Letter – Henry Richmond to Walter Blackett – 27 Aug 1763

Document Type: Letter
Date: 27 Aug 1763
Correspondent: Henry Richmond
Recipient: Walter Blackett
Archive Source: NRO 672/E/1E/2
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To Sir Walter Blackett Bart. M.P.                                           Newcastle August 27th 1763

at Wallington 

Hon[our]d Sir/ Inclos’d is the substance of an ans[we]r to the Bi[s]hop’s proposal of valueing your ore by the prices of the Freehold Ore, in Weardale. As to form, you will please to give it such as you judge best. I have boug[h]t 8 dozn of Swainson & Darnels Brandy, as Mr Blackett tho[ugh]t it very good. 4 doz of it is sent by the cart today & the other 4 is put into your cellar here. I have spoke to Mr Aubone about a Boat; and he will endeavour to get one against this day senight. I am etc      HR

The Bishop of Durham’s proposal to value Sir Wr. Blackett’s Ore in the last 13 years by the prices which Mr Halhead can shew have been given for ore sold from the Freehold Groves in Weardale in the same time, is not such a rule as Sir Walter can agree to : for the following reasons: First, Sir Walter is not thouby admitted to produce instances of prices as well as his L[or]dd[hi]p. 2[Secon]dly Sir Walter could not possibly have sold his large quantity of Ore so high as these small quantities have been sold. For it holds universally in purchases that those who buy small quantities pay dearer than those that buy larger ones. And in this instance a great many of these small purchases of Freehold ore have been made by the people who sell much of their Lead in the Retail Way & thereby getting better prices for Lead are tempted to give higher prices for the small parcells of ore they meet with. 3[Thi]rdly the ore of two Freehold Groves in Weardale, namely Quarry hill & Dryburnside is Esteemed of a quality much superior to the general run of Sir Wr. Blackett’s ore. By Mr Westgarth’s own Acct., Quarryhill ore has been generally sold 5s a Bing higher than any other ore in this Country excepting a Grove in Alston Moor. As therefore this method would magnify Sir Wr Blackett’s much beyond the truth he hopes his L[or]ds[hi]p will make use of some other rule, more adequate to the quantity & quality of the ore he has raised in Weardale to determine its value by.

When Sir Wr Blackett proposed the prices given for Aldstone Moor dues, as a rule for this purpose, he thought he had offered a most unexceptionable one. First, because that is the only considerable quantity of ore sold in this Country. 2[Seco]ndly that Ore is always advertised & sold to the best bidder. 3[Thi]rdly because that Ore is Esteemed better than Weardale; as it is all refineable which Weardale is not. 4[Four]thly because the mines lye about the same distance from Newcastle as Weardale mines do. And 5[Fi]thly because the prices of this ore were obtainable both by his L[or]dsh[i]p & Sir Wr. with great ease & certainty.

As his Lordship has not agreed to this proposal Sir Wr can think of no other equal rules to determine the value of his ore by but the follow[in]g. First, to take the medium of the prices of Lead & the medium of the prices of which the B[isho]p & Rector sold their dues of Weardale Ore in the yrs 1741, 1742 & 1743 & thereby to let the prices at wch Lead has been sold annually during the last 13 yrs discover the proportional prices at wch ore at this last period ought to be reckon’d at. Or else to be determined by the rule wch many proprietors sell their ore by, namely to reckon ore worth 41s. a Bing when Lead sells at a £11.10s.0d a Fo[the]r & so to rise or fall 12d a Bing for every 5s that Lead rises or falls p[er] Fo[the]r.

If none of these offers are acceptable to his Lordship Sir Wr Blackett must despair finding any medium to estimate his ore by. It would be very discouraging to find his Lor[d]sh[i]p more exact & scrupulous in valueing ore upon computation for a Fine on changing a Life only, than Bishop Chandler & Dr Keene were when they actually had their dues to sell. They were then very careful to get the best prices they could for their ore & did not neglect trying for a better price than Sir Walter Blackett offered them. But he was their best Bidder; & he now offers his L[or]dsh[i]p no worse terms.

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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