Letter – Henry Richmond to Walter Blackett – 10 Jan 1770

Document Type: Letter
Date: 10 Jan 1770
Correspondent: Henry Richmond
Recipient: Walter Blackett
Archive Source: NRO 672/E/1E/3
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To Sir Walter Blackett Bt. MP in   Half Moon Street                        Newcas.  10th Janry 1770

      Piccadilly     London 

Honrd Sir     I have not heard lately what they are doing at Berwick about the Bill for regulating the fishing in the River Tweed but the following is an Accot. of what has passed relative to it.

   There were two meetings this Summer, one at Tweedmouth & the other at Cornhill, to try to reconcile the proprietors; who, in respect of the division among them, may be distinguished by those above Norham and those below it; the Fisheries of the former are let for less than £400 a year and those of the latter for more than £5000 a year.    At the Cornhill meeting, which was very general, many Articles were agreed to, namely that the Close time should be from 10 Octr. To 10 Janry yearly.  That Smoult time shld. be from 1st April to 1st June Yearly.  That all obstruction by Dams Wears etc should be removed, or at least opened to a Certain width in the middle of the River, and all illegal Engines disused.  That the Sherifs of the Counties of Berwick, Roxburgh Selkirk & Peebles may be Judges with the Justices of the Peace of those Counties.   That delinquents in the Counties of Northumberland & Durham may be Comitted to Berwick Gaol and that there should not be any fishing between 12 oClock on Saturday Night and 12 oClock on Sunday Night.  To these Articles all that were present assented except Lord Hume who has, in partnership with Lord Tankerville, a Wear across the River above Cornhill and also refused to allow any opening or attenuation therein.  But the great obstacle to an Agreement was the demand of the proprietor above Norham that there should be, besides Sunday, a further Stop time on Cessation of fishing, to wit, from 12 o’Clock at noon on Saturday.  This seemed very unreasonable  to require the fisheries nearest the Sea to be laid idle 12 hours every week, to let the fish pass quietly up to the nets of those above Norham.   It was alledged against this demand that the bill was intended to lay-off practices that were prejudicial to every fishery & to establish Rules that would improve each of them in proportion to its situation, and it was hoped everybody would be content with such Improvement as the Nature and Situation of his Fishery would admit of and allow his neighbour to avail himself of the like; without requiring what it would be in effect, a Twelfth part in value of the Fisheries below Norham to be given up for the amending those above it.  But it was urged in opposition to this that the proprietors of fisheries near the Sea ought to give up something to those remote from from it to induce them to Act as Conservators of the Fry especially as enforcing the Act wo[ul]d be a very disagreeable thing to the Common people in their respective neighbourhoods who now live upon the Fish taken at improper Seasons.  So, to  purchase these Gentlemen’s friendship to the Bill, it was offered to give up 4 hours in a week, that is, to leave off fishing at 8 o’Clock on Saturday Evening but they would not abate of their demand of 12 hours and declared they would oppose the Bill with all their Interest, if it was not complied with.  Thus the Matter stands at present, save only that a declaration was made, in express terms, that as the offer of the 4 hours was not accepted it was now to be understood as retracted and the Merits to be gone upon as if no such Concession had been made.

     Mr Lambert told me, that this offer of 4 hours stop, would on Accot. of the particular Situation of your Fisheries, be more prejudicial to you, if accepted of, than to any other person: but as he will, if the bill goes forward, be in London, he can explain the manner & reason of this better than I can do; being esteemed the most experienced man in these matters of any in the Tweed.  I am   HR

P.S.   inclosed is Mr. Grey’s Letter with papers about this affair.  It is now a thaw; but the Weather still very tempestuous

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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