From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Barwick Maypole cross pubs 14 June 2017.jpg
Barwick Maypole, village cross, The Gascoigne Arms and The Black Swan
Barwick-in-Elmet is located in Leeds
Barwick-in-Elmet is located in West Yorkshire
Location within West Yorkshire
OS grid referenceSE399373
Civil parish
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townLEEDS
Postcode districtLS15
Dialling code0113
PoliceWest Yorkshire
FireWest Yorkshire
UK Parliament
List of places
53°49′52″N 1°23′40″W / 53.831152°N 1.394488°W / 53.831152; -1.394488Coordinates: 53°49′52″N 1°23′40″W / 53.831152°N 1.394488°W / 53.831152; -1.394488

Barwick-in-Elmet (pronounced Barrick-in-Elmet) is a village in West Yorkshire, 7 miles (11 km) east of Leeds city centre. It is one of only three places in the area to be explicitly associated with the ancient Romano-British kingdom of Elmet, the others being Scholes-in-Elmet and Sherburn-in-Elmet.

The village is part of the civil parish of Barwick in Elmet and Scholes and sits in the Harewood ward of Leeds City Council.


The name Barwick comes from the Old English words bere ('barley') and wīc ('settlement, specialised farm'), thus meaning 'a barley farm' or 'an outlying grange or part on an estate reserved for the lord's use, producing barley'. The name is first attested in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Bereuuith and Bereuuit.[1][2] The appellation 'in Elmet' serves to distinguish the settlement from the various others of the same name. The first attested appellation of this kind for Barwick-in-Elmet is in fact the Latin Berewyke juxta Abberford ('Barwick-by-Aberford') from 1301. The combination Berewyke in Elmet is first attested in 1329.[3]


Hall Tower Hill.

Earthworks, including a mound and ditch, comprise part of a large Iron Age fort centred on Wendel Hill,[4] near the village. The site was used later for a Norman motte-and-bailey castle and a Second World War observation post.[5] The land is currently under joint ownership, held as a trust (formed in 1996) for the benefit of the community.[6]

An ancient British kingdom named Elmet (Welsh Elfed) included the area. Some scholars[who?] believe that the capital of the kingdom was at or close to Barwick.

There is reference to an agricultural settlement in the Domesday Book of 1086. From a taxation survey, it is known that in 1379 there were 197 adults living in about 100 households.

It is believed that William of Orange spent some time in this area leaving behind claims to his offspring, There are still settlers in the village to this day bearing the associated relevant names "Orange and Wilson (Wills son)"

For some time the Manor of Barwick and Scholes was in the ownership of the Gascoigne family of Parlington and Lotherton.

In 1720, the first known school in Barwick in Elmet opened. Morwick Hall was built in the mid to late 18th century for Edward Gray, who was Lord Mayor of Leeds in 1749 and 1768.[7]

By 1821, the parish had a population of 1,481.

The Cross Gates to Wetherby railway line opened in 1874, with a station in nearby Scholes, enabling residents to commute to Leeds city centre. This service remained running until 1965, when the line closed under the Beeching Axe.

Throughout the 20th century, the village grew with many modern houses being built in and around the village by both private developers and the local corporations. During this period many of the older cottages in the village centre were converted into shops and other small business premises.

For much of its history, the village supported a mainly agricultural community. From the late 17th century until the early 20th century many residents were employed in the local mining industry in Garforth, Cross Gates and Whitkirk. Today, whilst still having a rural agricultural feel, the village supports many trades as well as housing for people who work in Leeds and York.


Barwick-in-Elmet comes under the civil parish of Barwick and Scholes. This comes under the governance of Leeds City Council. Barwick is part of the Leeds City Council ward of Harewood. Barwick lies within the parliamentary constituency of Elmet and Rothwell which since May 2010 has been held by the Conservative MP, Alec Shelbrooke.


One of the most notable village landmarks is the wooden maypole 86 feet (26 m) high that stands at the junction of Main Street and the Cross, this means that the maypole in Barwick is the second tallest in the UK. The triennial maypole festival (held on Spring Bank Holiday) typically brings large crowds to the area. Every three years, the maypole is lowered, inspected, maintained and re-erected. The festival celebrations include a procession (involving floats decorated by local organisations), children's maypole dancing, morris dancing, a street craft market, the raising of the maypole ceremony and the maypole queen. Traditionally the maypole was lowered and raised manually using an intricate system of ropes and ladders.[8][9] Although methods have changed in recent years, the maypole is still carried by hand from Hall Tower Hill to the heart of the village. During the raising ceremony, it is tradition for a local villager to climb halfway up the pole to disconnect the guide ropes. The climber is then spurred on by a large crowd to climb all the way to the top of the pole, to spin 'the fox' weather vane (a custom thought to bring good luck to the village). The festival takes place every 3 years, the most recent one being 29 May 2017.[10] The date of the next rise was going to be 25 May 2020 but had to be postponed twice due to coronavirus and will now be taking place on 2 June 2022.[11][better source needed]

Beside the maypole is what appears to be an old village cross, which is actually a memorial to the dead of the First World War, carved in the old fashioned style.[4]


New Inn

Barwick has three public houses, the New Inn, the Black Swan and the Gascoigne Arms. There are two general stores (the larger one with a post office); a fish and chip shop; an Italian takeaway; a bicycle store; a florist's, baker's, hair and beauty salon and a car mechanics. There are further amenities in nearby Garforth, Cross Gates, Seacroft and Wetherby, all of which have supermarkets. There are nearby secondary schools in Pendas Fields, Garforth, Seacroft, Boston Spa and Wetherby.

Places of worship[edit]

Methodist Church

There are two small churches, one Church of England and one Methodist. Barwick parish church is a grade II* listed building. It includes Anglo-Saxon and Norman stonework, with a 14th-century chancel and various later additions and alterations.[12][13] The Unitarian minister Newcome Cappe was married here on 19 February 1788 on his second marriage to Catherine Cappe.[14]

The Methodist church is a 1900 Wesleyan chapel close to the maypole and a street called the Boyle. It replaced an earlier 1804 building on Chapel Lane, which became the Miners' Welfare Institute, and is now used for communal activities.[15]

Local media[edit]

The local newspaper is the Wetherby News whilst the regional newspaper is the Yorkshire Evening Post. The local BBC radio station is BBC Radio Leeds, whilst there are many other independent local radio stations in the area. There are cinemas nearby in Leeds, Wetherby and Castleford.

Barwick in popular culture[edit]

The theme tune to The Archers is called "Barwick Green". It was written by Yorkshire composer Arthur Wood in 1924, as a "maypole dance" in his suite My Native Heath. The other items in this suite are "Ilkley Tarn", "Bolton Abbey" and "Knaresborough Status".[16]

Widge, the protagonist in The Shakespeare Stealer, a 1998 young adult novel by Gary Blackwood, is from Barwick-in-Elmet.

Other Barwicks[edit]

There are other villages in England called Barwick in Norfolk and Somerset, and a suburb of Stockton-on-Tees is called Ingleby Barwick. There is a town called Barwick in Georgia in the USA.


Barwick lies in the LS15 postcode area. Here is a population breakdown of the postcode area in comparison with the UK population.

Category LS15 UK average
Population density (people / sq mi) 43.2 24.9
Gender split (females / male) 1.05 1.05
Average commute 6.1 miles 8.73 miles
Average age 38 39
Home ownership 16% 16.9%
Student population 2.4% 4.4%
People in good health 69% 69%

Location grid[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hanks, Patrick; Hodges, Flavia; Mills, A. D.; Room, Adrian (2002). The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: the University Press. p. 937. ISBN 0198605617.
  2. ^ The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names, ed. by Victor Watts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), s.v. Barwick in Elmet.
  3. ^ Harry Parkin, Your City's Place-Names: Leeds, English Place-Name Society City-Names Series, 3 (Nottingham: English Place-Names Society, 2017), p. 22.
  4. ^ a b Mee, Arthur (1941). The King's England: Yorkshire West Riding (1st ed.). Hodder and Stoughton. p. 47.
  5. ^ Historic England. "Barwick in Elmet hillfort and motte and bailey castle (52862)". Research records (formerly PastScape). Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  6. ^ Ex-local MP Colin Burgon made it the subject of an Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons on 10 July 2007 and Minister of State for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Margaret Hodge, made a speech in reply. "Hansard". 10 July 2007. pp. col.1421–1424. Retrieved 29 June 2008. "Hansard". 10 July 2007. pp. col. 1424–1425. Retrieved 29 June 2008.
  7. ^ Morwick Hall: a Grade II Listed Building in Barwick in Elmet and Scholes, Leeds, accessed 15 December 2018
  8. ^ "Raising and Lowering the Maypole". Barwick-In-Elmet Historical Society. March 1987. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  9. ^ Leeds Cine Club. "Leeds Movie Makers present the fall and rise of the barwick maypole (film no: 1485)". Yorkshire Film Archive. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  10. ^ "Maypole festival fun in Barwick-in-Elmet". Wetherby News. 29 May 2017. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  11. ^ "Facebook". Archived from the original on 26 February 2022. Retrieved 9 August 2021.
  12. ^ Historic England. "Church of All Saints, Barwick (1357161)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  13. ^ "Note on the Parish Church etc". Barwick Historical Society. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  14. ^ Cappe, Catharine (1822). Memoirs of the Life of the Late Mrs Catherine Cappe. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Grace and Brown. p. 246.
  15. ^ South & West Yorkshire Federations of Women's Institutes. The South and West Yorkshire Village Book. Newbury: Countryside Books. p. 28. ISBN 1 85306 1360.
  16. ^ Scowcroft, Philip L. "A Yorkshire Musician – Arthur Wood (1875–1953)". Retrieved 26 June 2008.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bantoft, Arthur (1992). A Greater Wonder: a History of Methodism in Barwick. Wendel Books. ISBN 0-9520572-0-4.

External links[edit]