Thomas H. Wood, former teacher and former Headmaster of the Lower School at Brooksbank, is still with us.
A book at bedtime…
From the summer of 1882:-
‘Demolition of the old Parsonage – an edifice of much historic interest has been razed to the ground, to make way for the erection of a bank for the London and Yorkshire Banking Company. The building in question is the old parsonage house of Elland Church, and it occupied a site at The Cross, at the junction of Church Street and Southgate, opposite the church gates. When the building was erected there is no date to show, but there is every probability that the parsonage has occupied this site for several centuries.
Within the lifetime of some of the older inhabitants of Elland, there have been several alterations made in the buildings at The Cross. The two buildings adjoining the parsonage are comparatively new. On the site of the shops occupied by Mr Hirst and Mr Taylor, there was formerly a low thatched building, occupied in Southgate by Phoebe Crowther. The shops now occupied by Messrs Tong, newsagents; Mr Smithies, druggist, and by a greengrocer, were formerly occupied by Mr John Dyson, a draper. (All these properties stand opposite the Savile Arms). Previous to that a Mr Joseph Shaw was the owner, and though he did not sell anything, he kept a shop, exhibiting a number of dolls in the window!
At the rear of the Parsonage House, facing southwards, the room was lighted with a double row of lights, the panes being diamond shaped in lead frames, and in the Elizabethan style. Further back there was a large garden, which was always kept nice and trim.
When Rev. Mr Burnett was minister at St. Mary’s (the 1770s) people came from a great distance to church on Sundays, bringing something to eat with them; but Mr Burnett always invited them to the Parsonage House after the morning service to partake of some good soup, which he had provided for them. During Mr Burnett’s time the Parsonage House was enlarged, a new front being put in.
At this time there was a ‘horsing stone’ opposite the Parsonage House, near the Savile Arms. This was largely used by the ladies, who rode on horseback behind their husbands.
The clerks at the church, for several generations, kept the Mexborough Arms (Westgate, now demolished), which was formerly known as the Talbot. It was here that the churchwardens frequently met to transact business, and hence the house was sometimes called the Church House.
About 30 years ago the old Parsonage House was sold to Mr Beaumont, having been used as the residence of the ministers at Elland up to that time. In pulling down the building the workmen have discovered a curious old fireplace, which had been covered up, and what was formerly an outside wall, has been revealed.’