Letter – Nicholas Walton to John Ibbetson – 25 Jul 1794

Document Type: Letter
Date: 25 Jul 1794
Correspondent: Nicholas Walton
Recipient: John Ibbetson
Archive Source: TNA ADM 66 83
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John Ibbetson Esqr						Farnacres 25th July 1794


	Herewith you will receive two Proposals for Lead Mines which you are desired to lay before the Board.

	It is with much concern when we acquaint you that the Keelmen still continue riotous. Yesterday they attacked the Workmen at Mr Millington & Co Iron Works in Swalwell and forced several of them to leave their work after which they treated them very ill. Upon application from one of the Agents of Mr M & Co at Newcastle several Horse and Foot were sent to Swalwell attended by two Magistrates and about One Hundred Constables specially appointed and chiefly Gentlemen. * Mr Montagu, who changed his Name from Robinson and is nephew of Mrs Montagu of Portman Square was at the head of the Constables and has distinguished himself by his exertions towards quelling this Riot. – Eight of the Keelmen were laid hold of at Swalwell and have this Day been committed to Durham Jail not withstanding which the rest seem determined not to go to work tho’ they are less riotous than they have been. Many of the Keelmen have been at Sea and are fine Stout Fellows and their <Purlections> are out tomorrow. The sight of a Frigate or two in Shields Harbour might have a good effect. There does not appear to an inclination in the Pitmen &c to join the Keelmen which is very fortunate. But they will I fear join if an end is not soon put to the Riot of the Keelmen. We are 

      Sir Your most obedt Servt

		Walton & Turner

* Mrs Montagu’s Estate and Colliery Lie to the West of Newcastle abt 9 miles. – General Grant who has the command of The Troops, now resides about Seven Miles west from Newcastle and 15 Miles from Shields Harbour----
Walton & Turner were Northern receivers from the Derwentwater Estate on behalf of Greenwich Hospital.  John Ibbetson was Secretary to Hospital Commissioners.

In 1782 the famous Crowley Iron Works was sold to Isiah Millington, a long serving employee and renamed Crowley, Millington & Company.

Mrs Elizabeth Montagu (nee Robinson) widow of the MP Edward Montagu, Earl of Sandwich, who owned numerous coal mines and estates in Northumberland. The family manor house was East Denton Hall, which since 1942 has been the official residence of the RC Bishop of Hexham & Newcastle (now up for sale - April 2020).  Mrs Montagu led & hosted the Blue Stocking Society. In 1776 she adopted her orphaned nephew Matthew who became heir to the estate. In 1777 she had Montagu House built in Portman Square near Oxford Street in London. It was later destroyed in the Blitz.

The Keelmen Riots 1794 – from about 1750 staithes began to be used to deliver coal from wagonways direct to collier ships, without the need for keels. This was the beginning of the end for the keelmen and they realised the threat that the coal staithes posed. Strikes and riots resulted whenever new staithes were opened. In 1794 the Tyneside keelmen went on strike against the use of staithes for loading coal

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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