Letter – Joseph Butler to Bishop of Durham – 11 Aug 1732

Document Type: Letter
Date: 11 Aug 1732
Correspondent: Joseph Butler
Recipient: Bishop of Durham
Archive Source: DUL CCB B 182 121 1-13
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      August the 11th 1732



My Lord,

      I had the honour of yr Lordships Letter on Wednesday;  & intirely agree that if Mr Blackets People will not contract on Monday, to pay the former Rent, that tis necessary without further Delay to strike a Bargain with the Northumberland Gentlemen. So that the only thing under Deliberation seems to be, whether to let them the Oar per Bing, or for a certain yearly Rent, in Case of Mr Blackets Refusal. Now tho I think they offer a good Price per Bing, & that twill at long Run be for our Advantage to let it this way, or tho I th[ough]t be very unwilling to sink the annual Rent, yet upon the whole, my Lord, it seems to me more adviseable to let it for a few years, 1,2, or 3, at a certain Rent, & even for what they offer if they will not give more, rather than break with them. My Reasons for thinking thus are 

- that what with Neglect of working & other artifices of these under-ground people have, it may be taken for granted that the Mines will not be so good for some time as they have been.

- that as they will be very angry at the Oar being let to others, so tis to be expected they will at first do all they can to render the Gathering of it difficult, till their ill Humour a little subsides: & the Northumberland Gentlemen, being I suppose fellow miners, will be much more a match for them than yr Lordship & I. 

- that if, contrary to Expectation, they (Mr Blackets People) should be ever so fair in this Respect, yet we being so unacquainted with these matters shall not be able readily to get into a proper method of gathering it; wch our Tenants will easily do. For if they give a certain annual Rent, the Gathering the Oars will be wholly upon them. And thus if in any future time yr Lordship shd think proper that we gather it ourselves, we will have the advantage of their Method to follow. If this way of bargaining for a certain Rent be resolved upon, there is one thing wch seems necessary to be guarded against, for one cant be be too cautious in dealing wth Miners. The annual Rent offered, wch I understand to be 600<ll> for <both>, is so much less than Mr Blacket can plainly afford to give, that twill be in the Power of  our Tenants without further Trouble, to let the Tith & Lot Oar to him at a considerable Advantage. This yr Lordship sees would be very vexatious, & would frustrate one main Reason for contracting this way. I would therefore humbly propose & submit it to yr L[ordshi]ps Consideration, whether it may not be proper or even necessary, to find them under some considerable Penalty, at least for failure of the Lease, to give an account of all the Lot & Tith oar, & not to let it to any other Person in the Gross without yr Lordships Consent, And if you do not think fit, my Lord, to acquaint the Gentlemen (for I don’t believe they design any such thing at present) with the Reason of this Caution, you may please to throw it upon me; who having lived some time among Miners, may be supposed to have Reasons wch yr Lordship may not thoroughly enter into.

      If on the contrary  we bargain per Bing, & so are to gather it ourselves, with which I shall be  intirely satisfied if yr Lordship thinks it the better way, tis certainly best to distribute the office into two <Families>.

      I write all this upon Supposition that Mr Blacket will not come to an Agreement, as yr L[ordshi]p seems to think he will not. But Peart has been wth me & speaks of the Agreement as made: & gives out in the Country that it only wants to be put into writing.

      The Rispey Grover came according to appointment, but brought no Security. I found an alteration in his way of talking, wch he was not ready to acquaint me with the cause of. All that I could get out of him was, that his Securities required that he should indemnifie them from Mr Blacket. However he seems very desirous of the Bargain still.  

      Suppose, my Lord, that you were to ask Mr Richmond what they would give per Bing; for I should think it better to agree wth them for 40s &half a crown, than with anyone else for 45s. I hope also yr Lordship will settle wth them (if they will not contract) the Times for Delivery of our Oar, wch I think may be any number of Times from 6 to 10 in the Year. 

      I fear, my Lord, whether Business of this Sort, may not give one a certain Manner of Writing not altogether suitable to my Distance; wch I doubt not your Lordship will excuse, as I am with the greatest real Respect, 

      My Lord your Lordships most dutiful & most humble Servant

      J. Butler



[at foot of last page, in a different hand and inverted:] Dr Butler Aug.11.1732

About compounding for, & Letting of, Lot & Tythe Oar.
Butler, (1692-1752) was rector of Stanhope, and therefore entitled to a tithe (a tenth) of lead ore raised in his parish, which covered most of Weardale. His interests were therefore largely aligned with those of the Bishop’s rights to his ‘lot ore’. He succeeded Chandler as Bishop in 1750.

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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