The Gascoigne Archives were deposited with the Archives Department of Leeds City Libraries in 1955 by the late Sir Alvary Gascoigne. He and his heirs made further deposits over the following forty years. At the same time they made the Gascoigne Gift to the City of Leeds, which, in 1968, included Lotherton Hall and grounds with their contents and family heirlooms. Following the death of Sir Alvary's only surviving child, Mrs Yvonne Studd-Trench-Gascoigne, the executors removed some documents from the archives in 1975 for inclusion in a sale of manorial titles. These were mainly title deeds and settlements and did not include any manorial documents as such. A few have since been returned and now form a separate deposit (WYL5005). Other elements, relating to the medieval administration of the Duchy of Lancaster and deeds and legal papers of the Irish estates were transferred soon after deposit to the Duchy of Lancaster (now in the National Archives at Kew) and to the National Library of Ireland.
The Gascoigne family is said to have originated from Gascony in France and to have arrived in England in 1067 after the Norman Conquest. It first appears in the records as a significant landholder in the early thirteenth century at Gawthorpe, site of the present Harewood House, a few miles north of Leeds. There are impressive tombs in Harewood Church, including that of Sir William Gascoigne, Lord Chief Justice (d. 1419), who features in Shakespeare's King Henry IV part 2. In 1480 another William Gascoigne was licensed to empark and crenellate his manor of Gawthorpe. After the marriage of Margaret Gascoigne to Thomas Wentworth in 1582 Gawthorpe passed to the Wentworth family and the Gascoignes moved their seat to Barnbow and Lazencroft in the parish of Barwick-in-Elmet and Parlington in the parish of Aberford. The latter, which had been purchased in 1545, had formerly been a Wentworth property. By the early 18th century Parlington seems to have become the principal seat and is shown in Samuel Buck's Yorkshire sketchbook of c. 1720 as a modest three-gabled house, then the residence of Sir John Gascoigne (d. 1723). The house was given many enlargements and embellishments, but was abandoned after the death of Colonel Frederick Trench-Gascoigne in 1905 and most of it was demolished in 1952. Barnbow became an industrial site for shell filling and tank building in the 20th century. Most of the estate was sold in 1964 and the residue was wound up a decade later.
In spite of his conversion to the Roman Catholic faith, the baronetcy was conferred on John Gascoigne in 1635, when he purchased it from Charles I. His son, Sir Thomas, was acquitted of implication in the 'Barnbow Plot' to assassinate King Charles II in 1679. The 6th baronet, Sir Edward, succeeded in 1723 and married Mary, daughter and heir of Sir Francis Hungate of Huddleston, bringing that estate, in the neighbouring parish of Sherburn-in-Elmet, including the village of Saxton, to the family. His eldest son, another Sir Edward, died unmarried in 1762, when the title passed to his younger son, Sir Thomas, the 8th and last baronet. On his grand tour in 1765 he was involved in a homicide in Rome and, although pardoned by the papal authorities, came home in disgrace. He returned to Rome a decade later and had his portrait painted by Battoni in 1779. In 1780 he abandoned the Roman Catholic faith of his forebears, became a member of parliament and built the triumphal arch in the park at Parlington to commemorate the loss of the American colonies in 1783. His only son, another Thomas, died in a hunting accident shortly before his own death in 1810, when the family line came to an end.
The estates then passed to Richard Oliver of Co. Limerick, husband of Sir Thomas' step-daughter. He took the name of Gascoigne and purchased the house and estate at Lotherton in 1825. Again the male line failed when both his sons died in 1842 and, following his own death in 1843 the estates passed to his two daughters as co-heiresses. The eldest, Mary Isabella (d. 1892), married Frederick Charles Trench in 1850 and he took the name of Gascoigne. In 1852 Mary Isabella's younger sister, Elizabeth, also married into the Trench family and became Lady Ashtown. She moved to the Ashtown seat , Woodlawn, Co. Galway, but retained Lotherton as a Yorkshire residence whilst her sister and brother-in-law continued at Parlington. Both sisters were actively involved in charitable causes, building and endowing the almshouses at Aberford, rebuilding the church at Garforth, and engaging in famine relief in Ireland.
The Irish estates of the Olivers were based at Castle Oliver, Co. Limerick. On their succession the sisters were confronted by a run-down property and the beginning of the Potato Famine. They employed a young Yorkshire architect, George Fowler-Jones, to design a new house which they renamed Clonodfoy. After they had both married the estate was divided so that the house passed to the Trench family. Mary Isabella and her husband then invested in another house and estate at Craignish in Argyllshire. This was sold in 1953.
After Lady Ashtown's death in 1893 her nephew, Frederick Richard Thomas Trench-Gascoigne (1851-1937), made Lotherton his principal residence. He married Laura Gwendolen Galton, of Hadzor, Worcestershire, and between them they enlarged the house, laid out the grounds and restored the chapel. The property was used as a military hospital during the First World War. It passed to their only son, Sir Alvary Gascoigne in 1937. He was a diplomat and served as ambassador in Tokyo and Moscow before his retirement in 1953. His only son, Douglas Wilder Gascoigne, was killed in action in 1944. Sir Alvary died in 1970, his daughter, Yvonne Studd-Trench-Gascoigne, died in 1973 and his second wife, Lorna Priscilla Leatham, died in 1979. No local family links remain.
Related material, mostly later manorial records, will be found at WYAS Leeds in the archives of Elmhirst and Maxton of Sherburn-in-Elmet, solicitors (WYL285) and Grays of York, solicitors (WYL382). Books from the library at Lotherton are held by Leeds City Libraries and include 'A local catalogue of the Parlington Library' (n. d. c. 1840), a photograph album, newspaper cuttings and a series of autograph albums. There also records of the Craignish Estate at the Argyll and Bute Archives.