Advertiser Mag :: 2019 #19

Photograph by George Fowler Jones of the folly at Parlington Lake, 1882

We continue from the two previous articles at the lake. It was used by Colonel Gascoigne to great effect for his military manoeuvres, the following is an extract from a sham fight programme of 1864, the wording is a verbatim transcript from the colonel’s own hand:

‘…On the arrival of the Attacking Columns at the Wood near the Lake, they will throw forward a line of Skirmishers which will carefully feel their way through the thicket, and when they observe the enemy on the Island they will open fire, which will be kept up as rapidly as possible for the purpose of keeping down the enemy fire, whilst the attacking columns are launching their boats, and crossing to the Island. The enemy will retire to the other side of the Island, and having made their escape in boats will blow them up – The attacking party will then be withdrawn from the Island and pursue the enemy through the wood outside the Deer Park to a strong stone built farmhouse which will be taken possession of by the enemy and surrounded by a line of skirmishers. The attacking party will drive in the enemy’s skirmishers and make an attack on the Farm House where they will suffer heavy loss without any chance of taking it (except by storm) so that it will be decided to storm it, and they declined to surrender, no Quarter will be given, or asked, so that but few will succeed in making their escape to the Citadel, closely pursued by the attacking columns.’

Notwithstanding the military activities there were also many events lakeside that were enjoyed by the general public, here are a few collected from the newspaper archives; The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer ~ Aberford Flower Show, Saturday August 16th 1873, with boating on the lake, wandering minstrels, fireworks and brass bands; The Yorkshire Herald ~ The Aberfordia Habitation of the Primrose League, Saturday 18th June 1892, address by Colonel Gunter MP; The York Herald, Wednesday February 18th 1874 ~Through the success of the bazaar held some time ago at Parlington Lake some £600/- was raised for a new organ for Garforth church.

There can be little doubt that for many decades the lake at Parlington was a popular location. But no evidence has emerged of events in the twentieth century, so perhaps after the Colonel and his wife, Isabella had died (1905 & 1891 respectively), just like the Hall itself the area was allowed to deteriorate and over time people forgot that it had once been a well loved ‘pleasure ground’. Should it be resurrected?

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