The Triumphal Arch

The map below is taken from the Ordnance Survey of around 1850

Triumphal Arch

The Triumphal Arch and inscription on the frieze above the pilasters "Liberty in N.America Triumphant MDCCLXXXIII", lies to the north of the site of the hall at the end of a delightful beech lined avenue. Sir Thomas Gascoigne had the Arch erected in Circa 1783. originally the arch was to be the entrance way to a new Georgian Stately House to be built on the estate probably to the south West of the Arch itself. When the inscription was added is unknown, considering the construction process it is likely to have been undertaken after the arch was completed as setting out the stonework at ground level and tooling the inscription prior to hoisting in to position would be fraught with problems. Therefore it is my view that the inscription could have been undertaken at any time post 1783, whereas the arch itself could have been constructed some time earlier. The original wording for the inscription was not associated with the war in America, it was probably to commemorate the new house.
The archives in Leeds have some information and detail a long rambling inscription about the American victory, this was too much for the available space and was edited to the inscription you see today. The inscription that was originally proposed is as yet unknown by the author. The inscription is noted as having upset King George III as a relative, thought to be the Prince Regent (Later George IV) was to lunch at Parlington and left on seeing the derogatory wording! without reaching the Hall.
Whether this is true or not is unconfirmed. However it is believed that Sir Thomas had affections for the oppressed American colonials! The architectural drawings for the proposed house and the arch are in the Leeds Archive and well worth a visit. Sir Thomas died in 1810 a year after his only son 'Tom' was killed in a riding accident. Local history reflects that he died a very sad old man, not surprisingly! The estate then passed to the husband of Sir Thomas's step daughter on the condition that he took the Gascoigne name. Thereafter the estate was owned by Richard Oliver who became Richard Oliver Gascoigne he did much to change things, developing the various mine workings and the horse drawn railway from Aberford to Garforth which passed along Parlington Lane at the rear of the Hall. (More to come!)