The third Isaac Hunter was apparently groomed to succeed his father as chief mills agent at Dukesfield, for he had worked under John Erasmus Blackett in the Newcastle office on Westgate Road in the early 1790s. He was duly appointed following his father’s death in August 1796. In the years that followed letters touching on the poor quality of lead, account keeping and tardy carriage suggest that his were not quite as steady a pair of hands as those of his father and grandfather. He must have endeared himself even less to John Erasmus Blackett and Colonel and Mrs Beaumont by appearing not to have honoured his late father’s intention to give secure access to the Dukesfield mill dam within the Steel Hall estate. This estate had been purchased by Hunter senior with money loaned by the Beaumonts, presumably acting as some kind of informal trustee, the transaction having been poorly documented by Ralph Heron, the Beaumonts’ Hexham lawyer. The matter dragged on until at least 1803; had it not, perhaps the peremptory letter of dismissal J.E.Blackett sent Hunter in July 1804 would have come much sooner. It brought to an end 76 years of the Hunter family managing the company’s mills from Dukesfield. Hunter lived until 1836 and was at Ivy House, Hexham at the time of his death. John Bell, the steward of the manor enquired into the state of his affairs in 1832, and felt he had uncovered evidence that Hunter, his step-mother and sister’s family had all been shortchanged by his Surtees uncle and cousin, made trustees under his father’s will of 1794. Isaac Hunter was a pauper by the time of his death in 1836, ‘his memory …affected by Palsy’.
Yvonne Purdy/ Greg Finch
Various parish registers, & ‘Dukesfield Documents’ letters
TNA C/13/1528/7 Scott vs Surtees, 1833