Witness Deposition – Godfrey Miers – 8 Oct 1686

Document Type: Witness Deposition
Date: 8 Oct 1686
Correspondent: Godfrey Miers
Archive Source: TNA E134 2Jas2 Mich 42
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Godfrey Miers of Rookhope in the County of Durham Yeoman aged twenty five years or thereabouts Sworne & examined saith as followeth.

8: To the eighth Interrogatory this Depon[en]t Saith That he knows that Some of the Defend[an]ts Lead Mines are distant from the nearest of his Smelting Mills about Sixteen Miles & other nigher; And this Depon[en]t and his Father before & Since February in the year of our Lord One thousand Six hundred Seventy & Six have been imployed as Agents under the Defend[an]t about his Lead Mines in the parish of Stanhope: And from that time hitherto yearly the Defend[an]t by his Agents & Servants bought Severall great quantities of Lead Oar in Westmorland Cumberland Yorkshire, the County of Durham and Northumberland at Severall Mines & of Severall Owners thereof or their Agents, which Mines the Said Compl[ainan]t was noe way interested in. And this Depon[en]t took in from the Miners of the Mines where Such Oar was brought & from the Carriers thereof the Tallies of what quantities of Lead Oar was Soe bought [interlined above at this point :  by the Said Def[endan]ts Serv[an]ts or Agents And this Depon[en]t Saith that the Said Lead Oare Soe bought] & brought from the places aforesaid were carried to the Def[endan]ts Smelting Mills at Darwen Stanhope hope & Scotcheale & there this Depon[en]t hath seen the Same mix'd with the said Defend[an]ts own Oar & Smelted therewith to make the Same run better & p[ro]duce & afford more Lead. And this Depon[en]t Saith That for about fourteen years last past this Depon[en]t knows that that hath Been the Com[m]on practice & usage in that time by the Said Defend[an]t & his Servants. And he hath heard that that is the com[m]on practice & use by other Owners of Lead Mines which is looked upon as an advantageous & profitable way to make their own Lead Oar yield & produce the more & greater quantity of Lead.

9: To the Ninth Interrogatory this Depon[en]t Saith That the usuall price of the Defend[an]ts Oar gott in his Said Mines Since February in the Said year One thousand Six hundred Seventy & Six hath been twenty shillings a Bing or thereabouts and each Bing contained four horse Loads & each horse Load fourteen Stone. And this Depon[en]t Saith That much of the Defend[an]ts Oar gott in his Said Mines since that time hitherto hath been bad Oar & afforded but Small & inconsiderable quantities of Lead. And this Depon[en]t hath in that time known the Defend[an]ts Agents buy yearly Severall quantities of good Oar at the places aforesaid for two & twenty or three & twenty shillings a Bing Load & the weight thereof Some of it above Sixteen Stone to each horse Load & the Carriage of what they bought in the County of Durham cost only four pence an horse Load to the Said Mills.

10. To the tenth Interrogatory this Depon[en]t Saith That there hath been during all his remembrance severall heapes of old wrought Oar at the Defend[an]ts Mine & Groves & severall heapes of Oar are now lying there that were old wrought & as he believes in John late Lord Bpp [Bishop] of Durham's time & the Vacancy of the See of Durham after his death. And this Depon[en]t very well knows that Severall great quantities of Oar have been yearly gotten out of the Said Old heapes wrought in the Said late Bpp's [Bishop's] time & in the Said Vacancy & the Same yearly Sent to the Defend[an]ts Smelting Mills  within these ten years last past. And this Depon[en]t Saith that about the month of February in the year of our Lord One thousand Six hundred  Seventy & Six there were Severall great quantities of Oar Some p[ar]t thereof washed & other p[ar]t thereof unwashed lying at the said defend[an]ts Mines (over & besides the oar in the Said old heapes) And this Depon[en]t saith that he hath been imployed for about fourteen years last past by his father (who was servant to the Defend[an]t) to goe to & amongst the Defend[an]ts Groves & Mines weekly Sometimes monthly to take an Account of what quantities of Oar were digged & gotten there. And this Depon[en]t in all that time neither See nor heard that any Agent was imployed by the Plt [Plaintiff] to take any Account of what quantities of Oar were cast & wrought at any of the Said Mines and Groves.

11. To the Eleventh Interrogatory this Depon[en]t Saith That he hath known it to be the com[m]on practice about the Defend[an]ts Mines & work That the Miners & Oarcarryers keep an Account by Tally of what quantities of Oar are wrought at the Defend[an]ts Mines & what are bought by him at the places aforesaid. And When they are to reckon & State their Accounts thereabout the Miners bring the Stock & the Oarcarryers the Swatch of the Tally & compare them together & if they agree then both Stock & Swatch are broken, the Miners and Oarcarryers being thereupon paid off what wages are due to them respectively, Which this Depon[en]t hath heard by ancient men to have been the Custome of accounting betwixt Miners & Oarcarryers ever Since there were Mines wrought in Weardale in the Said parish of Stanhope, which is their only method, they being generally unlearned & can not write nor read, the alteration whereof in this Depon[en]ts Judgem[en]t would occasion many differences amongst them and misreckonings.  

13: To the thirteenth Interrogatory this Depon[en]t Saith That he hath Severall times Seen Mowbray & John Sanders the Plts [Plaintiffs] Agents Stand in the High road where Severall Mens Oars (& other Carriages) gott in other Mines where the Plt [Plaintiff] is not concerned as well as Such as were gott in the Defend[an]ts Mines, & there Sett down Such horses as past that way as the Oarcarriers for the Defend[an]t as this Depon[en]t believes, whereas many times such p[er]sons carried Oar that way for other p[er]sons then the Defend[an]t to Newcastle about Hexham & other places without the Said Agents asking What they carried, Whence they came or where they went as this Depon[en]t believes.

                                                                                                                                                         Godfrey Myres                                                                                                                     
Witness on behalf of Humphrey Wharton in answer to Wharton's interrogatories. See 8 Oct 1686 'Questions to witnesses' Nathaniel Crewe, interrogatories, and notes given there for background to the case.

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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