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Monday 15th Aug[us]t Set off this morning early to view the Hexhamshire Estates, accompanied by Mr Jobling the Bailiff, in whose district they are, and proceeded in the place, to Aydon Shields & Salmon Field both under lease to Joseph Bell for 21 Y[ea]rs expiring in 1779 at £75 pAnn. being about 5s/2d pAcre. These farms consist of 287A. 0R. 36P About 150 of which are in meadow, pasture & woodland, the rest arable of which a very small part is in fallow. There are a great many good Oaks upon these farms & a great many from old Stools which are in a retrograde State, & ought to be cut down & sold; particularly in Cow’d Oak Field, the Shore Woods & Hall hill. One ½ of the Former Viz Cow’d Oak Field should be drained & planted. The Low Show, which is something more than 11 Acres, is full of Bushes & underwood; and, as the soil is good and the place well shelter’d it should either be stubbed & planted with Acorns (which we recommend) or converted into meadow; either of which would be an improvement; the reason why we prefer the former is that the soil & situation is proper for the growth of Timber which will always find a good market in this Country both for the Collieries & Lead Mines. We therefore think it will be proper to give orders for it’s being dug, planted with Acorns & properly fenced. About 6 Acres of the Haggs which adjoins the Housing at Ayden Shields, being over-run with Bushes & underwood, should, in our Opinion be treated in the same manner – Salmon Field, which is One of the above farms, is in the Occupation of William Bell, Joseph’s Brother. The Housing at Ayden Shields is in good Condition; that at Salmon Field indifferent except a helm built about 60 Y[ea]rs ago. Hedges are much wanting in both and should be forthwith planted. From these Farms, we entered upon the <ad-in> called Heckely House which contains 108A. 0R. 16P & is under Lease to Joseph Green for 21 Y[ea]rs expiring in 1779 at £31.10s.0d pAnn. being about 5s/10d pAcre It consists of between 70 & 80 Acres of meadow & pasture, the rest arable of which a small part is in fallow. The Dwelling House is very indifferent; the other Buildings pretty good. Hall New, a part of the above farm containing upwards of 70 Acres, should be divided into smaller parcels & then fenced with quick hedges – The Hot bogg is very moist & wants draining – From this Farm we entered upon that called Rowleyhead which contains 136A.2R.10P and is under Lease to Christopher Nevin for 21 Y[ea]rs expiring in 1779 at £10 pAnn. being about 5s/10d pAcre [ It consists of about 80 Acres, pasture & meadow the rest Arable of which about 12 Acres are in fallow. Black pasture, Lowhouse pasture & Low Close want draining and the 2 latter clearing of Bushes. The Housing, which is very neatly thatchd with Heath or Heather is in pretty good condition. The Helm which has a Granary over it, was built about 10 Y[ea]rs ago. There is another Set of housing occupied by the Tenant’s Brother, which, tho[ugh] small, is tight & in good repair. From hence we proceeded upon, Gairshields, a Farm at about 250 Y[ar]ds distance surrounded by the Common, which contains 57A.3R.2P & is under Lease to John Curry for 21 y[ea]rs expiring in 1779 at £16 pAnn being about 5/6 ½ pAcre. This farm, which has scarce a hedge upon it, consists of the greatest part pasture, & meadow. One parcel, containing near 11 Acres, laid down without Seeds & in bad Condition; which is a piece of bad husbandry too common amongst the farmers in this part of the Country, who pretend (tho[ugh] their only motive is an illjudged parsimony) that Seeds impoverish the Land; not considering, at the same time, that the weeds which supply their place, & are a disgrace to every good Husbandman, require an equal if not a greater degree of nourishment. The Housing on the above Farm is very indifferent. From hence we proceeded over the Common to a small detached farm, about 2 Miles distant, called the Bush which contains only 18A.1R.25P & is under lease to Thomas Ridley, in consequence of a permitted Assignment from William Bell, for 21 Y[ea]rs expiring in 1779, at £8 pAnn. being about 8/7 ¾ pAcre. It consists of about ½ meadow & pasture (part of which was pared & preparing to be broke up) And the remainder Arable. The Housing is small & but in indifferent condition. From hence, returning over the Common, we went to Peacock House which Farm contains 69A.3R.13P & is under Lease to James Carr for 21 y[ea]rs expiring in 1779 at £31 pAnn. being about 8s/10 1/4d pAcre. It consists of between 20 & 30 acres of meadow & pasture, the rest arable, none of which is in fallow. In White Field, which contains upwards of 35 Acres, are a great many shabby Oaks from Old Stools which should be cut down & the Ground cleared & converted into Tillage; being very good & proper for the purpose. Haggberry Hole, which is Rough pasture, we think should be planted part with Acorns & the rest with willows. The Devils Water which is very rapid & sudden in its motions frequently takes away a great part of the waste Land of this farm adjoining to it. And there is a small piece, which has been separated from Whitefield by the above river’s having made itself a new channel, now claimed by Job Ward who owns the Lands in the opposite side. It is not possible, without going into a very considerable expence, to secure the Land against the Attacks of this outrageous River, nor is it worth while to be at that expence as the Ground, which it takes away upon these Occasions, is of very little value. The Course of the Lead Mine belonging to the Trustees of the late Lord Crew’s Charity is supposed to run under the above Farm. The Housing is small & but in indifferent condition. From here we went into the Lands of Turf House, which consists of 30A. 1R. 37P is under Lease to Thomas Green for 21 Y[ea]rs expiring in 1779 at £13 pAnn. being about 8/6 ½ pAcre. It consists of about 24 Acres Arable of which a very small part is Fallow, & the rest meadow & pasture. In the Bank pasture is a small Wood in which are some strait thriving Oaks. Hedges are much wanted here, and also some plantations as a screen to the Buildings. The Lands of this Farm are awkward ly intermixed with others belonging to one Mr Dixon. It were therefore much to be wished that the latter could be purchased; but, as they are Copyhold it becomes a Matter of doubt how far the Hospital can make such a purchase was the Proprietor inclined to sell upon equitable Terms. The Housing on this Farm is very indifferent. We next entered upon the adjoining Lands of Rawgreen & having viewed some part returned to Hexham.
This, and the subsequent entries for 16th-19th August, are extracts from the general visitation of the Greenwich Hospital’s northern estate in 1774, undertaken by James Stuart and Thomas Hicks, directors of the Hospital