Questions to witnesses – William Blackett – 2 Apr 1690

Document Type: Questions to witnesses
Date: 2 Apr 1690
Correspondent: William Blackett
Archive Source: TNA E 134 2W&M Trin15
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Cross Interrogatoryes to be adm[inister]d to Witnesses p[ro]duced and exami[n]ed on the part and behalfe of Sr Thomas Tempest Barr[onet]t Def[endan]t at th[e] Suite of theire Mat[jest]yes Attorney generall Sr William Blackett and others Comp[...] 

Doe you know the way in quest[i]on w[hi]ch leads from Hedley in Northumberland to Bladon and Bladon Leadhills in the County of Durham. how oth the Same way lye, Doe you know the Lands & Grounds called the Bogge al[ia]s the Blackmires in the pleadings menc[i]oned Doe you know any money and what money paid for comeing the High way from Hedley along the peth head and downe the peth Doe not <Those> that pay leave the high [wa]y w[hi]ch leads to Bladon & goe <through> the Defts grounds to <the Village of Blaydon>  & by whome and to whome, & when was th[e] same paid, were you p[re]sent when the same was paid,  and did you see the same paid, was the same paid for comeing from Headley aforesaid along the Kings high way now in quic[i]on to Bladon or Bladon hills or Some other way , and what way and to what place, Was not the money you speake of paid warfage or for laying & landing Some Wood Lead Coles Corne or other goods or comodity att the Said Leadhills or one of them. and which of them, or for takeing the Same away from the Said Leadhills or one of them, is it not called Banke money or warfage money, What you know or beleive here about Declare. 

Are you a Farmer or Tennt of or to any of the wayes lands or grounds of Sr Thomas Tempest And of what way lands and Grounds or to any claiming from or under him, or whose Tennt are you and what doe you Farme and what Agreement have you made thereabout. 

Cross Deposicons taken upon Interr[agator]yes [word(s) obscured] to the witnesses formerly produced Sworne and Examined on on the part & behalfe of SSr Thomas Tempest Barrtt Deft, and now p[ro]duced Sworne & Reexamined on the part and behalfe of thei Mat[jes]ties Attorney Generall, Sr William Blackett Barrt and others Complts taken at the house of Michaell Robinson of Blaydon in the County of Durham, the Second Dayof April in the Second yeare of the reign of our Sovereign Lord and Lady King William and Queene Mary by the grace of God of England & Defend[er] of the Faith &c Anno<..> D[omi]ni 1690. By virtue of Com[m]ysion issued forth of their said Ma[jes]ties Court of Excheq[uer] att Westm[inster] To Frederick Newton, John Pickells John Em[m]erson & Thomas Gofton Gent or any Two or more of them directed. 

Cross Interrogatories on behalf of Blackett

These papers are the record of evidence, depositions, collected at Blaydon and Newcastle in April and in October 1690 by commissioners appointed by the Exchequer Court in London. This is the April collection; October’s are located under the document reference TNA E134/ 2Wand M/Mich26. Both sets form part of a case brought by Sir William Blackett against Sir Thomas Tempest. Blackett alleged that Tempest, of Stella Hall, had been imposing illegal tolls on the carriage of lead from Dukesfield and other mills along the Lead Road east of Greenside down to the staithes at Stella and Blaydon, and on the carriage of other goods on the same stretch of road. 

As in all such cases the depositions take the form of a series of questions put by both sides in the dispute – interrogatories and counter-interrogatories – to witnesses, or deponents, called to give statements to the commissioners. The witnesses were mostly ordinary people working as carriers with their horses along the Lead Road. These are Blackett's questions -cross interrogatories- put to the witnesses called by Tempest.

The lack of simple indexes to the voluminous decrees and orders of the court means that the outcome of the case has not been traced. However, later evidence suggests that Tempest won. The surviving Blackett account books, starting in 1729, record an annual payment of £1-5s-0d to Lord Widdrington for 'wayleave through Stella freehold' chargeable to the lead mills.  The 4th Baron Widdrington had acquired the Stella Hall estate through his marriage to Sir Thomas Tempest's grand-daughter.

The interrogatories, counter-interrogatories and depositions are given here in the order in which they are presented amongst the Exchequer Court papers. The Latin preamble is omitted. A guide to Exchequer Court procedure can be found at:

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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