Witness Deposition – William Steward – 8 Oct 1686

Document Type: Witness Deposition
Date: 8 Oct 1686
Correspondent: William Steward
Archive Source: TNA E134 2Jas2 Mich 42
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William Steward  of Stanhope in the County of Durham Oar Carrier aged fifty & eight years or thereabouts Sworne & examined saith as followeth

8:  To the eighth Interrogatory this Depon[en]t saith that some of the Defend[an]ts Lead Mines doe lye distant from the said Defend[an]ts Smelt Mills fourteen or fifteen Miles & some of them are nearer hand, & the nearest Lead Mine is two miles & an halfe off the nearest mill, And this Depon[en]t saith That within these nine years last past the Defend[an]t did by his Agents buy severall quantities of Lead Oar in Cumberland, Westmorland, the County of Durham & Northumberland at such Lead Mines as did not belong to the said Compl[ainan]t, And this Depon[en]t & severall other p[er]sons were imployed to carry the same Oar soe bought as aforesaid from the Mines where the same was bought to all the three Mills of Scotcheal, Stanhope hope & Darwen &  there the same Oar was mixt at the said severall Mills with the Oar of the Defend[an]t gotten in Stanhope Parish And this Depon[en]t and the severall Oare Carriers used to mix the same at the said Mills as they brought the same which made the Defend[an]ts own oar run and smelt the better & to greater advantage, Without which the Defend[an]ts own Oar being bad and his Groves poor which yielded little Oar would not run to any advantage without such mixture; And this Depon[en]t saith That he hath carried severall quantities of Lead Oar for Messrs Gray, Mr Errington & severall other p[er]sons as well as for the Defend[an]t & this Depon[en]t hath used that Imploym[en]t of an Oar Carrier for forty years or thereabouts & well knows that it is the constant use & practice amongst Owners of Lead Mines to buy Lead Oar at other mines & mix with their own Oar which hath been looked upon by such Owners & their Agents about their Lead Works as a p[ro]fitable & advantageous way to make their own Lead Oar cast & p[ro]duce more Lead & work to greater advantage.

9: To the Ninth Interrogatory this Depon[en]t saith That the Lead Oar gott att the said Defend[an]ts Mines within these ten years last past hath been usually of the rate or price of Sixteen Shillings every Bing & each Bing contains four horse Loads & each horse Load of the same Lead Oar contains fourteen Stone; And this Depon[en]t saith that the Lead Oar gott in the Said Defend[an]ts mines since February in the year of our Lord One thousand Six hundred Seventy & Six was a very badd oar & p[ro]duced of itselfe without mixture as aforesaid  very small quantity of Lead, And this Depon[en]t saith that he knows that the said Defend[an]t in that time bought severall quantities of Lead Oar at the places predeposed for twenty three shillings each bing & the Carriage thereof to the Defend[an]ts Smelting Mills cost four pence each horse Load & other quantities he bought at twenty four shillings per Bing which cost Eighteen pence or twenty pence the carriage unto the Said Mills. And each horse Load of such bought Oar weigh'd Sixteen stone; And the said Defend[an]t did offer & would have sold his own Oar when he had laid itt at his Mills at Eighteen Shillings & Twenty Shillings per Bing he being at the charges of the Carriage thereof to the said Mills And this Depon[en]t Saith That Mr Thoroughgood did buy some quantity of the Defend[an]ts own Oar but finding it very bad would not buy any more thereof altho' it was offered him by the Defend[an]ts Agents at Eighteen Shillings & twenty Shillings per Bing as aforesaid; And the Said Defend[an]t hath great quantities thereof lying at Scotcheal Mills which by reason of the badness thereof he cannot sell nor use. And this Depon[en]t Saith That some of it was soe bad it was laid by itselfe without mixing or smelting thereof; And this Depon[en]t hath heard that this Defend[an]t sent over the sea severall quantities of his own Lead Oar which was not good & vendible & for the the Defend[an]t lost by itt & sent noe more.

11: To the Eleventh Interrogatory this Depon[en]t Saith That it's the com[m]on practice & usage betwixt the Defend[an]t & his Miners & Oar Carriers as alsoe with other Owners of Lead mines to reckon & account with their Miners & Owners by Tally at a day usually Sett & agreed on for that purpose; And the Miners keep the Stock & the Oar Carriers the Swatch of the Same Tally & every Oar carriers name is Sett upon his Stock. And upon such reckonings they doe compare the Stock & Swatch together & if they doe agree then both Stock & Swatch are broken. The Miners & Oar Carriers being then paid off. And this Depon[en]t Saith that he knows of his own knowledge that that hath been the com[m]on practice for forty years or thereabouts betwixt severall other Owners of Lead Mines & their Miners & Oar Carriers as well as by the Defend[an]t & his Miners & Oar Carriers. And this Depon[en]t hath been informed by old Oar carryers that that was the ancient practice in and about Lead Mines. And this Depon[en]t Saith That generally the Miners & Oar Carriers can neither write nor read & they have noe other way of keeping their Accounts & if this Method & course of accounting should be altered  it would occasion much diferences betwixt the Owners Miners & Oar Carriers.

13:20 To the thirteenth & twentieth Interrogatories this Depon[en]t Saith That he hath within ten years last past been imployed as an Oar Carrier to Newcastle & Lambton for other p[er]sons then the Defend[an]t out of Cumberland & other places where the said Compl[ainan]t was not interested & their usuall ways to Newcastle was within half a mile of the Stanhope hope Mill & a mile & an half off Darwen Mill & through Frosterley & Wolsingham; And this Depon[en]t hath oftentimes observed when he & his Company were carrying in Such Lead Oar to Newcastle or Lambton with Sometimes twenty, other times thirty horses loaden with Oar, that Anthony Garthorne John Ward & Thomas Cornforth were at severall times imployed as Keakers or Agents under the Pl[ain]t[iff] or Mr Rookby to stand in the said road near Darwen Mill to take an Account of what horse Loads of Oar were carried on there by the Defend[an]t & they would have askt this Depon[en]t & his Company if they had been with Oar at Darwen Mill when they had been returning from Newcastle; And this Depon[en]t & his Company would return them noe Answer. Yet this Depon[en]t hath seen Garthorne take out his book & he believes sett down their number of horses as if they had carried the Defend[an]ts Lead Oar to the Said Darwen Mill: And when this Depon[en]t and his Company used to drive by Frosterley Margaret Sanders  was imployed there to take an Account for the said Compl[ainan]t who never questioned what the Depon[en]t & his Company carried nor from where they came or whither they went. And Sometimes a boy was placed there & this Depon[en]t believes it was their com[m]on method to number all Such horses as came that way loaden for the Defend[an]ts Oar Carriers to his said Mills altho' they both carried these ways for severall p[er]sons to severall other places than the Defend[an]ts Mills as alsoe Oar bought by the Defend[an]t at other Mines as aforesaid And in this Depon[en]ts Judgem[en]t it was impossible for the Plts [PLaintiffs] Keakers or Agents in the Said Com[m]on Roads to take an Account which was the Defend[an]ts own oar, which his bought oar & which was the oar of other p[er]sons which the Defend[an]t was not concerned in. And their usual Method was only to number the horses that passed on these roades without asking what they carried whence they came or whither they went with their Loads

17: To the Seventeenth Interrogatory this Depon[en]t saith That he knows of his own knowledge that for about forty years last past the Defend[an]t & his predecessors Moor Masters have during that time paid the tenth part of all Lead Oar gotten in the Defend[an]ts  Said Lead Mines unto the Parson of Stanhope for the time being or their Farmers or Tenants in which the Bpp [Bishop] of Durham for the time being had noe interest, he being only entituled to the Ninth part in ten p[art]ts to be divided and the Lott Oar always during that time was paid out of the Nine parts only And the tenth part due to the said Parson was by him to the said Moormaster for the time being usually lett to farm, And this Depon[en]t has heard that that was the custom & practice beyond memory  

signed 							Willi  Steward [his mark:] +                                                                                                             
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