Dukesfield Documents

A North-eastern history research archive centred on the Blackett and Beaumont lead business records – and much more besides- between the mid 17th and early 19th centuries.


Volunteers have transcribed thousands of letters and other documents to create a free, fully searchable, online collection of material. This began as part of the ‘Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers Project’ between 2012 and 2015.

This site brings together digital versions of manuscripts held in local archives alongside much more obscure material in distant collections and recently discovered documents in private hands. Full transcripts of each source document, most comprising many individual letters or other items, can be downloaded, and each item is also held separately within the searchable online database.This structure and search capability means, for example, that correspondence long separated between different physical archival locations can now be reunited.

‘Dukesfield Documents’ is provided to help stimulate and support future research into varied aspects of social, economic, political and family history of the North East of England and beyond, between the 17th and 19th centuries.

Keep coming back – documents still being added. 

Over 2.7 million words and 11,500 documents have been transcribed and made available so far by around 30 volunteers over the course of eight years. A standard approach to editing and presentation has been followed and applied wherever possible. Please note that the vast amount of material means that it has not always been possible for the volunteers to check and double-check the accuracy to the levels normally found in published and annotated editions of primary source material. The editing conventions indicate words or phrases that are unclear to the transcriber, but we cannot discount the possibility that other occasional mistakes have been made, or editing or presentational inconsistencies introduced.

Hopefully this is far outweighed by the value of digitising and integrating such a wide range of material from disparate sources to provide a highly accessible research resource. Clear references to the original source documents are always provided so that they may be consulted by researchers who wish to go further. If you can use the contents in your own research we will have achieved one of our main aims. We ask only that you acknowledge ‘Dukesfield Documents’ and the web address www.dukesfield.org.uk/documents in any published work.

The search facilities and downloads are supported with background information on the principal correspondents, brief descriptions on the archival collections from which the contents are drawn, a glossary, guides to further reading and support, editing conventions, and the project story. There are occasional notes to accompany a few of the items, but otherwise the collection is simply a digitised version of the primary material. Explore the options given in the navigation. A long series of 18th century lead production figures compiled from financial accounts are available here in spreadsheet form.

Please give us your feedback. If you have a general comment about this archive please use the ‘Contact us’ link at the foot of this page. We welcome further information or corrections on topics and incidents mentioned in individual letters, which we will seek to add to the published material. Please use the ‘Comment’ option on individual items to do this. Please be patient, as it might take a while for our volunteers to check your comments for adding to public view within the website. Please note that we cannot undertake further research in response to questions.

While you’re here explore the rest of the Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers website by clicking on the project logo at the top left.

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Document of the Day

To Mr Denton							Newcastle 19th April 1734

Dr Sir 	

I have yours of the 13th with Capt Midfords receipt etc & repeat my Request as to Cuth: Ogle with whom I fear Mr Blackett will have some trouble, if he be not a sufferer by him, for he is far behind with his Rent, has neglected most of the conditions of his lease, & I doubt no security was given for their Performance. According to the Acco[un]t you sent me Mr <Manner’s> Debt & Costs amount to £499.12.2 ½ of which £165.17.10 ½ has been paid, if thier is any alteration or addition to be made thereto, pray let me know pr first conveniency that I may be prepared when Mr Greive calls & also let me know what discharge I am to give him on payment of the Remainder of the money etc. Inclosed you receive my bill on Messrs Cook & Abell for £200 out of w[hi]ch I desire you will pay Mr Blacketts ½ years annuity due 1st May next & Mrs Withrington £60 w[hi]ch Sum I have received here of her Steward, taking her receipt for the same to discharge the Receipt I have given for (that) money the remaining £40 please to keep in your hands on my acco[un]t till you hear further from me You may draw more what you please for the £200 you mention, giving me a week’s notice before you draw, if at sight as to the £400 to be paid the 1 May. I know not how it can be done for I cannot raise £500 here towards the last ½year’s Interest w[hi]ch I expect Mr Joye will be in a great hast for: another ½year being almost due. neither do I think it well for me to mention the money to Mr Blackett who has never name it to me I rather wish you would be so good as remind him of it I mean the £400

      I am Sir Yor most humble Servant

						J R

Ps Pray advise the receipt hereof

							Newcastle the 5th April 1734 	   £200


Forty days after date pay Mr Henry Allison or order the sum of two hundred pounds value received & place it to Acco[un]t as advised by Sirs Yor most humble servant Joseph Richmond

To Messrs Cook & Abell Goldsmiths	in Foster Lane London				
The Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers Project aimed to celebrate and discover the heritage of the Dukesfield Arches & lead carriers' routes between Blaydon and the lead mines of Allendale and Weardale. A two year community project, it was led by the Friends of the North Pennines in partnership with Hexhamshire and Slaley Parish Councils and the active support of Allendale Estates. It was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the generous support of other sponsors. Friends of the North Pennines: Charity No:1137467