Letter – William Wilson to John Bell – 19 Nov 1799

Document Type: Letter
Date: 19 Nov 1799
Correspondent: William Wilson
Recipient: John Bell
Archive Source: NRO ZBL 226 1
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Dear Sir,                                      Wolsingham  Nov: 19.  1799

A person of some respectability has lately informed me that he & some friends are ready to take a lead mine in the parish of Wolsingham upon the following terms which he desired me to mention & which I beg the favour of you to communicate to Col. Beaumont & Mr Alderman Blackett, if you think proper.  If they can obtain a lease they will agree to give Col. Beaumont 1/6 of the produce clear of every expense & pay the Rectors tythe besides which would make the dues little short of 1/4.  If these terms are complied with I have reason to suppose the many other adventurers would be ready to take other mines in the parish upon the same terms.  This proposal seems to be extremely advantageous to Col. Beaumont & I have great reason to hope that the lead mines in this parish might hereafter raise him some thousands a year, without any risk or trouble whatsoever if so lett.  Should Col. Beaumont give his consent the sooner it is signified the better because the sooner such adventurers will begin to pay him his dues, & the keener they will be of taking the mines on account of the high price of lead.  I am told that in Derbyshire the Lord is well content with 1/4.  Please therefore to inform me as soon as possible of the result of this very advantageous proposal & I shall refer Col. Beaumont to the persons who have applied to me.  --  Soon after the last assizes at Durham, I desired Messrs. Parsons and Surtees to inform Mr Alderman Blackett that I begged leave to discontinue any further union with Col. B. in the business of Harehopegill lead mine; as I had reason to suppose that my opponents did not dispute my right to the tythe of lead ore upon the freehold, which would therefore make it unnecessary for me any longer to contend with them to prove the copy hold.  I conceived I could very honourably withdraw myself, as I already fulfilled the voluntary promise I had before made of being at 1/4 of the expense of the action (the whole expence having been incurred at the last assizes, as if the action had been then finished.)  and also as I had already by my personal exertions put Col. B. in possession of every information that might tend to bring the <Leasse> to a successful issue.  But as I now find that our opponents do not admit my general right to the tythe of lead ore, I think it most advisable for me to renew my union with Col. B. I beg you will be so good as to signify such intention & that I am now willing to await the issue of the next assizes at Durham & to contribute 1/4 of the expense for that purpose as I have hitherto done.  Col. B. and I being reunited, I beg leave to suggest some thing to you, in which you may be of much assistance to us.  I have lately had strong reasons for supposing that Harehopegill lead mine has been formerly wrought under the Blackett family & am confirmed in that opinion by the evidence of an old man who says that 75 years ago, or thereabouts, he was employed by the agents of the Blackett family to carry lead ore from that mine to one of their smelt mills; & I am also confirmed in the same opinion by other evidence to the same purpose.  I could wish therefore that you yourself would have the goodness to make what search you may think necessary in Col. B' books to prove, whether this mine has been so wrought & at what time.  As you may be considered as the confidential agent of Col. B. & have formerly been in Mr. Richmond's office, I know no person so proper as yourself; particularly as we have hitherto had so much <leger domain> work in the examination of account books.  Please therefore to signify to Col. B. that I particularly request that you may be commissioned by him to make such search as you may think proper to ascertain whether Harehopegill has been ever wrought by any of the Blackett family or any preceding Moor masters?  and I also request that Mr Allgood may be ordered to give you what assistance you may think necessary, & that he may receive a general order to act, & to give every aid I may at any time require in the business of Harehopegill as long as Col. B. and I remain united.  With your assistance and that of Mr. Allgood in the search, I am confident we shall clearly prove that this mine was formerly wrought by the Blackett family.  The sooner such search is made, the better for if a compromise is proposed, the more weight we can throw into Col. B.s scale, the better <terms> he may expect.  Should you in consequence of such commission to search the books come into this neighbourhood, I shall be extremely happy to accommodate you in my house.  Is it probable that Sir John Trevillian as the Executor of the late Sir Walter Blackett, may be possessed of any of the mining accounts?  --  

     I am Dear Sir with best respects to Mrs Bell & family Your's very sincerely

                             W. Wilson

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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