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The Pump

Outside what is today the front of the hall is an old pump, thought to date back to the eighteenth century.

The device is a mixture of cast and wrought iron, it has a large fly-wheel which acts to compensate for the effort required to turn the handle to produce the stroke in the pump mechanism which is beneath the surface within the well.

In the days when the hall was in full use this pump sat within the kitchen courtyard and was not in public view. The pump has not moved only the surrounding structures have changed, or indeed been demolished. Today it is in full view at the front of the "West Wing" Sadly it is held together with pieces of steel and clamps, some years ago it being the victim of a hit and run "White Van Man".

Some months ago the mechanism became less stable as the inter-connecting rod from the pump handle to the pump in the well collapsed! Causing the horizontal pump boom to break! This led me to the conclusion that the depth of the well might be deeper than previously advised, as the whole internal rod connection mechanism had dropped over three feet.

On the list of jobs to undertake, investigating the pump was a priority but time as usual has been against further digging due to the excavations in the cellar. Imagine my surprise when out walking the dog, I discovered that the well had revealed itself without my intervention!

Collapsed ground

Well

The local refuse collection truck on Friday the 1st of September 2006 had taken a more direct route, ignoring the car parking area and passing within a few inches of the base of the pump frame, the weight of the wheels punching through the fill over the reception manhole at the side of the well. The fill having tumbled down inside the deep hole. The picture above is as it was discovered!

The Well

This hole, appearing as it did out of the blue, so to speak, might alarm some, but to me it is a vindication of my desire to find out all I can about this place! After listening to various friends and family advise me of the dangers associated with taking a peek in the well, I found a suitable rope and remembering my scouting days lashed the rope to the foot of the pump wheel and tied myself with a clovehitch (I was amazed I could remember how to tie one, my hands just went through the procedure taught so many years ago) to stop me from falling into the well should I loose my footing!

The Pump Mechanism

In the bottom right of the frame is the pump mechanism with the connecting rod protruding from the top. The surface of the water is about 12-13 feet below ground level and is around 20 feet deep, beyond that is soft sediment. So far two pieces of cutlery and fragments of minton ceramics have been discovered, more on this later.

Stone Construction

Well stonework

There are three wells in the vicinity of the hall, but this is by far the largest and probably the oldest, the other two are constructed of brick and are nothing like the depth. There is evidence that this well took water from three sources, which detailed below.

Lead Inlet Pipe

Inlet Pipe

The reception manhole has a 3" diameter lead pipe which probably used to connect to the water tower by the Stallion pens. (Located up near the Triumphal Arch)

On the old 1885 Fowler-Jones Plan is shown a sump which collected water from the rainwater off the adjacent roofs, this tippled into the well at its rim around a eighteen inches below ground level, allowing the silt to remain in the sump.

Finally there is the accumulation of ground water, this is the only source today, the water table is roughly 12-13 feet below ground level with little evidence of any variation in level by the water "tide marks" on the well walls.

Pump Wheel

Pump Wheel

Bearing in mind that one of the main sources of Gascoigne wealth were the local mines, it is worth noting the water at this level, as this was the cause of many problems for mining in Garforth, the book by Graham Hudson "The Aberford Railway" [ISBN: 0 71535200 8] published by David & Charles, gives accounts of the prospects of winning coal from the Beeston seam at Hawks Nest between Parlington and Garforth, "Not recommended for the pressure of water building up in the Parlington pits would have meant that the two engines being kept at work there even when the colliery was abandoned." There is clearly a lot of ground water around here!

A question which has often been in my mind is whether the coal working extended this far, under the old hall, who knows! There is no evidence of subsidence, (A website I found on the web recently claimed subsidence as the reason for the Gascoignes leaving the hall!) Certainly there is evidence of coal at the surface in the fields locally and Parlington Hollins has many early "Bell Pits"

Ground Water running into the Cock Beck

Ground water flows into the Cock Beck down near the former lake evidence of the large quantities of water coming off the land around here.

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Parlington Hall in the late Nineteenth century. Taken from a photograph provided
by the Garforth Historical Society.