The History of Barnbow Part 4 Back to the Main Historical Society page
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The History of Barnbow


from The Barwicker No.62
June 2001

After Sir Thomas Gascoigne died in 1686, he was succeeded by his third and eldest surviving son, also Thomas, the lord of the manor of Barwick. He resided at Barnbow Hall.

In the decade 1 January 1695 to 31 December 1704, there were 13 baptisms and 5 burials in Barnbow. These rather ambiguous figures perhaps indicate that the population had gone down to some extent but the inhabitants were younger.

Some idea of the importance of Barnbow Hall is reflected in an entry in the diary of Ralph Thoresby, the Leeds antiquary, dated 11August 1709.

"Walked to Barwick to visit Mr Plaxton (rector of Barwick 1703-20) in his widowhood; walked with Mr Plaxton to Barnbow Hall; dined with Sir Thomas Gascoigne (the 3rd. baronet) which place was of old the seat of the Greenfields, now of the Gascoignes from the time of king James I, as I conjecture from the ornaments and unicorns in the great dining hall."

It seems that the Gascoignes left Barnbow to take up residence in Parlington during the first decades of the century. The redundant dwelling, Barnbow Hall, was demolished in 1721/2 as is shown in a memorandum of Mr (afterwards Sir) Edward Gascoigne, the great grandson of Sir Thomas, the victim of the Barnbow Plot:

"1721 Feb. 21. Agreed with Mr Turner and Thomas Braime that they do jointly pull down ye house at Barnbow and make ye Barn stand fit for preserving ye timber to be therein laid for ye sum of 40 and a crown given in earnest and left to my father (Sir John Gascoigne) to give more if he shall think that the work deserves it."

Beginning about 1734, the parish records of births and baptisms give the occupations of the heads of the households concerned. After 1741, the inclusion of occupations became less regular and this was to remain for a couple of decades or so, after which the practice became standard.

For the seven years between 1 January 1734/5 and 31 December 1741, there are 10 baptisms and 10 burials of inhabitants of Barnbow, involving 11 families. Of these five were living in Barnbow Carr, perhaps indicating a shift to this more recent settlement. The numbers suggest a population for Barnbow of 40-45, a small reduction from a century before, which is probably explained by the moving of the Gascoigne family and retainers to Parlington.

The occupations listed show that Barnbow was still an agricultural community. There were one yeoman (farmer), one husbandman (smallholder) and one man who is described in 1737 as a yeoman and in 1738 as a husbandman, perhaps indicating some fall in status. There were five labourers, who probably worked the land of the Gascoignes. Two carpenters are shown in the list, also a 'dish-turner'. Did he make wooden dishes or was he a potter?

'A Survey of the Lordship of Barnbow surveyed for the use of the Chief Owner Edward Gascoigne, Bart, by Henry Walker' was drawn up in the mid-18th. century and is now preserved at Sheepscar. The account is not dated, although the year 1750 is suggested, but it seems likely from the records of some of the people involved that it was drawn up a decade or so earlier. It is an account of all the land of the 12 tenants and five copyholders in Barnbow, listing the plots they occupied with acreages. In addition, there is common land comprising 'The Carr' and 'Waste and Lanes'.

Most of the parcels of land are named although some are recorded as 'a close' or 'a garth'. The list for each occupier is headed 'Inclosure', showing clearly that the old open field method of farming had ended. From the lists of property given it is found that six of the tenants or copyholders were householders in Barnbow. Of the 17 tenants and copyholders, I can find only six or seven who appear from the parish records to have lived in Barnbow. There are four others who lived in other parts of the parish. The remainder must have lived elsewhere. The occupation of some of the tenants can be found from the parish records. This complicated picture of tenancy, householding, residence and occupation is given in the table below.

Name of copyholderNo ofAcreage House/sResidence Occupation
plots acres rods perches on land
Mr Nicholas Warren 962128 NoBarnbow -
Robert Bucktrout 3 18201 Yes - -
William Emerson 315104 No - -
Alex. Thompson 649005 NoBarnbow -
John Varley 2 17110 NoBarwickFarmer
John Kirkhome 728106 NoBarnbowHusbandman
Robert Brown 26104 NoPenwell -
Anna Johnson 421132 YesBarnbowWidow
Thomas Braham 12 57 0 01 Yes ? ?
William Thompson 2 9205 NoBarn. Carr Husbandman
George Hast 3 7038 NoBarwick -
Stephen Vevers 5 61314 YesMorwick Gentleman

Was Thomas Braham in fact Thomas Braime of Barnbow Carr, Carpenter?

Name of copyholderNo ofAcreage House/sResidence Occupation
plots acres rods perches on land
Anna Shipman 2 8 3 35 Yes - -
Richard Shippen 1 5 0 20 YesStanks -
William Taylor 1 5 3 12 YesBarn. CarrWheelwright
Samuel Thomson 1 1 0 09 No - -
(?) Fox Esq. 1 1 0 11 No - -

Was (?) Fox Esq. a member of the landowning family from Bramham, later Lane Fox? Was Taylor Lane named after William Taylor? How many of the above names remain in Barwick, we wonder.

Total acreages were:
In the hands of the tenants354ac.0r.28p.
Copyholders 22ac.0r. 7p.
Barnbow Carr 46ac.0r.15p.
Wastes and Lanes 11ac.1r.17p.
Total 433ac.2r.27p.

The names of the some of the plots of land reveal their open field origins and include Marlepitte Field (2 plots), Bullpitt Closes, Old Field and Old Field Leys. There are three plots called 'Ten Lands', which would have been formed by enclosing ten adjacent ploughing strips. Some names show the importance of sources of water e.g Well Close, Spring Close, Ashwell Close, The Spring.

'A Plan of the Manor of Barwick, belonging to Sir Thomas Gascoigne Bart.' was surveyed by John Flintoff in 1772 and is held at Sheepscar. The Historical Society has recently purchased a photographic copy of this map which can be scanned onto a computer to enable parts of it to be enlarged and printed. A tracing of the section of the map covering the Barnbow area is shown below. The boundaries shown to the north, west and east are taken from the 6 in. to a mile Ordnance Survey map of 1849 and the Cock Beck forms the southern limit. This OS map creates some confusion as to extent of Barnbow, as will be seen in a later article.

All the land is enclosed except for Barnbow Carr. The closes are of irregular shapes and sizes and it is likely that they were created from the old open fields in a piecemeal fashion, when agreement between the different tenants was obtained. The long strips running alongside what is now Taylor Lane were probably produced by combining a few of the old ploughing strips in the open field.

The names of some of the closes are shown on the map, though many are difficult or impossible to read. Those which can be deciphered have been marked with letters and are identifed in the table below. They must have been familiar to the people of Barnbow at this time. Few of them now survive, as amalgamation of fields following changing farming practices led to the need for new names. Some of the plots named on the map can be identified in the 1740/50 survey and these with their tenants (if known) are given in the table below.

Key Name of PlotTenant (1740/50)
A Croft
B Barnbow CarrCommon land
C Shaw Great FieldAlex. Thompson
D Carr CloseStephen Vevers
E Ash Hole Close
F Marlpit Close
G High Rodds (Rhoyds)
H Upper Intack
J Mab HillsStephen Vevers
K Lower Intack
L Long CloseJohn Kirkhome
M Barnbow Hall siteIn hand
N Old Field LeysJohn Kirkome
O The SpringsThomas Braham?
P Barnbow WoodIn hand
Q Hall GarthMr Nicholas Warren
R Old FieldStephen Vevers
S Crabtree Flatt (Garth?)John Kirkham
T Spring Meadows (?)
U The GreenMr Nicholas Warren
V Buck Trout Closes

Some of the field names given in the 1740/50 survey cannot be identified on the 1772 plan. These are given below with their acreages and tenants.

Name of Plot acres rods perchName of Tenant
Marlpit Field No. 1
March 1986
8 2 20Alexander Thompson
Marlpit Field No.211 0 25Alexander Thompson
Spring Close 3 0 9John Kirkham
Bull Pit Close No. 1
March 1986
4 1 24William Emerson
Bull Pit Close No.2 5 0 12William Emerson
Ash Well Close No. 1
March 1986
4 0 10Thomas Braham
Ash Well Close No.2 5 0 12Thomas Braham

The parish records of the mid 18th. century reveal some features of Barnbow at the time. In 1755, there are two entries for the Ellott family of 'Barnbow-hall'. The old Barnbow Hall had been demolished more than three decades earlier and we must conclude that this refers to a dwelling on the old site. There are more entries concerning the newer settlement of Barnbow Carr than the older one (referred to as just Barnbow), which was probably near the site of Barnbow Hall.

There are no indications that any coal miners lived in Barnbow in the 1740s but beginning in the years 1759-62, five men living in Barnbow Carr are described in the parish records as 'colliers'. Their names are Robert Smith, John Lunn, Samuel Simpson, George Scholes and Richard Hewitt. They were new to the hamlet, three of them having parents living in Garforth, Rothwell and 'Poston' (probably Purston Jaglin). They were obviously young family men judging by the large number of children they had in the next couple of decades. There are few colliers from other parts of the parish listed in the records at this time.

This immigration of colliers took place at a time of a large scale development of the coal mining industry close to Barnbow. These changes are described in Graham Hudson's book 'The Aberford Railway and the History of the Garforth Collieries' from which these details are taken. The old pits on Garforth Moor were practically worked out by the mid 1750s and in 1757 trial borings were made on Barwick Moor down to the rich Beeston coal seam. Boring was a skilled job, hence perhaps the immigration of the five colliers to Barnbow. Because mines were liable to flooding, a large pumping engine was set up a little way to the west of the Barwick to Garforth road between Ellis Lane and the Cock Beck. Later it was transferred to a site just to the east of the main road. A small settlement grew up round this pumping device, its name being recorded as 'Fire Engine' from 1767 and then 'Engine' from 1773. Like their predecessors on Garforth Moor, these mine workings on Barwick Moor were said to be part of 'Garforth Colliery'.

In 1762, we find Benjamin Braime of Barnbow Carr described as a 'wright', probably a wheelwright. In 1768, the occupation of Thomas Grainger of Barnbow Carr is given as 'groom' but by 1773, it is 'huntsman'. Was there a pack of hounds kennelled at Barnbow Carr at this time? In 1775, we find William Britaine of Barnbow, a bricklayer.

In 1773, William Dawson, who became the well-known Methodist lay preacher, was born in Garforth. He was the eldest of the ten children of Luke and Ann Dawson, four of whom died in infancy. William spent the first five years of his life life living with his paternal grandfather at Whitkirk. The other children were born at the newly built house at Barnbow Carr, now called Upper Barnbow Farm, where William spent most of the rest of his life. Luke Dawson was Steward to Sir Thomas Gascoigne and superintended the colliery department for 21 years.

Luke died in 1791 at the age of 50, leaving William then aged 18 as the effective head of the family. He succeeded his father as colliery overseer and his brother ran the farm of 150 acres of what he later described as 'rather poor land'. The colliery business was transacted at Grimes Cabin about a mile from the house. His wage, which he described as 'paltry', was 12s.0d a week until 1793, then 15s.0d. when the colliers' wages were raised. When the colliers went on strike again, his wage was raised to 18s.0d. The farm was not a financial success.

In the last decade of the century, 1790-1799, the registers show a large number of colliers living in Barwick parish particularly the southern and western parts. In Barnbow in this decade, there were 16 baptisms from 10 families. The importance of coal mining to the hamlet is revealed when we find that nine of the heads of these households were colliers; the other was a labourer. Two of the miners' families were called Scholes and Simpson, probably descendents of those in the 1759-62 list. There were four colliers called Goodall.

There were 16 burials of Barnbow inhabitants in the decade. No occupations are give in the burial records. These baptism and burial figures suggest a population of about 50 at this time. No distinction is drawn between Barnbow and Barnbow Carr, but it seems likely that the latter had become the greater settlement.

In the account book of the Gascoigne-owned Garforth and Barnbow Collieries for the year 1796, there are weekly accounts of coal raised and sums of money received and paid for four pits in the Barnbow area, which were called Brown, Cawood, Smith and Engine. A total of about 14,000 tons of coal was raised from these pits in the year. It may have been a sign of what was to happen later when in the next decade the Brown pit ceased working and the Engine pit closed during November.


PS. Since the writing of the above article, research has revealed that Sir Edward Gascoigne, who commissioned the above survey, was deeply involved in the institutions of the Catholic church, particularly those on the continent which acted as havens for English men and women wishing to escape the persecution at home and to pursue a religious life in safety and security. It is hoped that the full story of the religious activities of numerous members of the Gascoigne family at home and abroad will be told in future editions.

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