The Gascoignes :: Nineteenth Century

Colonel Frederick Charles Trench-Gascoigne (1814-1905)

The husband of Isabella, Colonel Frederick Charles Trench Gascoigne remains something of a enigma, living as he did at Parlington from the 1850's until his death in 1905 at the age of 91, no portraits, pictures or photographs have been discovered of him. Despite the fact that the Hall was clearly a location where photography was a major interest. So much so that a room on the ground floor was dedicated to photography and references to equipment in other rooms within the house are mentioned in the valuation carried out for probate after the Colonel's death in June 1905.

The Colonel was the only son of Charles Trench, brother of the first Lord Ashtown, and Anna Maria, eldest daughter of Luke White, of Woodlands, County Dublin. He was born on 15th May, 1814. On 13th September, 1850 on his marriage to Isabella Gascoigne he assumed the additional surname and arms of Gascoigne. He served for some sixteen years the 66th Regiment, now (As at 1908) the 2nd Battalion Berkshire, was with his regiment in Canada for four years and retired with the rank of captain. He was honorable Colonel 2nd West Yorks. Engineer Volunteers for about forty years and until his death, as Lieutenant Colonel he commanded the 1st West riding Artillery Volunteers, and received the V.D. (Volunteer Decoration) for long service.

Colonel Gascoigne was a J.P. and D.L. for the County of York, J.P. for the County of Limerick and the County of Argyle, High Sheriff for the County of Limerick in 1854 and the County of York in 1864. Upon the death of his wife (1891) he entered a life tenure of Parlington and survived her nearly 15 years. He died at Parlington after a very short illness on 12th June 1905, aged 91, and was buried at Aberford the 15th June 1905. In the use of his wealth he followed the best traditions of the Gascoigne family, and there was hardly a charity in the country, worthy of support, that appealed to him in vain. [Issue: Frederick Richard Thomas Trench Gascoigne] (Excerpt from "History of Barwick-in-Elmet, in the County of York" by F.S. Colman, MA Rector of Barwick in Elmet. Dated Leeds 1908)

The Colonel was noted as an expert marksman and amongst the effects catalogued for probate on his death were 2 Metford Rifles, probably similar to the one shown below.

Metford Rifle, for target shooting

The Metford Rifle was acknowledged as the gun of choice for target shooting and the Colonel won many trophies for his shooting prowess. Sadly one incident which tainted the latter part of the Colonel's life was the accidental shooting of an assistant on a shoot. The Deer Park to the south of the house was the site of a shooting lodge and target. The remains of the lodge are still to be found to this day, near the Bathingwell Plantation. It was probably from this location that the accident occured.

[An extract, believed to be from the Leeds Mercury or Leeds Intelligencer, kindly provided by Mr R Sudderdean of the Garforth Historical Society. States as follows] June 18th 1870, a gardener's labourer, named Edward Cotton, while acting as a marker at a private rifle range at Parlington Park, near Leeds, was accidently shot by Lieutenant Colonel Gascoigne. The marker had left the rifle butt whilst firing was proceeding and without receiving any signal. The ball passed through his body and killed him on the spot.

Whilst walking in the vicinity some years ago, beyond the line of the shooting range the author came across a lead bullet which had hit something extremely hard like a brick surface, as it was flattened like a pancake. This was perhaps of the same type of ammunition that killed the unfortunate Edward Cotton. The deer park ceased to be during the second world war, as it was turned over to agricultural production.

Army Manoeuvres

The Colonel was a man who enjoyed his role as the honorary Colonel of The Second West York (Leeds) Engineer Volunteers. Numerous accounts have been discovered of his activities at Parlington with the army. Such that the two acounts that follow, give an impression of the siege of Sevastapol (1854-1855), rather than a tranquil rural setting in Yorkshire.

Header Picture

The header picture is from the stereo collection, believed to be from the 1860's, around the time of the army manoeuvres described below. In the centre of the image is a vertical post, and beyond a white tent, in front of this running across the picture is the sunk fence, at the foot of the two triangular shaped trees, beyond the cedar tree. The railway ran along this route, but prior to 1870 was a horse drawn affair, the first steam engines being used after 1870.

The Second West York (Leeds) Engineer Volunteers

The Leeds Mercury, Tuesday, April 7, 1863
THE SHAM FIGHT AT PARLINGTON PARK. The above regiment of Volunteers, nearly 600 strong, had yesterday a series of interesting manoeuvres, including a sham fight, in the well wooded and pieturesque demesne of their gallant Honorary Colonel (Col.Gascoigne), Parlington Park, near Garforth and Aberford, about seven: miles from Leeds.

There was a large assmblage of persons to see the corps leave Leeds, and also at different points on their route. The afternoon was fine on the whole though one or two slight showers of rain fell, and the entire proceedings passed off well. In accordance with the programme, the corps, under the command of Lieutenant- Colonel Child, assembled at the Marsh-lane Station at 12.45 p.m., and proceeded by special train at one o'clock to Carforth, where the battalion was formed in open column of companies, and each man supplied with sixty rounds of blank cartridge. Nos. 3 and 4 Companies were then marched off and took up a position on an island in the lake and represented the enemy.

Nos. 1, 2, 5, and 6 Companies shortly followed, and took up a position near a thick wood, about 3,000 yards from the lake and represented the attacking column. Here a strong line of skirmishers were thrown forward, and carefully felt their way through the wood until they arrived near the lake, where a very brisk fire was opened from the island and returned by the skirmishers, who concealed themselves as much as possible in the bush. The attacking column marched up, launched their-boats, and crossed to the island under a heavy fire from the enemy.

The enemy now retreated across the island and made their escape in boats, carrying their magazine with them; but being closely pursued by the attacking army, on leaving their boats they blew up their magazine, which caused some delay to the attacking party. The enemy now retreated through the wood, and took up a position behind a strong quick thorn hedge. The attacking army again threw forward a strong line of skirmishers, which felt their way through the wood, until they arrived near to the hedge, where the enemy were posted in strength.

The attacking skirmishere again halted and opened fire, and kept the enemy in check until the attacking column made a flank movement, which compelled the enemy to retire, when they fell back on a strong stone-built farmhouse, where they again took up a position threw out a line of skirmishers, and put the house in a state of defence. The attacking army again advaneed, covered by skirmishers, to the attack on the farmhouse, where several attacks were made and repulsed. The attacking columns, finding they could not dislodge the army, set fire to the house.

Finally, the enemy made their escape, and retired to Parlington hall, their citadel, closely pursued by the attacking columns. An attempt was made to take the citadel by escalade, which proved a failure from the heavy flank fire that was brought to bear upon the escalading party, who wore compelled to retire. There the cadet company distinguished itself by throwing out grappling irons and hauling up one of the ladders with two men on it, who were at once made prisoners and marched to the guard-room in charge of an escort of cadets. The enemy now made a sortie, and forced the attacking army to retreat, leaving their camp and magazine behind, which seas captured by the enemy, and a guard placed on the magazine. The attacking column fell hack on a block house, which was well loopholed, and kept the enemy at bay until reinforcements arrived, when they again threw out a line of skirmishers, and pursued the enemy back to their citadel.

The enemy during this retreat destroyed the attacking army's camp and blew up their magazines. A flag of truce was now sent to the garrison requesting the enemy to surrender on certain conditions, which conditions were not acceded to. An attack was then made at several points, and an entrance effected by means of the escalade spar bridges, etc., when the enemy surrendered unconditionally.

The good order and military bearing of the men were the subject of general admiration. The picturesque appearance of the cadet company, under the lead of their juvenile Commander, Capt. Gascoigne, also elicited high praise, especially from the ladies, whose favour the young soldiers appeared to have secured at a very early period of their military life. The corps returned to Leeds at a late hour, not more fatigued than gratified with the arduous labours of the day and doubtless thankful that the blessings of peace enjoyed by this country for so long a period, rendered the Imitations of war the only kind of hostilities which Englishmen could behold on their own soil.

We ought not to forget to mention that the officers and men were treated to a good dinner after their arduous duties in the field. The band of the corps was in attendance, and imparted animation to the attacking party on their various movements.

First West Riding Artillery, Field Day At Parlington

The Leeds Mercury, Monday, September 30, 1867
At the invitation of Colonel Gascoigne, who hod made an express journey from his shooting-box in Scotland for the occasion, the First West Riding or Leeds Volunteer Artillery had, on Saturday, a field day on his finely-wooded estate at Parlington. The corps, which mustered nearly 350 strong, paraded in the Coloured Cloth Hall-yard, whence they marched to the Marsh-lane station of the North-Eastern Railway, the managers of which had provided a special train for their conveyance to Garforth. The brigade left Leeds under the command of Major Butler, the following officers being also present; Surgeon Hayward, Adjutant Shields, Capt. Jackson, Capt. Oates, Capt. Harding, Capt. H. W. Butler, Lieut. Turner, Lieut. J. T. Butler, Lieut. T. S. Butler, Lieut. Hirst, and Lieut. Appleyard.

On arriving at Garforth, where the parapet of the bridge overlooking the station was fringed with spectators, they were formed into line of march, and, headed by the fine band which, under the leadership of Mr. Tidswell, played a selection of military music, they proceeded along a tramway, picturesquely skirted with woodland, and forming a lengthy avenue of considerable beauty, to one of the entrances to the park, where they for a short time dispersed.

At the sound of the bugle the brigade again formed into line to receive Colonel Gascoigne, who appeared mounted in his uniform as the chief officer of the corps, and bade them welcome. They were then marched to the gentle acclivity immediately in front of the hall, from which they were only separated by the sunken tram road running between the colonel's collieries at Aberford and Garforth, and this extensive meadowland which is richly studded with many a noble oak and elm with their ponderous knarled and knotted branches, formed their base of operation for the remainder of the day.

Thither they were followed by a group of onlookers, amongst whom were several ladies, who by the kindness of the owner of the demesne were permitted to participate in the pleasure of the spectacle. A strong wind, which occasionally blew in very violent gusts across the park, added to the very threatening aspect of the clouds overhead, from which a by no means agreeable down-pour seemed imminent, had however, the effect of somewhat marring the enjoyment of the proceedings. As soon as the marching column arrived in front of the hall it was opened to the front, and Colonel Gascoigue, in addition to whom, it may here be stated, Major Butler and Adjutant Shields were mounted, put the corps through a variety of field manoeuvres, which tested the efficiency of their drill instructors, and which, notwithstauding the presence of numerous recruits, wore executed with a precision and steadiness fully equal to that which they displayed when the eyes of the inspecting officer were upon them at Leeds a few weeks ago.

The eight companies into which the brigade were divided looked especially well as they formed squares for the reception of cavalry, with their carbines flashing and the reports ringing, around the glades as the imaginary hostile troopers rode on. This manoeuvre being completed the whole brigade were formed into a line in the rear of six iron and two brass carronades and one mortar, belonging to Colonel Gascoigne, who had placed them as in a battery in a position which gave a command over the hall. The requisite number of gunners were selected from each company, and these having taken up their respective posts, the remainder of the brigade were told off into two divisions which flanked the battery.

The enemy was supposed to be entrenched in the hall, and under the command of Major Butler a vigorous fire was opened upon him, a liberal supply of ammunition having been served out for this purpose before leaving Leeds. The guns were served with readiness and energy, and they were well supported by the two divisions, who kept up a sharp and constant fusillade with their carbines. The superiority of the volunteer marksmen told on the imaginary foe, and the battery was advanced a few paces, when the gunners and their supports resumed their firing with an equally effective result. The spectators were loud in their admiration of the scene as the "cannon blazed forth amid the thick volumes of battery smoke," and "volleyed and thundered" around the hills and dales of the park, This portion of the afternoon's programme must have been especially beneficial to Site corps in assisting them to realise in a practical manner, and in a way superior to all theoretical instruction, the nature of the duties they would be called upon to perform as artillerists in actual warfare.

After a few more evolutions had been executed the brigade piled arms, and while the rank and file were served with substantial refreshments in a covered building in the park, Major Butler and the officers were entertained by Colonel Clascoigne in the hall, during the performances of the band on the lawn in front. The corps then returned to Leeds by special train.

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The sisters featured in a comprehensive exhibition held at Lotherton Hall from April through September 2004. The Title of the exhibition, Maids and Mistresses celebrated 300 years of Women and the Yorkshire Country House. The Gascoigne Sister's being described as the "Peris of the North" [a term from the Arabian Nights 'Peris' meaning Spirits]

The details from the exhibition were provided by Dr Adam White the Curator at Lotherton Hall

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