor rooms used perhaps by guests. The picture below is the section of the west wing which remains to this day. It is lucky to survive as this was also granted demolition status in the sale of the entire estate in 1964.

Parlington, the West Wing.

In conclusion, although the Old Hall, declined from 1905, plenty of activity continued within and around it, well into the nineteen thirties. Some older local Aberford residents recall visits to the house and have memories of walking around the derelict structure. Even a relative of the Gascoigne's, The Hon Mrs Wingfield, who visited a couple of years ago, recalled that she had picniced with the family at Parlington in the 1930's when she was around seven years old. Her recollection of the main staircase, which she described as grand style is one of the mysteries surrounding the hall, as no amount of research has uncovered how and where it was located. The only plan done in 1885 does not show any major staircases, only single flight affairs around three feet wide which could be have been used by servants.
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To increase space for the Navigation Buttons, the graphic "Parlington Hall" at the head of the page is a link which will return you to the Home page. Or click Home here.

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To assist in the legibility of these pages I am introducing a comments system, which takes the form of the icon with an identifier of SHOW or HIDE. These are to add contextual references to the copy, which may need additional explanation.

Within the main column are occasional references marked like this [1] which link to this notes column, to return to the point in the body copy click on the [Back] link.

[1] The postcard is from the Photographers Parkinson & Roy, Kelsall Street, Leeds. Many of the images of this area at around the turn of the twentieth century are from this publisher. Kelsall Street no longer exists, I believe it was in the vicinity of the Merrion Centre.[ Back ]

[2] The gardens at Lotherton were the subject of a research document by Mette Eggen in 1987, her findings point to the establishment of the Parlington Gardens in the early 1930's [Now thought to be much earlier, probably before the First World War, see photographic evidence on this page.]. Additional evidence on the demolition photographs taken by the National Monuments Record, suggest that the demolition was carried out in two stages, the 1930's and 1952.[ Back ]
Demolition Section

[3] Believed to be the 13th Leeds N.E. Group, these pictures were kindly provided by David Teal, he has a web site about his old house Chapel Cottage in Stutton, not far from Aberford.[ Back ]

[4] A further snippet of evidence, again provided by David Teal, is an article in the Leeds paper The Skyrack Courier in 1910, Titled Scouts at Parlington Park
A Merry Time at the Old Hall

[Click Note for Transcript]


The foregoing narrative from the Skyrack Courier is just so informative of the time, that I had to transcribe it all, for you, the readers to appreciate!

Particularly interesting is that Colonel Gascoigne, [Richard, that is, living at Lotherton] was able to accommodate around 100 Territorials in the Old Hall, that's a lot of people, and no mention of whether the scouts stayed over as well!

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