Letter – Henry Richmond to Walter Blackett – 10 Mar 1761

Document Type: Letter
Date: 10 Mar 1761
Correspondent: Henry Richmond
Recipient: Walter Blackett
Archive Source: NRO 672 E 1E 1
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To Sir Wr Blackett Bt. M.P. London                                                       Newcastle 10 March 1761

Honourd Sir

At the meeting of the deputy Lieutenants & justices yesterday at Hexham S[i]r Lance[lo]t Allgood, S[i]r Robt. Bewicke, <Coll[one]l> Delaval Mr Fenwick Mr Reed & Mr Soulsby were present. The six Co[mpanie]s of the Yorkshire Militia, being about 240 men, commanded by Major Crow were drawn up in the market place before the Gaol Gate a little after 9 o’clock. About 12, the mob armed with clubs became very numerous & riotous in the streets & market place & so bold as to venture almost within reach of the Bayonets. Several of the heads of them declared to the Militia that they meant them no harm, & that if they wo[ul]d lay down their arms they sho[ul]d not be hurt but rather rewarded, but if they obstructed them, they wo[ul]d kill every man of them. By degrees they grew still bolder & more tumultuous & several times tried to put the Bayonets aside. The justices, who were in the senter of the square formed by the militia, now grew apprehensive that the mob wo[ul]d break in upon them, & therefore ordered the proclamation to be read; wch was accordingly done three times, But the mob treated it with contempt, & in about a qua[rte]r of an hour began to attack the militia in several parts of their square & actually broke thro[ugh] the line on the left by their weight notwithstanding several were wounded by the bayonets. In this scuffle Lieutenant Hart was shot thro[ugh] the body by a pistol fired f[ro]m the mob, & it is thought cannot recover, one private man was killed & two wounded. Upon this the order was given to fire wch was at first done by three files & then by a platoon, but this not at all intimidating the mob, tho’ several of them dropt, the fire became general, & then the mob fled & dispersed imediately and I am sorry to acquaint you that 20 of them are killed & numbers wounded. This was a violent, but I realy beleive a necessary remedy for the disorder, wch was growing very great & contagious. Several bodies of men having catched It, & ignorant of what passed yesterday assembled this morning on Killingworth moor & other places, but I cannot learn what scheme they are upon. No doubt they will now soon disperse. The 6 Companies at hexham lay upon their arms all last night in the Abbey where they are still; but all, as I hear to day, is quiet in that quarter. I cannot learn that any of your miners were at hexham, I hope the expectation of their pay kept them at home. They will not be disappointed therein, for after this severe example it was thought there wo[ul]d be no disturbance or Interruption to be met with on the road & therefore my Father & the Stewards set off this morning with the money. The behaviour of the Militia seems universally applauded for they were about 6 hours under arms, & bore the insults & attacks of the mob with great composure, till the order was given to Fire. I am etc HR

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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