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(Copy) Stanhope Feby 4th 1799 Dear Sir, I take the liberty of forwarding to you a Copy of two Questions that I sent to Mr Williamson together with a Copy of his Answer from which it will clearly appear, I trust, that I could not consistently with prudence, or as an honest Trustee for my Successors, consent to partial Allotments, or to a partial Sale of Tithes even for an equivalent in Land I am, Dear Sir, your most obedient humble servant, H. Hardinge To Mr Scruton, Durham (Copy) Jany 16th 1799 Supposing that the Rector of Stanhope should be persuaded to consent to have himself & his successors bound to take fix’d Money payments for the Tithes of some of the Lands at present inclosed & allotments in lieu of the Tithes of some of the Commons or stinted Pastures, would it be illegally fraudulent for occupiers of Land, part of which may become Tithe free and part remain subject to the payment of Tithes to contrive by a timely removal that all their Cows, Ewes etc should drop their Young on the Tithe free land? And would it be allowable for such Occupiers to clip all their sheep on the tithe free land without making any satisfaction for the tithe of wool, although the sheep may have been kept a great part or the greatest part of the year before on the Land that may be still subject to the payment of Tithes? (Copy of the Answer) Newcastle 23 Jan 1799 To the first of your Questions I answer that I am of the opinion that occupiers so circumstanced as mention’d in that question may legally contrive so as that their Cows, Ewes etc may drop their Young on the tithe free land & by that Measure deprive the Rector of all Tithes in respect of such Young. Upon the second Question my opinion is that occupiers may by clipping their sheep upon the tithe free land deprive the Rector altogether of the Tithe of Wool. In this latter answer however I do not wish to be understood to say that the occupier may legally carry his sheep to the Tithe free land merely for the purpose of clipping & remove them again immediately to the other part of his land, such occasional removal would certainly be fraudulent but yet it will I apprehend be no very difficult thing to arrange matters so as to have the Sheep upon the Tithe free Land at clipping time in a way that could not be deem’d fraudulent tho’ in fact it totally deprived the Rector of the Benefit arising from the Tithe of Wool within the Parish. Signed, R[ober]t Hopper Williamson.
Henry Hardinge was the Rector of Stanhope. Mr Scruton was the Solicitor for the Bill. These copies were enclosed with the letter of 12/Feb/1799 from Mr Scruton to the Bishop of Durham.