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An impartial Account of Mr Carr's conduct, as Chaplain of Coalcleugh Chapel, towards Mr Richardson the Curate of Nine Banks Chapel, respecting the Dues he complains of. NB Respecting Churchings & Christenings at Coal Cleugh Chapel. The duty ----- he does at Coal Cleugh Chapel, by ancient custom which gives Mr Richardson, offence is the Churching of Women & Baptizing of Children gratis, in that Chapel, for such Miners, as chuse to take the advantage of the Chaplain's assistances. There is no Burial Ground, consequently there are no funerals, neither can there be any marriages, by reason of a preventing clause in the Marriage Act. (Sec p. 474 of that Act) The Miners that frequent Coal Cleugh Chapel, expect by custom, and the original institution, when the Chapel was erected in 1704, by Sir William Blackett that the Chaplain should perform for them any duty he can, & that also gratis. Indeed the distance from the Parish Church, near 7 miles, necessarily required the Chaplain's assistance in all possible cases. It was also the only Chapel in that part of the parish for many years, in which any duty was done. During that period, above 60 years, the want of Burial Ground was much complained of. This inconvenience Sir Walter Blackett removed by endowing a Chapel at N[ine].B[anks]. in the same Parish, about 4 miles, from CoalCleugh Chapel, & 3 from Allendaletown, where Burial Ground was consecrated in 1765, and every duty done in this Chapel, as in the Parish Church, that this par[t] of the parish might have every convenience of duty either at one Chapel or the other. Mr Stokoe was Chaplain at Coal Cleugh Chapel when that at Nine Banks was endowed, in 1765, and also several years before; so that he knew very well the duty which the Miners, had a right to, at their Chapel and consequently continued it 'till his death in 1783, eighteen years after the endowing of N[ine].B[anks]. Chapel. When Mr Carr succeeded Mr Stokoe, the Miners informed him, that Mr Richardson, had been exceedingly troublesome to them several years, by endeavouring to make them pay him for duty, done gratis by their Chaplain, in the same manner as he officiated at Allanheads. No miners paying anything for duty done in the latter place, by custom. In case of refusal he threatened them with prosecutions in the Spiritual Court Mr Carr was desired to take no notice of his menaces, since Sir Walter Blackett the founder of N[ine].B[anks]. Chapel never intended that they should be injured by the Curate thereof, by his obliging them to pay for duty he never performed, or had the least right unto. When they attended his Chapel, for any sort of duty, they were willing to pay him; but by no means for duty done in their Master's Chapel Mr Carr followed the steps of his predecessor, therefore Mr Richardson, has the assurance to complain against him, to Mr Beaumont, for depriving him of Dues. which he has no right to, an action he darest not have ventured upon, either against Mr Stokoe, while Sir Walter Blackett lived, or against Mr Carr, in the lifetime of Sir Thomas Blackett. Neither of these gentlemen intended that the Miners should pay fees at their Chapel, for duty done, by their Chaplain, without any injury to Mr Richardson, since their Chapel was founded many years prior to that at Nine Banks, and had certain priviliges before the other was endowed, or had a right to any thing. From these premises, Mr Carrs trusts that no imputation of blame, can be laid upon him supposing Mr R[ichardson]. get no fees, for what Mr Carr does for the Miners gratis. 2d Respecting the Marriages, at Nine Banks Chapel. When Mr Carr came into the Parish in 1783 the people were much in doubt whether Mr Richardson could marry or not in his Chapel at Nine Banks. An order had been issued in 1781 or 2, by the A[rch]B[isho]ps & B[isho]ps, to the Incumbents of Chapels founded after the passing of the Marriage Act, in 1754, requiring them to deliver their Marriage Registers to the Incumbents of the Parish Churches, since they could not legally marry in them, for the future, from a preventing clause in the Marriage Act. This being Mr Richardsons case, he desisted for 2 years, & then began to marry again, to the surprise of many. Mr Carr was requested to investigate this business, and try to discover, whether N[ine]. B[anks]. C[hapel] had any right of marriage or not by the aforesaid Act. He collected the sentiments of several upon the subject and laid them before the A[rch]B[isho]p of York, who sent the mandate, that the Parish might have the benefit of his opinion. Sec. No 8th & 9th) His Grace thought that Mr Richardson's right was doubtful, and rather seemed that he ought not to marry; and to take care what he dide. This opinion was made public, leaving the parishioners, to do what they pleased. This gave Mr R[ichardson] much offence. Mr Carr leaves the impartial to determine how far his conduct towards Mr Richardson is culpable, especially since the general interest of the Parish required a true state of the case. He only begs leave further to add, that the separation of this Chapel from the Parish Church has been, and still continues a disadvantage to the Incumbent of the Parish, as well as a loss to the Patron, in its present form. In all cases, in general where the Parish Church is poor, as at Allendaletown, the Incumbent is made Patron of the Chapels in his Parish & by these means, the Patronage of the Parish Church is virtually increased; but in this case, neither can the Patron of the Parish Church get any benefit, or the Incumbent augment his living thereby, since neither has any power over it; but on the contrary Mr R[ichardson] is ill treating the Patron's workmen, & complaining against his Chaplain, about matters he has no concern withe. But his motive in this matter is too plain to need a comment.
NRO 672/A/34/65. This is one of a number of short miscellaneous items within a collection of Hexham manor Court papers. It is an unsigned, undated memorandum, but from the context presumably written by Joseph Carr, curate of Coalcleugh and Allenheads chapels between 1783 and 1806 (and also perpetual curate of Allendale Town), in response to some now lost prior accusations by Revd Nicholas Richardson of Ninebanks. JEB referred to the dispute between them in a letter to Col Beaumont of 3rd Jan 1796 – given elsewhere in DD- having heard from Carr and Richardson since Dec 29th. A date of 31 Dec 1795 is given here. It is also therefore assumed that JEB was the recipient of the memo. even though the cover is annotated in John Bell’s hand, the item having presumably been passed on the Hexham manor office by JEB.