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Hexham Abbey 28 October 1792 Sir, As Mr Beaumont intended conferring a Favor on me I return him thanks but I perceive by the Proposition made me I am to execute the Business of these offices for the Emoluments of two and in case such Emoluments do not make up £80 a year I am to be subject to an Acco.t to shew the precise Sum the offices of Bailiff and Clerk of the Court make that that sum may be made up to me. I remember well your asking me what Mr Heron made of his offices and I answered between £60 and £80 a year and upon your observing that it was almost a Sinecure I replied it was something like one. I must now take notice that out of what Mr Heron makes of his offices he allows me considerably more than the £20 a year Bailiffs Salary for executing the Offices of Bailiff and Clerk of the Court as his Deputy. Without some assistance I cannot do all the Business of these offices and collect the Rents and look after the Estate and if what my son was allowed by Sir Thos Blackett is to be taken form him and no recompense made me on that acct my Income will be much reduced because I must procure some assistance and this I think an Hardship. Christopher Atkinson still withdraws his Grist and I had the Miller’s wife in tears with me about it on Tuesday morning last who says if they do not get the grist they cannot be expected to pay it. I understand for three weeks past he has made three carts loads of Oats into meal at some mill in Hexhamshire. The custom is that ‘all the Freeholders Copyholders tenants Resiants and Inhabitants of and within the township of Hexham by Custom Time out of mind have been and now are respectively obliged to grind at Hexham Mills and not elsewhere all the corn Grain & meal by them respectively ground and used or spent ground in their respective houses within the said township of Hexham and to pay one full sixteenth part of all such corn grain and malt as and for the toll & Multure for the grinding of the same.’ How far making meal for sale and selling it in the House will be deemed a spending it ground in the house or whether the custom will only extend to the grinding such corn grain and malt as shall be consumed in the house for family uses only may be a question – Let that be as it will subtracting the Grist will be a Please for not paying Rent Mr Beaumont has no land within the Barony of Langley but he has a quit-rent of £4-4-4 payable for the corn tithe of Langley Barony on the south side of the Tyne and therefore his right to the Corn Tithe of the New Improvements on Langley South Common which lies on the south side of the Tyne ought to be recognised in the Intended Act as well as the Vicar’s Right to the Hay Tithe of such Improvements both upon Langley South Common and upon Grindon Common but till I have directions to tell Greenwich Hospital that the Acts (for there will be two at least) will be opposed unless such Rights are recognised in those Acts I cannot do so and this ought the rather to be done because One common within Langley Barony on the south side of the Tyne has already been enclosed and when the Hospital was applied to for Corn Tithe of the Allotments set out in respect of their estates which pay a part of the Quit-Rent of £4-4-4 the answer given was that the Quit-rent for the antient lands covered the allotments and that Greenwich Hospital expected to be clear of Corn Tithe and there the matter now rests. The weather here since you left this Country has been very changeable scarce ever 24 hours fair together. All the tenants at Yarridge have some Oats to cut yet tho’ there are none of them but who have got new Corn into their stackyards and most covered too. By the best acct I can get they have lost about one half of their Barley by the wind. I am sir, yr obed.t servant J. Bell
Inscribed as ‘Copy’ at the head, and found amongst other letters from the Victorian period regarding manorial rights and duties in Hexham. Recipient not stated but from context likely to have been John Erasmus Blackett, or possibly Mark Skelton at Birthwait near Bretton, Beaumont’s Yorkshire agent. Since Blackett wrote to Beaumont less than two weeks later (8th Nov) passing on the news from Mr Bell that the Yarridge tenants had got in their oats it would appear to have been the former.