Witness Deposition – Ralph Dixon – 8 Oct 1686

Document Type: Witness Deposition
Date: 8 Oct 1686
Correspondent: Ralph Dixon
Archive Source: TNA E134 2Jas2 Mich 42
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Ralph Dixon of Wolsingham in the County of Durham Blacksmith aged forty & Six or thereabouts Sworne & examined Saith as followeth.

8: To the Eighth Interrogatory this Depon[en]t Saith That he doth know that the Said Defend[an]t bought Severall quantities of Lead Oar at Lunehead in Yorkshire & in Austinmoor in Cumberland where the Plt [Plaintiff] was noe way interested since February in the year One thousand Six hundred Seventy & Six which were brought to the Said Defend[an]ts Mills  & the same bought Oar this Depon[en]t hath seen mixed with the Defend[an]ts own Oar, And this Depon[en]t was imployed as a Smelter & Smith about all the said Mills for about fourteen years last past & in that time hath helped to mix the Said bought Oar at the Said Mills with the Defend[an]ts own Oar & there helped & see them Smelted together which made the Defend[an]ts Oar Smelt & run to a great advantage. And this Depon[en]t Saith That it is the usuall method & course amongst Owners of Lead Mines to buy Oar at other Mines & mix the Same with the Oar of their own Mines which by com[m]on experience is & hath been found to be very advantageous & to p[ro]duce more Lead than their Own Oar would doe without such mixture.

11: To the Eleventh Interrogatory this Depon[en]t Saith That for above twenty years since he knows it to have been the constant & usuall practice of the Defend[an]t & other Owners of Lead Mines to account with their Miners & Oar-Carryers by Tally; And they appoint always a day of reckoning when the Owners or their Servants & the Miners & Oar-Carryers are all present & the Miners p[ro]duce the Stock & the Oar Carriers the Swatch of the Tallies & the name of the Grove & Oar-Carryers is sett upon the Stocks. And then they compare the Same together & if they agree the Tally is broken because the Miners and Oar-Carryers are thereupon paid off their wages. And this Depon[en]t hath been often present at Such reckonings & Seen Tallies broken upon the account aforesaid. And this Depon[en]t hath been credibly informed that that was the ancient practice amongst them beyond all memory. And this Depon[en]t Saith That if if that Method or reckoning Should be altered, it would occasion many Errors mistakes & Differences amongst the Miners & Oar Carriers they being for the most part illiterate in this Depon[en]ts Judgm[en]t.

13.  To the thirteenth Interrogatory this Depon[en]t Saith That Thomas Mowbray (the Plts [Plaintiffs] Agent imployed to take an account of what Lead Oar went to Scotcheale Mill from the Defend[an]ts Mines) is a man very much given to drink & often in the Alehouse drinking & often absent drawing Bills bonds & other writings, & sometimes working at the Smith's Shopp, & at other times at other places, & cannot possibly (as this Depon[en]t conceives) take at Wolsingham (the place appointed him for the purpose aforesaid) an exact account of what Oar-horses goe through Wolsingham belonging to the Defend[an]t or are brought from his Mines the Same being a com[m]on road for Coal-horses, & for Oar-Carriers for Severall other p[er]sons to Newcastle & other places, And this Depon[en]t Saith That the Said Mowbray Severall times hath come to this Depon[en]ts shopp & asked him & his Servants what Oar-horses had passed by this & that time; and this Depon[en]t & his Serv[an]ts would often have told the Said Mowbray twenty or thirty or such number of Oar horses had lately passed by when not one Oar-horse went by; And this Depon[en]t verily believes that the Said Mowbray upon such Informac[i]on Sett down Such number of Oar-horses to the Defend[an]ts account & as his Oar-horses that came from his Mines & were carried to his Mills; And this Depon[en]t Saith That he hath Seen the Said Mowbray Sett down Sixteen Oar-horses as the Defend[an]ts when there was but twelve horses, & this Depon[en]t reproved him for doing that wrong, & he answered this Depon[en]t that it was nothing to him or to that effect. And in his absence he imploys his wife & Children, And this Depon[en]t Saith he knows that That Severall great quantities of Oar are carried through Wolsingham to the Said Scotcheal-Mill which doe not come from the Mines farmed by the Said Defend[an]t as p[ar]ticularly from Lunehead, Dufton, Austenmore, & other places.

      Ralph Dixon                                                                                                                     
Witness on behalf of Humphrey Wharton in answer to Wharton's interrogatories. See 8 Oct 1686 'Questions to witnesses' Nathaniel Crewe, interrogatories, and notes given there for background to the case.

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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