Parlington Hall :: The Estate :: Dark Arch

The Dark Arch, The Spooky Bit of the Parlington Estate

West Entrance to the Dark Arch Tunnel

Ok! it's not really frightening, it's just that many people choose to avoid passing through the 'Arch' and use the sunk fence (ha-ha) between the arch and the former deer park. Which is to the right of the arch in the photo.

Ha Ha or Sunk Fence, Route of the Railway.

The Dark arch was built between 1813-14 during the time of Richard Oliver Gascoigne. The level of the roadway through the tunnel is lower than the naturally occuring ground, which was probably the level of the adjacent sunk fence. However in classic Civil Engineering style the roadway was fashioned by using, cut and fill principles. That being the amount excavated equalling the amount filled, in approximate terms, in this instance the garden area being the fill on the north side of the tunnel.

Excavation Method for Tunnel

The picture above demonstrates roughly how it would have been constructed, the white dotted line being the approximate line of the ground prior to 1813 and the area in brown being excavated [Cut] and the area in grey being filled.

The Gascoignes would have had access to many capable workers both from the pits they owned in Garforth and the many estate workers, their labours have produced a lasting memorial to what can be achieved with a pick, shovel and hard graft! Sadly the many miles of tunnels the mine workers hewed from the ground beneath in persuit of 'Black Gold' will never be observed by today's generation, so it is fitting to consider their efforts in this endeavour, which will last for many years beyond the coal pits which have been hurridly levelled. For those who are unaware of pit life and the sometime horrors which visited workers read this Death of a local miner at the Peckfield mine in nearby Micklefield. Not a Gascoigne mine but serious enough to warrant a visit by Colonel Gascoigne.

The Tunnel is curved on plan and incorporates four air grates which are found in the surface of the garden. It is approximately 90 metres in length, and has a drainage system running along the length of the south wall which discharges downstream into the river Crow to the east of the tunnel, The crow connects the two lakes and traverses the gardens of Parlington Hall before running roughly parallel to Parlington Lane down to Aberford.

The tunnel is constructed of stone and is formed in three distinct sections. It has survived into the twenty first century and should be cared for, sadly people keep 'nicking' the stonework from the walls and general pieces of structure around, probably unaware of the efforts of their ancestors in striving to build this structure.

The Dark Arch, Inside

Whilst it is 'Dark' inside the arch, it is not foreboding, however following a visit to photograph the inside the author was suprised to discover when reviewing the images that one contained 'orbs' which cannot be readily explained. The 'orb' is moving across the image towards the camera and is clearly in three steps, suggesting movement as the camera shutter operates. No light bounced off anything within the tunnel and a close inspection revealed no glass or other reflecting materials near the site. So maybe we have a friendly ghost in the tunnel, I like to think it is looking after the structure!

Camera Lens Aberation or Not?

The detailed image below clearly shows the light moving from right to left, I would like to hear from anyone who can explain this aberation.

Camera Lens Aberation Zoomed

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Pictures from earlier versions of the site are denoted by the border effects, as seen in the arch picture on the left.

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