We start this walk in Baysgarth Park.
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As you stand in the middle of the park and look north you see Baysgarth House which dates from 1731 but has undergone numerous later alterations. It was originally built for members of a branch of the Nelthorpe family but was eventually given to the town in 1930. It was the centre of a large estate on the southern fringes of the town and is set in some 30 acres of parkland. As you walk past the house towards the main gate you will notice that the building now houses the local museum which is open from 1030am to 3-30pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Bank Holidays and 10-30am to 4-30pm on Saturdays and Sundays and Telephone 01652632318. You can visit their web site at http://www.northlincs.gov.uk/museums/baysgrth.htm. On leaving the park notice the fine wrought iron gates and the ornate gateposts capped with unicorns and baskets of fruit. These were brought to the park in the early 20th century from the garden of New Hall in Newport Street.
As you leave the park and walk straight across Preston Lane you will see to your right Bardney Hall. Bardney Hall is built in the Queen Anne style. The name is a reminder of the towns connection in the medieval period with the great Benedictine abbey of the same name.
As you continue down Whitecross street you will pass the Volunteer Arms public house on your left. This was named after the 320 strong force raised in the town during the Nepoleonic War of 1803 to 1814. Notice the dentilled brick cornice under the eaves which is made of bricks set on edge. This feature can be seen on many buildings in Barton and these hand made bricks were produced locally at one of the many yards along the Humber Bank. Continue along Whitecross Street and turn left at the cross-roads into Market lane.
The Mill which was built on the site of a pagan Anglo-Saxon cemetery, was described as 'lately fitted up' in 1819. It continued in use until about 1950 after which it lay derelict until a more recent scheme of imaginative renovation transformed it into the public house / restaurant we see today.
Continue up Market Lane into the market place. This has a long history of well documented markets. If you look in front of you and slightly to the right you will see The George Hotel which is on the corner of George Street. This is a former coaching inn which has undergone many alterations. The main corner building dates from the 17th century and here was the venue for many of the great social, political and cultural events which took place in the town. You now turn right and walk down George street which is one of the old shopping streets of the town.
If you now turn right into Priestgate. As you enter the street turn and look back at the shops numbers 1 to 5 down from the corner of the one way street, Chapel Lane. This was originally a seven-bay house described as 'new built' in 1727. With its tall, steeply-pitched pantile roof, central stacks, sliding sash windows and generally low, squat proportions it is a good example of the local late 17th - early 18th century style. The rendering obscures good Flemish bond brickwork which, together with the rubbed brick window arches and deep cover plaster cornice, shows that it was a house of some distinction.
If you now turn and look over to the North side of Priestgate you will see Cobb Hall with its fine frontage and columned doorway. It is dated by the rainwater head to 1766. The initials T.M.E. are those of the builders of the house Thomas Marris, a local solicitor, and his wife Elizabeth. Notice the two fire insurance company plaques on the front and there is another on number 26 which is for the Pheonix Fire Insurance Company.
All but one of the houses in Priestgate were built before c.1860, most of them in Georgian period. No 4 on the North side is a fine example of a house which dates from the mid 18th century. Notice again the specially cut and rubbed bricks for the window arches, the dentilled eaves cornice and the decorative door case. It was stylish town houses such as these that first introduced the fashion for tall, narrow, three-storied buildings. The top stories of these houses have small windows though one at No 4 has been enlarged to light a former schoolroom.
A short walk further down Priestgate will bring you to the junction with St. Marys Lane. Named after the church you can see at the bottom of the lane. This street is one of the oldest in the town and was built up along with the churches.
When you reach the end of St. Marys Lane take a moment to look to your left up Burgate to view the imposing three-story range built by William Mackrill in 1806. The Mackrill family were local bricklayers and builders who owned brickyards on the Humber bank and also boats in which the bricks and tiles were shipped away to builders in the Humber basin and as far away as East Anglia and London.
Turn right onto Burgate and then turn left onto Beck Hill. The beck was formerly a prominent feature of the Barton Street scene. Over the Beck can be seen the imposing view of St. Marys church. Artesian springs fed this pond which has flooded the houses near by on many occasions. Some time ago a drain was constructed to avoid this situation and also in recent years the massive water extraction from the North Lincolnshire aquifer has caused these springs to dry up. If you take a moment to look to your right you will see St. Peters Church. We will see more of this later but notice the circle near the top of the tower were once the towns church clock looked out over the town. This has now been moved and is located on St. Marys Church tower.
Continue on the main road past the Beck. Where the main road bears round to the left cross the road and enter the courtyard opposite. ( this is a private residence ) and view Tyrwhitt Hall. The later brick exterior of this court yarded house conceals a complex building dating from the 15th century or even earlier. Its east wing is a magnificent timber-framed open hall, whilst the south wing, built of chalk and brick with heavy oak timber framing contains the range of chambers of private rooms used by the medieval household.
When you leave the courtyard turn left up the stone steps into the churchyard of St. Peters Church and follow the path round the end of the church and then continue past the front of the church. Whilst the church is very much older than the period we are looking at in this walk you cannot help but notice the workmanship of the Saxon tower. The church is open most afternoons from 2pm to 4pm for visitors to look around at many of the finds which were discovered during the work on the church and also other exhibitions.
As you leave the churchyard you will see the old vicarage on your right. This building was substantially remodelled early in the 19th century in elegant Regency style. Chad Varah the founder of the Samaritans was born in this building in 1911.
Continue walking to the corner and then turn left on to Whitecross Street. Notice the row of houses on the opposite side of the road numbers 55 to 57. These were built in local style and have yellow and brown bricks laid alternately in Flemish bond which gives a chequer board effect. Notice particularly how the original windows with small panes and glazing bars blend in well with the proportions of the facade and the pattern of the brickwork.
Just a little further up on the opposite side of the road stands Laurel House which was built in the 1780s for a local surgeon, William Benton. The front has a fine Flemish bonded brickwork, a dressed stone gable, dentilled cornice and ornate doorway.
Returning once again to the west side of the street one sees No 51 whose frontage dates from the early 19th century, but behind it are ranges at right angles dating from the previous century and, earliest of all, a rare survival inside of a timber-framed wall of the 16th-17th century.
Finally further up the street stands No 41, a mid to late Georgian house with a steeply pitched roof, a parapet in front with a moulded plaster cornice at eaves level, a doorway flanked by fluted Doric columns. The bay windows are a Victorian addition.
As you approach the cross-roads look over on the left hand side of the road facing to the Catholic Church. There was a church adjoining the house which was started in 1938 but the building was never completed. In 1987 it was demolished and a new church was built on the site in 1987-1988. If you now cross the main road and continue along Whitecross Street you will see the entrance to the park and your circular tour is complete.
Whilst we hope that you have enjoyed this virtual tour. Vitual tours can never replace seeing the buildings or the town live. We hope that one day we may be able to welcome you to the town. The information in this tour was supplied by the Barton Civic Society and I am grateful for their permission to reproduce it here.