Tuesday, December 20, 2005

History of the Triumphant Arch

Triumpant Arch

Up the short rise on the start of the Barwick road brings you to a building on the right which directly fronts onto the street. Above the door are the arms of the Gascoigne family, a pike's head. Directly opposite is a side road. Take it on up the hill and through into the park beyond. This is Parlington Park. Now this site has some history to it indeed.

The avenue within takes us on and up the slope. It was planted in 1783 by George Gascoigne and leads up to a victory arch. That was the entrance gate to the house grounds. It was built especially to welcome George III in 1784 on his visit to the house. Gascoigne had vast interests in the American colonies and supported, as many local lords did, the fight for American independence. No more than a business take-over in many ways. Along the front of the arch are the words "Freedom Triumphant in America!".

King George approached up the driveway, saw the arch, read the words and turned in anger - staying the night at nearby Haselwood Castle instead. Also the home of supporters of the American 'buy-out' - but less vocal ones.

"Freedom Triumphant in America." Gascoine's slight to George III on his visit in 1784. Parlington's history goes back many centuries..........the first residents with whom we are acquainted assumed the name of the place and were/are known as De Parlington, occupying the mansion at the time Falkes de Brecante was at Harewood. They were succeeded by the Despensers.

In 1336 Philip, son of Philip, son of Hugh le Despenser, le pere, shows that Hugh was in possession of Parlington. Philip, the son, married Margaret, daughter and heiress of Ralph de Gowshill; holding the manor of Parlington, of the King, as of the crown by the fourth part of a knight's fee - (a tenure of lands held by knights on condition of military service). In 1404 a Philip Despenser held the manor by the seizin of half a knight's fee. These Despensers are the men who brought much trouble upon England in the reign of Edward II. In 1424 Roger Wentworth, Esqr., and Margaret his wife, heiress of Sir Philip Despenser and Elizabeth his late wife, held the manor of Parlington.

Before the end of the century the Gascoignes were in possession and intermarried with the Vavasours, of Hazelwood. The Gascoigne arms - or, in a pale sable, a demi-luce nest couped or.

Source: http://www.oldtykes.co.uk/elmetours.htm


St. Ricarius ...

I'm no expert on saints but I believe that Richarius is the Ricarius that the church in Aberford is named after ... your comments / corrections on this are, as ever, welcome!


Also known as Riquier

Memorial 26 April; 9 October (translation of relics)

Profile Born pagan. As a young man he protected Cadoc and Frichor, Irish missionaries in danger from local non-Christians. While in hiding, they converted him. He became a priest, travelling the country on a donkey and preaching the Gospel. Worked in England for several years, then returned to France to found an abbey at Centula. Abbot. Preacher. When King Dagobert visited him, he was so frank and blunt with his advice, the king gave him a large reward; he passed it on to the poor. The first to work on ransoming captives. Eventually resigned all offices and became a hermit.

Born at Centula, France

Died 26 April 645 at Foret- Moutier apparently of natural causes; initially buried in a hollowed-out tree because that's all his disciple Sigobart could afford

Canonized Pre-Congregation

Source: http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/saintr82.htm


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

White Swan review

The White Swan is reviewed on BBC Leeds website:

BELLY RATING: Five out of five

NAME: Mark Best


RESTAURANT VISITED: The white swan, Aberford

LOCATION: Aberford, between Leeds and York

DATE OF VISIT: 24/01/05



WHAT WAS THE FOOD LIKE? I had two racks of lamb which was very nice and the portion was massive. My girlfriend had chicken kiev which she says are the best she has ever eaten. The portions at this place have to be seen to be believed.

WHAT WAS THE BOOZE LIKE? A nice pint of Tetleys . Wine is very reasonable from £5.50 a bottle

WHAT WAS THE SERVICE LIKE? Because the food is so nice the place is always busy so be prepared to wait for a table and orders to be taken. Unusually, you pay the bill when ordering food but I didnt see this as a problem.

WHAT WAS THE ATMOSPHERE LIKE? It was good. the smoking policy was smoking allowed everywhere. As a smoker I would have prefered a no smoking area for the non-smokers as I felt my smoke was annoying non-smokers sat around me, but I suppose if they feel that way they should have gone to one of many non-smoking restaurants.

VALUE FOR MONEY? Very good value, huge portions and wine at £5.50 a bottle cannot be beaten. The food bill for 4 people was £49. Y

OUR COMMENTS: Worth a visit . The menu also does chinese food, curries etc as well as the usual pub food. The pub is easy to find on the main street at Aberford



Friday, December 02, 2005

Aspects of Leeds

Aspects of Leeds: Discovering Local History: Vol 3 (Discovering Local History)

Lynne Stevenson Tate (Editor)

This seems to be one of the few books around that mentions Aberford and in particular its fly line. It apparently reports that the fly line between Aberford and Garforth was the first tracked railway in the world, and that it ran close to the 'Lost village of Lotherton'?. Sounds like a good read to me!

Link to the book on Amazon:

Cost: around £10
Paperback 176 pages (October 2001)
Publisher: Wharncliffe Books
Language: English
ISBN: 1903425050


Downhill all the way on the Fly Line

Downhill all the way on the Fly Line

Graham Hudson discovers a walk along a disused railway line near Leeds and unravels an unexpected piece of local history.

IN 1834 the Yorkshire colliery owner Richard Oliver Gascoigne opened a horse-worked railway through his private Parlington estate, linking Garforth Colliery with a coal depot at Aberford on the Roman Road north from Castleford. Known locally as the Fly Line, and carrying passengers and goods as well as coal, the railway provided a useful service to the community until its closure due to competition from the buses in 1924.

I researched the history of the line while studying for my art teacher's diploma and today the Fly Line, a public footpath along its whole route, is still one of my favourite walks.

A clear run

From Garforth station on the Leeds-York main line it is but a few minutes' walk beside the A642 to Ash Lane. Here I turn off to the modern concrete works, site many years ago of the Isabella pit. After that the run of the Fly Line is clear - a straight footpath on a low embankment heading north. In the three miles between Garforth and Aberford the line descended 100 feet and in this direction the train simply freewheeled with the gradient, the horse that was to pull the wagons back up to Garforth riding a dandy cart at the rear.

At Hawk's Nest, site of Elizabeth pit, the Fly Line passes under the busy M1 but soon the sound of traffic fades and one is deep in the woodland of Parlington Hollins. The path gradually curves north-eastwards until the trees end at Gamekeepers Cottage. Here was a private gasworks and coal staithe for Parlington Hall where domestic servants would alight, returning from visits to Garforth. With the train at a halt, the horse was needed to get it moving again. When the wagons were rolling under their own weight, the animal would be quickly unhitched to step nimbly back on board as its own cart passed by.

Now the lane begins to descend, bringing into view Dark Arch. Close on 100 yards long, it has all the appearance of a railway tunnel but predates the line by 20 years. The arch was created when the lawn of Parlington Hall was extended to hide coal traffic that passed along Parlington Lane from pits to the west. A sunken fence, or ha-ha, between lawn and parkland prevented deer straying over and when it proved impractical to take the railway through the tunnel the ha-ha provided a ready-made cutting. Today one has the choice of either following the Fly Line along the ha-ha or braving the gloom of the Dark Arch. Most choose the latter.

Steam power came to the Fly Line in 1870 and the locomotive Empress was purchased in 1897, the year of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. The old photograph (above) shows Empress and carriage at the bridge known as Light Arch, which one reaches some 400 yards on. Beneath the bridge one can still see faint traces of soot from the locos.

Little more than another half mile brings me to Aberford. The walls of the coal staithes above the depot yard remain but the passenger shed is long gone. Round the corner from the Swan Inn there is a Metro bus stop with a good service back to Leeds. Alternatively one could walk on to Lotherton Hall, the later Gascoigne residence, now a museum and gallery. There is a summer Sunday service from Lotherton back to Leeds, but bus times should be checked beforehand.

The information

Map: OS Explorer 289 Leeds
Start: Garforth Station (grid ref: 407336)
Terrain: Easy going; ideal for family groups
Distance: Three miles
Time: Up to two hours
Transport: Train timetable information available on 0345 484950. Bus timetable information on 0113 245 7676.
Further reading: Aspects of Leeds 3 to be published late 2001 by Wharncliffe Publishing (01226 734555)

Source: Leeds Group - Ramblers' Association > http://www.leedsramblers.org.uk/fly_line.htm


New groups for Children in Aberford ... & helpers sought!

It is hoped that a new Beaver colony (ages 6 - 8) and Rainbow unit (girls age 5 - 7) will begin in Aberford in 2006. Names are currently being taken for places - please contact Suzanne Phillips on 0113 393 5290.

It is also hoped to begin Brownies, Cubs, Guides, and Scouts. However, we need adult volunteers to help lead these groups. You do not need to be a parent, just over 18 and with sufficient energy and enthusiasm. Full training will be provided. This could be your opportunity to contribute in a positive way to Aberford's young people. Those who are new to the village or who are looking for a way to join in with village life will be welcomed.

You must be willing to undertake a Criminal Records Bureau check with enhanced disclosure for working with children. To find out more or register your interest please also contact Suzanne.


Tuesday Club

For all you over 55's out there don't forget that the Tuesday Club meets every fortnight in the Pool Room at the Royal Oak, beginning with lunch at 1.00pm.

New members will be very welcome. Please telephone Alvice (281 2192) for more information.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Becca Hall

Becca Hall - at the end of Becca Land.

Picture submitted by Nicholas Ross, who lives there!