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We returned to Dilston this morning & had the rest or stool of the Oak Tree taken out of the Mill Dam and upon comparing it with the size of the Plank, there did not seem to be any doubt of their being parts of the same Tree, which we judge must have squared about 7 or 8 inches. We then took our last view of the small remains of Dilston Hall now in ruins, the greatest part having been taken down by the Director's orders, within these few Y[ea]rs past & the Materials sold from time to time, having produced a clear profit of upwards of £800. The Ground & Gardens which have been mentioned before letting at present, within £3.10s.0d pAnn. for as much as the whole did when the Hall was included. We could not behold these Ruins, the beautiful situation of the place & the circumjacent Demesne but a few Y[ea]rs ago laid out in parks & adorned with most noble plantations now no more to be seen, without reflecting upon the uncertainty of all human affairs, and upon the Folly & Misconduct of the Man who in the prime of his Life and in possession of one of the finest Estates in this Country, could so wantonly sacrifice both to the importunate, misguided zeal of a bigoted, ambitious woman. As the Materials of what is left standing of the Hall are of very little value and the Ruin makes a pretty Object to the neighbouring Country, we recommend that no more of it be taken down, but that it remain an Example to others and a monument of Public Justice to future Ages. We also recommend that the rubbish be entirely removed and the ground filled up, ploughed <close> to the Walls & laid down with seeds. There is a small Chapel adjoining, which formerly belonged to the Derwentwater Family, and under it is a Vault in which are 4 or 5 Coffins containing the Remains of the late unfortunate Earl & some of his Predesessors. The Windows of this Chapel are broken & it is otherwise going to decay; we therefore recommend that it may be repaired, the windows secured by wire, and that a room in it, now occupied by a pauper, may be taken away. We also recommend that the entrance to the Vault may be closed up, or otherwise secured, so as to prevent the Bodies of the dead from being made a public show of, in so scandalous way & indecent a manner as they are present. We would also propose that a few Trees may be planted close around the Chapel & that it may be kept up in decent condition; out of respect, at least, to the memory of such of the Family now deposited under it, as were never convicted of having offended against the Laws of their Country. Having viewed all that appeared necessary at Dilston we returned in the Evening to Hexham. And having now finished our view of every part of the Derwentwater Estate in its neighbourhood we prepared to take our Leave of that place, & set out to Newcastle, and accordingly, on
This is an extract from the general visitation of the Greenwich Hospital’s northern estate in 1774, undertaken by James Stuart and Thomas Hicks, directors of the Hospital.