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The oldest part of the Old Rectory

The stone over the fireplace with the date 1440
Photo: Tim Ward

The oldest part of the old rectory lies at the eastern end, i.e. the part which is nearest to the church. This portion of the building can be seen from Aberford Road at a point where the brick wall opposite the Black Swan ends and there is an entrance to several properties. The building is the one which still has an old bell attached to it at roof height.

The stone's inscription is in Latin. In his book "The History of the Parish of Barwick-in-Elmet" Colman gives an account of the Rectory. These stones, which appear to have formed the lintel over the rectory doorway, have an inscription to this effect, " M: Ricard: Burnham hanc domum fecit fieri a°: dm: M°:cccc°:xl0: Merci Ihu: " (Richard Burnham had this house built anno domini 1440: Jesus be thanked)
Burnham was the rector from 1432 to 1457 and was responsible for the building of the oldest surviving part of the Rectory and for the church's tower (for which he bequeathed 20 shillings (£1). His statue (now since disappeared) was in the vacant niche in the west front of the church tower.
When what we know as the old rectory was built by Rector Tancred at the beginning of the 18th century, some of the former rectory was demolished and the inscribed stones which were originally appear to have been the lintel over the rectory door were removed and put into the tithe barn. An entry in the parish register noted that "The Stones in the Tyth Lath Wall were found among the rubbish, and put there by Mr. George Plaxton, Rector, June the 24th, 1705." The tithe barn was demolished in 1823 and the stones returned to the rectory. It is not known when they were put into their present position close to their original location. This part of the rectory has been a separate residence for some considerable time. It is clearly part of the original rectory of Burnham's day and may predate Burnham's work.

Our thanks to the owners of the property, Tim and Wendy Ward, for drawing the society's attention to the stone which we knew about but had never seen.

September 2007

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