THE FORMER LAKE
The Parlington Estate boasted a lake which was formed by containing the Cock Beck after it passed beneath the stone bridge on the road between Barwick in Elmet and Garforth. It was drained in the early twentieth century due to fears of the water entering the nearby coal workings. Click here for a plan The references on the plan are noted lower down this page.
This section is being completely revised but before dealing with the new information it is necessary to set the record straight in respect of the evidence about the Former Lake.
Further research indicates that the picture below [Originally described here as the lake formed by damming the Cock Beck] is not of the lake, although this is the description attributed to the picture by the contributor to the archive at Lotherton Hall. I had always suspected that it was the fish pond which lies to the west of the hall. A recent close examination of the land in the area where the former lake was situated makes it obvious that this view could never be attributed to the former lake. The picture is in fact a view of the fish pond and beyond it is the end of the Stable Block roof to the Hall.
The centre of the image features a
Post and Lintel footbridge, this is of a very similar construction to one found near the Folly and is in exactly the correct location in relation to the stable building beyond it, also the white material left of the bridge are vertical pieces of stonework, such as heavy Yorkshire stone pavings, which are still intact today!
The arrow in the above plan shows the direction of the photograph, across the pond towards the the footbridge with the stable block, highlighted in a red square in the distance.
Below is an extract from the 'Garforth Observer' circa 1884, kindly provided by the Garforth Historical Society.
The verse by J. P. H. (Unknown poet) is set out below:
THE BOAT HOUSE, PARLINGTON PARK.
Nestling amid o'er-arching trees
The boat-house sleeps;
Lulled by the whis'pring of the breeze,
That steals like lovers' reveries,
Over the lake's calm, crystal deeps!
O! 'tis a lone and tranquil spot,
where cowslips dwell;
And many a blue forget-me-not,
And many a bright and beautiful plot,
Of daisy, primrose, and harebell!
Wild hyacinths and woodbine sweet,
Bloom all around;
It seems a place where fairies meet,
And trip the sward with aery feet,
While Oberon in sleep is drowned!
And bark! upon the ambient air,
Low songs are welling;
That tell of joy which we can share
When all alone and floating there,
Upon the water's silent swelling!
Bright scenes in other lands that smile,
I can recall;
But Parlington! thy lake and isle;
Thy waterfall and ruined pile,
To me are brighter than them all!
J. P. H.
The above picture shows what is probably part of the landing which served the Boat House.
Click here for larger plan The two areas indicated on the larger plan in red are as follows: [A] The location of the folly, the boathouse and weir, along with the landing where a bridge probably passed over the Cock Beck and the weir. [B] A former Iron footbridge carried the roadway over the lake at this point, apparently demolished by a contractor by mistake, perhaps as late as the nineteen seventies, so I am told by the forester John Taylor.
The Folly stands on a natural outcrop above the Cock Beck, The stonework and window are from the chancel of the old church in Garforth which was replaced by a new building in 1844 by the Architect George Fowler Jones, of Micklegate York.
The Folly photographed in the summer of 2004, much of the stonework has fallen over the years and lies in the bed of the Cock Beck.
The above image is adapted from a photocopy of a victorian sketch of the lake drawn during the 1840's, Artist unknown.
The Cock Beck as it winds its way through the area of the former lake. The landing described above is just down stream of the site of the folly. It therefore seems logical to conclude that the Boat House was built to take visitors over to the island were sits the Folly.
The low lying ground around the beck where the lake used to be is very wet and a considerable amount of ground water feeds into the beck as can be seen in the picture below. The water is coming from Parlington Hollins and shows evidence of minerals which may have been mined along with the coal in the bell pits still to be found in the area.
The above fragments of porcelain were discovered in the roadway on route to the site of the lake, subsequent visits following heavy rainfall have uncovered further pieces. A larger version of this image can be viewed here. Following the discovery a trip was made to Lotherton Hall to view the collection of Gascoigne porcelain held there, interestingly whilst the pattern on the fragments is clearly traditional
Blue and White and not a bespoke design, the porcelain itself appears to be almost identical to that which comprises the Chinese armorial service acquired by Sir Thomas Gascoigne in the 1770's. The gold edging and indents on the perimeter are a direct match for some of the pieces in the collection. Could it have been broken on route to a picnic at the lake?
Parlington Hall in the late Nineteenth century. Taken from a photograph provided
by the Garforth Historical Society.