Letter – Henry Richmond to Nicholas Halhead – 24 Dec 1761

Document Type: Letter
Date: 24 Dec 1761
Correspondent: Henry Richmond
Recipient: Nicholas Halhead
Archive Source: NRO 672 E 1E 1
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To Nich[ola]s Halhead Esqr.

in Durham                                                                      Newcastle 24th December 1761

Sir        On Fryday last I rec[iev]ed your Favour of the 14th inst in answer to my Letter of the 13th Octo[be]r inclosing the Depositions.

I observe you say the present moor masters Lease is dated the 29th Aug[u]st 1732 but it is dated the 6th April 1750, having been renewed with Bishop Charles in London, & the Lives are all in being.

With regard to what you say about the two Leases of Weardale mines, I agree, That in the moor master’s Lease there is an Exception of “certain Leadmines which were formerly granted to William Hall Esqr. & afterwards to Barbara Sanderson Widow”. But what those Leadmines were may at this day be difficult to prove, since Hall himself; tho’ possessed of a Lease of the Inclosures in the same Terms as the present did never obtain Enjoyment of any mines. And neither He, nor Sanderson, nor her assignee did ever make good against the moor ma[ste]r any right to any mines in Weardale.

But whatever Disputes upon this point may hereafter happen between the possessors of these two Leases in case they should ever fall into different hands; most certainly such Disputes cannot be prejudicial to the Rights of the See of Durham, tho’ they may to Its Revenue. Because 1st. If the Bounds of the moormasters Lease should be straitned by taking from it the inclosures, He will in many cases find it not worth his while engaging in expensive Levels & workings for the winning of veins, part whereof will belong perhaps to the Lessee of these Inclosures. 2dly. The boundary of the moor ma[ste]rs Lease, & the method & Liberty of working would Then in many cases become uncertain & disputeable & upon every occasion almost, proof would be necessary of what were antient & what modern Inclosures; & during these contentions such workings wo[ul]d stand still. 3dly. As a Lease for three Lives, often times more from Fancy & an opinion of the Goodness of the Lives inserted than from the greater Length of the Term, is found to give better Encouragement to mine adventurers than a Lease of 21 y[ea]rs so the moor ma[ste]rs while he is allowed to consider these inclosures as held under his Lease will undoubtedly, as Sr Wr Blacketts Ancestors & himself have done Expend larger sums & carry forwards the workings in these inclosures in a more Extensive manner than if the mines therein were held only under a Lease for 21 years: great part of which is often spent before the vein is effectually won. 4thly. Tho’ Sr Wr Blacketts Ancestors, since the cessation of former Disputes, have advanced the Lot Ore from £100 to £350 a year; yet of the above mentioned Limitation, Contentions & Discouragements were to recur, it is most probable that the annual value of that Lot would decrease considerably, as the workings wo[ul]d thereby be Lessened both in the Fells & in the inclosures. And Lastly Because the Fine on renewing the moor ma[ste]rs Lease must be Lessened in proportion to the mines taken from It, & to the difficulties laid upon the enjoyment of such as shall be left under it.

I hope you will excuse these conjectures; & if you think I judge partially, at least believe that I mean well. For as I see by former transactions, That this Lease of the inclosures has been kept on foot by the moor ma[ste]rs since 1684 for peace sake, as they obtained the renewals for sometime without any Fine & afterwards for but a small one: So I am inclined to believe that the same measure will still be most advantageous both to His L[or]ds[hi]p & to Sr Walter Blackett. You know that Sir Wr is willing to pay as great a Fine as has ever been paid for renewing this Lease. Nay that he is not inclined to stand with His Lords[hi]p about a Trifle. And yet notwithstanding this Disposition has been expressed more than once, a conclusion seems as remote as Ever I am your etc Hen Richmond.

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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