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The "Permanent Way" comes to the Parish
Information from the Manorial Records

Barwicker No.118
Winter 2014

The Barwick in Elmet and Scholes Manorial records provide a fascinating insight into the ownership and use of much of the land within the Parish for 100's of years until the 1920s when the Manorial Courts were abolished. Any transfer of Manorial land had to be recorded in the Rolls or Court Books now preserved in Leeds Archives. Whilst there was some freehold land and also Church lands in the Parish which are not recorded in these records a significant proportion was and therefore we have a continuous record of land ownership. It was whilst I was browsing Court Book Number 6, which covers the period 1875-1890, that I came across four deeds relating to land sales which caught my eye. They were all registered for the "The North Eastern Railway Company". An extract from one deed dated 18th August 1874 gives the details:

"pursuant to The North Eastern Railway Company's Leeds and Wetherby Branch Act 1866' do hereby convey to the said Company their successors and assigns ... All that copyhold piece or parcel of Land as the same is now stated or set out for the purposes of the Leeds and Wetherby Branch Railway and works authorised to be made and executed thereon containing by measurement ten perches being part of a certain close of land situate in the Township of Scholes and Parish of Barwick in Elmet in the County of York and now or late in the occupation of Thomas Wiggles worth which said piece of land intended to be hereby conveyed are part of certain lands referred by the number 17 in the said Township of Scholes on and delineated and described in the Maps and Books of Reference thereto relating the said Branch Railway deposited by the said Company in the Office of the Clerk of the Peace for the West Riding of the County of York in the month of November 1865"

The deeds all related to land required to construct the Leeds/Cross Gates to Wetherby Railway which opened in 1876 and included a station at Scholes (now the Buffers public house after the line closed in the 1960s). The Court Books contains maps showing exactly the land required to be purchased. Details of the transactions are listed below:
Benjamin Atkinson of Manston Lodge in the Parish of Whitkirk, Esquire, received £3,287 for his 7 acres 2 roods and 35 perches of land and. as compensation for the inconvenience he would experience during the construction of the railway and also the loss of value of his remaining fields many of which were split into two and only accessible via new bridges or tunnels.

Rachel Butler of High Thorpe House, Huntington, Yorks and Thomas Butler of Dewsbury, Gentleman, received £10 for their 10 perches of land then occupied by Thomas Wigglesworth.

Sir William Mordaunt Milner of Nun Appleton, Yorks, Baronet, as Trustee for the Poor of the Parish of Barwick in Elmet received £127 which was paid to the Rev. Charles Augustus Hope, Rector of Barwick, and Thomas Crosland of Scholes, Gentleman, for 3 roods and 3 perches of land owned to benefit the poor of the Parish in the field called Townsend Close in Scholes then let out and occupied by Jonathan Johnson.

We can all marvel at the Victorian engineering of the bulk of the UK's railways, the cuttings, embankments, bridges, viaducts and stations as many are still used and even more are visible in the landscape. Even the closed Wetherby line can be clearly seen in many places in the district nearly 50 years after closure. What is perhaps forgotten is the planning and legal processes that went into building those railways. First the line would have to be surveyed, plans drafted and land ownership discovered. An Act of Parliament was then drawn up allowing the compulsory purchase of the necessary land from possibly lOOs of individual owners. Once the Act was passed an army of clerks, land agents and solicitors would get to work even before the first turf was cut.

One final deed is registered against the North Eastern Railway Company in the same Court Book some 15 years later on the 29th August 1889. In this deed called an enfranchisement deed, the railway company paid the Lord of the Manor of Barwick with Scholes, Frederick Charles Trench Gascoigne of Parlington, £70 to remove all the land from Manorial restrictions and it became freehold.

Source: Barwick and Scholes Manorial Records - Leeds Archives, Grey Deposit.

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