Journal entry – John Grey – 24 Jun 1833

Document Type: Journal entry
Date: 24 Jun 1833
Correspondent: John Grey
Archive Source: TNA ADM 80 18
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Monday 24th June 1833

	Had an interview with the Lessee of Throckley Colliery informing me of the success of his boring, & wrote in consequence to Mr Jay to obtain the Commissioners sanction for him to proceed to work the Coal.  Wrote to Mr Benson of Fallowfield requiring the settlement of his sons Arrears, for which we hold his Bill.

	Rode to the Farm of Lightbirks to accompany the new Tenant there, to look at part of his high ground near Langley Mills, respecting the improvement of which he wished to consult me. This farm contains a considerable portion of Land, which both from its bad quality & high situation would not pay for cultivating. The part in question though equally high, is more level and of better quality than the rest, though unfit for tillage, would be much improved in herbage by ploughing, liming and restoring it to grass – This Mr Peacock has undertaken to do, on being allowed the requisite draining, which I have engaged for – It contains however, a large morass, to drain which with Stones, would be very expensive – It is a fit subject for Sod draining, which may be done for 6d or 7d a rod, which I have engaged to do, upon Mr Peacocks promising to pare & burn it, & then to lay on the Lime & sow it off to Grass without ploughing or attempting to grow Corn, as the Sod drains would not carry the Horses for some time. This cheap mode of draining Pasture lands Mr Peacock had never heard of & is little known in this country. A man from Dumfriesshire is at present making such drain, I hear at Grindon, & I have no doubt of effecting it. I then went on to examine the premises at Langley Mills and Stublick Colliery which are undergoing repairs – The Engines at the Colliery are of good construction & do their work very smoothly. I find there is a dispute between Mr Bell, the late manager and the present Lessees about the Crop growing on the Colliery lands: They wishing to have possession of it by paying for the seed and labor. If Mr Bell rented the lands, then the away going crop must be his own – If he managed the land, as an appendage to the Colliery, then he can have no claim for Seed and labor, as both would be contributed by the establishment there, nor can the Lessees have any title to the crop by paying for Seed etc but it must belong to the Hospital, to be disposed of to the best advantage, leaving the Straw upon the Premises, & in this case I should recommend to transfer it to the Lessees by valuation, when fit for reaping. This I should endeavour to ascertain & arrange.

	I then went to Nilstone Rig, much frequented as an Inn, until the new Road rendered it useless in this respect. The House & Buildings are large and in pretty good repair; the land poor & chiefly in grass – Mr Martinson, an acute man & good manager, complaining of high rents & bad times, & begging to be allowed a Shed on the high ground to shelter his Cattle, the cost of which would be exclusive of Wood, about £6.

	Went to Harsondale, occupied by Thomas White – a small Farm in a very exposed situation & high rented, but bearing the marks of an industrious occupier – The Buildings are all new & in good repair, except a Cart Shed, which has been left unfinished – Having lost the carriage of the Langley Mills, he says that he has no alternative but to quit the Farm, unless the rent can be lowered.

	I then went by a steep path through extensive Woods of thriving Oak, Ash etc to Plankey Mill – The Water Wheel is good, the remaining Machinery not very good – an axle is much decayed and must be renewed, for which a suitable tree is cut, but the Tenant, seemingly a respectable man, whose land and crops are in good order seems indifferent about having it done, as he cannot, he says, continue at the present rent – The extreme steepness of the road from the Mill, requiring two Horses to carry the load of one, with difficulty is a great disadvantage.

	I then went to Vauce, a small Farm held by Roger Pigg – The land is of tolerable quality but the situation exceedingly bleak – the crops however are good considering the climate, but very likely to be shaken by winds before reaping – The Buildings in tolerable repair & on a scale suited to the Farm.

	The next is the Lough Farm & Limekiln – occupied by Robert Bell, who has great credit by the appearance of his land & crops in so poor a situation – He has no trade for lime now & wishes to be relieved of his Lease. The Barn at this place is in very bad condition.

	Sillywray & West Deanraw, held by Josh Bell, late Agent at Stublick. Poor places & in poor condition.

	Middle Deanraw – occupied by John Pigg. The Buildings are now in good state, having got a new roof to the Stable & some repairs not yet completed – This little Farm is in excellent condition & I regret that we are likely to loose so good a Tenant – but he states that after using his best endeavours, he cannot continue to pay the rent, especially since the dependence they had upon the carriage of Langley Mills is gone.

	East Deanraw. A farm of cold soil – not very well cultivated, & much injured by the smoke from Langley Mills, which sometimes destroys Cattle that eat the Grass upon which it rests – The Straw even after the Corn is thrashed is poisonous. Last Winter two horses died here from that cause. This Tenant owes an arears of £52 & complains like the others, of having lost the carriage, by which they use to make up their Rents.

	Langley Castle Farm, occupied by Mr Woodman, who is now entering a new Lease, contains a large portion of poor Land; which is also injured by the vicinity of the Smelt Mills – Mr Woodman is an active man Eger [sic] & anxious to improve the condition of the Land by draining and Liming – The Buildings are on a large scale, but though of only 18 years standing, much of the Wood work in the Dwelling House is going to decay, the panels in the rooms & several of the windows being quite rotten – partly, I think, from the want of paint, but chiefly, I suspect, from the use of American Fir, instead of Baltic timber – The House has been built, strangely enough, without a pantry, which Mr Woodman earnestly begs for – I think the dairy might admit of railing one off it, which would save the expence of building outside & I would also recommend, in so good a house, that the Woodwork should be examined, repaired & painted and spouts where necessary, put up for its preservation.

	West Land Ends – a compact Farm with good Buildings occupied by Mr Lee – a man of property, who keeps everything in good order.

	Here at nine o’clock I left off for the day, and rode to Haydon Bridge to dine and sleep.

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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