Journal entry – John Grey – 10 Jun 1833

Document Type: Journal entry
Date: 10 Jun 1833
Correspondent: John Grey
Archive Source: TNA ADM 80 18
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Monday June 10th 1833

      The bygone week having been occupied in accompanying Mr Hooper to different places & in the settlement & management of various matters all of which will have been detailed by him in his journal. I have not thought it necessary for me to give an account of them.

      Before entering upon a detail of my own proceedings, it is only doing justice to Mr Hooper & to my own feelings to express the strong sense that I entertain of his work & gratitude that I owe him for many instances of personal kindness & attention. I shall endeavour to profit by the instructions & advice which he has so kindly bestowed upon me, & while I venture to express the hope that I may be found to be actuated by a zeal similar to that which is so strongly manifested in him for the interests of the important institution in whose service I am now engaged, I dare not entertain the expectation that I shall be able to exceede the Trust commited to me with equal ability.

      I must especially beg to entreat the indulgence of the Board, should I seem to be slow affecting any object, or in coming to a conclusion on such matters as may come before me, arising from the caution which I may find it necessary to exercise & the difficulty which continually meets me from the want of acquaintance with past proceedings, & any ignorance of parties as well as of the location of the property – To obviate these difficulties in the speediest manner, I intend as fast as possible, to make a personal inspection of every part of the estates, & in doing so, besides the account of my progress which will appear in my journal, I shall keep for my own immediate use & reference, a more detailed record of my opinion as to the condition & management of each farm, the quality of the land, the state of repair in which the Buildings & Machinery etc may be, any improvements which the Tenants may require, or that may suggest themselves to my own mind, & every thing connected with the farm, so that I may be able to discuss & settle matters with the Tenants whenever or wherever we may meet.

      In this view of the property, I shall take Mr Hunt with me, that he also may obtain an acquaintance with the objects which will in future require his particular attention.

      I rode to Haydon Bridge this morn & received various documents & papers from Mr Hooper, also £117 for furniture sold by him to the Innkeeper, which, with £22.8.0 due by myself on the same account, will be entered in the books tomorrow, - being in all £139.8.0. – After taking leave of Mr Hooper, I went accompanied by Mr Hunt to West Mill Hill where some repairs, & the building of a small stable are going on. I found the farm in good condition bespeaking the management of an industrial & attentive tenant, although I have reason to fear it is a losing concern to him.

      Besides the farm of West Mill Hill, Mr Harle occupies an allotment on Grindon common, about two miles distant. The boundary wall he keeps in tolerably good repair, and the division fences though not good are in a better state than most of those around him.  The land upon this common is if very poor quality, producing heath & coarse pasture but in this allotment are about ten acres, part of which Mr Harle has now in cultivation, and which, if fenced from the pasture land would be very useful for growing turnips & winter fodder for his stock. – It would cost I think about £10 to build a stone fence to compleat this inclosure for which the tenant would lead the materials. Mr Harle wishes it to be done this summer & I told him that I would recommend it to the Board.

      I next visited Haydon town Farm, to which Mr Bowden has newly entered, & after having heard so much of the great expenditure & the compleat state of repair of the Hospitals property, was surprized to find almost every thing in ruins. The farm house is now undergoing repairs, by Mr Hoopers directions and of the offices, the only building that can be made available, are a barn & very low Cattle shed.

      The Land is in wretched condition, and in the Common, a portion of which, he also occupies, the fences are in a most ruinous state. As to the internal divisions, I should, at present decline giving any opinion as to the propriety of incurring the expense of putting them into repair. So long as the land is continued in future, it is not necessary, and if at any time it should be thought advisable to take a part of it into cultivation, it would then be only necessary to repair such as that part might require. With the boundary fence however, it is different and there is connected with this farm, a part of the boundary wall, which has been left by the late tenant in so dilapidated state as to be of no use, & incapable of amendment except by being entirely rebuilt. As this must of necessity be immediately attended to, I directed Mr Hunt to obtain from men accustomed to such work; the price per rod, at which they would rebuild it. The extent is not great. This allotment is ill supplied with water, but from the situation & appearance of the ground I think it is likely to be found near the surface, which may be easily ascertained by putting down a bore rod, without the expense of sinking or of making a <lane> to a neighbouring brook as recommended by the tenant.

      The next farm is East Mil Hill, occupied by Mr Langhorn, who seems to be an intelligent and spirited farmer. The buildings are in good repair, and the land in excellent cultivation. He also has an allotment on the common at an inconvenient distance.

      West Brokenhaugh, occupied by Mr Green an old and infirm man, but whose son seems to be active & industrious & very desirous of improving the farm; upon the state of which, so far as he has yet gone, his exertions are very apparent. This is a pleasant little farm & the land of general good quality. Green states that he has never got the gates & posts promised him on entering, & that the roofs have not put into repair, which is quite evident. A little walling should be allowed, to secure a piece of grass land near the house from trespass, & formed into a field for calves etc., he also begs to have a cart shed built, but which I told him, I could not undertake to promise.

      I was much annoyed to find on a part of this farm which had been drained some years ago, that the work had been done so superficially, that Green, wishing to plough the land a little deeper than had been done by his predecessors, turned up many covers of the drains & was actually obliged to cart them off the field. The drains, of course, are filled up with soil, & rendered useless – And yet these drains doubtless cost the Hospital the same money as if they had been done efficiently & of a proper depth. I must endeavour to guard against such gross impositions in future.

      East Brokenhaugh, newly entered to by Mr Langhorn, brother of the tenant at East Mill Hill, contains a portion of good land with a considerable quantity of a much inferior description, besides an allotment of very poor land on the common, the roofs are in very bad condition, also the Sashes and flagging in. the dwelling house. The fences may generally be repaired at little cost – One ought to be taken out as occupying a quantity of land to no purpose, which the tenant will do as his own cost, on condition of a stone fence being removed in another situation, which requires intirely rebuilt. The subdivision fences on the allotment are like all the other, in a ruinous state, the boundary wall also is bad, but not so bad as to require to be entirely taken down. As the repair of this is immediately necessary I entrusted the doing of it to Mr Langhorn, who engaged to manage it with a due regards to economy & efficiency, informing him; that when done, it will be his duty to keep that & all other things in repair for the future. The former tenant having escaped, leaving the farm in such disorder, it seems unavoidable that the houses & fences should be put into repair before the present one can be required to maintain & leave them so. The general bad condition of the farm, does little credit to Mr Todd who left it, & who was nevertheless a strenuous applicant for the situation of Bailiff now held by Mr Hunt.

      Allerwash West farm occupied by Mr Watson who is in his 80th year & has been a tenant of the Hospital all his life. His Son takes the management & they are now beginning a new Lease at a reduced rent, they lost by the last lease, the old man says, £2000 – The buildings & fences are in a very fair condition, the land is not of very good quality. The place is very ill supplyed with water. I was shown a spring at a considerable distance which they would like to have conveyed in pipes. To supply the house and <folds> but leaden pipes would be too expensive on account of the distance, & I fear the spring is not sufficient to force its way in a dry season, so far along a brick conduit, a pump would be the safest & cheapest and that I engaged to propose to the Board. They understand for that Mr Hooper has given permission for enclosing a small piece in front of the house, which at present is open to the field; to substitute for the garden they now have, which is small & inconvenient. This is proper enough & would not cost much but Mr Hooper did not name it to me.

      Allerwash Town farm – let for new year to Mr Robson, who is not, I suspect, is not a very choice tenant. Of course no expense will be incurred in improvements at present.

      Allerwash Mill occupied by Edw Dodd, the mill is in tolerable repair, but on a small scale, the dwelling house is in bad condition, & a cottage quite uninhabitable, the west gable being in a dangerous condition. The present tenant is I fear hardly in circumstances to make the most of it – but to occupy the mill to advantage there ought to be a little more land attached to it. And as the adjoining farm will be to let in the Autumn, that might easily be arranged. As the railway is to pass very near, that would form a suitable boundary between the farm & any land that might be attached to the Mill. Here daylight began fail & my inspection necessarily closed. I reached Corbridge at eleven o clock. 

      Most of the farms which I have this day visited have allotments annexed to them on Grindon Common,  It is now too late to consider, whether instead of subdividing so large a tract of very poor land, at an immense expense, it would not have been better to have enclosed the whole in a ring fence, & let it together for a stock farm – the expense has been incurred; the walls have been built, & gates supplied, although they are now in a great measure useless, & the cattle going at large as if they had not been – If any of the tenants should see fit to patch up the interior fences for their own convenience, very well – but I would not, from any prospect of their usefulness, recommend to the Board to incur such an expense. The boundary fences, separating the different occupancies, ought to be kept up by the respective tenants, but where a new tenant comes to take possession of a boundary wall in bad condition, there seems no alternative but to repair it for him.

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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