Letter – John Fonblanque to John Scott – 7 May 1832

Document Type: Letter
Date: 7 May 1832
Correspondent: John Fonblanque
Recipient: John Scott
Archive Source: NRO 672 A 31 38
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The late Miss Scott appears by the will of Mrs Hunter to be intitled as residuary legatee to the whole of her personal Estate after payment of her debts &co & as Mrs Hunter was under the will of her Husband intitled not only to an annuity of £50 & his Household Furniture but also to the Interest of one moiety of the Produce of his real & personal Estate & as it is admitted that Mrs H. received only the anny. & the Furniture the personal representative of Miss Scott has in my opinion a right to call upon the Representatives of Mr Hunter for an account of the Produce of Mr H’s real & personal Estate unless he can clearly and distinctly show that such account was furnished to Mrs H. & that she with full knowledge of her Interest most distinctly & advisedly consented to accept the annuity in discharge of all demands.

      From Mr A. Surtees’s letter dated 10 Janr. 1826 I conclude that Mrs H. never even applied for more than the annuity &  that ‘she was satisfied with such provision’ but I think her acquiescence may be ascribed to the impression that she probably received from the statement that ‘great difficulty would arise in securing to Mrs H. the annuity of £50 on Alston Brewery’  That such statement was made appears in Mr Purvis’s letter 10th Feby. 1826.  The Question then is was such statement true?  If it be true that the Steel Hall Estate sold in 1805 for 9718.15.10 & that after paying off the mortgages 7536.18.1 remained subject however to  £900 due & for which Mr Robert Surtees was jointly bound there would still be 6636.18s applicable to the Trusts of the will of Mr Hunter & that the Anny. was not paid out of such surplus appears from Mr A. Surtees’s statement that the annuity was re<..> paid by Mr Morrison the Purchaser of the Alston Brewery in pursuance of an arrangement by Mr A.S. with Mr Morrison at the time of the sale – With respect to the notion that Mrs Hunter with full knowledge of her rights waived them in favour of Mr Robert Surtees her Trustee I am of opinion that a <level> of Equity would not from circumstances presume such to have been the fact & I much doubt further it would allow of such a transaction tho’ evidenced by a <Deed> Courts of Equity  being very distrustful of the fairness of such dealings between Trustee & <……    ..> trust & I am of opinion that Length of Time would not be a Bar to Investigation of such a transaction but previous to any Proceeding I should recommend Inquiries to be made as to what the Steel Hall Estate actually produced & whether there were any & what sum of Debts or any Debt to Col. Beaumont as referred to by Mr A.S. & if Mr Scott will inform me as to the result of such inquiries I will further advise him.

John Fonblanque   7 May 1832   Temple       
Recipient not stated but presumably to John Scott, being the enclosure referred to in Scott’s subsequent letter to John Bell of 11th May.

This is the first of a sequence of letters over the following year dealing with the apparent misappropriation of the legacy of Isaac Hunter II by his brother-in-law and trustee Robert Surtees. Letters between John Erasmus Blackett & Col & Mrs Beaumont in 1800-3 touch upon the Surtees trusteeship in relation to their difficulties surrounding land in the Steel Hall estate that was important to their ability to have free access to the millrace from the Devil’s Water to Dukesfield Mill. 

John Scott appears to have been seeking rights claimed to be due to his late aunt Mary Hunter, second wife of Isaac Hunter II, and stepmother to Isaac Hunter III, who was living in poverty by the 1830s, rather than through any direct concern for Hunter’s predicament. 

John Bell, in the Hexham Manor Court office seems however to have been touched by the way Isaac Hunter III was defrauded by his uncle and cousin as trustees. 

A Chancery case was brought by Scott against Surtees’ son in 1833: C/13/1528/7

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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