Letter – John Bell to Mark Skelton – 3 Jan 1794

Document Type: Letter
Date: 3 Jan 1794
Correspondent: John Bell
Recipient: Mark Skelton
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Sir                                                                                         Hexham Abbey  3rd Janury 1794

	On the other Half Sheet you have a Copy of Mr & Mrs Beaumont’s Claim for Westburnhope with a Copy of the Objection thereto the persisting in the Claim desiring the same may be refused to the Arbitrators and the Objectors refusing to refer the Claim to the Arbitrators and desiring the same to be tried at law subjoined

	When at Bretton I told why I made the Claim double; that is, for the separate distinct Bounder including 849 Acres besides the antient 97 Acres and also a Right of Common for the whole namely that if Mr Beaumont separate Bounder for 849 Acres was disputed and his Rights thereto upon a Trial should be defeated then he would not have been intitled to a Right of Common for his antient 97 Acres no Claim having been made for a Right of Common in due time but as the Claim stands if Mr Beaumont is defeated of the 849 Acres he will get a Right of Common for the old 97 Acres - Had the separate Bounder for the 849 Acres not been objected to but admitted it would not have been fair to have claimed a Right of Common for Westburnhope which in that case would have comprised 946 Acres and I asked whether should the Bounder be admitted I should relinquish the Claim as to right of Common to which I could get no Answer

	The Claim for the separate Bounder being objected to and Mr Beaumont’s Right denied thereby to the whole of his Claim for Westburnhope save the 97 Acres which it seemed to contain at the time of the Purchase and a Right of Common for that Quantity of land I wish now to have Instructions should I be able to compromise this disagreeable Business (disagreeable not only it must be to the Lord but also to the Proprietors to have a Law Suit with their lord) upon the Terms suggested at Bretton, to wit, That if the Proprietors will withdraw their Objection and admit the Lords Claim as to the 946 Acres he will withdraw his Claim so far as respects a Right of Common - If Mr Beaumont could effect this he would save the Expence of the Division for Westburnhope as it would be admitted his antient Freehold but having no Right of Common consequently getting no Allotment for it upon the Division he would not be liable in respect of that Estate to any Expences

	There were seven old People examined in 1769 respecting the Boundary of Westburnhope and Five out of that Number are dead another that lived in Yorkshire I cannot yet learn whether he is dead or living so that one only of the Seven I can say with certainly is living - Joseph Rowland the present Tenant and some of his Predecessors have known and lived upon this Farm for these 50 Years past but as they always shepherded themselves I am apprehensive any additional Evidence to corroborate Joseph Armstrong (the living Witness) will be difficult to meet with and knowing the Temper of most tenants should Mr Beaumont be driven to make use of Joseph Rowland and his Family it is doubtful they may do harm for I know Joseph is not content with the Bounder as described by the Examination of the Old People but wishes to have more and having very keen bitterness he and his Neighbours are often at Daggers drawing about hounding upon the Common therefore my opinion is that if this Business can be compromised upon the above Terms it will be better than risking the very uncertain Event of a Law Suit which must be be commenced in two Calendar Months from the 30th of last Month - The sooner Mr Beaumont gives an Answer the better after having maturely considered the Business

	The Bridge at Hexham being now made passable for carts and Carriages and the Landing for the Boats on the North Side of the River [3-4 words obscured] which Landing Place occasioned more Water running down the Middle and South Side of the Bed of the River than usual has been the Means of throwing up a great Gravel Bed on the North Side adjoining the Road leading from the Bridge towards Anick Grainge and adjoining Mr Beaumont’s Estate at Broomhaugh and the proprietors of Anick to whom the Repair of the Road belongs and myself are apprehensive that when the Boat Landing on the North Side of the River is removed and the Water is again left free it will be taking its antient Course and washing away the Gravel Bed and of consequence injuring both them and [struck through: you] Mr Beaumont - The Proprietors of Anick intend doing something by Way of Prevention with some Embankment of Stone Work and have called upon me to know what Mr Beaumont will do and I had a Meeting with them yesterday and took a View of the Places where the Stone Work is to be done and promised to write and take his Directions - The Anick people are very anxious of having something done immediately as they expect to get it done cheaper as this is the dead time of the Year and a Number of Men who were employed about the Bridge want work but as there does not seem to be any immediate Danger to be apprehended the Boat Landing being not to be removed this Winter that I can learn of I could wish Mr Mr Beaumont saw the place himself which he may do when he comes North before he give any definitive answer                                 

	I am Sir   Your most obedt Servt

		Jno Bell

A Copy of Case respecting Westburnhope and Mr Williamson’s Opinion comes with this

[on reverse:] Mr Skelton/ Attorney/ Birthwait near Wakefield/ Yorkshire

[on separate sheet:]

      To Mr William Bates Mr John Fryer and Mr Thomas Bates Commissioners named and appointed in and by an Act of Parliament made and passed in the Thirtysecond Year of the Reign of his present Majesty King George the Third Intitled ‘An Act for dividing and inclosing certain Parts of the Commons Moors or Tracts of Waste Land called Hexhamshire and Allendale Common and also certain Townfields within the Regality or Manor of Hexham in the County of Northumberland and for stinting the Depasturing of the other Parts of the said Commons Moors or Waste Land’

      The Claim of Thomas Richard Beaumont Esq and Diana his Wife Lord and Lady of the said Manor containing a full true and just Accot of the several Messuages Lands Tenements and Heriditaments together with the Names of the Tenants in Possession for or in respect whereof they claim to be intitled to Rights of Common upon the said Commons delivered by one John Bell Agent to the said Thomas Richard Beaumont and Diana his wife in Writing under my Hand pursuant to the Directions of the said Act, that is to say,

     Westburnhope Farm in the Possession of Joseph Rowland consisting of One Dwelling House One Barn Two Byors and one Stable and Twelve Closes or Inclosures of Arable Meadow and Pasture Land numbered on the Plan as follows, to wit, 525, 526, 527, 528, 529, 530, 531, 532, 533, 534, 534 and 535 and also a Tract of unenclosed Ground the Boundary whereof begins at the Foot of Brigsike where the same runs into Rowley Burn from thence Southwards up the said Sike to where the Road from Allenheads to Gingleshaugh and Dukesfield crosses the said Sike so Westwards up the said Road to a little Hill and from that Hill to another little Hill near the Linburn and from the last of those Hills in a direct Line to the Linburn and so up the said Burn to the Fordstead near the Low Lin then through the said Burn at the said Fordstead Southwestwards up the Linburn Rigg along the Carrier Way to the Laddle Sike from thence Northwards along the Road leading from Allendale to Danver Head till the said Road comes to Knight’s Cleugh so through the Cleugh till the said Road adjoins the Road leading from Allenheads to Hexham then down that Road Eastwards to Baxton Cleugh then from Baxton Cleugh Eastwards along the Carrier Way to the Cast on the East Side of Charlie’s Bank then Southwards down the said Cast to Rowley Burn and so through the said Burn to the Foot of Brigsike

     One Tenement or Farm called Wester Steel in the Possession of Thomas White Thomas Bowman William Dinning and John Dinning bounded by Devil’s Water on the Bank of <....> Water on the North by the Road leading from Dukesfield to Hexham on the East and by Upper Staples and Nether Staples on the West

     And also One Copyhold Tenement or Farmhold called Nether Staples in the Possession of Joseph Dixon and Joseph Rowland vested in Mr Isaac Hunter as Trustee for the said Thomas Richard Beaumont and Diana his Wife and bouner’d by Devil’s Water on the South Upper Staples on the West and by Wester Steel on the North and East

     Jno Bell

          1793 Septemr 30th 

	To William Bates John Fryer and Thomas Bates Commissioners etc

We whose Names are hereunto subscribed being Persons having Rights of Common or Agents of Persons Bodies Politic or Corporate having Rights of Common on the said Commons do hereby object to the Claim of Thomas Richard Beaumont Esq and Diana his Wife marked No 265 so far as the same affects the Boundary of the said Common.  Dated the Thirtieth Day of December 1793

Thos Ord		Joseph Watson	John Curry	Wm Sparke Whitfield

William Adamson	John Plummer		Robt Hornsby		Robert French

Nich Walton Jun	Agent for the Commissioners and Governors of the Royal Hospital for Seamen at Greenwich in the County of Kent		Robert Watson	Nich Ruddock

Cuthbert Ord		Thos Johnson Junr	Peter Mulcaster	Edwr Robson

Thos Johnson

[marginal note:] See 6 Page of the Act

      To William Bates John Fryer and Thomas Bates Commissioners for the Division of Hexhamshire and Allendale Commons

      I John Bell Agent for Thomas Richard Beaumont Esq and Diana his Wife do for them and on their behalf persist in the Claim marked No 265 and do request that the same may be referred to the Arbitrators named in the Act of  Parliament for the Division of the said Common or their Successors

            Jno Bell   1793 Decemr 30th

[marginal note:] See 7 Page of the Act

	To William Bates John Fryer and Thomas Bates Gentlemen Commissioners etc

We whose Names are hereunto subscribed Persons having Rights of Common or Agents of Persons Bodies Poilitic or Corporate having Rights of Common on the said Common and who have made Objections to the several Claims affecting the Boundary of the said Common hereafter mentioned, that is to say, The Claim of Thomas Richard Beaumont Esqr and Diana his Wife, Arthur Mowbray on behalf of the Trustees of the Estates of the late Right Honourable and Right Reverend Nathaniel Lord Crewe Lord Bishop of Durham marked No219 and No 224 Matthew Fairless of Norton in the County of Durham Farmer John Bell Agent for Mr Joseph Dickinson Guardian of Matthew Fairless of Bishops Auckland in the County of Durham Gentleman on behalf of the said Matthew Fairless Edward Charlton Esqr and William Ord Gentleman jointly the said Edward Charlton Esqr singly, Gill Brown Charles John Clavering Esq affecting the Boundary of the said Common at a place said to be called or known by the several Names of Riddlehamhope and Hallywell Common and also at a place called or known by the Name of Middle Rigg being unwilling that such Claims and Objections should be referred to the Arbitrators and desirous to have the same tried at Law do hereby give you Notice thereof according to the said Act.

Dated the Thirtieth Day of December 1793

Nich Walton Junr		  Thos Ord	        Thos Johnson Junr     Joseph Watson

Agent for the Commissioners	  John Curry	        Peter Mulcaster	       Nicholas Ruddock

and Governors of the Royal	  William Dawson   John Johnson	       Wm Sparke Whitfield

Hospital for Seamen at	  Robt Hornsby        Edwr Robson	       Robert French

Greenwich in the County			        Thos Ord		       Robert Watson

of Kent					        Thos Johnson	       Cuthbert Ord
See also Robert Hopper Williamson’s letter dated 28 Dec 1793

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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