Journal Entry – William Hooper – 13 Apr 1833

Document Type: Journal Entry
Date: 13 Apr 1833
Correspondent: William Hooper
Archive Source: TNA ADM 80 16
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Saturday April 13th 1833

In the covenants of the Colliery Lease, the Coals supplied to the Hospital tenantry for the purpose of burning Lime is exempted from the payment of rent, and the Lessees are required to supply them to the tenantry at 3d per Boll, or at such price as the Hospital Coal-viewer may determine to be sufficient to cover the working expenses. – The Colliery Lessees having called upon Mr Fenwick to settle these prices, he gave his opinion that the Tenants should pay for Top-coal 5½d, Ground Coal 

 4½d and for Small-Coal 3½d; to these prices the tenants, and especially Mr Thomson, demurred, and for several years the question has produced feuds among them, until Mr Thomson discovered that he was not compelled to have his Coals from Scremerston, and obtained them from another Colliery.  

It was so palpably evident that the intention of this clause was to benefit the Tenants, and that its operation failed in doing so, that I felt satisfied there was something wrong, and before meeting the parties I had Mr Fenwick to explain to me the grounds upon which he had fixed these prices. – The error soon discovered itself, Mr Fenwick had included in his calculation a proportionate sum for the rent and annuity, having never seen or heard of the Covenants, exempting these Coals from rent!! -  

On meeting the parties therefore my course was straightforward and simple, I read over the covenants exempting these Coals from rent, and leaving it to the Coal-viewer who might be appointed by the Hospital to determine the price which should be paid to cover the working-expenses – I then drew the obvious conclusion from these covenants that the intention of the Hospital was to give the Coals to the Tenantry, on their winning them, but to avoid irregularity or disputes, the Lessees of the Colliery were required to win them, the tenant paying the actual expenses incurred in doing so; and that the amount of these expenses was left to the decision of the Coal-viewer.

To this, after some little discussion, I got both parties to assent, and I then called upon Mr Fenwick to explain the grounds upon which he had settled the prices to be paid by the tenantry.  He of course acknowledged the error he had fallen into, and I soon obtained the acquiescence of both parties to his being allowed to re-examine the accounts, and to re-determine the price to be paid in each year from the commencement of the Lease, which decision both expressed themselves willing to be governed by.

Mr Hume, the Solicitor brought me the Draft submission Bond for inspection and approval, and having ………. read it carefully over, and noted such observations as suggested themselves, I returned it to him, to prepare and get executed the legal instrument.

Mr Clement Pattison, the Solicitor to the Berwick Pier Commissioners called upon me, and entered into a long discussion and explanation of the circumstances which had occasioned delay in settling the conveyance of the Pier-Railway, by which it appeared that a part of the line only is freehold, part copy-hold, and a part the public highway through Spital.  Mr Pattison promised me, however, that by Tuesday next he would furnish me with an Abstract of the Freehold, and hoped to furnish me also with the surrender of the Copyhold which is stated to have been lodged with the Clerk of the Manor Court in 1811, when the Pier-Commissioners were entered to the Premises.

Having satisfactorily settled all the matters in dispute between Major Johnson and the tenants, I told him my desire to settle all matters pending between him and the Hospital.

The Board will be aware that Major Johnson withheld £228 of his last year’s rent, claiming £50 for stopping back a feeder of water, and £178 for the additional weight of metal laid down on the Railway to enable it to bear the large stones which the Pier Commissioners had the right of conveying: that the subject was brought under the consideration of Mr Tierney and myself when at Newcastle, and that upon our report, the £50 was ordered to be allowed, while the Board did not feel justified in admitting Major Johnson’s claim to the other sum. – On my visiting him yesterday, he pointed out to me a range of Offices, and Stables, which he had erected, at an expense of £254, upon the faith of the Hospital allowing it him, but its being included in a future estimation.

Major Johnson now put into my hand a memorandum of a conversation which he held with the Receivers in 1828, and which he assured me he made at the time, and which he was willing to verify on oath, but which he was not aware of possessing at the time he met Mr Tierney and myself, in which the Receivers agreed to bear the additional expense of the heavier metal, and he therefore still maintained his claim to this sum. – He also strongly objected to the increase of Annuity from £150 to £255 upon the capital advanced, stating that the objects intended had not been accomplished, and that he had been obliged to seek a new landing-place at his own expense.

One of my objects in bringing Mr Fenwick to Scremerston at this time was to ascertain by actual inspection of the accounts the quantity of Coals which had been wrought from year to year in the present lease, and also the quantity of Lime burnt at the Kilns, with the prices sold at, all of which governs the rent.  With respect to the Colliery, I found that owing to its being nearly off work for the first three or four years, there is still about 1400 tons of short-workings, and that the vend of the Lime-kilns has been within the stipulated quantity and price, with the exception of the three first years of the Lease, but in 1825 the overworkings etc. amounted to £169.0.8¾, in 1826 to £198.9.0, and in 1827 to £66.6.4 – these sums had never been paid, and on my now claiming them, the Major seemed to think it impossible that I would be in earnest.  He contended that the Receivers knowing the injustice of such a claim never pretended to ask for it, but I quietly appealed to his covenants, and asked him if he could state that any part of them was misunderstood or misapprehended by him when he signed them, this he could not say, and I then told him that upon the faith of these covenants I felt it my duty to call upon him for the immediate settlement of these sums, amounting together to £433.16.0; and that on his promptly paying me this, as well as £255 for the annuity of the past year, and the arrears which he had with-held, I would recommend to the Board to allow him for the value of the Buildings and the heavier metal of the Railway: and to assure him that I was in earnest, I immediately wrote him a letter stating the Hospital’s claim, and requesting its immediate settlement; and then told him that I hope he would be prepared by Tuesday to meet me on the liberal terms I had offered.

I had the gratification of closing the days labours by receiving the Submissions Bond of Messrs. Johnson and Pringle, duly, and I believe very satisfactorily, executed; and I immediately forwarded it to Mr Jobson, one of the Arbitrators named in it, that there might be no delay in the settlement of the third party, who has to be named and enrolled on the Bond, within fourteen days of this date. – The building purchased for a Coal-depot in Berwick was found unfit for the purpose, it is now used as an Ice-House by Mr Pringle, but it should either be sold, or let to a party, undertaking to repair it.

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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