Report – James Stuart – 19 Aug 1774

Document Type: Report
Date: 19 Aug 1774
Correspondent: James Stuart
Archive Source: TNA ADM 79 57
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Friday 19th Aug

      Dilston which Estate, formerly the residence of the Derwentwater Family, is now divided into the following Farms viz.

      Demesne Farm which contains 490A. 0R. 32P is under Lease to Eliz. Nicholson & William Todd fo[r] 21 Y[ea]rs, expiring in 1779 at £256 pAnn. being about 10s/5 ¼ d pAcre. It consists of about 3/5ths meadow, pasture & waste Land, & the remainder arable of which a small part is fallow, about 2 Acres of the West field & 1 Acre of the Middle field were spoilt by th[e] inundation in 1771. The Dove Cote Close, in which are some very fine Ash Trees, we recommend to be cleared & planted where there are vacancies, and we think it would be better if Widehaugh Wastes were cleared of the Alders Broom & rough Bushes.

      Widehaugh which alone contains 195 acres of fine pasture is much injured by the burroughing of Rabbits; the Tenants of Dilston having time immemorial kept a Warren there.

It was supposed that all the Rabbits were destroyed by the great flood in 1771 but we found them in great numbers & the Land overrun with them. The Tenants have very improperly ploughed up a piece of this Haugh which the Receivers informed us they had ordered them to lay down again immediately.

      The Defences in the above Haugh to keep off the attacks of the Tyne which bends its main force against great part of one side of it are in exceeding good condition, the wearing which is very extensive being built in a solid & substantial manner.

      Near to Widehaugh is, Sam’s Island lately divided with Sir Walter Blackett who used to rent the Hospital’s share for £40 pAnn; which share consisting of 6A. 0R. 10P is now under Lease to William Labourne for 5 Y[ea]rs ending in 1779 at 3s pAnn. & consists entirely of rough pasture.

      The Housing upon the Demesne Farm abovementioned, of which there is a Set for each Tenant, is in very good condition. A new dairy having been built & 2 very good rooms added to Mrs Nicholson’s Dwelling House about 5 Y[ea]rs ago. And the other Tenant's Dwelling House having had a considerable repair at the same time.

      Newtown Farm which contains 852A. 1R. 7P is under Lease to John Snowball, Michael Brown & Thomas Brown for 21 Y[ea]rs expiring in 1779 at £400 pAnn. being about 9s/4 ½ d

pAcre. It consists of upwards of 300 Acres of meadow, clover, rough pasture & some wood, and the remainder arable, of which a good deal is in fallow or Turnips. The Broom Close should be cleared of rubbish near the woodside and planted. The Town Field now in Tillage being low land (near the River) should most part of it be laid down to meadow again. Birkside which contains upwards of 100 Acres is rough pasture except about 7 Acres which is in Oats. There are a great many young Oaks upon it, and we recommend the Banks towards the Devil’s Water as well as both sides the Cleugh to be fenced in and the vacant spaces planted with Acorns. The Park which contains 327A. 3R. 39P is more than half of it in Tillage, the rest very rough pasture which wants clearing & draining. there are a great many roots or stumps of the old Oaks remaining still in the ground, the grubbing up of which, as they are of a very large size would be a great improvement. On the Bank towards the Devil’s Water are a great many very fine young Oaks which receive injury from the Cattle, we therefore recommend the Bank to be fenced top & bottom, the trees now growing thereupon pruned & weeded and Acorns planted in the vacant spaces; the soil & situation being particularly well adapted to the growth of that kind of timber, the park having formerly produced some of the largest in the Country. The Wall on the West side of this park, being an ancient Boundary, has been lately rebuilt in a substantial manner, and that which adjoins the Turnpike road leading to Hexham having been rebuilt about 10 Y[ea]rs ago is in very good condition.

      The Housing in general, except a Helm which wants some repair by the Tenant is in good condition being stone slated, Besides there are in the Park 2 large Cottages with a Granary over them, 2 Barns, a Helm etc which have been since the commencement of the present lease & are at present growing fast out of repair.

      On another part of the farm too is a pretty new Cottage of stone slated, built about 5 Y[ea]rs ago, and necessarily, as appears to us, for the accomodation of one of the Tenants.

      Radcliffe Closes with a House & Smith's Shop under Lease to Carnaby Hoggarth for 21 Y[ea]rs expiring in 1779 at £13.0s pAnn. The Closes contain 7A.0R.15P and are valued at £7 pAnn. being about 20s pAcre, they consist of about ½ meadow & the remainder arable. In the Close called the Chesnuts are some Trees of that name which ought to be taken down. The House & Shop are in good repair.

      Ground & Gardens, contain 7A.0R.35P and are under Lease to William Todd for 13 Y[ea]rs ending in 1779 at £12.10s.0d pAnn. being about £1.14s.7 ½ d pAnn. They consist of about ½ meadow & orchard, the rest arable. In the Garth joining the Hall Garden are some plain and also some aspen Trees which ought to be taken down. The whole of the above Ground & Gardens is walled round.

      Mill & Ground under Lease to Joseph Fidler for 21 Y[ea]rs ending in 1783 at £43 pAnn. The Ground which is all in Tillage contains 14A.0R.26P & being valued at £12 pAnn. is about 16s/11 ¼ d pAcre. The Mill which is valued at £30 pAnn. is in good order, having lately had a new Water Wheel 16 feet high, and the Miller’s house is indifferent.

      Whilst we were viewing the Land we discovered in the Mill Dam, the Stool of an Oak Tree & in the road adjoining a piece  of the outside of the Stem which had been sawed off, this led us to make an enquiry into the cause of it, And, after some time, Fidler the Miller, who had strenuously denied it at first, confessed that he had sawed up the tree, carried the plank home; assigning, in his Excuse, that he did not think there was any harm in it as the Tree had been brought down the Devil’s Water in a Flood, and that he did not know from whence it came or to whom if belonged. Upon this we went to his house where he produced the plank which was immediately given into the custody of [blank space] Nicholson a Son of one of the Tenants of the Demesne Farm who was desired to take care of it, which he promised to do. We at the same time reprimanded the Miller very severely, for what he had done & threatened him with a prosecution which we think highly necessary & therefore recommend in order to put a stop to such iniquitous practices in future. Bell the Bailiff seems to have been guilty of great Neglect in not taking proper care of the above Tree for he acknowledged he knew of it’s being brought down the River, tho[ugh] it does not appear that he gave himself any trouble to prevent it’s being embezzled; for which we think him highly reprehensible.

      Town Green etc including the Hall, Lanes etc containing 12A.1R.32P. The Green is enjoyed in Common, but the other part is lett to Nicholson for £3 pAnn. the whole is waste pasture.

      The Receivers pointed out to us an Improvement which they thought might be made by an Alteration of the road which goes over the above Green, taking down some old ruinous Cottages adjoining & laying the Ground on which they stand with their Garths etc to a part of the said Green, which together would make a good sized Field, the Land being of a good Quality.

[Possible section missing given that the next day’s entry is dated 26th August]

We entirely agree with them that it will be an Improvement, the Ground in it’s present state being of little or no value & therefore recommend that orders be given for the proposed Alteration to be made.

      Having finished our Observations for the present we returned to Hexham, where we were attended by Thomas Kairns a Servant to Mr Bates the Tenant of Coastley, who, as we had been informed by Edward Coats of Haydon Bridge could give information of abuses committed by the Todd’s Tenants of Land’s End Farm he having lived there 7 Y[ea]rs. Upon questioning him upon the matter, he seemed averse to making any discovery, declaring in the first place that he could not, and in the next place that if he could, he should not chuse to do it as it would ruin his Character with his Neighbours & be the means of depriving him of Bread. Not being able to bring him to any Confession, tho[ugh] it was clear from his manner, that he was not so ignorant as he pretended to be, we dismissed him; being more & more convinced of the Truth of every part Of Coats' information.

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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