Life in Barwick Rectory in the 1820s. Back to the Main Historical Society page

Life in Barwick Rectory in the 1820s.

from Barwicker No. 70
June 2003

Rev.WH Bathurst was rector of Barwick-in-Elmet from 1820 to 1852. Something of his life is described by a successor, Terry Munro, in a previous article (see 'The Barwicker' No.33). During his time at Barwick he recorded many of his activities and gave other information in what has become known as the Rector's Log-book, which is now safely housed at the Leeds City Archives at Sheepscar. The first page of the book describes his intentions.

"Record of Transactions connected with the Rectory and Parish of Barwick-in-Elmet. William Hiley Bathurst, second son of the Right Honourable Charles Bathurst, at that time Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, was instigated to the Rectory of Barwick-in-Elmet on the 15th. September 1820 and was inducted on the 16th. 
He thinks it desirable to record, for the benefit of his successors, whatever circumstances may occur during his Incumbency, affecting the interest of the Rectory and the Parish in general, of sufficient importance to be preserved from oblivion - and he desires that this book may be considered as the property of all future Rectors of Barwick, to whose judgement he submits the propriety of continuing it upon a similar plan." 

His contribution was 103 pages of (fortunately) easily decipherable handwriting. However his immediate successor, Canon Hope, (rector 1852 -1899), did not follow his example but Rev. Colman (1899-1910) remedied this to some extent by recording 5 pages of events from Canon Hope's time, followed by 25 pages from his own. Rev. Harvey (1910-1933) did not add anything to the book but his successor Rev. Lovell Clark (1933 - 1942) recorded 42 pages including some inserted printed material. All in all, the log-book is an invaluable source of Barwick history.

Rev.WH Bathurst
Rector of Barwick-in-Elmet from 1820 to 1852

We have already drawn on material from the log-book in articles on 'Cholera in Barwick' (see 'The Barwicker No.8) and 'The Village School' (No. 1
March 19860). Much of the contents consist of financial accounts concerning the rectory and the land and farms owned by the rector but let out to tenants. He does not give us a description of the rectory at this time but a 'terrier' dating from 1825 includes the following:

"A Substantial built Dwellinghouse of Brick covered with Slate contains three Rooms on the Ground Floor and a Butler's Pantry with four Chambers over the same and Garrets over them, the Floors are Boarded with Fir Timber, part of the partition Walls are of Brick and part Wainscotted and the whole Ceiled. Also a Kitchen, Back Kitchen, Small Parlor Pantry and Cellar, built of Brick covered with Slate and Paved with Flags has two Chambers over the same and Ceiled. Also two three-Stall Stables with a Coach House between them and a small Barn, Cow House, and Hog Styes all built of Brick and stone and covered with Slate." 

At that time the rectory would comprise the central part of the present building and the east wing, which is now a separate dwelling. The west wing was not erected until a later date. Rev.Bathurst tells us little directly in his log-book about his home life in the rectory. However over the years the alterations, decorations and additional fittings he describes tell us something of his life style.

Before the terrier, the most important improvements he carried out were to his study, the place where he could read, view his collections, write his letters, log-book, sermons and hymns (see 'The Barwicker' No.54) and from where, using a bell pull, he could summon his servants. The new fittings introduced were likely to have been 'state of the art' for houses of the well-to-do at that time.

1821: Put up a set of 16 drawers for holding mineralogical specimens with folding doors below the window of the study. Cost 4.0s.0d 
1823: I stopped up the entrance door between the study and the larder;and formed in its place a small room communicating with the Study. Cost 9.0s.6d.
Had the whole house painted, except the bedroom over the dining room. Cost 38.11s.9d.
At the same time, the bells in the house were renewed and better arranged. Cost 10.4s.0d
Put a set of drawers within the doors below the large bookcase in the Study, where there were only shelves before. Cost 4.12s.6d.  
1824 Put up a mahogany book case, with drawers, etc., within the recess on the right hand side of the fire place in the Study. Cost 19.18s.0d. 
1826 Kitchen floor laid with new flags. Cost 19.18s.0d. 

In 1829, major internal and external reconstruction work was carried out in the rectory, along with improvements in decoration and additional or altered fittings. The work tells us something about such services as sanitation, water supply, heating and provision of light within the house. The work, which cost what at the time was a substantial sum, is described as follows:

  • "Built Water Closet, with cistern, etc.
  • formed a dressing room by taking off part of the chamber over the Dining Room
  • made a Pantry out of the passage at the back of the Dining Room, stopping up the doorway which before led into the garden, and converting it into a window
  • paved the entrance hall with fresh stones, laid on brick and hollow
  • put up Stone pilasters and architrave at the front door.
"Had the outside of the house stuccoed,stones being placed against the wall at the bottom, and sills to the windows - put up marble chimney pieces in the Dining Room and Study; and had that in the Dining Room cleaned and polished, - had the walls of the Hall Stairs plastered and cornices put to the same. 
"Had the whole house and out buildings painted and the wires of some of the bells altered. Stopped up the door that led out of the little room formerly the pantry and formed a small closet in its place - In the Chamber over the Dining Room had the floor taken up and laid again; as it had become much sunk in the middle; the Fireplace put farther back, as it projected more than was necessary into the room; and a new cornice put on - the marble hearth-stone in the Drawing Room, being much discoloured, was taken up and the underside polished; after which a stand was made for it and it was placed in the entrance hall. Put in a new window for lighting the stairs."
Total Cost 476.9s.0d.

During the following year, more alterations were made to the house, including additional servants' quarters, with some improved equipment for them. Water and lighting facilities were extended and an 'apparatus' put in (unfortunately not described) for an early form of central heating. Some safety features are also included. The changes are described as follows:

"Took off a passage from the North Chamber, and put in new steps from the end of it to the lower landing - with a closet by the side of them; for the lighting of which I broke out a small window - the back stairs being worn and broken, put up new ones with rails at the top - built a new room for women servants over the Brewhouse - formed a passage to it with a window at the end. Between the passage and the second room raised a partition of lath and plaster - put up a stove for irons in the second room - the Cistern for rain water being displaced by the formation of the passage, removed it and built a Support for it over the back door - Laid the Brewhouse floor with new tile flags, with a gutter to carry off the water." Cost 109.18s.9d. 
"Finding the method of warming the Greenhouse not sufficiently effective, had an apparatus put up in the bark-shed for supplying the Greenhouse with hot air; and at the same time provided for the warming of the house by the same means." Cost (including an iron cockle, a brass ventilator and tin pipes) 28.16s.2d. 
  1. "The fire in the Pantry having found to produce an unpleasant smell in the first chamber, an apparatus was introduced at the back of the Dining Room grate to supply the Pantry with hot air; the use of the grate might be dispensed with.
  2. Put a leaden cistern over the little room of the study, a basin to receive the water and pipes to convey it.
  3. In the same little room, put up a medicine chest with drawers below; shelves for books above.
  4. Put up a fixed wash stand with drawers, shelves, etc., in the new dressing room."
Total cost 22.7s.8d. 

We do not know the size of Rector Bathurst's household at the time of these changes but the census of 1841 tells us that he then lived with his wife, four daughters aged 6 - 19 years, two sons aged 4 and 2 years, a governess, one male servant and six female servants. Only two of his children were living with them at the 1851 census but he still employed two male servants (including a coachman) and four female servants.

The rector's log-book, although lacking much personal detail, does give us a glimpse Mr Bathurst's life in Barwick rectory.

(From the Log-book of REV. WH BATHURST)

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