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The Search for Side Hill Close

Information from the Barwick cum Scholes Manorial Records

Barwicker No. 118
June 2015

As land title is now registered electronically by the Land Registry the need to keep huge bundles of old deeds relating to land and property has disappeared. Many old deeds have been deposited in archives, some are stored in lofts and at the back of cupboards, many have been thrown away, sometimes they have been sadly turned into lampshades. Occasionally they are sold for a few pounds for local history interest.

It was on this basis that about 10 years ago I came across and purchased an old Barwick in Elmet deed dated 1869. The large deed measures 55cm by 40cm (22 by 16 inches) and is a work of art which is all hand written in black close written Victorian script, ruled red lines and a two shilling and sixpence tax stamp saying paid at York. The deed is now framed and takes pride of place on the wall in my dining room.

The deed records that at the "Great Court Baron of Frederick Charles Trench Gascoigne Esquire and Mary Isabella his wife, Lord and Lady of the Manor of Barwick in Elmet and Scholes, that was held in the Gascoigne Arms Inn in Barwick on 13th October 1869" and at this Court Mary Ann Porter, a widow, of Barwick, John Wales Smith of Leeds, a tailor, and George Parker, of Barwick, gentleman, sold for the sum of £70 a small plot of land adjoining Potterton Beck called Side Hill Close (Close: a small plot of land surrounded by a boundary of some kind) to William Scriven, of Aberford, a veterinary surgeon. There is no plan attached and just a list of names of people who had previously owned it.

As the land was Manorial held under the Manor of Barwick with Scholes the Lords of the Manor, the Gascoignes were entitled to a "fine" for the sale and received £2-5s-0d from William Scriven. At the time I purchased the deed, searched maps and many records I could not find a reference to Side Hill Close. I thought the exact location was lost in the midst of time.

I had come across William Scriven before, he inherited a part share in the William IV Beer House on Aberford Road in 1854 which he then sold onto his tenant, John PuIlan, but those records gave no clue to this lands location. (see Barwicker No 93)

A few years ago I started systematic research into the Barwick and Scholes Manorial Rolls. These are preserved in Leeds Archives, and as these voluminous records started to give up their secrets information on Side Hill Close came to light. From these I discovered that William Scriven died on 5th March 1874 and his will left the property to his left wife Mary and son Joseph Scriven. Mary died on the 1st December 1887 and the land passed fully to Joseph.

Joseph, a farmer, of North End House, Aberford, died on the 29th May 1900 leaving no will and by the laws of intestate the property passed to his lawful sister Ann Mary Simpson (wife of William Simpson of Gladstone Road, Scarborough). Ann died on the 24th February 1924 and the trustees of her will sold the land to James Francis Scriven (likely a distant relation) of Tadcaster, a Hotel Keeper. All the records continue to describe the land as in the 1869 deed but with no plan.

In the 1920s and 1930s the business of the Manorial Court was wound up with the Gascoignes selling their manorial rights to the land. On the 28th November 1935 James Francis Scriven paid the Gascoigne family £16.4s to convert the land to freehold. This record however in addition to the description of the land contains a plan. The land is on the right hand side on Potterton Lane as you leave Barwick just before the bridge across the beck currently entered by a galvanized gate.

The Manorial Records are filled with Parishes old field, land and district names, randomly opening the volume covering the period 1746-1776 I found Richmond Field, High Field, Upper Garth, The Croft, Townend Field, Manston Becks and Brown Moor mentioned: some of these names are lost in the modern record and some are still preserved.


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