Durham University Library

The diocese of Durham had jurisdiction over the probate of most of Northumberland (with the notable exception of Hexhamshire, an ancient peculiar of the Archbishop of York). Wills and inventories held by the Durham Probate Registry are now cared for as part of the Archives and Special Collections of the University of Durham Library. Follow the link for their catalogue and holdings. We are grateful to the staff of the University Library for their support. Several of those for people in the Dukesfield area and others of relevance to the lead industry have been transcribed and included here (DPR1/…). Durham probate records have been extensively catalogued by the Library’s North-east Inheritance project through which digital images of many original documents can now be downloaded . A single stray letter from the Dukesfield mill agent in 1698 has also been transcribed and is included here (Add MS 1623/3).

Also held within the Special Collections is the voluminous correspondence of succcessive Bishops on both spiritual matters and the management of their estates, not least among which was their lucrative interest in the Weardale lead mines. Much of the income was taken in the form of leases and dues on ore raised. The latter, ‘lot ore’, was usually taken in the form of an annual composition in lieu of an actual physical share of the lead ore, and these rights were subject to periodic negotiation. Papers relating to the Bishopric’s side of one such period of negotiation, in 1732, are given here (CCB/B/182/121/1-13). These letters complement correspondence from Walter Blackett’s side during the same period of negotiation, included within his chief agent Joseph Richmond’s copy letter book at NRO 673/2.

A small selection of letters found amongst the family papers of Earl Grey (GRE) is also available here, covering correspondence to and about Thomas Wentworth Beaumont in the wake of TWB’s accusations against Grey in 1823, and also two short letters from the Polish exile Count Zamoiski, whose cause of Polish independence was taken up by Beaumont in the 1830s.

 

DUL Add MS 1623 3 Letter Featherstone to Brummell 1698
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DUL CCB B 182 121 1-13 Correspondence on Lot Ore 1732
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DUL DPRI Misc wills and inventories 1652-1852
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DUL Grey papers B6 B60 D misc letters 1807-32
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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