Journal entry – John Grey – 21 Feb 1834

Document Type: Journal entry
Date: 21 Feb 1834
Correspondent: John Grey
Archive Source: TNA ADM 80 19
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Friday 21st Febry

Rode in the morning to Westwood to meet Benson & the Mason whose tender for building the two Cottages there had been accepted, that the Situation might be determined & the Work begun. The most convenient place for them is a piece of waste land at the junction of the Hexham & Chain Bridge roads, & as it is a public and conspicuous situation, some regard must be had to neatness in constructing and Keeping them.  Proceeded then to look after some matters at Haydon Bridge & thence by appointment to meet the Lessee at Stublick Colliery.  Having put myself into a Miners Dress I descended in a rope, let down by the Engine, 48 fathoms into the Earth, & then with a Candle stuck in a bit of Clay, made my way as best I could, sometimes on hands knees, through the various seams & to the different parts of the workings, being well satisfied, before I reached the Shaft again, that my size was not the most convenient for a Colliery Receiver.  I have been in several Mines, but this is by far the most complicated & unintelligible of any I have ever seen, for besides the great Stublick Dike which runs through the Country 90 fathoms deep, & is known to all Miners, as cutting off the Coal seams in its course, the field of Coal here is intersected by innumerable small dikes, which throw the seams into such confusion, that in coming upon one the Miner does not know whether on the other side of it, he may find the seam he is working 20 fathoms above or 20 fathoms below his present Level.  One of these Dikes I penetrated to today & found that on the other side they had discovered the Coal Pit 16 fathoms higher than on the side we had left.  

My object in going through the Workings, was to endeavour to gain such a knowledge of them as to enable me to understand the Plans as laid down of their proceedings, & to ascertain if I could, whether they were working all the seams fairly away & not taking those which work easily & leaving those that are more difficult.  In fact to decide upon the necessity of having the Colliery examined by a regular Receiver, from time to time.  This would certainly be satisfactory, although the Seams are all carried fairly on at present, & ought to have taken place at the time of the transfer of the Colliery to the present Lessees.   As for one thing it is evident that the Reducing Coal had been wrought farther than appears by the Plan delivered by Mr Bell.  This Seam, the workings & sale of which are placed under such restrictions on account of its value in smelting, contains in itself its own protection.  It is but a thin Seam, & what is grievous only the top part is of that peculiar quality, the under half being a small drossy Coal used only for the Blacksmiths fires, on Account of its thinness & the expense of separating the two kinds, it is worked at great expense than other seams & as the Country people would not give more for it than for the others for domestic purposes, the Lessees would not be paid for working it were they so inclined.  They have just now discovered Coal by boring, to the west of the present Pit, & very near to where it appears six different attempts have been made without success having always gone down upon Dykes or troubles.  They are making a second boring in the supposed line of the Coal Seams, and should that prove successful they will, I hope, be able to make a winning at little expense, which will serve for some years without sinking a new Pit to the Eastward & incurring any risk from the body of Water there is there lodged upon the Colliery.   Rode home in the evening 12 Miles in a Blast of Snow , tolerably wearied with the exercise.    I ought here to mention what May lead to future unpleasant discussion if not attended to.  It may perhaps be in the recollection of the Board that I had difficulty in ascertaining which part of the land now leased with the Colliery, Bell held as Agent, & which as tenant.  It was at length decided that he was entitled to an away-going Crop upon a portion of it, & that Crop the present Lessees purchased from him for £27 odds, contending however & justly that as they pay rents each half year as they become due, without what is called the running half year, they ought to have the Crop the first year of the Term and none the last. The shortest way of putting them in this position, would likely be for the hospital to allow them the sum they paid to Bell, & then matters will be straight at the termination of the Lease.  Otherwise they will be entitled to an equal portion of the Crop then, which might lead to disputes & perpetuate the confusion.  If however the £27 should not be repaid a memorandum of the transaction ought to be attached to the Lease for the information of those into whose hands the settlement of the business at a future time may fall.

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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