Barwick-in-Elmet Historical Society 

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From: Peter Email:
Posted on: Tuesday, January 05, 1999, 04:19 PM

Very impressive indeed Harold. We shall definitely be using the site from now on. Look forward to more updates on the maypole.

From: Caroline Jones Email:
Posted on: Thursday, January 07, 1999, 11:43 AM
This is MARVELLOUS!!! I was born in Barwick-in-Elmet (Gasgoigne Road), but moved to Australia when I was three. I always thought Barwick was a special place, mostly because I could never find anyone else who had heard of the place, let alone was born there. This is a great site because it allows me to catch up on all the history of a place which was very special to a three year old, but about which I know very little. Thanks.

From: Frank Feather Email:
Posted on: Friday, January 08, 1999, 03:25 PM
Absolutely love your site! CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Found it by searching for Rothwell and Methley. Found the Leeds Historical Society bulletin board. Didn't search yet for Barwick but it porbably would have come up under that. Wanted to find your site because some members of my family lived in Barwick and Saxton (although predominantly Rothwell, Methley, and Normanton) in the 1500s and 1600s. I am trying to trace my family tree and learn something of the local history of the places where people lived. Family history is the most popular hobby on the Internet. If possible, I suggest you publish the Local Parish Registers on the site, also monument inscriptions in local graveyards. This would draw many many people to your site. The maps and historical photos are also terrific. Really gives you a feel for the place.

From: Frank Feather Email:
Posted on: Friday, January 08, 1999, 03:28 PM
Absolutely love your site! CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Found it by searching for Rothwell and Methley. Found the Leeds Historical Society bulletin board. Didn't search yet for Barwick but it porbably would have come up under that. Wanted to find your site because some members of my family lived in Barwick and Saxton (although predominantly Rothwell, Methley, and Normanton) in the 1500s and 1600s. I am trying to trace my family tree and learn something of the local history of the places where people lived. Family history is the most popular hobby on the Internet. If possible, I suggest you publish the Local Parish Registers on the site, also monument inscriptions in local graveyards. This would draw many many people to your site. The maps and historical photos are also terrific. Really gives you a feel for the place.

From: Melanie Towler
Posted on: Tuesday, February 23, 1999, 10:29 PM
Very interesting webpage. I have recently found family connections with Bin E, and would like to mail you with more details, in the hope of having some questions answered.

From: Greg Settles
Posted on:Thursday, March 11, 1999, 03:16 PM
I enjoyed the site. Would you happen to have a copy of the Barwicker vol. 7, which details the history of Potterton. It seems my ancestors lived there until the mid-seventeenth century when Francis Settle emigrated to America.Where you a resident of Potterton have attended church at that time?

From: Trevor VARLEY
Posted on: Saturday, March 27, 1999, 05:56 PM
I am delighted to find the site of my paternal gf, Thomas Herbert VARLEY here on the web. You have made Barwick a place of note now here in Canada.

From: C. Storey
Posted on: Sunday, April 04, 1999, 01:41 PM
I am involved with Poulton-le-Fylde Historical & Civic Society. We are thinking of setting up a website and I am looking at sites. I found you through entering 'Historical Societies'

From: caroline parry
Posted on: Tuesday, April 06, 1999, 10:36 PM
what time of day wil the 1999 ceremonies take place, please?

From: Raymond & Maureen Jones
Posted on: Wednesday, April 14, 1999, 05:05 AM
We have Enjoyed looking through your site. My husband lived in Aberford For 20yrs before coming to Australia in 1960 He was employed by Cyril Emery in Barwick in 1959-60 Played cricket for Aberford, many times in Barwick. Have watched the Maypole ceremony many times,the last time being in 1993 when we came over. Your page brought back many memories. Thank you Ray & Maureen Jones

From: Maureen Jones
Posted on: Wednesday, April 14, 1999, 05:14 AM
Sorry I forgot to tell you I reached your site by going through the Wakefield on the Web Links Best regards Maureen Jones

From: Christopher Barwick
Posted on: Sunday, April 25, 1999, 06:17 AM
I am amazed name Barwick goes back so far in history. Being an American of English decent I can trace my ancestors to about 1654. The Maypole portion was quite good. If chance should ever arise I would much like to visit Barwick in Elmet. Did any surnames Barwick ever live there? I have enjoyed your web page very much. I was quite educational for me. I shall visit many times in future. Sincerely Christopher Barwick

From: Mary Varley
Posted on: Thursday, April 29, 1999, 06:20 PM
A wonderful find!! My search words which directed me to your site (which I didn't know about) were "Leeds archives". My husband's family originated from Barwick in Elmet. I would be interested in an annual subscription to your Magazine and will contact your Editor. Keep up the good work!!

Melanie Towler Headstones in Yorkshire 24/Oct/2001:14:09:59 My TOWLER ancestors were associated with Barwick in Elmet from about 1841 to 1871. I was proud to find my gg grandfather John TOWLER had been the landlord of the Black Swan for those 30 years, and I am delighted to see the pub is a still a thriving watering-hole! His wife bore 13 children [those are the ones I know about], and sadly by 1875 all had moved on from the village. Having just read the details of the 1891 census for Barwick I was interested to see Towlers Fold as one of the "street" names within the village. I wondered if anyone may know if this "street" still exists and could tell me the origins of its name. May it have something to do with my ancestors? A wonderful website - and on of each of my return trips, there is always something new to view and read!

Richard Palmer 26/Aug/2001:21:43:18 While at a wedding in Toronto,Ontario,Canada I met Harold Smith from your Historical Society. His knowledge and dedication to your society is quite remarkable. After returning home to Hamilton,Ontario I researched your site and was delighted with what I found. I was raised in London - Wilsden NW10 and came with my parents in 1957 to Canada at the age of 13. The content of your site rekindled many memories of my youth in Wilsden and where I was born in Tiverton Devon in 1944. All the best in your future research

McKay 13/Aug/2001:13:35:07 Excellent Web Site! I am researching families residing/farming in Barwick-in-Elmet between 1800 and 1920, with the following names: HARTLEY, GREEN, DALBY, LAIDLAW. If anyone wishes to share information, I'd be happy to assist. Thank you

John Nation 04/Aug/2001:15:47:52 I am Chair of the Paganhill Maypole Society, Paganhill, Stroud, Gloucestershire and came upon your site while searching for further info. on Maypoles. Any responses will be very welcome. Many thanks.

Lorraine Winson 01/Jul/2001:22:52:15 I grew up in Scholes from 1959 to 1966 and have really enjoyed visiting the website. Is that Arthur Nichols climbing the maypole? I know he retired from doing so in the seventies, because I went back to visit the area and saw him climb for the last time. He was taking some photos up there wonder if he's still got them? I remember chating to his sister Norma at the time, she was an old school friend of mine. I don't think she minded him retiring,it must have been nerve-racking to watch.

Gillian Macdougall 27/Jun/2001:08:51:06 I am interested in Barwick in Elmet as my father was born there in 1899 - name John Garrett. His parents were Charles Garrett and Annie Nettleton.

Maxine Jackson 09/May/2001:14:54:54 My mum has just joined your society and I have enjoyed reading - and listening to your web page. Do you have any pictures, articles of Barwick in the 60s or late 50s?

Chris Dobson 20/Mar/2001:02:06:48 Very interested in the article on the Barnbow Munitions factory and ROF Leeds. Could you suggest anywhere where I would find more pictures or a map showing the layout of the munitions factory?

Later guest book from September 03 to November 03

(reverse order)

signed by Vikki Kollesoff on 10/11/03
I moved to Barwick with my family in 1980, when I was just 3 years old. I left in 2002 and moved to Ackworth (a similar village to Barwick) just 30 minutes away.

My father (Barrie) still lives in the village.  He managed the football team for many years and was a member of the parish council.

Barwick is a lovely village.  It's great reading about the maypole celebrations, as I was the Maypole Queen in 1990!  Such a shame we are not able to carry on the traditional raising ceremony.

A lovely site - good work!

signed by martyn simpson (prev fletcher) on 20/10/03
Great to find my old village, i lived there since i was 8yrs, my family are related to kirk builders, my grandfather william kirk was on the maypole committe in the 60's and i think still the best parade was the one he was involved in, my time in this village lapsed in 1978 when i joined the RAF and served here and abroad, i drive through occasionally and wonder yet sadden over its changes, good things never stay the same do they, most of my family have either moved out or put to rest in the church, we returned to have my eldest boy christened there, so many memories and so many friends i have lost contact with, if any one out there remembers me feel free to contact, remember the original c of e school with the big windows and library in playground, who remembers "gunga din" what a maypole character he was

signed by Angie Marshall on 19/9/03
Excellent website.
I am researching the NEWBY family who lived and worked as farmers in Barwick in Elmet from at least 1751. I note from the 1891 records that Charles Newby lived at Towlers Fold (a guest book entry from 2001 refers to the TOWLERS). I'm off now to search for monumental inscriptions.

signed by Sandy Neal on 7/9/03
I am trying to find where my grandparents lived before they immigrated to Canada in the 1920s.  Their names were Frederick Amos Basham and Kate Nelson.

My father's birth registry indicates he was born "Bramley Grange South Lodge Barwick in Elmet R.C." *(February 26, 1911).  His name was Frederick Walter Basham.  His older sister was Norah.

I am also looking to find anyone with the last name of Basham or Nelson.

hr> name=Neville Gardner website= location= message=Re Maypole Trust constitution.

further to some requests, those who would like a copy of the Barwick in Elmet Maypole trust - constitution. Send me an email and I'll attach a file copy in reply.
name=Neville Gardner website= location=leeds message=Re: Roger Ecclestone.

Further to Marks’ explanation of the current maypole lowering procedures.
Originally the maypole was managed by three Pole Masters this was changed in 1951 when Stan Robshaw formed a committee to take control of the maypole and to provide a management that was accountable.

The original format was for the term of office to end once the pole was down. At this point tradition was for a public meeting to be called to elect new Pole Masters (now a committee) who would then be responsible for the pole and proceedings for the next three years. As became common practise the meeting would be called, then a proposal to adjourn to a better venue would be passed. Meetings took place usually in the Miners welfare, or school in more recent years.

Then, in 1994 the Barwick in Elmet Maypole Trust was created and formally constituted at a public meeting in 1996. The Trust was to be managed by a committee duly elected at the triennial public meeting.

Clause 5 (i) of the constitution states ….
“There shall be a Triennial public meeting in connection with the Trust which shall be held, in accordance with established custom and tradition, on Easter Monday following the lowering of the maypole.”

Amongst the usual matters of appointing members etc, the accounts would be offered for scrutiny and approval, usually preceded by some questioning, one in particular about the cost of “free” beer!
There were often occasions when the committee was “ribbed” for one thing or another. As stated by Roger, when at the public meeting in 1969 apparently, a couple of ladies were out to scuttle the proceedings just as Mr Stan Robshaw was proposing to have the existing committee returned “en Bloc.” One of the ladies called the committee a set of old fogies.
There was also another occasion when the committee was accused of being a “closed shop,” possibly around 1972, as then and also just as Mark states now, it’s a democratically elected committee, every one has a vote.

The present committee seem to be adjusting the rules to make management simpler, but is it technically (traditionally) correct, and are they likely to be now creating a precedent.

The Health and safety aspect has created a very large and conspicuous shift in the way such events can be managed, unfortunately a large chunk of tradition has been sacrificed in the process.

Copies of the constitution should be available from the Maypole committee.
name=Mark Vipond location=Barwick-in-Elmet message=Re. Roger Ecclestone’s post regarding the maypole lowering.

The lowering of the maypole was indeed carried out on the morning of Easter Monday, as it was in 2005. Few people will be surprised to hear the reason for the morning lowering which is – you’ve guessed it – all thanks to Health & Safety legislation.

We’re having to employ the use of a crane for the lowering nowadays, and the company we hire it from are very strict about crowd control and safety measures; these include the wearing of hard hats and visi-vests etc. for all involved and having a restriction zone around the pole. Hiring crowd control barriers and ensuring we have enough people to marshal the crowds is a very costly venture, and our funds are – regrettably – rather limited. For these reasons, we’ve kept the lowering as a relatively low-key event, although there were a few dozen spectators present on the day.

Rest assured, however, that our budgets will allow for all the required crowd control measures to be in place for the raising of the pole on Maypole Day (which will once again be a morning affair as it was in ’05) and we’re hoping for a as big a turn out as possible from villagers and visitors alike. There will be a strict restriction zone around the pole and we'll be installing barriers across Main Street, The Cross and The Boyle with a view to allowing as many people as possible to enjoy the spectacle of the maypole raising.

With regard to the fabled public, post-lowering meeting, this was essentially the Triennial General Meeting at which new/current members could be nominated and voted onto the maypole committee. The timing of this meeting meant that there could be a potential change in personnel at a pretty crucial time in the planning of Maypole Day, ie. between the lowering and the raising, and it was felt that a better date for the TGM would be after everything is done and dusted in June. This was carried out for the first time in 2005 and will be the format once again this year. Rest assured, our democratic tendencies still run true, and notice of this year’s meeting will be posted around the village inviting any member of the public to come along and vote or – you never know – stand for a place on the committee. You’ll also be glad to hear that whilst we are in no way a ‘closed shop’ we are still, most resolutely, a bunch of old codgers.

Hope to see as many people on Maypole Day – 26th May – as possible to soak up the atmosphere and the warm summer sunshine…

Very Best Regards,

Mark Vipond
Barwick-in-Elmet Maypole Trust location= message=Maria

Re footpaths to Woodhouse farm.

There used to be quite a few ways you could walk up to Woodhead farm from the village. Two that I have used are from the Boyle, through the field to the left of the houses. Was called "long tongue" or walk up towards Scholes along Rakehill Lane pass the old work house then turn right, further up the hill,over the fields to Woodhead Farm.
I recall someone published a small book of walks in the Village some years back which might be helpful if you could get a copy. Or get an OS map which will show the paths anyway.
name=Roger website= location=Leeds message=What a wonderfull site this is.
I only came across it through curiousity as i had returned to the village last Monday with the hope of watching the maypole come down. To my surprise the Pole was down and resting in Hall Tower field. The people I asked told me it was much as a matter of fact and without any ceremony.

When did the practice change from early evening lowering to early morning and do they not have a public meeting any more?

It was always an eventful occassion to watch the struggle of bringing the pole down and then going to a meeting room where villagers would argue over one thing or another. I seem to recall an occassion when the villagers acused the committee of being a "closed shop" full of old codgers! Has it now moved in this modern world to autocracy ?
name=Peter Simpson website= location=Scarborough message=I am the only son of the late Violet BALME(born Barwick 1912),who in turn was the only daughter of John William BALME(born Barwick 1863) and Matilda Alice Blackburn, both of whom retired to Scarborough along with their daughter circa 1936.
I would love to hear from any distant relatives still alive.
name=Richard Perkins website= location=Peterborough, UK message=Trying to establish an ancestral link with Perkin family, the tenant farmers of Lime Tree Farm. My confirmed ancestor James Perkin married Ann Smith on 24th Dec 1749 at Barwick
Ch - James, John, Mary, Sarah, Thomas. Buried 25.03.1768 at Barwick. He was a farmer but I need to know where his farm was.
name=Maria Garrett (nee Brogden) website= location=Morley, Yorks message=I've seen a reference on the site to the "New" Graveyard - is it still there, and if so where! I wasn't sure what period this was used & whether it was linked to the Methodist Church or not. Best regards, and thanks again for all the time and effort you put into helping with these enquiries, Maria x
name=Bill Prince website= location=Northamptonshire message=I am a musician, and I was told (probably by my father) that Arthur Wood's "Barwick Green" was adapted from a Maypole tune/dance - is there any evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, to support this? It certainly has the feel in the first eight bars of a "morris"-type tune.
A friend of mine is a musical researcher, with a particular interest in all things traditional, and has asked me the above question. I hope someone can help.
name=Bill Prince website= location=Northamptonshire message=My Grandfather Arthur lived at "Amigos", Elmwood Lane, after retiring from farming at Church Farm.
Both he and my father (also Bill) are buried in Barwick Churchyard.
I'd be interested to know if any photographs exist of Church Farm from the 1920s onwards - previous to that they lived at Allerton Bywater.
name=Leighton Smith website= location=Australia message=I should like to make contact with any living descendants of my namesake, Leighton Smith, a former resident of Barwick in Elmet and a cousin of my late father.
name=Mark D Vipond website= location=Barwick-in-Elmet message=Hello Maria and all who read this guest book.

You are quite right Maria, I am a terribly cheeky boy - however - the post below *isn't* from me. I hate to see someone messing with Harold's hard work once again, but that post has clearly been made by someone even cheekier than myself and I’d love to know who.

Whoever it is, their grammar is awful and the email address they’ve shown has clearly been made up. I’ll be emailing Harold to let him know…

And, rest assured, we really don’t have time to start harking back to age old arguments over the pole anymore; we are way too busy with our preparations for this year’s Maypole Festival – 26th May, make sure it’s in your diaries – to enter into anything like that again.

Regards to all,



I have deleted the entry referred to above as it was a malicious attempt to make trouble. H J SMITH
name=Maria Garrett (nee Brogden) website= location= message=I am grateful for your kind response to my previous enquiry. I have learnt through my research that my Brogden ancestors farmed at Woodhouse and Morwick. Are there any public footpaths that would allow me access to the land that my family would have worked? Thanks and Regards, Maria.
name=Maria Garrett (nee Brogden) website= location= message=Visited Barwick today to look for gravestones of my Brogden ancestors (yes, I really should get out more)and was a bit surprised that I only found part of 1 stone now used in the footpath to the rear of the church (John and Jane Brogden - died 1854 & 1829 respectively) - are there more old graves elsewhere in Barwick (at the Methodist Church?) or have they been lost? PS Mr Vipond you are a cheeky boy, why do you want to start another argument with dear old Neville whats-his-face?*

EDITOR. See entry from Mark Vipond dated 15 Feb. 08
name=Dawn Mason website= location=Hampshire message=Have just found your website when searching for references to Marshall Street, Barwick-in-Elmet, because my great-grandfather lived there according to the 1901 census. His name was Samuel Blunt. Unfortunately it does not give a house name or number. Is Marshall Road still there? What does it look like? He died in 1915, I believe. He was a retired builder and cabinet maker, but I wondered if his name appeared in any local directories. I would be grateful for any information you could give me.
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