Journal entry – John Grey – 15 Jun 1833

Document Type: Journal entry
Date: 15 Jun 1833
Correspondent: John Grey
Archive Source: TNA ADM 80 18
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Saturday June 15th

	The morning being fine at 6 o’Clock, I set out for Whittonstall & Newlands, where I spent the day in inspecting each farm, with its dwelling house & office, the Mill, the roads now under repair, the ruinous school house etc & reached Corbridge between 9 & 10 at night. I must necessarily pass over here, many remarks which I have noted for future reference, observing generally, that considering the poor quantity of the soil, & the high situation of this district, the tenant, especially the three brothers of the name of Hunter, have greater credit for the condition of their farms, than many of those more favorably circumstanced on the banks of the Tyne. The farm houses occupied by Ed Soppit & Thos Wilkinson; which have been lately built, are preposterously large, & could have spared enough to make two or three of the others respectable. In several of those, the doors, but especially the windows, are going to decay for want of paint, admitting rain to the injury of the ceilings & floors which should be attended to. Several repairs in the Miller’s house & others sanctioned, as they say, by Mr Hooper, & certainly needful, have not yet been executed, they are of small amount. But I must pass them by to come to a matter of greater importance & one which will require serious consideration – Newlands Haugh farm is occupied by John & Anthony Fewster at a rent of 233£ per an - & they owe 1 ½ years rent up to Mayday last, Every thing about the place indicates poverty & confusion.  The houses are in a most ruinous condition, & in contemplating the necessity of building new offices & a dwelling, the tenants seem to expect that they would be allowed for leading the materials, which is not usually the case, & by that means they would be enabled to liquidate their arrears & continue in the farm.  I feel myself called upon frankly to state the doubts I entertain of such a favorable result. If they were poor before, this year must leave them more so. They have no corn of the last crop & very little stock, they could not, I imagine purchase extra horses for leading to the Buildings which nevertheless they would undertake in the hope of payment the conveyance must be, that the farm would be neglected & that tho’ they might hang on for a year or two, I greatly fear that they could not rally in such a way as to be benifitted by the arrangement, & that eventually the Hospital would have to take possession of an impoverished farm under a heavier arrear of rent than at present.

      I should be unwilling to aggravate the misfortune & distress of poor & industrious people, but I could not acquit my self of an honest discharge of my duty were I not to suggest to the Commissioners this view of the subject.

      Adjoining the farm & close by the dwelling of the Fewsters, is a farm occupied by Robt Hunter, a man advanced in life, who only became a tenant of the Hospital three years ago & His rent is 180£ & he left 55£ unpaid of the rent due in Novr last. So that he now owes 145£. On asking him for the arrears today, he stated his inability to pay & his apprehension that he must give up the farm.

      I said that surely he could not be so far beaten by one bad year & that he must have had some capital to begin with – ‘Yes, he said, he had 200£’ !!! at interest, besides his horses etc but it was now gone.’ The stock upon the farm is of very little value & on asking him how he expected to get on with so little capital, he said that the Hospital was to build a machine, & do a good deal for the place, & had corn kept its price; he thought he could have got through thus exemplifying the fact, that a Landlord who does every thing for a tenant but plough & sow the Land, offers a bounty for needy adventurers & men with inadequate capital.  This man has the appearance of great industry & may struggle through. But I should think it a fortunate circumstance should both his farm & Fewsters be given up at once, the two together would be likely to attract a respectable tenant. Hunter has got a machine & Barn adequate to the thrashing of both farms. A little addition might be required to the dwelling house, but I think it likely that his Buildings might be made to answer for the whole at one third of the cost of an entire set of new offices, which Fewsters farm if let by itself, would require.

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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