Can you help? | Where are they now? | Documents of general interest | Can you explain? | Research Interests


Illustration of parish Accts. An extract of the Parish Accounts Book from the mid-18th century (held in the West Yorkshire Archives at Morley, Leeds )
Click on the picture to see it enlarged
The most respected account of the history of the parish is:
  "A History of the Parish of Barwick-in-Elmet
  in the County of York" 	by F.S. Colman 
  pub. The Thoresby Society, Leeds 1908. 
Colman was the rector of the parish in 1908.

However, further research, the release of public documents not available in 1908 and discoveries require his account of the history of the parish to be revised. The book speculates about the role of the village during the dark ages ssome of which is difficult to sustain in the light of research carried out since that time. Much of the additional findings and revisions have been published in the Society's publications.


Most of the recent archaeology of the parish or in areas close to the parish has been undertaken by the West Yorkshire Archaeology Service based in Wakefield. It would appear that recent work by the service requires a substantial re-think to be made about the early origins of the district.

Mediaeval to Early 20th Century Period

The society has carried out research from documents in a wide number of topics which have been published in The Barwicker. In particular, work has been carried out on the census details, Methodism (which was ignored by Colman), agriculture and the hamlet of Potterton among other topics.

Within living memory

The memories of older members of the parish have been noted (and in many cases recorded on tape). A number of parishioners have written their memories down and these have been published in The Barwicker and in the other society publications.

Archive material

Important documents about the parish are held in The West Yorkshire Archives at Morley, Leeds and also at Wakefield. However, the society has accumulated documents and photographs (mostly copies of material scattered in holdings elsewhere), mostly of a more recent nature (i.e. twentieth century), which provide useful information for this and future generations.


In 1999 Andy Staples, a mature A level student and former resident of the parish, studied the deserted medieval village at Potterton as part of his course. He conducted a detailed geophysical survey of part of the site using contour, resistivity survey techniques. During the survey he was visited and encouraged by members of the Society.

Society members visiting the survey at Potterton on March 27th 1999.
The picture shows (left to right)
Mike Dymond, of Sheffield University(tutor), Arthur Bantoft (at the time,the Editor of The Barwicker) Andy Staples, Kathryn Howard and Anne Forshaw.

The society commissioned a geophysical survey of Hall Tower Field to try to establish more about its iron age origin and its role in norman times. The survey, which took place in January and February 2006, failed to find information on those periods as the land has suffered too much disruption and there was too much small metal scatter in the ground to allow clearer readings to be taken.

Children from the village's Primary School visiting Hall Tower Field.
The picture shows children finding out more about the use of scientific instruments to study the past.

In August 2006, the society carried out a dig on a small undeveloped plot in The Boyle. Further information on this project will be published when the dig has been evaluated.

Both the above surveys have been funded through grants provided by the Local Heritage Initiative.

Where are they now? | Documents of general interest |

Can you help?

We are always interested to know of the existence of old photographs, newspaper cuttings (including obituaries), records (particularly farm records), letters, diaries or any other documentary evidence appertaining to the parish. Such material is invaluable to our desire to piece together evidence of the parish's past. If you have any documentation which we could either hold in our archives or copy, we would be delighted to hear from you no matter how inconsequential you make think such documents are.. Over the years we have had such responses and we have some outstanding queries which we would like help on.

Where are they now?

There are several items relating to our history which have disappeared over the years. These are:
  1. A lost film.

    The above photograph shows the preparation of a new maypole for the 1954 raising being filmed by the BBC. We believe that it was for a BBC North production. We have checked with the BBC. Unfortunately, the BBC no longer has any record of the occasion. Does anyone have a copy of the original film or does anyone have any idea who might have a copy?

  2. When the last parts of the parish were enclosed at the end of the 18th century, an award of land was subsequently drawn up in 1804 to record the land transfers involved. The award is held in the West Yorkshire Archives in Morley, Leeds. HOWEVER, copies of the map or maps required to be drawn up under the Enclosure Act of 1797 are missing. Three copies of the map were likely to accompany the awards. If so, one was to be kept in the church, one at the Duchy of Lancaster's Office and one with the 'Public Register Office kept at Wakefield in and for the West Riding of the County of York'. Does anyone know the whereabouts of any of these important maps?

  3. Robinson's painting of Barwick in the middle 19th century - Found at last!

  4. Kiddal Hall's oriel window

  5. Good quality copies of the Victorian novel "Amy Thornton" by local man Edward Burlend. The copies we know about are in poor condition. The novel is clearly based upon the village and gives a good insight to life in Victorian Barwick-in-Elmet. The Society has recently found and purchased a good quality copy. However, there are several people connected with the Burla(e)nd family and with the village who would be interested in acquiring a copy.

  6. A copy of the "Metrical Musings" by the former rector W H Bathurst. The Society would like to acquire a copy of this rare work.

  7. We have heard from several owners of commemorative items made from the pews and screen which were removed from the church at its restoration in the 1850's. We would like to hear from any more more owners.
Can you help? | Research Interests

Documents of general interest

  • A transcription of the 1861 Census for the township of Barwick-in-Elmet
  • The Names and Occupations of Heads of Households from the 1891 Census
  • A transcription of the parish's Rate Book for 1886 in alphabetical order

  • Can you help? | Where are they now? | Research Interests

    Where are they now? | Documents of general interest | Research Interests