The ancient village of Barwick in Elmet dates back to around 200-600 BC. The earthworks at Wendel Hill and Hall Tower Hill were probably built by the local tribe of Brigantes and coins have been found dating from the second century BC and first century AD which would suggest some continuity in the use of the earthworks up to the time when the Romans conquered the north of England.
There is a reference to an agricultural settlement in the Domesday Book which indicates a Norman presence in Barwick in Elmet and subsequently the Lordship of the Manor passed through marriage to the Duchy of Lancaster in the fourteenth century. From a number of taxation surveys, it is known that in 1379 there were 197 adults living in about 100 households.
After passing through several hands, the Manor ended in the ownership of the Gascoigne family in the seventeenth century and there are records indicating that in the following century there were around 240 families living in the parish. In 1720 there is the first mention of a school in Barwick in Elmet and by 1821 the parish had increased its population to 1,481 inhabitants.
he Crossgates to Wetherby railway opened in 1874, enabling residents to commute to Leeds and after the Great War more villagers started to travel there for work or school. A great number of Barwick in Elmet residents would walk every day to Scholes to take the train into Leeds or, as the start of World War II approached, began to take advantage of the new bus service which served the village.
The 1920s also saw the introduction of water, electricity, gas, mains sewage and telephones to the village, but it wasn't until post war years that the village saw significant expansion. In the last 100 years the village has been transformed from a farming and mining village into a commuter settlement and place of retirement, although the parish still includes five working farms producing wheat, barley, oilseed rape and potatoes, with some rearing of poultry and cattle.
Scholes derives its name from the Old Norse 'skali' which means 'the temporary huts and sheds'. Records from the 12th Century show that the monks from Kirkstall Abbey pastured their sheep at nearby Seacroft.
For most of its existence Scholes has been an agricultural community and today there are still three working farms. In Mediaeval times, the villagers cultivated the land in three open fields which formed part of the estate of the Lord of the Manor. Records from the 13th, 14th and15th centuries show that Scholes had a mill, a fishpond and a deer park. Excavations carried out in the stackyard and garden of Scholes Lodge Farm prior to its development, have revealed the footprint of a post-mediaeval farmhouse built on an earlier site, as well as finds dating from mediaeval and even earlier times.
In the 1870's Scholes developed significantly with the opening of the railway and brickworks. The first St. Philip's Church was built in 1875 (the present St Philip's was dedicated in November 1966 and the original church became the Parish Hall) and in 1879 the Methodist Chapel was opened. At the beginning of the 1870's the village stretched roughly from what is now the beginning of Wood Lane (or Brickyard Lane as it is sometimes known) along both sides of the road as far as Scholes Lodge Farm.
It was throughout the years of the next century that various phases of building took place which gave the village the shape it has today. The brickyard closed in the 1920's and the railway line was closed in 1964. Scholes Hall, a handsome red brick building of the 18th Century, was demolished in the 1970's. The site was incorporated with Scholes Hall Farm and some fields to the north to provide the land for the sheltered housing complex. The Scholes War Memorial, along with the twenty three Horse Chestnut and Lime Trees which line Station Road, are recognised as a National Memorial. They are listed in the United Kingdom National Inventory for War Memorials. The trees, which are protected by a preservation order, honour men from the village who died while serving in the armed services during the First and Second World Wars.
Other improvements in Scholes during the 20th century include its village hall, playing fields, children's playground, library, shops, the school, the Manor House social centre, a doctors' surgery and a dentist.
The greatest asset the village has, however, is its people who have put their energy, talents and enterprise into starting clubs and organisations, many of which still exist today. More recently, the Scholes Community Care was started, a lifeline for so many in the village.