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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Interrogatories to be Adm[inister]ed to witnesses to be p[ro]duced sworne & Exam[in]ed on the part & behalfe of their Matyes [Majesty's] Attorney Generall on behalfe of their Matyes Sr William Blackett Barrt [Baronet] and the Inhabitants of the County Pallatine of Durham, ag[ains]t Sr Thomas Tempest Barrt Deft [defendant].

Imps[er].	Doe you know Sr William Blackett in the pleadings ment[i]oned, Did you know Sr William Blackett deceased father of the said Sr William Blackett; Doe you know Sr Thomas Tempest the Def[endan]t the truth Declare.

2: Item	Doe you know there is an highway att all times of the yeare for all the Kings and Queens Subjects to goe with theire horses Carts Waines Waggons and other Carriages from the Towne of Hedley in the County of Northumberland to the Hamlett of Bladon Bladon Staithes & Leadhills in the County Pallatine aforesaid Through what Closes or p[ar]cells of Grounds doth the same Way lye Dothe the same lye way through certaine Closes or grounds called the Bogg als [alias] Blackmire the peth & the peth head in the said County, hath the said way been used as an high way through the said Closes dureing  the time of your remembrance for all Waines Waggons Carts & Carriages; For how many yeares have you knowne the said way to be soe used, what you know speak and the truthe herein Declare.

3: Item 	Did you know the said highway to have been att any time repaired by the said Sr Thomas Tempest or any of those under whome the said Sr Thomas Tempest claimes the Lands Through w[hi]ch the said high way lyes, Doe you know or remember who it was that inclosed the Lands upon one or both sides of the said high way, what you know speake and the truth declare.

4: Item 	Did ever you know any Waines or Wagons stopt in their passing the said high way, or did you know any p[er]son or p[er]sons whatsoever ask leave to goe the said high way with their Waines Carriages or horses, or pay any sume of money or other recompence for useing the said Way with theire Waines horses or Carriages Doe you know any p[er]son who had occat[i]on to use the said high way with his Waines Wagons or horses, Did you use the said Way your selfe frequently with Carts Waines Waggons or horses. Were you ever stopt in passing with your Waines or other Carriages over the said Way, or did you ever ask leave to goe the said Way of any p[er]son whatsoever or pay any sume of money or other recompence to any p[er]son for using the said Way, how many yeares is it since you first went the said Way with your Waines horses or other Carriages, what you know speak and the truth herein declare, and what you know about the paymt of four pence p[er] Tunne or any other sume att the Lead hill or Bladon Bankes aforesaid, and what is the sume paid for & to whome; is it for the said Way leave or not Declare:

5: Item 	Doe you know any other matter cause or thing materiall or effectuall on the comp[lainan]t's behalfe if you doe the same speake and declare att large.#

Ro: Shaftoe

Depositions of witnesses produced Sworne and Examined upon certaine Interreys [interrogatories] exhibited on the part and behalfe  of their Maties [Majesties] Attorney General in the behalf of their Matie & Sr William Blackett Barrt [baronet] and the inhabitants of the County Palatine of Durham complts [complainants] against Sr Thomas tempest Barrt Deft [defendant] taken att the house of Michaell Robinson of Blaydon Staithes in the County of Durham the second day of Aprill in the second yeare of reigne of our Soveraigne Lord and Lady King Wiliam and Queen Mary of England &c Anno Die 1690. By virtue of a Comission issued forth of their said Maties Court of Exchequer att Westminster [obscured] <Frederick Newton> John Pickells John Emmerson and Thomas Gofton Gent or any two or more of them directed:
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.

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