Whenever I am asked to do a talk about Parlington, and over the years these have been many, usually to historical societies, people are surprised to discover that the Gascoignes’ died out in 1810! In October of 1809 Sir Thomas Gascoigne in his 65 year had the unenviable misfortune of seeing his only son Tom killed as a result of an impetuous, and perhaps drink inspired, hunting accident. He encouraged his horse to jump over a high hedge whilst giving chase with the Earl of Scarborough and others, out fox hunting. The accident occurred at Wallingwells near Retford, he successfully navigated the hedge but in doing so his back impacted on the branch of an overhanging tree, causing a serious wound to his spine. He was taken from the field and died later in the day.
Sir Thomas Death
Sir Thomas was broken by the dreadful accident and himself died within months in February 1810. He had revised his will following Tom’s death and his step-daughter and husband Richard Oliver were the fortunate recipients of the Gascoigne largesse. Sir Thomas had married a widow, Mary Turner, and by her marriage to Sir Charles Turner she had three children, it was her daughter also called Mary who had married Richard Oliver at Parlington in 1804. A condition of the will required Richard Oliver to adopt the Gascoigne surname, therefore the family name continued, but as Oliver-Gascoigne. The will stipulated that for the continuance of the line the estates would pass to the children of the couple, if there was no issue then the estates would return to the Wentworth family from whom the property had been purchased way back in the sixteenth century.
One of the key activities at Parlington was the operation of a racing stud and Sir Thomas was successful in winning numerous trophies, including the St. Leger with ‘Hollandaise’ in 1778 and again in 1798 with ‘Symmety’. This activity continued after Sir Thomas died with Richard Oliver-Gascoigne, Parlington bred horses were successful in winning the ‘Blue Ribbon of the north’ in 1811, with ’Southsayer’ and again in 1824 with ‘Jerry’. He successfully contested many more horse races. However circumstances changed in the following decade when Richard Oliver-Gascoigne became blind. The stud was wound up and although Richard had a ‘couching’ operation in 1834 restoring some sight to one eye, the breeding stock were sold off and the stud at Parlington fell into disrepair. Sadly history repeated itself to some extent in 1842 when Richard’s two sons died within a few months of each other, both it is said of the ‘palsy’.
Richard Oliver-Gascoigne Death
Richard Oliver-Gascoigne died only months after his second son, in the spring of 1843. The estates then passed to the remaining children, the two daughters, Isabella and her younger sibling Elizabeth. The sisters were noted for their charitable activities, the income from the land tenancies and the huge revenue of their Garforth mines ensured they had ample resources to support their benevolence. They undertook the almshouses in Aberford, to a design by George Fowler Jones an architect based in York, the building commemorates their late brothers and father, it was completed in 1844. A few years later they set about the resurrection of the Oliver family seat at Castle Oliver (pictured during construction in 1847, enhanced for this version), Kilfinane in southern Ireland. Again George Fowler Jones designed for them a neo-Gothic edifice, built in a red sandstone. The building in part assisted the relief of Irish famine by providing work for locals. The sisters also did an enormous amount to provide for their tenants and others during the period, for example selling over 72 trophies won by Sir Thomas and their father to raise relief funds.