Letter – Nicholas Walton to John Ibbetson – 15 Nov 1777

Document Type: Letter
Date: 15 Nov 1777
Correspondent: Nicholas Walton
Recipient: John Ibbetson
Archive Source: TNA ADM 66 97
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To Jno. Ibbetson Esqr.				Farnacres 15th Novr. 1777



      Mr. Walton’s Letter of the 15th. August last acquainted the Board of some Damage that had happened to the Cows of the Smelters by the Smoke of Langley Mill in a part where it was not expected; observing that Langley Mill from its open and airy Situation instead of being less noxious than other Mills of the like kind, as was expected, it is found that the Damage by the Smoke is extended more widely, and therefore that it would become necessary to throw off some more Ground near the Mill to prevent as much as possible a Damage to anyone.   Upon viewing and further considering this Subject we are of Opinion that if a pieces of Ground containing between 12 and 13 Acres which are worth about £3 p[er]Annum, were fenced off so as to exclude Cattle of all kinds from Graizing upon them; we have great reason to hope, that, with proper care we shall have no more Complaints of the Kind abovementioned.   It appears that the Pasture Land belonging to Mr. Fall which has been this last year fenced off and proposed to be eaten with Sheep, in manner mentioned in our Letter of the 23d July 1776 will answer the End, and the Tenant seems satisfied therewith; but yet at the End of the present Lease of the Langley Castle Farms which expires in 1779, we would recommend that the Sheep Pasture abovementioned which lies next the Mill Grounds be excepted  and reserved out of the General Letting, and Lett to the Lead Mill Agent and Smelters, Inhabitants of the Langley Mill Housing, at the Price of 5s/- pr. Acre which we look upon to be at or abt. its Value.

      We have already mentioned, that Mr Fall is now very well contented, as to the Occupation of his Ground, from Damage of the Mill in future; but he still continues his Application for an Allowance on Account of what is past.   You will remember, that some time since vizt. in 1775 he presented a Petition to the Board; and in our Report thereon, finding a considerable Aptitude in the Farmers thereabouts to attribute every Disorder of their Cattle to the Mill Reek, or Smoke; tho’ we were very far from supposing the whole of his Complaint groundless; yet as we looked upon it as very likely to multiply Complaints, by too readily making him a Recompence; and as at the next General Letting we proposed the several Takers of Farms to take them subject to this Inconvenience; we looked upon it as best to make him an Allowance for the whole together at the Expiration of his Lease; and therefore we gave him this Answer; that his Case was before the Board, and would meet with its due Consideration at the End of his Term; when in case he had any further matter of Complaint, the whole might be considered together.

	Our Letter of the 17th Novemr. 1776 advised the Board to comply with the Request of Mr. Mulcaster the Mill Agent and Workmen at Langley Mill to build a small Barn for the Use of those who occupy the small Farms there which we estimated to cost £25. - .- besides the Leading, which we then thought should be done at the Expence of the Parties who were to use it, & which was agreed to by the Board by their Minute of the 7th. December following; but as it was not found convenient to do the Work by Contract; it was obliged to be done by days Work & the amount including Materials exclusive of Carriage comes to £27.11s.1d and the Carriage to £7.18s.3d in the whole £35.9s.4d.   Now as none of the Parties to enjoy it, have any Team or Carriage they could not perform the Carriage otherwise than by hiring; and therefore on reconsidering this Matter, as it would be so much money out of their Pockets, and that they are only Tenants from year to year, and subject to be removed at pleasure we thought it would not be proper to make them pay any Sum of Money which it might be thought hard for them to lose the Benefit of, in case of Death or Necessity of discharg[in]g. any of them.   We find they will be ready to pay 5 per Cent upon what the Cost has exceeded the Original Estimate; if the Board shall so think proper; but as we plainly see that it is much for the Interest of the Hospital to have a competent number of Resciants upon the Place, we wd. wish that every reasonable Incouragement be given them; and that they be permitted to enjoy this Barn without paying Interest.

      We must also acquaint the Board that as the Receivers often find it expedient to pass several Nights at the Mill at a time, they have frequently been in want of Room for the Horses of themselves, Clerks, and Servants; as also of the Moormaster coming there to meet them: and as a little more Room for the Cattle of our little Farmers would be also convenient, it occurred to us, while the Barn was building, to add the further Convenience of a small Byer and Stable, for which there not being time to get an order of Board, without losing the Opportunity we took upon us to get done and the whole Expence Carriage included, comes to £13.18s.8d All which we hope the Board will approve.

      We were made very happy in receiving the Boards Minute of the 7th Decemr. last which expressed the Satisfaction of the Board in finding the Average profit of Smelting and Refining upon the last four Years so considerable as £1184. p[er] Ann.: after defraying all the Expenditure upon the Mill: and though the profit of a Lead Mill must necessarily be subject to considerable variations; which cannot be foreseen, yet we flatter ourselves this undertaking will always afford a reasonable Profit: and as the Profits that have been made were greatly owing to the Personal Diligence and fidelity of Mr Peter Mulcaster our Agent, we have for sometime meditated the recommending him still further to the Board than has been already done and which we now do with the greater pleasure as it is without his knowledge or application and though he appears perfectly easy and contented in his present situation yet as we think something further due to his Merit we look upon it as doing our duty to promote his Interest.

      Mr. Mulcaster was taken into the Hospitals Service in the Year 1768 upon a Salary of £30 . . p[er] Annum with an allowance of House Rent and Fire Coals, and some Acres of Land at a moderate Rent; with an Expectation however given that when the Governor & Company raised the Salaries of their Mill Agents which was then expected his was also to be raised.   On this occasion we applyed to the Board by our Letter of the10th Novemr. 1770 to the following effect.

      ‘We have had between two and three Years Tryal of Mr Mulcaster and believe him perfectly Honest.  He is Sober, diligent carefull, attentive, and tractable, in short we look upon the Commissioners and ourselves, as happy in the Choice of this person having the Pleasure to think that the Hospitals Lead Mill not withstanding its new Establishment is upon as good a footing and the busyness done upon as good Terms, as any in this Country; and are not without hopes still further to improve it, by the care and attention of our Agent to the Minutest Article.’

      Upon the above recommendation the Board was pleased to raise his Salary to £50 . . p[er] Annum which (if it was possible) we doubt not was a proportionate Spur to his Industry, and it is with great Satisfaction that now after 7 Years more trial of him we have not only to confirm but even if we could to Strengthen the foregoing Character; and to say that after the Tryal of Numberless Experiments partly his Own and partly what we have suggested to him; we have been so happy as to make considerable improvements in several of the processes; and the same attention is still pursuing 

	In truth the Exactness wherewith he keeps his accounts, and the clearness wherewith he does all his busyness is such, that with the Quantity of Practical busyness which lies upon him we believe that we should scarcely have found another, that could have acquitted himself of the practical part of the Agency without having had a Clerk to have taken that part of the Busyness; we therefore beg leave with great deference to offer our opinion, that if the Board will be pleased to raise his Salary to £80 p[er] Annum it will not only be a proper acknowledgement of his Service but tend to promote the Hospitals Interest in their Lead concerns.   & we are

      Sir Yours &c

      NWJunr. JS    

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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