Witness Deposition – Robert Wharton – 8 Oct 1686

Document Type: Witness Deposition
Date: 8 Oct 1686
Correspondent: Robert Wharton
Archive Source: TNA E134 2Jas2 Mich 42
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Robert Wharton of Gilling in the County of York Esq[uire] aged thirty Eight years or thereabouts sworne and examined Saith as followeth

1: To the first Interrogatory this Depon[en]t Saith That he knows the Compl[ainan]t and hath known him these twenty years & by p[ar]ticular acquaintance about twelve years, & the Defend[an]t Humphrey [inserted above this point: ‘Wharton’], & hath known the [inserted above this point: ‘said’] two parishes in this Interrogatory menc[ti]oned ever Since April in the year One thousand Six hundred Sixty & Nine.

2: To the Second Interrogatory this Depon[en]t Saith That he was present at the Sealing of the Grant for three Lives dated in April One thousand Six hundred & Seventy granted by the late Bpp[Bishop] of Durham D[o]c[t]or John Cosyns unto the Defend[an]t Humphrey Wharton esq[uire] the office of Moor=Master & other matters thereby granted. But as to the matters & things the D[ocu]m[en]t therein contained this Depon[en]t for his greater certainty refers himself thereto.

3: To the third Interrogatory this Depon[en]t Saith That about the month of September in the One thousand Six hundred seventy & five Captain Fetherston Under colour of some Grant from Barbara Sanderson or William Hall did enter by himself & workmen on severall places in a great Inclosure called the Billing near Stanhope & did there gain & winn Severall quantities of Lead=Oar & Sold the same or a great part thereof as the Said Mr Fetherston told this Depon[en]t unto one Mr Smith a merchant of Newcastle at two & twenty shillings per Bing for Potters=Oar in the year One thousand Six hundred Seventy & Six, that he continued working them till about the year One thousand Six hundred Seventy & Eight when the Mines in the Billing grew poor. In the months of April or May in the year One thousand Six hundred Seventy & Nine or thereabouts Sir William Blackett the Elder did enter on the Said Mines in the Billing by colour of a new Grant from the p[re]sent B[isho]pp of Durham now Compl[ainan]t made unto Barbara Sanderson in September in the year One thousand Six hundred Seventy & Eight on the Surrender of William Hall’s old Grant And the Said Sir William Blackett did enter by his workmen in the beginning of the year One thousand Six hundred Seventy & Nine on Severall other Lead Mines in Stanhope parish p[ar]ticularly on Newlandside this Depon[en]t going thither about April or May in the Year One thousand Six hundred Seventy & Nine & gave a discharge on the Defend[an]t Wharton’s behalf & by his order or directions to the workmen from working there, & he saw there considerable quantities of Lead Oar lying there both washt & unwasht, which were carryed afterwards away for the use & benefit of the Said Sir William Blackett, And this Depon[en]t Saith That he verily believes that the Compl[ainan]ts making that Lease to Barbara Sanderson about September, One thousand Six hundred Seventy & eight hath been above two hundred pounds per Annum losse to the Defend[an]t Since that time, it hindering the Defend[an]t & workmen from adventuring to work in many Mines in Stanhope parish.

4. To the fourth Interrogatory this Depon[en]t Saith That the Defend[an]t Humphrey Wharton was farmer to the last Bpp[Bishop] of Durham of the Lott Oar in question at Sixty pounds p[er] Annum, and the Defend[an]t & Mr John Howe were farmers of the Lott Oar in the vacancy of the Said B[isho]pprick unto his late Maj[es]ty at Sixty pounds p[er] Annum, And further this Depon[en]t Saith that the Defend[an]t Humphrey by his presence did offer unto the present B[isho]pp of Durham the Compl[ainan]t Sixty pounds p[er] Annum in the month of October or November in the year One thousand and Six hundred Seventy & four for the Said Lott=Oar.

5. To the Fifth Interrogatory this Depon[en]t Saith That he hath been frequently told by the Lord Marquess of Winchester That he did in the month of August in the year One thousand Six hundred Seventy & Six make an Agreem[en]t (on the behalf of the Said Humphrey Wharton Esq[uire]) with the now Compl[ainan]t for the Lott=Oar of Stanhope & Wolsingham parishes during his being B[isho]pp of Durham, viz four hundred pounds for the arrears & Fine for the Lott <vizt> Sixty pounds [deleted or obscured] for the time to come , and that his Lord[shi]pp the B[isho]pp of Durham was to pay One hundred pounds to Mr Parkhurst & one hundred pounds to Mr Wycliffe for their interest he had made them therein, And this Depon[en]t doth verily believe that the Defend[an]t Humphrey Wharton’s Agents did tender the four hundred pounds & interest in four months or thereabouts at the B[isho]pp of Durhams Exchequer in Durham & gave his Auditor & other officers concerned for him in receipt of his money notice of the money being there ready to be received by them if they pleased.

6. To the Sixth Interrogatory this Depon[en]t Saith That he hath heard Mr John Wycliffe dec[ease]d & Mr John Parkhurst declare this right of the Lott=Oar of Stanhope & Wolsingham Parishes was invested in them from the now Compl[ainan]t, And this Depon[en]t hath been present at some meetings with them for the accommodating the matter of the Lott=Oar payable from the Defend[an]t Humphrey Wharton And this Depon[en]t further saith he hath seen the Counterpart of the Grant Signed by the Said Wycliffe & Parkhurst in the hands of Mr Arden the now Compl[ainan]ts Steward about the month of June in the year One thousand Six hundred  & Eighty one & Since in the hands of the now Compl[ainan]t and by the order & appointment of the now Compl[ainan]t a Copy of the Said Grant was given to this Depon[en]t by Robert Dormer Esq[uire] the now Compl[ainan]ts Attorney Generall at his Chamber in Lincoln’s Inn about the month of June in the year One thousand Six hundred Eighty & one which is also [inserted above at this point: ‘now’] p[ro]duced to this Depon[en]t at his Examination & as to the matters therein contained he referrs himself Whereby as this Depon[en]t conceives & understands the interest of the Lott=Oar was invested in Wycliffe & Parkhurst & Since that time viz. Three or four years agoe he hath heard the now Compl[ainan]t affirm that he bought Parkhursts Interest out and that Mr John Wycliffe Son of the late John Wycliffe stands seised of the other halfe.

7: To the Seventh Interrogatory this Depon[en]t Saith That about nine years agoe the Compl[ainan]t in the name of Robert Dorner Esq[uire] his Attorney Generall did file an Information in his Chancery Court at Durham against the Defend[an]t for the Said Lott=Oar And thereupon in or about August or September in the year of our Lord One thousand and Six hundred Seventy & Nine a Decree was for an Account to be Stated by the Register of the Same Court, and that the Compl[ainan]t might have liberty to have an officer attend at the Mines Soe that Such Officer did not disturb the working of the Mines & for more certainty this Depon[en]t refers himselfe to the Said Decree, and this Depon[en]t Saith That Since that time on Severall examinations of many Witnesses there was a Speciall Report made by the Said Register unto the Chancellor Sir John Otway unto Which Exceptions being taken by the then & now Defend[an]t it was argued by December in the year One thousand and Six hundred & Eighty & four before the Said Chancellor at Grays Inn where the process being read & [2-4 words illegible] both sides it was referred unto a Tryall at Common Law & the issue was to try The quantity & value of the Lead Oar gotten in Stanhope & Wolsingham parishes in that time which was accordingly had about the month of March following at Durham where the Depon[en]t was present and examined on oath, after a long examination of Witnesses on both Sides the verdict was for the then & now Compl[ainan]t for two hundred & ten pounds for the Lott=Oar from the twentieth of November in the year One thousand and Six hundred Seventy & four till February the twelfth in the year One thousand Six hundred Seventy & Six, and accordingly Sir John Otway the Chancellor made a Decree or Generall order & gave the Defend[an]t Seven months to pay that Summe unto the Compl[ainan]t which was accordingly paid unto the Said Compl[ainan]ts Order Unto which Severall proceedings in the Same Courts this Depon[en]t referrs himself to the Record Entries thereof.

8.9.10 To the Eighth Nineth & tenth Interrogatories this Depon[en]t Saith That the Defend[an]ts Lead=Mines in Stanhope & Wolsingham p[ar]ishes lye at a great distance from his Smelting Mills Vizt. Some of them fifteen, Sixteen, twelve, Eight & Six, and four miles is the nearest to the best of this Depon[en]ts knowledge, And this Depon[en]t Saith That the weight of the Defend[an]ts own oar in Stanhope parish is but fourteen Stone to the horse Load & and fifty Six Stone to the Bing, Whereas all the Oar in adjacent Lord[shi]pps & counties is Sixteen Stone to the horse Load, & and Some of them Sixteen Stones & ten pounds weight, & to the Bing Load Sixty Stone & Some Sixty two Stone, Soe that the Defend[an]ts own oar being Weardale weight is but worth twenty Shillings generally at most as this Depon[en]t believes, and is inclined the rather to believe Soe for that the now Compl[ainan]t in his Grant to Barbara Sanderson in September in the year One thousand Six hundred Seventy & Eight doth reserve to himself for the Lott=Oar or twenty Shillings per Bing for every Bing that falls due to his Lord[shi]pp for that reservation, and the Defend[an]t by his Agents hath bought Severall quantities at twenty four Shillings the Bing Load at Sixteen Stone & ten pounds to the horse Load betwixt that time & the exhibiting of the Now Compl[ainan]ts Bill & had it carried to his Lead=Mill for Sixpence the horse Load, whereas most of his own oar of Stanhope parish costs thirteen pence & fourteen, fifteen & Sixteen pence the horse Load for Carriage, And this Defend[an]t further Saith the time in these Interrogatories mentioned this Depon[en]t bought Severall quantities of Lead=Oar in Yorkshire Westmorland & Cumberland, at one time three or four hundred Bings, and it was & is usuall for the Defend[an]t & most of the owners of Lead=Mills to buy great quantities of Lead Oar out of different Lord[shi]pps & Counties for that it’s found by common experience that the mixing of different Sorts of Oare in the fire makes a greater p[ro]duct of Lead in the Same time & of the Same weight of Oare, Sometimes it p[ro]duces a third part more, Sometimes double as this Depon[en]t knows by his experience ; And this Depon[en]t Saith that Since the twelfth of February in the year One thousand Six hundred Seventy & Six, he this Depon[en]t hath Severall times offered to sell the Lead Oar gott out of the Mines in question at Sixteen, Seventeen or Eighteen Shillings the Bing, but none would give these rates, it being not Such good Oar as other Oar; it being an hard Oar & costs more money in Smelting itt, then the value of the Lead yielded by that Oar And this Depon[en]t Saith that at most of the Defend[an]ts Mines in Stanhope & Wolsingham parishes there were & are great quantities of Old= heapes of Sparr Stone & rubbish & Some Oar in them which was got before February in the year One thousand Six hundred Seventy & Six out of which great quantities may be washed for ten years to come, and believes near two hundred Bings a year hath been washed Since February in the year One thousand Six hundred Seventy & Six out of those old heapes, for which the Lott was before paid  And this Depon[en]t Saith That he well remembers That in the middle of February in the year One thousand Six hundred Seventy & Six great quantities of Lead=Oar was lying  both wash’d & unwasht at the Defend[an]ts Mines, and the better remembers being it was the first whole Winter that this Depon[en]t made his aboad in the Country Since he came to man’s Estate, & by estimation he believes there was lying at that time washt & unwasht beside the old heapes about Six hundred Bings at the Defend[an]ts Mines in Stanhope parish, and this Depon[en]t had p[ar]ticular orders from the Defend[an]t that all means should be used to prevent mixing the Oares & mettall that was got Since the twelfth of February One thousand Six hundred Seventy & Six with the Oare & mettall gotten & drawn to the Surface of the earth before although it cost the more money to have itt laid at a distance to carry itt to the water to wash itt, & accordingly this Depon[en]t did then being about the twelfth of February One thousand Six hundred Seventy & Six give order to the Stewards & Overmen at Pitts & the chief workmen that took care of Such matters & believe there was noe mixture of the mettalls gott before the twelfth of February One thousand Six hundred Seventy & Six with what was gotten afterwards.

11. To the Eleventh Interrogatory this Depon[en]t Saith That Since & in the year One thousand Six hundred Sixty & Nine he Well remembers & hath heard from Severall workmen it was Soe before used in his Grandfathers & Great Grandfather’s Time that their Agents as well as the Defend[an]t & his Agents did reckon & pay ( off his miners & Oar=Carryers as well for all his own oar digged & gotten as alsoe for all foreigne Oare & bought Oar out of other Counties & Lord[shi]pps by Tallies, When the Miners & Oar=Carryers at appointed times did meet & compare the Stocks with the Swatches of the Tallies which were on comparing & found thereby to agree broken & thrown away to prevent double charging or wronging each party, and it was & is thought the best & onely way to deale with Such p[er]sons that cannot read as few of them can being illiterate & labouring men.

12 13 To the twelfth & thirteenth Interrogatories this Depon[en]t Saith That he hath by the Defend[an]ts Order & desire requested the Compl[ainan]t & Mister John Parkhurst (who did pretend an interest to a moiety of the Lott & Oare & managed a Chancery Suit at Durham against this Defend[an]t for the Said Lott Oar) both before & Since the twelfth of February in the year One thousand Six hundred Seventy & Six and p[ar]ticularly in Easter Term in the year One thousand Six hundred Seventy & Seven this Depon[en]t acquainted Mr Parkhurst to place an Officer at every Mine that yielded any lead-Oar to take an account at the Mines demised to the Defend[an]t of all the Oar dug, gotten washed up out of them that the Lott Oare might be certainly known and that under that pretence of a Nineth part they might not take away & demand an halfe or a fourth part of the whole Lead Oare, but their Answer was they would Sett men on the highways towards the Defend[an]ts Lead Mills And this Depon[en]t did at severall times acquaint them that an Officer at the Mine was the most proper way to prevent any fraud to either Pl[ain]t[iff] or Defend[an]t. Yet the Compl[ainan]t or Mr Wycliffe or Mr Parkhurst or some one for them as this Depon[en]t believes for that he hath heard the Same from those who were imployed by them did Sett Some Officers (men of little credit & esteem) and they were to take an account of all Loaden horses of Oare or Poakes like Oar that came on the road although all those roades to the Defend[en]ts Mills are common high roads leading to many other places where great quantities of Oar going to Newcastle to be Shipp’d beyond Seas as alsoe to Severall other mens Lead=Mills where great quantities of Oar gotten out of Yorkshire Cumberland Westmorland & Northumberland were carried & much thereof by the those very men and horses that carried the Defend[an]ts own Oar to his Lead= Mills and besides this Depon[en]ts experience & knowledge of these matters from the Defend[an]ts Oar Carriers he hath heard from Some of those men that were imployed to take account for the Compl[ainan]t or those who claim under him of the Loaden horses, that they tooke account of all horses that Seemed Loaden on the high way to the Mills altho’ it were two or three miles distant from them, and twelve, ten & eight, Six & four Miles from the Defend[an]ts Lead Mines Soe that this Depon[en]t told the now Compl[ainan]t & William Rooksby (who alsoe pretends to be concerned with Wycliffe for an halfe that it was impossible to reduce the Lott to any certainty by Such ordinary mens attending in the highways. Whereupon the now Compl[ainan]t answered he would not willingly doe the Defend[an]t wrong & thereupon advise against those ways of taking account of the horses on the roads  (and he said he would not be at any charge to keep Such Officers, Whereupon this Depon[en]t p[re]ferred by the Defend[an]ts consent that if they would place Officers at the Mines to take account of the oar that Should be gotten he would give them his assistance to doe right to both parties how[ev]er they have not soe done as yet as this Depon[en]t believes he having seen one Thomas Mowbray number Oar horses on the roades within these ten days.

14: To the fourteenth Interrogatory this Depon[en]t Saith That on the fortieth day after Candlemas day in the year One thousand Six hundred Eighty & four according to the reservation of the Said Grant for three Lives to the Said Defend[an]t he this Depon[en]t did Lett out about twelve horse Loades of Oar for the Lott=Oar due that Quarter, which he was informed was as near the quantity due as could be guessed Seeing there was Soe little a quantity unwash’t up at the Mines that Quarter, by reason of the excessive Storme (And this Depon[en]t gave orders then by the Defend[an]ts appointment for that quarterly Setting it out & doth believe it was accordingly quarterly set out at the due times Untill the Said Agream[en]t made by the Said Marquesse of Winchester about August in the year One thousand Six hundred & Seventy Six as is predeposed.

15: To the fifteenth Interrogatory this Depon[en]t Saith That he hath been privy unto the Defend[an]ts paym[en]t of Eighteen hundred and Sixty pounds unt[o] the now Compl[ainan]t & his Order, and that all that Summe was paid unto the Said Compl[ainan]ts Order Since the twelfth of February in the year One thousand and Six hundred Seventy & Six Saveing about two hundred pounds which was paid between the twentieth of November in the year One thousand Six hundred Seventy & four & February One thousand Six hundred Seventy & Six, and that the whole was paid on the account of the reservation on the Said Lease for three Lives of the Moor Master’s Grant to the Said Defend[an]t. And this Depon[en]t further Saith that on Stateing Accounts with the Said Compl[ainan]t about the twentieth of July last at B[isho]pp Aukland=Castle there remained due to the Said Compl[ainan]t from the Defend[an]t for the Compl[ainan]ts halfe part of the Said Lott Oar till February last (he pretending to noe more & saying he would not concern himself to agree for the other halfe thereof belonging to Wycliffe and for arrears of money Lent as he claimed due at Whitsuntide last. The totall due & agreed unto being Seven hundred fifty five pounds Whereof paid Since to his Lord[shi]pp’s Order about the tenth of August last One hundred & Sixty pounds, & about the two & twentieth of September  last One hundred & fifty pounds , the totall three hundred & ten pounds, Soe that there remains due four hundred forty & five pounds as above, which his Lord[shi]pp agreed unto & the time to pay untill Christmas next at Durham and that his Lord[shi]pp was willing to take for his <share> of the Lott fifty pounds p ann for the future as he did agree for the time bypast in the account above stated.

18. To the eighteenth interrogatory this deponent saith that the Reverend William Turner Doctor of Divinity & Rector <…>  p month of May in the year one thousand six hundred seventy & seven agreed to take for all his Tith Oare a <fi……. Pa…> One hundred and twenty pounds per ann for seven years which hath expired about August gone two years And that  a new lease thereof to the Defendant for the same value of one hundred and twenty pounds p Ann. That since that time Mr William Hartwell the present Rector did agree with this Depon[en]t on the behalf of the Defend[an]t for one hundred & tenn pounds p Ann for  All the said Tithes the Lead Mines in that parrish being much poorer and Lead of a lower value than formerly.

19. To the nineteenth interrogatory this Depon[en]t saith that the now Compl[ainan]t told this Depon[en]t in or about the month of May in the yr One thousand six hundred Eighty & one that at the Parliam[en]t held at Oxford about two months before <he had  Da…..th Mr Parkhurst for an assignment of his half of the Lott Oar and that he paid the said Mr Parkhurst one hundred & <fifty> Pounds for it. And this Depon[en]t verily believes that Mr Wycliffe hath the other moiety of the Lott Oar at this <…. But more> others claiming under him.

21. To the one & twentieth interrogatory this Depon[en]t saith that for these ten years last past the Defend[an]t <himself .. ……. ….> at some of  his Lead Mills smelted yearly great [obscured: quantities?] of Lead Oar for other p[er]sons which Oar ws wrought & gotten outside the <Compl[ainan]t’s parishes the [about 2-3 words obscured] parishes and that he has sometimes thirty shillings sometimes forty shillings the Fother for the [about 2-3 words obscured] lead and that when the Oar was Lead did anyway <b… &> returned <D… … Wharton> [about 3-4 words obscured] the account <. … …… …. ….. > Oar or Lead <& …. it as usual … Owners …> [about 3-4 words obscured] Lead at thirty & forty shillings the Fother was its usuall price of corne mill to grind corne at different parishes or the <Moniter> thereof And this Depon[en]t saith that halfe <of this Lead.. shor.es .. ……> that <…es or de……> in each year to the Defend[an]ts Lead Mills <are not leaden with Lead Oare> as this Depon[en]t believes.

       R. Wharton 
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. Robert Wharton was Humphrey’s son.

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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