Please Note (Update August 2008)

 The Site has been substantially redesigned with a lot of new content recently, if you entered from a search engine or bookmark to a particular page it's possible you have missed the new section, to visit it, please go to the Intro Page and navigate from there. If you wish to return to this old site there are links available in a menu on the right of the new pages, which when clicked will show the full listing.

The Ice House features in the new site here.

The Ice House

Ice House in Parlington

A newly created 3-D model of the Ice House to provide a clearer indication of its structure and siting on a natural escarpment to the east of the site of the old hall.

Ice House in Parlington

A section through the structure, also showing parts of the former enclosing building, which presumably kept the contents safe from intruders.

Ice House in Parlington

Looking down into the Ice House, the structure is about 16 feet in diameter and around 20 feet deep from the top of the arched roof. Built entirely underground in brick, it is a testament to the ability of long gone builders, the brickwork is exemplory forming a fine egg shaped structure.

Ice House in Parlington

This picture is taken from the entrance which is sealed from access by a grill. That, this structure still exists in the woods of Parlington is quite extraordinary, it is hard to imagine this victorian, or earlier Freezer, being topped up with ice from the nearby lakes to keep the locally butchered meat ready for the table. (Revision: I now believe that the contents were not large sides of beef or venison, but the ice itself was used in delicacies and drinks, particularly cooling white wine, to inpress visitors and guests! Blocks of ice were cut from ponds or rivers on the estate and transported to the ice house, where they were stacked between layers of straw. Ice preserved in this way could keep for up to three years.)

Further research into the construction and use of subterranean ice house structures indicates that they were a must for country house owners from the Eighteenth Century. The two Likely candidates for building this impressive structure, well... let's say directing its construction, were Sir Edward Gascoigne or his son who eventually succeeded to the Baronetcy Sir Thomas Gascoigne. If it were Sir Edward then the construction would have been before 1743 when he left England for Cambrai in Northern France, where he died in 1750. Sir Thomas, who was born in Cambrai in March 1745 did not spend his early years in England and is recorded as having settled at Parlington in 1779. He is attributed as setting up the model farm on the estate and therefore may well have included the ice house amongst his developments. It is reasonable to assume therefore that it would have been built in the late eighteenth century.

A smaller ice house, now destroyed, was sited near the model farm (Home Farm as it is called).

In deference to the builders with a desire to retain this structure intact, it's location will not be revealed here in open access. If anyone is interested in further details of the structure Please contact the author, by email

The Ice House is testimony to the skills of earlier generations in making the most of the natural resources available, aside from the energy in creating the bricks, everything was very environmentally friendly!

Overhead view of The Ice House

Ice House in Parlington

It's Use

In todays world where the power is available at the touch of an electrical switch, it is hard to imagine the planning and discipline required to maintain an Ice House

Fifteen feet of diameter in the Ice House equals 176 cubic feet of freezer space per foot of depth! Awesome! My freezer in total is 12.5 cu feet

If you assume that 6 feet of space was used for freezing this equates to 1056 cu feet of freezer space, not an inconsiderable deep freeze!

Ice House in Parlington

Today it is just a man made cavern in the ground, when it was ceased to be used is unknown. Sadly no one alive today will be able to tell its story, so we can only imagine how it fitted into the daily lives of the Gascoignes in the nineteenth century and before.

Parlington Hall in the late Nineteenth century. Taken from a photograph provided
by the Garforth Historical Society.