Journal Entry – William Hooper – 6 Feb 1833

Document Type: Journal Entry
Date: 6 Feb 1833
Correspondent: William Hooper
Archive Source: TNA ADM 80 15
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Wednesday 6th Feby 1833

Rode out with Mr Lambert and inspected Rattenraw East Farm, Grindon Hill Farm, Grindon farm and Beaumwham Farm, and minutely examined into the wants and applications of the several Tenants – I would here observe the impolicy of the system practised in regard to the Fences, and which ought immediately to be altered. If a new fence be ordered, the Hospital is at the expense of hoeing and stubbing out the old fence, then obtaining and planting the young quicks, and railing them off if necessary, and then keeping them in repair for seven years, when they fall upon the Tenant;- Consequently the Tenant has a direct interest in neglecting very old fences, and rendering new ones necessary, to be clear of expenditure – In all such cases it appears to me only proper that the Tenant should stub out the old, and keep the new fence in repair, from its completion, and I am persuaded that such a regulation would be only just, and be productive of great saving in this head of Expenditure.

It has been an object of anxious consideration with me to devise some mode by which. The Board might be enabled to exercise a just control over the expenditure in all such works as have hitherto been included in periodical estimates. – It is impossible for the Board to form any judgement of such Estimates in detail, and beyond the total amount upon each Estate, and the gross amount of the whole, the Board can gain little information from the estimates, and must of necessity defer to the recommendation of the Receiver.

It appears to me that considering the magnitude of this interesting property, the annual expenditure [underlined: ‘upon the whole’], should average nearly the same under each head of Hedging, Draining, Fencing, Building, and Repairs in every year; and that after a little experience, it might be easily determined as to what percentage upon the gross rental would be sufficient for each, and consequently how much per cent would cover the whole.  If this were determined, the Receiver should be prohibited from exceeding such limits upon the whole, leaving to him a discretion, [underlined: ‘which must be so left’], for its application in detail; but as a wholesome check upon him, as a record of the real value of each Estate, and as a ready means of affording the Board information, the Rental Book of each year should have an additional column, in which should be inserted against each farm, the actual amount of expenses incurred upon that farm in the year previous – thus making the Rentals a record of the Nett as well as the Gross revenue, excepting the expenses of the Receiver’s Office. The Tenant of East Rattenraw is £100 in arrears, and he is very pressing for the Hospital to incur considerable expenditure in conveying Water to his Homestead, and in Draining etc., but I told him that whatever I might be disposed to recommend hereafter, I could do nothing until his arrear was paid off; as I held it a principle not to ask the Commissioners to expend one shilling in improvements for a Tenant in arrear of rent: and this principle I recommend to the Board’s attention.

On my return I found Mr Benson of Fallowfield, the father of the Tenant of Dilston New Town South Farm, who had before refused to assist his Son, in the expectation that we should not press for a settlement. He said he came at the request of his Son, who had informed him of my intention to re-let the farm, to say I might depend on receiving all the rent, as he would be answerable, but that the young Man required time. I told him that if he, the father, would give me a Bill for the amount, I had no objection to reasonable time, but I could accept no other terms – He asked three years, but my idea of reasonable time was much more limited, and I at once told him that the utmost limit of indulgence I felt justified in granting was to accept his Bill for £400 – one half payable on the 31st of March, the other half on the 12th of May next. After much demurring, he consented to this, and I immediately obtained the Bill. I then called his attention to an arrear outstanding against himself as the former Tenant of Westwood farm of £80.10.0, but to my surprize and mortification I found he had just claims against the Hospital for a much larger amount; the Receiver having purchased of him two thrashing Machines, one at Highwood, the other at Westwood, which were valued by two persons, one appointed by the Receivers the other by Mr Benson, at £101.14.4; and the Receivers at the same time covenanted with the present Tenants of Highwood and Westwood to furnish the Farms with these Machines at the expense of the Hospital. Mr Benson also claims £15 for the carriage of his Way-going Crop, the covenants of his lease, requiring that the In-coming tenant should carry the Way-going crop of the former Tenant – but on the re-letting the Farm, there was no such covenant, and the expense falls on the Hospital – On reference I find several other such cases which the Hospital has been obliged to pay – Mr Benson has also a claim for a years rent of ground taken for the Hexham Road £23.3.0 and two years rent for a Cottage made a Toll-Bar, £8.0.0 – these sums I shall immediately call upon the Trustees for. I promised Mr Benson that I would forthwith enquire into all his claims, and that they should be settled by the end of this month. – I discover no less than eight Thrashing Machines which have been similarly bought by the Receivers, and still remaining unsettled for, the parties standing apparently in arrear of rent. The purchase of these Machines is an improvident waste of the Hospital funds, and while I regret the necessity of recording these facts, I can give no adequate idea of the regret and mortification it gives me to discover the dissatisfaction occasioned, and the positive disrepute in which the Board is held (for the delay is attributed wholly to the Commissioners) from the non-settlement of these claims. The amount due for Thrashing Machines which I have already traced is £457.3.7., and I must request of the Board to give me discretionary authority to make the best settlement I can of all these, and similar cases, that there may be neither disputes nor claims outstanding.

I found Mr Cowing of Westwood also at Haydon Bridge on my return, who brought Mr Pattinson of Hexham to arrange for the settlement of his arrears, but all his proposals were so unsatisfactory that I was compelled to decline them. He then named Mr Fra[nci]s Bones of Leamington as a person willing to join in security, and I finally consented to let him know on Friday if I could accept him, and to give him until Tuesday to bring him, or some one else that might be satisfactory to me.

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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