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    Clarel Hall


A drawing of Clarel Hall, built on the north side of Westgate, was published in the Northern Star or Yorkshire Magazine in November 1817. The accompanying text is as follows: 'Not far from the church resided that ancient, respectable, and powerful family of the Clarels, who were the founders of the House of Austin Friars in the vale below. Of this mansion nothing remains of its former grandeur; a heap of stones only mark the spot, and as all terrestrial things perish and decay, I [author unidentified] have given a sketch of what has survived the destroying hand of time. The premises now belong to E. Laughton, Esq. of Tickhill, a descendant of the Eastfields.' 

The following month, the Northern Star published a further paragraph on Clarel Hall: 'The ancient and knightly family of Clarel possessed this mansion for several generations, a younger son of which was Thomas Clarel, presbyter, who held the living of Leeds from 1430 to 1469. The Clarels were also of Aldwark, and resided there. Thomas Clarel, Esq. had an only daughter and heiress of his estates, who married Sir Richard Fitzwilliam, Knt., of Wadworth, in  the 15th century; their son, Sir Thomas Fitzwilliam of Aldwark, married Lady Lucy Neville, co-heir of the Marquis of Montague. [The tomb-chest with effigies of Sir Thomas and Lady Lucy was moved to St Mary's Church after the dissolution of the Friary.] A daughter of Sir Richard Fitzwilliam by that marriage, married a Gascoigne of Gawthorpe, whose heir had an only daughter Margaret, married to Thomas Wentworth of Wentworth, Esq. who in right of this marriage was seised inter alia of lands in Tickhill. His grandson was the great Earl of Strafford. As the Aldwark estate had passed to the Foljambes, most probably these lands were the Clarel Hall estate, perhaps alienated with others by that unfortunate nobleman; became afterwards the property of the Farmerys and Laughtons of Eastfield, and lately have been sold to Mr Withers of Newark.' [Mr Joseph Withers was the father-in-law of Edmund Laughton who married Laura Withers in 1815.] 

Robert Farmery, husband of Jane Farmery and brother-in-law of William Laughton, died at 'Clary' Hall in 1699, showing that Clarel Hall was still in use as a residence at the end of the 17th Century, and beyond because Mrs Jane Farmery continued to live in Clarel Hall until her death in 1727. Jane Farmery had no surviving children and her estate passed to other relations and charities. (Her name can be seen on one of the Charity Boards by the north entrance of St Mary's Church.) The Hall then fell into disrepair and the land around Clarel Hall was divided into smaller plots such as paddocks and orchards. At the eastern end a row of small cottages was built and known as Clarel Hall Yard. By the early 20th Century Clarel Hall Yard was very run down according to Betty Hill whose memories are published in Occasional Paper 10. These cottages have since been demolished. A reminder of the location of Clarel Hall is in the naming of a later 20th Century development of bungalows called Clarel Court. 



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