The Gascoignes :: The Nineteenth Century

Richard Oliver-Gascoigne

The eldest son of the Right Honorable Silver Oliver, of Castle Oliver, County Limerick. He was married at Parlington by special licence on May 3rd 1804, to Mary Turner step-daughter of Sir Thomas Gascoigne, upon whose death he and his wife inherited a life interest in the estates. In accordance with the will they assumed the name and arms of Gascoigne. Mrs Oliver Gascoigne died in 1819 and was buried at barwick in Elmet on the 3rd February, aged 36.

Mr Oliver Gascoigne enjoyed Parlington for 33 years, maintaining the agricultural interests of his predecessor, and also the racing establishment which he had created. He won the St Ledger in 1811 with Soothsayer, and again in 1824 with a famous horse called Jerry. He retired from the turf about 1835 and died 14th April, 1843, at the age of 80 and was buried at Aberford.

He was High Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1816. It was during his lifetime that the law suit, Hungate versus Gascoigne, was instituted in the expectation of depriving the Gascoigne [The Oliver line] family of the estate which they had inherited in succession to Sir Edward [Sir Thomas Gascoigne's father the 6th Baronet] the husband of the Hungate heiress. [See Note Below]

During the long period of residence at Parlington Richard Oliver Gascoigne undertook construction of a variety of projects some of which remain to this day. He also was instrumental in developing the mineral assets on the estate, namely coal mining.

The most obvious structure which is still intact is the Dark Arch built between 1813-14, a tunnel of around 80 yards in a sweeping curve along the line of Parlington Lane. It was built to prevent the roadway traffic from being in full view from the hall, to do this the entrance to the tunnel at the foot of the approach dips around four or five feet at the western end, running level through the tunnel and rising again at the eastern end by around two feet. The finished result is a roadway concealed beneath the newly elevated garden, giving a vista of unbroken rural tranquility across the Deer Park lying to the south. Along the south wall of the tunnel was formed a sunk fence to prevent the deer passing to the garden.

Another major civil engineering enterprise which was in part associated with the Dark Arch was a wagonway from the Gascoigne collieries in Garforth to a forward dispatch point in Aberford for coal to be sold into the areas of Tadcaster, Wetherby and other local towns and villages. This early horse drawn line was given over to steam later in the nineteenth century [1870]. A considerable saving on the cost of the line was achieved by utilizing the sunk fence along south wall to take the wagonway. Not so for the smaller bridge carrying an estate road over Parlington Lane, called in contrast to the Dark Arch, the Light Arch, it was raised by removing the arch and inserting a single course of stone some 18" deep at the head of the wall, then rebuilding the arch.

The railway is described in more detail in the Estate Section: click here to visit.

The family life of Richard Oliver began well after his marriage in 1804, he and his wife Mary had a son Thomas in June 1806, a second son Richard in January 1808, a daughter Isabella on 21st March 1810 and finally a second daughter Elizabeth on 9th September 1812. Sadly by 1819 although he and his wife had been fortunate in the inheritance after the untimely death of Mary's step brother and Gascoigne heir Tom in October 1809, Mary died leaving four young children with their widowed father. Richard did not marry again and by the 1840's as an old man approaching his eightieth year he might have reasonably assumed that his eldest son would inherit the Gascoigne empire, but with sudden effect Thomas died reputedly of a palsy on 24th April 1842, in London where he had gone for the benefit of his health! Just months later Richard died on Christmas Day 1842.

Newspaper cutting of the death of Thomas Oliver Gascoigne

From the "Era" newspaper of Sunday January 8th 1843;
Sudden death of R.S.O. Gascoigne Esq. - This young gentleman, the second and only remaining son of Richard Oliver Gascoigne, Esq., of Parlington, died suddenly on Monday morning, at Weymouth, where the family are now staying. He is supposed to have expired in a fit, having been found dead on his room floor. Only two daughters now remain; but the entailed estates, on the decease of the present owner, it is supposed, will pass into a distant branch of the family - we have heard, probably into that of the Earl Fitzwilliam. This event has produced a sensation in the neighborhood of Leeds little inferior to that which was occasioned by the death of the only son of the late Sir Thomas Gascoigne, who met his fate by accident in hunting, and expired at Walling Wells, the seat of Sir Thomas White, Bart., Notts, in 1809, at the age of 24 years. On the death of his father Sir Thomas Gascoigne, on the 11th November in the following year, [This is an error, Sir Thomas died in February 1810 and was buried at Barwick in Elmet on 17th February] Richard Oliver, Esq., succeeded to his princely possessions in the West Riding of Yorkshire and in Ireland, [Again this is incorrect, Sir Thomas as far as I am ware had no interests in Ireland, but the Oliver family did, Castle Oliver estate being one such assett] and in compliance with the will of Sir Thomas, took the name of Gascoigne. Thomas Charles Gascoigne, the eldest son of Mr. Oliver Gascoigne, of Parlington, died some years ago, [Again this is incorrect, see ealier in this article] leaving only one brother Richard, who is now dead, and two sisters, Isabella and Elizabeth, who survive him. [End of the news article from the Era, London]

Newspaper cutting of the death of Richard Oliver Gascoigne

By April Richard himself had died in Bournemouth, the whole episode had a ring of the earlier tragedy of Sir Thomas Gascoigne. Similarly married, a son born (Tom) 1786 and within a month his wife Mary had died only for tragedy to revisit in 1809 with the death of Tom Gascoigne. View Family Tree

The death of Richard Oliver Gascoigne and the sudden deaths in the year before him of his two sons, left his daughters Isabella and Elizabeth as surprise heiresses. Their story is told on the next page. Although speculation of the possible passage of the estate to the Earl Fitzwilliam was expressed in the "Era" newspaper as noted above, having read the will of Sir Thomas Gascoigne, it is clear that the estate would only have passed to the Wentworth family in the event that Richard Oliver had not issue or none surviving him at his death. The estate was bought from the Wentworth family in 1545, by John Gascoigne.

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Parlington Lane appears on early maps as the main thoroughfare to Leeds, it appears that the Gascoigne's may have prevented access for anyone other than those people concerned with Gascoigne business sometime after the mid eighteenth century

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