A precis of the Gascoignes in the Nineteenth Century

The Gascoigne Family bloodline ceased after the death in 1810 of Sir Thomas, his only son Thomas Charles [Tom] having predeceased him in 1809. [Thomas Charles Gascoigne, born 7th January 1786, suffered a fatal accident whilst hunting and died at Wallingwells, Notts., the residence of Sir Thomas Woollaston White, on Friday 13th October 1809 [London Times View Copy] or on 20th October 1809 [Coleman's], aged 23. He was buried at Barwick in Elmet, 28th October, when as stated in a contemporary broadsheet, over two thousand persons were present and above four hundred of his father's tenants.]

Tom Gascoigne Caricature

Caricature of Tom Gascoigne

The estate passed to Sir Thomas's step daughter's husband Richard Oliver, taking the name of Richard Oliver Gascoigne. He was to develop the local landed assets to great advantage and on his death in 1843 left to his surviving daughters a considerable estate. The two Gascoigne sisters, Isabella and Elizabeth became synomymous with charitable works both locally and in Ireland, and many examples of their endeavours can be found.

The sisters both lived at the Hall prior to each of their marriages, thereafter Isabella remaining at Parlington with her husband Frederick, whilst her sister lived mostly in Ireland with her husband, the cousin of Frederick, The Baron Ashtown at Woodlawn House (Killaan). Although they owned Lotherton Hall, it was not their main residence.

It is most probable that during the years following the death of their father Richard, the two sisters spent much of their energy in developing the facilities at Parlington. Judging by the extensive plan of the house layout drawn in 1885 these included the large Conservatory erected on the east wall of the Drawing Room, itself a late edition. The Fernary and connecting Galleries along with a Photographic Room and Picture Gallery.

Early Photographers and Craftwork

The Gascoigne Sisters Isabella and Elizabeth

The above picture is a taken from a crayon effect, drawn J Hayter and engraved by J Thomson, titled "The Peris of the North" held in a private collection.

A portrait of the sisters, Isabella and Elizabeth, Isabella elder by some two years is on the left.

Engraving of the Gascoigne Sisters Isabella and Elizabeth

The second portrait of Isabella and Elizabeth, is an antique engraving and probably the forerunner to the crayon version. Significantly, a viewer of this site advised me that they had this print and were able to identify who the sitters were from the crayon version, as previously they were unknown to them. Originally the engraving was noted on the site as being done by a J Comson, the reader correctly pointed out that it should be J Thomson, as the information was from Lotherton Hall I thought to check the engraver using Google to my surprise not only did I confirm the engraver as J Thomson, but I discovered a further copy of the same engraving for sale! Here it is, I await the print in the post!

The reader also kindly provided a link to information of the artist John Hayter Notable figures such as the Duke of Wellington and the celebrated opera singer, Guidetta Pasta, were drawn by Hayter which provides an insight into the stature of the two sisters in Victorian society.

ELizabeth Gascoigne

Elizabeth Gascoigne

[Displayed courtesy of the Board of the National Library of Ireland.]

A recent discovery has yielded a picture of the younger Gascoigne sister Elizabeth. The photo is from a collection purchased by the National Library in Dublin at auction in April 2005. There is also a picture of her husband Lord Ashtown, which will be added soon.

Sadly despite evidence of extensive photographic work, including reference to many photographs in the effects left by Colonel F.C. Trench Gascoigne following his death in 1905. No photographs have been found (as far as the author is aware) which can be acredited to the sisters.

The sisters other known passion was stained and leaded glass, and in contrast to the photographic record, pieces of their work on the Almshouses and local churches still exist. My investigations fall short of being able to testify to the extent in which they were engaged in this work, directly or whether it was constructed to their designs is unknown.

It is certainly an unusual hobby and if undertaken by the sisters would require a variety of skills not normally associated with genteel ladies in the Victorian period.

The sisters featured in a comprehensive exhibition held at Lotherton Hall from April through September 2004. The Title of the exhibition, Maids and Mistresses celebrated 300 years of Women and the Yorkshire Country House. The Gascoigne Sister's being described as the "Peris of the North" [a term from the Arabian Nights Peris being Spirits]

The details from the exhibition were provided by Dr Adam White the Curator at Lotherton Hall

Aberford Almshouses around 1900

One of the many benevolent works undertaken by Isabella and Elizabeth were the Almshouses on the old Great North Road (A1). Today this building is dedicated to high-tech computing and its small lodge is the home of an architectural practice. Originally it was home to just eight people, four women and four men.

The building, constructed in a Neo-Gothic style in 1844, was built in memory to Richard Oliver Gascoigne and the two brothers of the sisters, who died young, in the year before their father in 1842.

The Almshouses featured a significant number of stained glass windows, which have been restored by the present owners and some of which featured in the exhibition held at Lotherton Hall in 2004 [As mentioned above]

The Trench Family and the Gascoigne's

The Gascoigne name was for a second time taken by a non bloodline descendent. Had Isabella not been the eldest surviving child of Richard Oliver Gascoigne with no male siblings (Both her brothers died in the year before her father without issue. [1842]), no doubt her marriage to Frederick would have seen her take up the Trench name.

The husband of Isabella, Colonel Frederick Charles Trench Gascoigne remains something of a enigma, living as he did at Parlington from the 1850's until his death in 1905 at the age of 91, no portraits, pictures or photographs have been discovered of him. Despite the fact that the Hall was clearly a location where photography was a major interest. So much so that a room on the ground floor was dedicated to photography and references to equipment in other rooms within the house are mentioned in the valuation carried out for probate after the Colonel's death in June 1905.

The Colonel was the only son of Charles Trench, brother of the first Lord Ashtown, and Anna Maria, eldest daughter of Luke White, of Woodlands, County Dublin. He was born on 15th May, 1814. On 13th September, 1850 on his marriage to Isabella Gascoigne he assumed the additional surname and arms of Gascoigne. He served for some sixteen years the 66th Regiment, now (As at 1908) the 2nd Battalion Berkshire, was with his regiment in Canada for four years and retired with the rank of captain. He was honorable Colonel 2nd West Yorks. Engineer Volunteers for about forty years and until his death, as Lieutenant Colonel he commanded the 1st West riding Artillery Volunteers, and received the V.D. (Volunteer Decoration) for long service.

Colonel Gascoigne was a J.P. and D.L. for the County of York, J.P. for the County of Limerick and the County of Argyle, High Sheriff for the County of Limerick in 1854 and the County of York in 1864. Upon the death of his wife (1891) he entered a life tenure of Parlington and survived her nearly 15 years. He died at Parlington after a very short illness on 12th June 1905, aged 91, and was buried at Aberford the 15th June 1905. In the use of his wealth he followed the best traditions of the Gascoigne family, and there was hardly a charity in the country, worthy of support, that appealed to him in vain. [Issue: Frederick Richard Thomas Trench Gascoigne] (Excerpt from "History of Barwick-in-Elmet, in the County of York" by F.S. Colman, MA Rector of Barwick in Elmet. Dated Leeds 1908)

The Colonel was noted as an expert marksman and amongst the effects catalogued for probate on his death were 2 Metford Rifles, probably similar to the one shown below.

The Mk2 Lee-Metford Rifle

The Metford Rifle was acknowledged as the gun of choice for target shooting and the Colonel won many trophies for his shooting prowess. Sadly one incident which tainted the latter part of the Colonel's life was the accidental shooting of an assistant on a shoot. The Deer Park to the south of the house was the site of a shooting lodge and target. The remains of the lodge are still to be found to this day, near the Bathingwell Plantation. It was probably from this location that the accident occured.

[An extract, believed to be from the Leeds Mercury or Leeds Intelligencer, kindly provided by Mr R Sudderdean of the Garforth Historical Society. States as follows] June 18th 1870, a gardener's labourer, named Edward Cotton, while acting as a marker at a private rifle range at Parlington Park, near Leeds, was accidently shot by Lieutenant Colonel Gascoigne. The marker had left the rifle butt whilst firing was proceeding and without receiving any signal. The ball passed through his body and killed him on the spot.

Whilst walking in the vicinity some years ago, beyond the line of the shooting range the author came across a lead bullet which had hit something extremely hard like a brick surface, as it was flattened like a pancake. This was perhaps of the same type of ammunition that killed the unfortunate Edward Cotton. The deer park ceased to be in the second world war, as it was turned over to agricultural production.

The father of the Gascoigne Sisters, Richard Oliver Gascoigne.

Richard Oliver Gascoigne

Richard Oliver Gascoigne

The eldest son of the Right Honorable Silver Oliver, of Castle Oliver, County Limerick. He was married at Parlington by special licence on May 3rd 1804, to Mary Turner step-daughter of Sir Thomas Gascoigne, upon whose death he and his wife inherited a life interest in the estates. In accordance with the will they assumed the name and arms of Gascoigne. Mrs Oliver Gascoigne died in 1819 and was buried at barwick in Elmet on the 3rd February, aged 36.

Mr Oliver Gascoigne enjoyed Parlington for 33 years, maintaining the agricultural interests of his predecessor, and also the racing establishment which he had created. He won the St Ledger in 1811 with Soothsayer, and again in 1824 with a famous horse called Jerry. He retired from the turf about 1835 and died 14th April, 1843, at the age of 80 and was buried at Aberford.

He was High Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1816. It was during his lifetime that the law suit, Hungate versus Gascoigne, was instituted in the expectation of depriving the Gascoigne [The Oliver line] family of the estate which they had inherited in succession to Sir Edward [Sir Thomas Gascoigne's father the 6th Baronet] the husband of the Hungate heiress. The plaintiff did not succeed in establishing his claim and the suit failed. [More on this later!]

The Irish Estates

Castle Oliver in Q4 of Nineteenth Century

Castle Oliver around the latter part of the nineteenth century.

Lady Ashtown née Elizabeth Gascoigne, lived in Ireland with here husband Lord Ashtown, at Woodlawn, County Galway.

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