Opinion – Vicary Gibbs – 13 Mar 1805

Document Type: Opinion
Date: 13 Mar 1805
Correspondent: Vicary Gibbs
Archive Source: DUL CCB B 182 121
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      By Indenture of Lease dated the 28th October 1790 Thomas then Lord Bishop of Durham gave and granted unto Sir Thomas Blackett of Bretton Park in the County of York Baronet the Office of Moorman otherwise Moormaster and all & singular the Lead Mines Lead & Lead Ore as well opened as not opened gotten and to be gotten within the parishes of Stanhope and Wolsingham within the County Palatinate of Durham that appertained to the said Lord Bishop of Durham To Hold the same during the Lives of certain Persons therein mentioned Yielding and Paying to the Bishop and his Successors the Lot Ore or ninth Part of all the Lead Ore gotten in the said mines from time to time as the same should accrue and be gotten clean and well washed and without deduction of any manner of Charges for the cleaning getting & washing the same or any other Charges whatsoever at the times therein mentioned and also paying the Yearly Rent of one hundred and fifty Pounds without any deduction or abatement for or on account of any Taxes or Assessments that then were or should thereafter be imposed upon the said demised Premise by Act of Parliament or otherwise howsoever.

      By another Lease of the same date and made between the said Parties the said Lord Bishop demised unto the said Sir Thos. Blackett All those lead Mines Lead and Lead Ore or Ore gotten and to be gotten lying being and remaining and which could be had or obtained within forth or under the several Parks of Stanhope & Wolsingham in the County of Durham and within forth and under all and every the Lands Closes etc of all and singular the Copyholders Leasers Tenants for Years & Customary Tenants of the said Bishop in Weardale in the County of Durham with Liberty to work etc.  To hold the same during the Lives of the Persons therein mentioned Yielding and Paying unto the said Bishop and his successors one full ninth Part of Ore such lead ore or ore as should be gotten within forth & out of the said parks Lands and Grounds.

      By an agreement dated the 1st Sept. 1791 made between the Hon[oura]ble & Right Revd Shute Lord Bishop of Durham of the one part & the said Sir Thomas Blackett of the other part The Bishop agreed to let the said Sir Thos. Blackett the Lot Ore on the ninth part of all the Lead Ore reserved by the said recited Leases under the Yearly Rent of £925 payable quarterly by even & equal portions clear of all manner of Deductions whatsoever And the said Sir Thos. Blackett thereby obliged himself to pay the said Rent or Composition of £925 a year in manner aforementioned And the Parties thereby agreed that a lease should be drawn & executed pursuant to the Covenants therein contained (No lease has yet been drawn or executed)

      No Assessment to the Poor rate has ever yet been made on these Mines or the Lessee or Lessor in respect thereof but it is understood to be the intention of some if not all of the Townships in which these Lead Mines are situated to make such Rate conceiving them to be rateable Property. Your opinion therefore is requested on the following points.

      In case the Lessee is rated and pays for the whole of the mines demised by the said recited leases can he deduct and Part from the Annual Rent of £925 being the Composition agreed to be paid for the bishops Lot Ore or 1/9th part reserved by the said leases on account of any Parochial Rate or Assessment?

      Can any separate Rate or Assessment be made by the bishop of Durham as the Lessor of the said Mines for the said 1/9th part or Lot Ore reserved to him, and if it can has the Bishop any and what remedy against the Lessee to recover any Money paid by him for Parochial Rates or Assessments?

      Under the Authority of the Case of Rowls & Gells Cowp. 451 Lot Ore is rateable in the hands of the Lord to whom it is reserved. The Law of this case was questioned & again brought under discussion in Lord Kenyon’s time & was confirmed by him & the other Judges of the King’s Bench. If therefore this Lot Ore had remained in the hands of the Bishop he would have been rateable for it, but as he lets it to Sir Thos. Blackett the Tenant, it seems to me that the rate must be imposed upon Sir Thomas Blackett who has the thing which is to be rated, & that no portion of the rate can be thrown upon the Bishop who has parted with it. The only ground upon which, in my view of the case, it can be contended that the Bishop remains chargeable is that he stands in the same situation with respect to an Occupier of land to whom he lets the Tithes thereof & as in this latter case the rector is chargeable with the Poor rate on the Tithes, & not the Lessee, so in the case before me, the Bishop & not his Lessee is chargeable, but I am not aware that this doctrine has been carried beyond the Case of a personal letting, which is not strictly a Lease of Tithes, but only an agreement to sell them, & therefore it does not apply to the present Question.

      V. Gibbs

Lin[olns] Inn Fields March 13th 1805

[On reverse] 

Copy case with the Solicitor General’s Opinion thereon in respect of the liability of the Lead Mines in Weardale to pay Poor Rates etc.
A legal opinion by the Solicitor General, Sir Vicary Gibbs, as to who was liable for taxes payable on the Lot Ore from Blackett mines, since the Bishop had agreed to take an annual sum of money, rather than the Lot Ore itself.

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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