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Hono[ur]ed Sir Newcastle feb[ruary]. the 24th 1676/7 My last unto you was of the 20th present To w[hi]ch Referrs you Since none from you Soe the Lesse to Enlarge upon, have onely att present to advise you occurrances att the pay; soe farr as I could learne w[hi]ch is as followeth; I will beginn w[i]th the heades; the Condition of they severall Groves theyre as Richard Writes mee are vizt Greene Gill Inddiffrent good In one of the Shaftes they rest are poore Coalclugh good Eastward but poore Westward att Reed Grove little gotton there the Slittes Indiffrent good yett nott soe good as itt was; little alteration att Wellhope and Baytes hill Since last accou[n]t given the levell goeth pretty well on where they now drive above 4 yardes p[er] weeke and hopes to continue att the same Rate all the complaynt att Mill is for want of care [oare] the Smelters is very Earnest for borrowing of money till worke bee gott In for my parte I would lend none yett I think J:M: will bee forced to doe itt to whose discretion I wholy referred itt soe hee told mee unlesse itt were done you would loose them all – Fallowfeild beginnes to bee Indiffrent hope full especially att the forehead to the Sum of the <ble..fendeses> where they have very good gettinges att present; J:B: castes out now and then some wordes by the by and sayth that bargaine should have beene his but the meanienge thereof I understand nott w[ha]t Oare is afor hand att they severall Groves I can nott advise you excepting about 300 Bing at the Slittes and 100 Bing att Fallowfeild w[hi]ch they Smelters wishes w[i]th all theire hearts were in till God send more and the wayes better the whole pay came to as followeth £319:6:7½ The heades pay £ 165.6:6½ Paid R: M: £173: =:= planky Pay £20:=:10 Rd [Paid] J: M: £ 30: =:= Rd [Paid] att Mill as p[er] p[er]ticulers £ 46: 9:11 ½ Rd [Paid] att Fallowfeild as p[er] p[er]ticulers £ 69:16: 8 as above £319: 6: 7 ½ for w[hi]ch money you had made att Duxfeild [Dukesfield] Mill 3 fodders 5 p[iec]es Leed and 116 bing 0 horsse of Oare carried to s[ai]d place vizt from the heads 57 bing 0 horse from Read Groves 05 = : - from Fallowfeild 48 = : 2 from Jeffreyes Groves 06 = 2 As above 117 = : And att Plankey Mill 22 fudder 4 p[iec]es Leed C: 020 - 1 of Oar carried to s[ai]d place vizt from Coale Clough 04 : 0 from Baytes hill 04 : 2 from the heads 05 : 1 from Read Groves 06 : 2 As above 20 : 1 I cann remember of nothinng else worth yo[u]r noticr only that the levell att fallowfeild is very hard if any besides bee omitted upon the least notice from you God willinge next time I shall amend itt S[i]r I had last post a letter from a freind and a Substantiall man who ordered mee to Shipp him 200 p[iec]es Leed provided I could procure them for £9:15s p[er] fudder and soe did expect to give mee orders shortly for the Shippinge him 40 or 50 fudder more I have discouriesd [discussed] the business w[i]th Mr Pease who beinge satisfied that I could soe have itt In Towne resolved to lett mee have the 200 p[iec]es above mentioned w[hi]ch God willinge shall bee Shipped and payd for upon Monday next; now if In case I should have Order for the Shippinge of the 40 or 50 fodder more I doe desire to know if you will please to lett mee have itt att the same Rate w[ha]t I take I shall pay Ready money for itt I suppose my Brother W[illia]m will this night write you about this business soe shall acquiese pray my humble service to my Lady w[i]th my respectes to all other Freinds and my duty and my wishes (who is gott downe Stayres) to your selfe prayinge for your health and happiness and earnestly craveinge your blessinge I remayne as im duty bound MB:
1. A crossed-out version of part of this letter (in a different hand) is found in the earlier letterbook, on page Recto 186. 2. On the places named (from Greg Finch and Ian Forbes): Bates Hill was in West Allendale. ‘heades’ is often used as a shorthand for Allenheads. Jeffreys is south of Blanchland. ‘Reed groves’ (with various spellings) is the Redgroves on the hill south of Nentdale, where the Blacketts had a lease from the Radcliffes in the 1670s. Fallowfield was a mine to the North of Acomb; a very rich and productive vein which the Blacketts had obtained in the late 1660s. William Blackett took the lease of the far west of Weardale from the Bishop of Durham about this time so ‘Wellhope’ could very well be the Weardale Wellhope. There is also a Wellhope between Nentdale and the West Allen, but this location seems less likely. 3. Richard or R: M: is probably Richard Mowbray at Allenheads (from an April 21 letter). 4. J: M: is probably Jno Mowbray (from an April 21 letter). 5. JB must be John Blackett, a cousin of Michael Blackett who was installed at Fallowfield House to manage the mines there (coal was raised as well as lead).