The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham: Volume 3, Stockton and Darlington Wards. Originally published by Nichols and Son, London, 1823.
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The Peninsula of Hartlepool forms one of the most striking features of the Eastern coast, connected with the main shore only by a narrow neck on the North, the land stretches to the South and South-west, assuming at high water the shape of a crescent, and forming within its curve a natural harbour, secure from the Eastern winds, which prevail with violence during a great portion of the year, and throw a heavy sea on the coast, increased by the strong current which sets into the Tees' moutha (fn. 1).
The old decaying Borough of Hartlepool, now reduced to little more than a fishing town and place of summer resort, occupies the South-western portion of the peninsula, flanking its ruined haven. The cliffs of this semi-isle towards the main sea are bold and abrupt, and at some distance the whole appears like a rocky headland, crowned with a shattered diadem of mouldering towers, the wreck of its ancient strength.
The early history of Hartlepool is confined to the brief notices of the monastery of Heruteu (fn. 2), which occur in Bede's life of St. Hilda (fn. 3). “Heiu, the first female who took the veil in Northumberland, founded the monastery of Heruteu, and soon after, retiring to Kaelcacaester (fn. 4), was succeeded by Hilda, as Abbess of Heruteu. Oswy, king of Northumberland, had vowed to devote his daughter to the service of God if he was victorious over Penda, king of Mercia, and after his victory on the river Vinnaed, performed his vow by placing Æelflede, an infant of scarcely twelve months, in the convent of Heruteu, under the Abbess Hilda; who after two years removed with Æelflede to Streaneshalch (fn. 5), where she had obtained a grant of ten hides of land, and there founded an abbey.” Hilda's successor at Heruteu is not named, and all that is further known is, that the monastery finally perished during the period of Danish invasion (fn. 6).
Referring to what has been already said of the whole district under Hart, Hartlepool is first expressly mentioned in 1171, when Hugh Earl of Bar, son or nephew to Bishop Pudsey, brought his fleet, with an auxiliary body of Flemings into St. Hilda's bay. The armament (which was intended to assist William, king of Scotland, in his invasion of England,) consisted of forty knights, with their retinues, and five hundred foot (fn. 7). The circumstance implies that the port had existed and been of some consequence long before the date of this occurrence (fn. 8).
In 1200 King John (fn. 9), by charter, erected Hartlepool into a Borough, “the men of Hartlepool shall be free burgesses, and have the same laws and liberties as our burgesses of Newcastle-on-Tyne (fn. 10).” He also granted to Robert Brus a weekly market on Wednesday, and in 1216 confirmed the grant, and added the privilege of a yearly fair for three days, on the Feast of St. Lawrence, and two days following (fn. 11). About this time the first instance occurs of the perpetual contests for the wreck of the sea betwixt the Bishops of Durham and the Lords of Hartness (fn. 12). The same record gives another curious instance of the assertion of the Bishop's right to wreck. The Bishop's bailiffs, after some dispute, it seems, took a vessel which was wrecked, and kept it. The Sheriff of Sadberge was ordered to make some memorial of the transaction out of the timber of the wreck (fn. 13). Of the mast was made a cross “which yet stands (circiter 1313) in Sadberge-field, viz. at Blakelawe, on the high road betwixt Sadberge and Hartlepool; and of the yard was made a rod or perch (fn. 14) to support the wax taper in the church of Sadberge (fn. 15).”
Hartlepool was now in that delightful state of existence which is allowed once, and once only, to all bodies, as well human as corporate, bourgeoning with the fresh vigour of young life, regardless of the distant hours of slow decay, which as surely await, if exempt from sudden ruin, every institution of human policy, as they do every form of mortal mould. Under the sixth brave Robert of Hart and Annandale, Hartlepool became a walled town and regular defended haven (fn. 16). In 1293 an inquest was held before the King's Justices Itinerant (fn. 17), to ascertain the privileges and liberties as well of the Bishop as his tenants within the Palatinate. “Robert de Brus hath at Hartlepool, within the liberty of the said Bishop, market and fair, and assize of bread and ale, and all which to fair and market belong; and free port of the sea and keelage (fn. 18), of every vessel with a boat eight-pence, and fourpence of every vessel without a boat, and prisage (fn. 19) of fish.”
Bruce forfeited Hartlepool and Clifford (fn. 20) won it; but this “lusty event” seems to have made little change in the condition of the Borough of Hartlepool, which went on “semper accrescendo,” saving that, after Bannockburn, Sir James Douglas is said to have penetrated the Bishopric as far as Hartlepool, and to have wreaked his full vengeance on the former lieges of his sovereign. Ridpath, I know not on what authority, says that the burgesses betook themselves to their vessels with their moveables, and so rode out the storm. The Scottish campaigns of the three Edwards rendered Hartlepool a port of consequence, even beyond its own positive importance. The instances are too numerous to be well used up either for profit or amusement.
William le Jetour, Magister Navis Dei de Hertelpol, seems to have been employed by Edward in 1299, as we should now say, in the transport service. The vessel had twenty-six sailors, and two barges, and carried provisions from Berwick to Stirling and Edinburgh. The master had sixpence a-day, and the sailors threepence (fn. 21). In the first year of Edward III. Hartlepool was ordered to provide “two sufficient ships of sixty tons burthen and over,” well manned and provided, to be at the disposal of the admiral of the fleet. In 1334 the bailiffs of Hartlepool are ordered to detain all ships above forty tons burthen. In the next year Hartilpool is charged to provide one ship with a hundred men, as well seamen as archers. In the same year Nicholas de Bruntofte, a burgess of Hartilpole, received “letters of protection,” or, as we should now say, letters of marque, for two ships of war, manned with his seamen and servants, to be employed in annoying the Scots. In 1339 (13 Edw. III.) two merchants of Hertilpole receive permission to carry provisions to those towns in Scotland which are in possession of the English (fn. 22). In 1345 Bishop Bury, in compliance with the King's mandate, issued his commission to John Donyngton, clerk, and John Nesbit (fn. 23), to embargo all ships and vessels (fn. 24) whatsoever, as well in the port of Hartilpool as in the coasts, rivers, and waters of the Palatinate, to be placed under the command of the Earl of Suffolk, Admiral of the Fleet from the Thames Northward; the said ships to be manned and provided with their common complement and one half more, simplici eskippamento et dimidio, and the owners, or masters and seamen, to be compelled to serve and to assemble in such ports as shall be appointed, by such means as shall seem best, viis et modis quibus meliùs expedire videritis. The whole document is exactly the language of a press-warrant.
In 1346 the English fleet lay before Calais. The whole armament consisted of 738 sail, carrying 14,956 marines; or, on the average, twenty men to each vessel (fn. 25). Hartlepool furnished five ships and 145 men, or 29 to each vessel (fn. 26).
In 1354 the King orders the Admiral of the North fleet, to “provide three vessels from the port of Tyne or Hartelpole,” to convey Bishop Hatfield to Parliament (fn. 27).
In 1379 the King directs a writ to Bishop Hatfield, on the complaint of William and John Canynges, merchants, of Bristol, ordering John Hesilden, sen. Andrew Brountoft, &c. to appear in the Courts of Westminster, to answer for having seized and carried into Hartlepool a ship of Canynge's, sailing towards Calais and Flanders (fn. 28).
During all this period various grants of tolls were given to the burgesses by successive Bishops, for the support of the walls and haven, then called murage. These will be considered in the sequel; but it may be just mentioned, that in 1383 Bishop Fordham granted certain customs for five years in aid of enclosing the town, and repairing and forming the pavement (fn. 29).
In 1406 Hartlepool occurs amongst the principal ports which had royal letters, demanding their aid and counsel, when the keeping of the narrow seas was committed to the merchants (fn. 30).
In 1473 Bishop Booth granted licence to the mayor and burgesses to build a pier, which is now first mentioned, and also to levy money for the purpose (fn. 31).
In 1501 Bishop Fox is said to have removed from Durham to Winchester, on account of a quarrel with the Earl of Cumberland (read Lord Clifford) relative to their respective rights in Hartlepool (fn. 32).
These were the bright days of Hartlepool, when our Edwards and Henrys pressed her sails and her mariners for transports to France or Scotland, and when old Andro' Bruntoft, pirate-like, took the great Canynge's ship of Bristol, and carried her into Hilda's Bay. But armanents against Scotland were no longer wanted; the tide of commerce, from one especial cause, set strongly into the coaly Tyne, and the glory of Hartlepool rose, grew, and fell, with the royal Plantagenets. Already in 1523 we hear of a ruined haven and neglected fortifications: “And after your liberties be enactyd and confermyd, your Grace may straight waye, by writt of restitution, entre possession in Hartlepoole, whiche, with membris, is worth two hundrethe markes a yere standyng rentes, besydes casualties. The recoveryng and fortifying of that haven town shuld be a gret profett and strenkithe to all ye Bishopricke, refuge to our Englishe shippes, and myghte do manie displesurs to the King's enemies, for wh purpose it is thought to stand best of any haven towne in Englande: the p'misses would (should) be remembered at this p'sent P'liament, or ells yor Grace shal lose manie com'odities and profetts.” (fn. 33)
The Bishops had certainly somehow or another relaxed their strong grasp upon Hartlepool, and in 1535, when the mitre was in its wane and the prerogative in its summer-noon, an Act of Parliament was passed declaring Hertill Pole and Barney Castle, two great lordships, which the Bishop supposed to be within his jurisdiction, to be parcel of the county of York, and not of Northumberland (fn. 34), as the men of Hertilpole “seid and cleymed,” all parties being apparently agreed to put the Bishop and his supposition out of the question (fn. 35).
In the first year of Queen Mary an Act of Parliament restored the Bishop to all his rights (fn. 36).
In 1567 Sir Ingram Clifford, second son of the first Earl of Cumberland, held his court-leet for the manor of Hartlepool (fn. 37).
Hartlepool, though already somewhat verging to decay, was a port of high importance during the rising of the Northern Earls. It was for some time in the possession of the Insurgents, and probably at the end of this rash enterprize afforded to many the means of escape into Flanders.
2 December 1569, Sir Walter Mildmay to Sir Ralph Sadler:—“The rebels have gotten Hartilpole, and have put ccc men into it to keep it for them, which hath proceeded through the negligence of such as my Lord-lieutenant put in trust to go thither and to levie the number of cc men nearest to the same, to be put into the town, which for lacke of good diligence,” &c. (fn. 38) He then advises that two of the Queen's ships of war should lye off the coast, to prevent the rebels either from escaping, or receiving foreign succours.
May yt please yor good lords (fn. 38) to be advised, that immediately after our comynge from York we did passe from Scardburgh, without going back wth Sir Henry Percy, and did land hym at Tynmouth upon Friday next after; and as we did passe by Hartlepole we shott at theym and they at us, and seying ye nomber as we did suppose of two hundred men, and beyng about Tynmoth, and forced to pute in mete w' 3 of the Quen's shipping and the ship of Hull, and ther, by comandement of Mr. John Henslowe, Capten of the Ayde, being Admirall, was comanded to tary ther til Friday last, being the xvii day of December, and then appoynt one of the Queen's shippes called the Bark of Bullon, and the ship of Hull and we, to passe to the Southward, and beyng quait if Hartilpole, we toke a coble and iii men wch was on fishyng, and brought both the cobble and men wth us to Scardeburg. They declared that there was 200 soldyers there, beyng fighting men, and one Stafford, and . . . . ay beyng capteynes of the said men, and that Mr. Nevell doth somtymes come and go thither wth 100 horsemen; and as for shipping there is none there, nor was not a great while, but iiii fyvemen cobles, and xvi small cobles, desyring to know yor lordship's pleasure what we shall do wth the men of Hartilpull, for they are verie poure men, and hath almost no cloaths on their backs (fn. 39).
This port of Hartlepool seems to have been matter of great anxiety to Secretary Cecil. 5 Dec. 1569, he feareth “Hartillpoole will breede some longer trouble;” and again, 8 December, hora 10 nocte, “I would gladly here more from you of Hertilpoole.” And after the rebellion was crushed, and all the Northern foot disbanded, “to ease her Majestie's charges,” it was still thought expedient to maintain for some time a garrison of three hundred men in Hartlepool, under Sir Henry Gate (fn. 40), which Sir Rafe Sadlier (addressing Secretary Cecil) “thinketh may also be discharged; but that because you seme to make so grete an accompt of that place, his Lordship (Sussex) doth forbere to discharge them untill he may be advertised of the Queen's pleasure in that behalfe.” (fn. 41)
In 1593, at the request of John Lord Lumley, Queen Elizabeth granted to the burgesses of Hartlepool their present charter (fn. 42). The same John Lord Lumley (who had purchased from the Cliffords in 1586) had divers disputes with Toby Mathew, Bishop of Durham, as to their respective rights within Hart and Hartlepoole. Lord Lumley seems to have contended that he held directly of the King, and to have set up the old claim of Hartness being parcel of Northumberland; but the arbitrators, John Savile, serjeant-at-law, and Master Robert Cooper, decided, that “the same manors were within the precyncte of the Liberties Royall of the Busshops of Durham” between the Tyne and Tees, and that Lord Lumley might “without prejudice to his inheritance, conveniently condescend that his Lordship's tenants, and other the inhabitants within the said manors, might and should conform and submit themselves to all ordynance of justice within the said Liberty Royal, &c. and contribute to all assessments and common charges, at the rate of one hundred marks inheritance by year;” and that process should run, &c. as in other parts of the Palatinate. And so ended for ever this question, which had been litigated from time to time since the days of Bishop Beaumont (fn. 43).
In 1614, when the subject of Parliamentary Representatives for the County was first agitated, Hartlepool and Barnard Castle were the two chief Boroughs placed in nomination for this privilege. The former is stated to be “the only Port in the County,” yet is it described as “a poore towne,” and as not “having a sufficient man dwelling in it to serve; and moreover it is popishly inclined;” but Mr. Carvyle pleaded for Hartilpole “in respect to the ancientness, walled strength, &c. hath the privileges of the King, where Durham city the Bishops.” At last, “Hartlepoole to have no burgesses; Hartlepoole stricken out by order of the House.” (fn. 44) It is well known that the whole bnsiness at that time fell to the ground.
In 1635, when ship-money was levied, Hartlepool, jointly with Stockton and Sunderland, was charged with one ship, manned with eighty men and double equipment, with proper stores, victuals, and ammunition.
During the Civil War Hartlepool was again of some consequence. It was at first in possession of the Royalists, and, it seems, Baron Hilton lay here with his regiment in 1642, as may appear by the following epistle:
I am, by reason of certaine especiall affaires, to retreat with my regiment for a season to Hartinpoole, therefore I desire yo (fn. 44) wilbe pleased to take the paines as to see the bridge drawne eavery night on Edgeclyffe syde, wh will conduce very much to the countrey's and yor safety, and there shall scouts waite continually near you, to certifie me of all p'cedings. And I shall take it from you as a courtesie ever to oblige,
In January 1644 the Scots, under Lord Leven, entered England a second time to assist the Parliament. Newcastle fell into their hands in September, and in August the Earl of Calender took “Hartlepool and Stockton, places of importance.” (fn. 45) Hartlepool was immediately garrisoned, and the Scots kept possession till 1647, when this and the other Northern towns were delivered up by treaty to the Parliament (fn. 46). A resolution of the Commons appears soon after, “that the new works of Hartlepool be slighted, and the town disgarrisoned.” (fn. 47) It was however again garrisoned in 1648, for in that year Lord Fairfax received a petition from the garrisons of Newcastle, Hartlepool, Holy Island, and Berwick, praying in pretty plain terms for the execution of the King (fn. 48).
In 1667, when the Dutch fleet insulted our coasts and burned our ships in the Medway, some apprehension was entertained of a descent on the Eastern coast: the following letters refer to the calling out of the militia or trained bands. I give Sir Gilbert's epistle in all its genuine cacography.
By the inclosed yower Lord, will know Coll. Villers (fn. 51) is com down, and no dowtt his Majetie does susspektt ther desin may be upon thes costes. I have been at Hartellpole, wher the five companies ar, and I shall consult with the offisers both touching the strengthening of the wekest plases, as also what plases ar most requisett for them to kipe ther gardes.
I am too mett Coll. Villers too morrow att Sunderland with som of the offisers. I shall expektt too hear from yower Lord, and yower comands shall be faithfuly obaied by yower Lord. obedientt sone and faithfull servant, Gilbert Gerard (fn. 52).
If your Lord, think fitt too have Coll. Villers and the deputi-liftenants too mette yower Lord. upon Monday at Durham, ffor Aukland they can nott be bake the same daie, wher ther comand lies. This I thought fitt too offer too yower Lord. consideration.
10 June 1667. Sir Gilbert craves pardon for not attending the Bishop to Wolsingham. “In case I wear absent, iff the Dutch should apear hear, I should be very mutch sensured forr itt, and might hazard the Kinge's favor, for I writt my Lord Gerard, thatt my staie was only too attend the Kinge's servis in thes partts; besides, too morrow and the nextt day are off grettest danger, the spring tide being the mostt likely time for them to make ther attempt, if they have any desin on thes partes. Pardon me, mye honored Lord, in this my motion,” (fn. 53) &c.
— Yesterday the five compenies wich ar for the defens of Hartellpole wear drawn outt, and Captn Hale's trope was ther also wher Mr. Ralph Davison was. We hade a view of them, and indeed my Lord they ar in very good order, and very likely men. We resolved upon this: first, we sent a shipe with an offisear for the canon, and writt for a hundred canon shott off bales; and secondly, we gave orders to the offisers to retorn all defalters; thirdly, we did think it requesitt too continue Capt. Hale's (fn. 54) trope tell farther order; for his first order expired yesterday, and the resones why we did continue them was thes: the present danger; secondly, the fote ar paid till Wednesday next, so that it is but reasonabell for them to doo ther service for ther wages, and the bestt waie will be too dismiss the hors and foot together.
We did, according to your LÕpp's orders, draw our companyes and troops to this place on Tuesday last. The same night and the nex day we were entertained wth a most violent storme, wh had a lamentable effect upon a fleet of 100 light coliers coming from the Southward, and being in sight of this port when the storme began. We heare of many caste away upon this coast, and by the judgment of able seamen it is doubted, that at the least one halfe of them is lost. We thought it our dutyes to give your LÕpp this sad account, but we are in hopes, that if the Dutch fleet were out they would run the same risque, and secure us, for some tyme, from any attempt from them. We shall be circumspect and diligent in our stations, and be ready to observe what further orders shall be transmitted from your Lordshipp to
Upon Tewesday night (that night of thunder and lightning) a post (at his swiftest rate) came to me from the Maior of Hartlepoole: the messenger to all the towns he passed through boded much more amazement then the night itself, and of whose news that terrible night seem'd but a bare forerunner; for his word to all was, fearful doeings at Hartlepoole. The Maior in his letter tells me of an expresse he had just then from Whitby, to be sent to our frigates before Tynmouth. The contents of it were, that two Hollands men-of-warr had the eveninge before attempted the taking two ships out of Whitby road, but were beaten off by some gunns from a platform there; but that which most moved him, as he said, was a Hollands man-of-war who that verie evening was come within shot of Hartlepoole, and had just then sent his long-boate within Teesmouth as farr as the inner buoy, as they conceived, to plum the harbour, and upon his returne, they fear'd a resolution of that and severall other ships for landing.
My Lord, though for the most part feare lookes through a microscope, and represents things infinitlie greater, yet abundans cautela could be noe waie prejudiciall in matters of this nature, where one single error is irreparable; I thought it therefore my dutie to repaire thither, both to comfort and encourage the good people, and to let gainsayers see there is not the least failure in care and diligence. I went with a resolution to have staid there if need had required, and to have provided as well as I could for the securities both of town and countrie, but when I came there I found only one single man-of-war, and I staid till he went off to sea. Capt. Belasys had sum'oñd the soldiers that lay nearest; he put those men he had into a militarie posture, appointed a maine-guard, and set out his sentinels, with a resolution to dismiss them this morning. I returned back all I met going thither, and saved all the towns hereabouts that labour. May all our alarums for the future prove such parturiunt montes; and may the product of this warr be a glorious and blessed peace. I am ever your Lordship's humblest servant,
This was, I believe, the last time when Hartlepool assumed a warlike appearance, saving that a very efficient corps of Volunteers was raised during the late war (fn. 55).
The Charter of King John has been already mentioned (and see the Appendix). In 1230 the charter of Richard Poor grants, that the men of Hartlepool shall be free burgesses, and hold all their tenements by their just rents only, free of all other service, aid, or exaction; extends the fair of St. Lawrence to fifteen days; and gives in general terms “all such liberties as other free burgesses enjoy in their outgoings and incomings with their wares, and matters, and merchandizes by land and by water, saving the Bishop's rights, prisage of wine, and preemption, sicut Rex habet, &c. and saving that our men and the Prior's men, as well free as bond, shall be exempt from toll in Hartlepool. Given at Alverton, by the hand of Valentine our clerk.” (fn. 56)
The Prior of Durham added his confirmation, with a saving of the privileges of the Convent within the borough of Hertilpool, as granted by William and Robert de Brus, and nominatim, the right of purchasing provisions in the same Borough sans impediment. Moreover Peter de Brus Lord of Skelton, guardian for the fifth Robert of Annandale, confirmed both grants, saving the rights of Robert Brus's heirs at full age, and saving especially the Prior's right of emption of provisions
The Borough was governed by Mayors (fn. 57) and Bailiffs, under their old charters, till 1593, when Elizabeth, “at the humble suit, request, and petic'on of Lord Lumley,” granted a new charter to the burgesses (fn. 58). The charter was granted the 3d of February, and 8th of June following the Mayor and Chief Burgesses, “in consideration of the grete paynes taken by Lord Lumley for enlarging the franchises of the Borough, granted to him and his heirs, one moiety of all the fines, amerciaments, issues, sums, &c. for all punishments, corrections, blood-sheddings, and affrays, of fines for making of burgesses or free merchants, and of all fines arising in any ordinances, customs, or constitutions within the Borough: Lord Lumley and his heirs shall have keelage, eightpence for every vessell laden or unladen coming into port with a boat, and fourpence for every vessel without a boat; one farthing stallage for every shop or booth on market-days, one halfpenny for the passage of every horse on market-days, and one halfpenny for every shop or booth, and for the passage of every horse during the fair.” (fn. 59).
The following Catalogue of Mayors and Bailiffs is taken from Sharpe's Hartlepool. It is, however, by no means a close list: those names marked with an asterisk occur in the Chartularies in the D. & C. Treasury at Durham:
|Mayors of Hartlepool.||Bailiffs.|
|. . . . Richard le Nasut, before 1315 (fn. 60).|
|1315 Andreas Bruntoft* (fn. 61);||Richard le Maceon (fn. 62).|
|1317 The same;||William de farneley.|
|1322 John Goldsmith*.|
|1323 William fil. Gilberti*;||Thomas Lamberde.|
|1324 . . . . . . . . . . . .||Will. fil. Benedicti.|
|1335 Nicholas de Bruntoft.|
|1336 Nicholas Lamberd;||Will. fil. Benedicti.|
|1337 John de Nesbyt;||John Ward.|
|1342 Helyas de Brancepath;||John de Nesham.|
|1343 John de Nesbyt;||The same.|
|1344 Helyas de Brancepeth*;||John de Nesbyt.|
|1345 John de Nesbyt*.|
|1347 John de Nesbyt;||John Ward.|
|1348 Andreas fil. Rogeri*;||Will. fil. Benedicti.|
|1351 Helyas de Brancepath;||The same.|
|1357 William de Bruntoft;||Will. de Gretham.|
|1362 John de Seton.|
|. . . . Benedictus fil. Will'i eod. anno.||Thomas de Eggesclyf.|
|1364 Adam Bowsom*.|
|1385 John Nesbyt*;||Elyas de Brancepath, John Warde.|
|1386 John de Whitby*.|
|1387 The same;||Robert Bruntoft, William de Slingysby.|
|1393 Andreas Bruntoft (fn. 63);||John Saunderson.|
|1394 The same;||William de Birtley, William de Slingysby.|
|1397 John Whitrout*;||Samuel Morland occ. Balliv. temp. Ric. II.|
|1398 John Goldsmyth*, jun.;||William Slingysby.|
|1407 Roger Hood;||John Pellowe, William Slingysby.|
|1410 Robert Bruntoft (fn. 64)|
|. . . . John Goldsmyth.|
|1417 The same;||John Pellowe.|
|1435 Robert Howden.|
|1476 Richard Vavasour (fn. 65);||Thomas Morley.|
|1519 Robert Perte.|
|1535 Richard Lasynby.|
|1563 John Brown.|
|1582 The same.|
|1583 Richard Hutone (fn. 66).|
|1585 John Brown (fn. 67).|
Under Elizabeth's charter, Edmund Bell was nominated first Mayor 1593 (fn. 68). During the first half century the frequent recurrence of the same individuals in office proves that there was no superabundance of wealthy burgesses, solicitous of the honour. Latterly, from political or other motives, the chair of this ancient Corporation has been frequently filled by the first gentry of the county.
- 1593 Edmund Bell
- 1594 Perceval Bell
- 1599 Robert Porrett
- 1600 The same
- 1601 James Eture
- 1602 Perceval Bell
- 1603 William Wright
- 1604 William Porrett
- 1605 Perceval Bell
- 1606 William Wright
- 1607 Perceval Bell
- 1608 William Wright
- 1609 Robert Porrett
- 1610 Edmund Bell
- 1611 Robert Porrett (fn. 69)
- 1612 William Wilkinson
- 1616 The same
- 1617 Robert Porrett
- 1618 Perceval Bell
- 1619 Robert Porrett
- 1620 Thomas Wright
- 1621 Thomas Nicholson
- 1622 Edmond Bell
- 1623 Thomas Nicholson
- 1624 Robert Redlington
- 1625 William Wright
- 1626 Robert Redlington
- 1627 John Throckmorton
- 1628 Robert Ridlington
- 1629 William Wright
- 1630 Robert Ridlington
- 1631 Thomas Nicholson
- 1632 Roger Wright
- 1633 Thomas Nicholson
- 1634 Roger Wright
- 1635 Thomas Nicholson
- 1636 Roger Wright
- 1637 The same
- 1638 Richard Grace
- 1639 Thomas Nicholson
- 1640 Nicholas Joyce
- 1641 Thomas Nicholson
- 1646 Richard Grace
- 1647 John Wells
- 1648 Christopher Fulthorpe (fn. 70)
- 1649 Richard Grace
- 1650 John Walker
- 1651 Richard Langley (fn. 71)
- 1652 John Walker
- 1653 John Wells
- 1654 John Marshall
- 1655 Roger Dobson
- 1656 John Marshall
- 1657 Roger Dobson
- 1658 John Marshall
- 1659 Roger Dobson
- 1660 John Wells
- 1661 John Marshall
- 1662 Roger Dobson (fn. 72)
- 1663 Joseph Speeding
- 1664 Roger Dobson
- 1665 John Wells
- 1666 Roger Dobson
- 1667 John Marshall
- 1668 Robert Powell
- 1669 Robert Merriman
- 1670 John Miller
- 1671 William Bellasis (fn. 73)
- 1672 Anthony Dodsworth (fn. 74)
- 1673 John Claxton
- 1674 Samuel Smathwaite
- 1675 Robert Routledge
- 1676 Henry Barnet
- 1677 William Bellasis
- 1678 Richard Moore
- 1679 John Fulthorp (fn. 75)
- 1680 The same
- 1681 William Tempest (fn. 76)
- 1682 Joshua Smith
- 1683 John Miller
- 1684 Edmund Bell
- 1685 Joshua Smith
- 1686 William Gibson
- 1687 William Tempest
- 1688 George Heath (fn. 77)
- 1689 Edward Bell
- 1690 John Merriman
- 1691 John Crooks
- 1692 William Gibson
- 1693 William Tempest
- 1694 George Heath
- 1695 Anthony Wood
- 1696 William Gibson
- 1697 John Crooks
- 1698 Edmond Bell
- 1699 Thomas Snowdon
- 1700 Joshua Smith
- 1701 James Hirdman
- 1702 John Tempest (fn. 78)
- 1703 John Crookes
- 1704 Edmond Bell
- 1705 Robert Wright (fn. 79)
- 1706 John Spearman (fn. 80)
- 1707 John Thompson
- 1708 John Wilson
- 1709 John Tempest
- 1710 Thomas Davison (fn. 81)
- 1711 James Nicholson (fn. 82)
- 1712 Sir John Clavering, Bart.
- 1713 Anthony Smith
- 1714 John Eden (fn. 83)
- 1715 John Tempest
- 1716 John Hedworth (fn. 84)
- 1717 George Heath
- 1718 John Thompson
- 1719 Robert Hutchinson
- 1720 John Tempest
- 1721 George Heath
- 1722 Sir John Eden, Bart.
- 1723 William Romaine
- 1724 James Nicholson
- 1725 Cuthbert Rafton
- 1726 John Greveson
- 1727 John Thompson
- 1728 John Hedworth
- 1729 Henry Lambton (fn. 85)
- 1730 John Hilton
- 1731 George Heath
- 1732 George Bowes (fn. 86)
- 1733 William Carr
- 1734 John Wilson
- 1735 William Romaine
- 1736 Cuthbert Rafton
- 1737 John Greveson
- 1738 Thomas Davison (fn. 87)
- 1739 Sir Henry Liddell, Bart.
- 1740 John Hedworth
- 1741 Henry Lambton
- 1742 John Hilton (fn. 88)
- 1743 George Bowes
- 1744 John Wilson
- 1745 William Romaine
- 1746 Cuthbert Rafton
- 1747 John Tempest (fn. 89)
- 1748 The Hon. Henry Vane (fn. 90)
- 1749 Robert Leighton
- 1750 Henry Vane (fn. 91), jun.
- 1751 William Allison
- 1752 John Greveson
- 1753 Henry Lambton
- 1754 George Bowes
- 1755 John Wilson
- 1756 Cuthbert Rafton
- 1757 Robert Leighton
- 1758 John Tempest
- 1759 The Hon. Raby Vane
- 1760 Robert Allison
- 1761 Sir Thos. Clavering, Bt.
- 1762 John Lambton (fn. 92)
- 1763 Henry Earl of Darlington
- 1764 Joshua Rafton
- 1765 William Allison
- 1766 John Greveson
- 1767 George Baker (fn. 93)
- 1768 Robert Allison
- 1769 John Greveson, jun.
- 1770 Sir Thomas Clavering, Bart.
- 1771 John Wilson
- 1772 Thomas Wilson
- 1773 Robert Allison
- 1774 John Greveson, jun.
- 1775 Sir John Eden, Bart.
- 1776 Jonathan Davison (fn. 94)
- 1777 Thomas Wilson
- 1778 John Tempest (fn. 95)
- 1779 Thomas Davison (fn. 96)
- 1780 Robert Allison
- 1781 Robert Wilson
- 1782 Ralph Milbank (fn. 97)
- 1783 Sir Thos. Clavering, Bt.
- 1784 Henry Earl of Darlington
- 1785 Sir Henry George Liddell, Bart.
- 1786 Sir John Eden, Bart.
- 1787 Anthony Hall (fn. 98)
- 1788 John Tempest
- 1789 John Marley
- 1790 Charles Spearman (fn. 99)
- 1791 Ralph Milbanke
- 1792 George Baker (fn. 100)
- 1793 Carr Ibbetson (fn. 101)
- 1794 William Henry Lambton
- 1795 The Rev. Thomas Place
- 1796 Timothy Johnson
- 1797 Robert Wilson
- 1798 Sir Henry Vane Tempest, Bart.
- 1799 Henry Methold (fn. 102)
- 1800 Ralph John Lambton (fn. 103)
- 1801 Sir Thomas Clavering, Bart.
- 1802 Sir Ralph Milbanke, Bt.
- 1803 Thomas Wilkinson
- 1804 J. Dowthwaite Nesham (fn. 104)
- 1805 Carr Ibbetson
- 1806 Sir H. Vane Tempest, Bt.
- 1807 Sir Martin Stapylton, Bt.
- 1808 Maj.-Gen. Daniel Seddon
- 1809 Cuthbert Ellison (fn. 105)
- 1810 Carr Ibbetson
- 1811 George Pocock (fn. 106)
- 1812 William Vollum
- 1813 Robert Wilson
- 1814 George Allan (fn. 107)
- 1815 John Cooke
- 1816 Sir Cuthbert Sharp
- 1817 Rev. William Wilson
- 1818 William Harry Earl of Darlington
- 1819 William Sedgewick
- 1820 George Pocock
Recorders of the Borough of Hartlepool.
- 1605 Matthew Dodsworth.
- 1640 Edward Wright, of Gray's Inn, Esq. Recorder of Durham.
- 1647 John Turner, of Kirkleatham, Serjeant-at-law.
- 1667 John Swinburne, Esq.
- 1669 William Davison, Esq. Recorder of Durham.
- 1696. John Middleton, Esq. Serjeant-at-law.
- 1702 John Fawcett, Esq. Recorder of Durham.
- 1741 Christopher Fawcett, Esq. Recorder of Newcastle-on-Tyne.
- 1747 David Hilton, of Durham, Esq.
- 1758 Ralph Hopper, Esq. of Bp.-Middleham.
- 1781 Robert Hopper, Esq. Recorder of Newcastle and Chancellor of Durham.
- 1795 William Walton, of Lincoln's Inn, Esq. Attorney-General of co. Pal. Lancaster.
In 1600, to the Maior for his stypend, xliiiis. In 1606 the Mayor's salary is ten pounds. 1607, to the cheife Lord for his moyty of all towell [toll], &c. and fines, iiil. xvs. viiid. 1610, for the use Right Honorable the Lady Elizabeth Lumley, w'h is for rents of her lands and other dues, viiil. 1612, to John Thorp for moldy warps, vs. 1627, Ralph Greene fined 6s. 8d. for calling Robert Wilkinson, Chief Burgess, a knave. 1635, Jan. 22, Mayor's stipend raised to xl. July 27, 1635, Mr. William Bulmer, of Wilton (in Cleveland) admitted free burgess by parentage. Mr. Anthony Dodsworth admitted April 26, 1636. Oct. 14, 1653, several inhabitants charged with muskets. Sept. 9, 1664, William Howard, of Thorp Bulmer, Esq. admitted free burgess. 1670, July 19, Charles Lord St. Jones (Lord St. John, the eccentric Marquis of Winchester, see vol. II. p. 332,) admitted Sept. 28, 1671. Sir David Fowles, Knt. and Baronet, Sir Robert Laton, Anthony Lowther, Esq. William Fowles, Esq. Richard Penn, Esq. admitted. Oct. 2 Coronell Henry Ubank (Ewbank) of London, admitted. Jan. 18, 1676, Christopher Vane, of Raby Castle, Esq. admitted. Sept. 22, 1681, Nicholas Conyers, Vice Comes, admitted with John Sudbury, Esq. &c.
A court leet and court baron are held twice in the year by the Recorder or his deputy. The court leet (fn. 110) takes cognizance of debts under fifty shillings.
The franchise of Hartlepool may be obtained by gift, composition, patrimony, or servitude. The freedom descends to the eldest son only, or to the eldest surviving son if the first-born has not been admitted (fn. 111). If a father entitled to the franchise dies before admission, the claim is lost to his descendants. The widow of a common burgess forfeits her rights by second marriage. The common burgesses have a right “to stint (i. e. to pasturage) for one cow and horse on the town-moor: the soil belongs to the mayor and chief burgesses (fn. 112).”
The Corporation have a town-house or guild-hall, built about 1750, probably on the site of a former building; for in 1600 contributions appear “for the town-house (fn. 113).”
Town Seals.—The Corporation are in possession of three Seals; but N° 2 is probably intended as the reverse of the first. 1. St. Hilda, the crosier in her right hand, and the left clasping a book to her breast, is represented standing under a canopy of ancient work, which seems intended to represent a church; on each side of her a priest, with a chalice, seems celebrating mass. There are some other emblems: a crescent and a star on the right and left of St. Hilda, and beneath these two birds on the wing not unlike wild fowl, alluding perhaps to the legend, viz. that the sea-birds fell dead when their flight crossed Whitby Abbey. I know not whether each of these birds do not bear something in his bill resembling the Whitby snakestones, the other notable miracle of St. Hilda: subveniat famulis nobilis hilda suis. 2. A stag at bay in a pool of water: s. comunitatis de herterpol. 3. (somewhat smaller size) St. Hilda under a richer and more ornamented canopy, with the figure of a bishop on each side. The three figures stand on a prostrate hart: s. officii maioris de hertilpol (fn. 114).
The Borough of Hartlepool, consisting, in its present state (fn. 115), of one principal street (Southgate), a back street parallel to it (and several cross streets), occupies the Southwestern point of the peninsula, rising gradually from the old harbour to the moor or common pasture, a beautiful plot of pasturage, diapered in summer with the burnet-rose and the purple blossoms of sea-thrift and cranesbill. The prospect is most magnificent over sea and land; the wide ocean Eastwards, and Southwards across the Teesmouth the rich coast of Yorkshire, wood and inclosure, and sandy bay and jutting headland, near enough to observe the influence of cloud and shower, and chequered shade and sunshine.
The cliffs, which terminate the moor seawards, are abruptly precipitous, worn (fn. 116) at their base by the lash of the sea on a high and adverse coast into wild and cavernous recesses, Nympharum domus, &c. but the “Fairy Caves (fn. 117),” says my true informant, Sir Cuthbert, bear marks of mortal chisel (fn. 118). Under the remains of an old battery which terminates the earthen breastworks on the North, is the entrance of the Gun Cove, a deep gloomy cavern, which has been explored, it is said, to the depth of fifty yards, and which tradition asserts to communicate with the Church (fn. 119). Some detached masses stand perfectly isolated. A small rock a few yards to the North of the East Battery, cannot fail to attract notice from its singular situation. The yawning space which separates this rock from the main land has received the name of the Maiden's Bower, and is generally connected with the miserable history of a poor girl who was thrown over the cliff by her inhuman lover (fn. 120). The name is, however, of earlier date (fn. 121).
The Walls.—“Robert de Brus builded the haven and wall about the towne of Hartlepoll, wth ten towers on eche syde the haven, and a chayne to be drawne between them near the haven, which haven would holde a c sayle (fn. 122).” The Robert Brus here intended, was the Competitor (grandson of William); he held Hartness from 1245 to 1295, and this period agrees remarkably with the architecture of the walls, which bear a strong resemblance to those of Newcastle, reared in the reign of Edward I.
Hutchinson's description of the Walls, as they stood in his time, is so accurate (fn. 123), and includes so much of the ancient status of Hartlepool, now irretrievably lost, that I cannot do better than adopt the whole statement in the text, with Sir Cuthbert running like a constant accompaniment below, and bringing affairs down to the present time.
Few places exhibit so perfect and interesting a specimen of the fortifications of former times as Hartlepool; a long extended wall strengthened by demi-bastions at intervals, some rounded, others square; gates and sallyports, secured by machicolations and the portcullis; some of the gates defended by angular, others square turrets; all the variety appearing which had grown into use in that age. As the wall runs along the edge of the creek, behind the point of land which projects into the sea, and from thence turns to cross the isthmus to the opposite cliff, the figure it forms is not regular, giving first a triangle, and then running with a sweep North and Eastward. At the ness end, or North-east point of the wall towards the sea, it finished with an acute angle, rising on the brow of lofty rocks: the foundation has of late years been wasted by the washing of the waves, and that part of the wall is now gone: it was exactly similar to the ness or point of the Roman wall opposite to the castle of Carlisle. For a considerable space from the sea the wall is broken, and at the distance of about twenty paces are remains of a square bastion, from thence about forty paces is a round bastion, projecting from the wall about two thirds of a circle, in girth nearly thirty feet: in the front of this bastion, at the distance of about five yards, is a high ridge of earth, probably cast up by assailants. From the round bastion, at about forty paces, is a square bastion about ten feet in front, and projecting about seven feet from the line of the wall: from thence at about forty-six paces, is a round bastion, somewhat larger than that before described, making a projection of about ten feet, not so prominent as the other: in all the part described, the wall forms a straight line, and the ground gradually falls from the edge of the cliffs where the wall begins. At the distance of about thirty paces the wall forms an obtuse angle, guarded with a turret or bastion; from whence a kind of horn-work projects into the field for a considerable distance, of an angular figure, having two terraces one above another, with the remains of the glacis: the mason-work appears through the broken turf. From this point the prospect of the sea and coast towards Sunderland is very extensive, commanding Hawthorn Hive, or the beacon point, Easington, Elwick beacon, and a long tract of country. At about thirteen paces from the angle there is the appearance of a sallyport, but the wall has been repaired and altered. At the distance of about sixty paces is a round bastion; at about sixty paces further the great land-gate, being the chief entrance to the town from Durham, opening upon a road forced over a level marsh, easily broken up or flooded in a siege (fn. 1a). This gate seems to have been strengthened with a wet ditch, and probably a draw-bridge. The whole wall, towers, and gateways are of excellent masonry, built of limestone won in the sea-banks, of so soft a nature in the bed or quarry, that it may be squared with an adze, but, when exposed to the air, it becomes remarkably hard and durable; the arch of this gateway is ribbed, and besides double gates, had its portcullis; the width of the passage is ten feet, and of the whole gateway tower about thirty feet: the projection is not much above a foot from the face of the wall. It appears to have had a strong tower for its superstructure, entered at each side from the parapet of the wall (fn. 124). The approach to the town from this gate was by the side of the haven; the bason, if we may judge from the present slake or morass, consisted of several acres, where a hundred sail might lie moored. From this gateway the wall which secured the haven begins, and runs in a direct line, the water at high tide coming up to the gate. It is somewhat more than eight feet thick, faced on each side with dressed stones, with a parapet guarded by a breast-wall and embrasure, now greatly decayed. There is a water-gate in this wall, formed by a low, pointed arch, about twenty-four feet [29 feet 3 inches] in span, and ten feet high, for small craft to pass in and out of the haven without removing the boom-chains, afterwards noted; this gateway projects from the face of the wall about eighteen inches [two feet], has had flood-gates and a watch-tower. From thence, at the distance of about seventeen paces, is, a square bastion, about eight feet in front [7 feet 4 inches, projection 5 feet 3 inches]; and nearly one hundred paces distant is another square bastion [12 feet 3 inches front, projection 7 feet 7 inches]; and from thence about seventy paces [190 feet 6 inches] is a lofty round tower [324 feet], still perfect, save the parapet and embrasures. Opposite, at the distance of thirty-six feet, stood another tower, exactly similar in dimensions, as the facia and foundations plainly shew. This was the grand entrance into the haven; and by the space between the towers, we may judge of the size of those vessels which were moored therein. This entrance was guarded by large boom-chains stretched across from tower to tower, the remains of the hooks still visible in the walls of the tower (fn. 125). At ten paces distance are the foundations of a round bastion, near which is a modern gate, where it is presumed formerly was a small door-way for the convenience of persons landing from boats. At twenty-four paces distance the wall forms an angle, and turns towards the sea: this angle is defended by a half-moon. The entrance into the haven had the peculiar security, that vessels coming from the sea must necessarily double the cape or point of the isthmus, and then proceed along the whole range and stretch of the South wall, within reach of the engines and instruments of war, and pass the half-moon which guarded the angle of the wall (fn. 1b). At the distance of sixty paces [166 feet] from the angle, is a square bastion [8 feet 7 inches in front, projection at one end 9 feet 6 inches, at the other four feet 4 inches], and near it a large breach in the wall; from the square bastion, about one hundred and twenty paces [309 feet], is a large projection in the wall, most probably modern, about twenty yards long [49 feet], with a sallyport; and from thence one hundred and twenty paces [355 feet], is a round bastion [13 feet diameter]; next stands the gateway, now called the water-gate [287 feet from the round bastion,] which only communicates with the land at low water, and leads to the high street. The arch of this gateway is pointed, about eight feet in width, and defended on each hand by angular turrets, with projecting points, a figure not very commonly met with in old fortifications. From this gate the wall advances to and butts upon the rock near its point, where the pier or mole begins. The whole of this South part appears much more modern than the North and West sides.
This survey of the walls will convey a pretty perfect idea of the ancient strength of Hartlepool; the sea-cliff, and broken coast are its natural defence on the East, and completely preclude the approach of a hostile fleet. A strong wall stretched along the South, washed by every tide, and accessible only at ebb. The harbour was defended by a boom or chain, strong flanking towers, and the wall, which then turning across the narrow neck of the isthmus Northwards, completed the defence to the sea-cliff. All this applies only to the period before the invention of cannon; for the place would be completely commanded by artillery planted on the Sand-hills at the neck of the Peninsula. Hartlepool, however, was placed in a state of regular defence by the Scots, who occupied it during the civil wars, and the remains of entrenchments are still very visible on the moor and Farwell-field, consisting of ditches and slight breastworks, which were supported perhaps by cannon at different points, particularly at the large mound near St. Helen's Well, and at the Eastern extremity of the breastworks on the moor (fn. 126).
The Bishops of Durham frequently granted charters of murage, that is, licence to collect certain duties on merchandize or provisions entering the port, for the support of the walls (fn. 127). At present the walls, if supported at all, must be maintained out of the slender revenues of the Corporation.
The Old Harbour.—The subject mingles itself with the preceding, but the natural advantages of the haven, and the shelter which it afforded against the stormy East, must have been valued by Saxon, Dane, and Norman, long before Bruce drew his chain across the harbour, or girded in his Port and Borough with a mural circlet of ten gallant towers. The inner harbour, within the range of the towers, is a deep embayed basin, containing a surface of nearly twelve acres. The great entrance was betwixt two round towers, with a chain drawn across: a water-gate allowed the entrance of small craft without removing the boom. On the margin of the harbour the remains of quays have been traced, and stones with iron mooring-rings, and in a field adjoining, slips or docks of hewn stone (fn. 128).
In 1808 a grant of the harbour was made to an individual, who immediately enclosed it for the purposes of agriculture. The round tower at the entrance of the haven (described by Hutchinson) was destroyed: “a few ribs of the water-gate remain, but the square buttresses and towers have almost disappeared.” An Alderman of the Corporation indicted the inclosure of the harbour as a nuisance, and in 1813 a verdict at Durham restored the old haven to its original destination (fn. 129).
The present Harbour, totally distinct from the old basin already described, is formed by a pier run out from a point to the South of the Southern town wall. The pier is first mentioned in 1473, when Bishop Booth issued his letters to enable the Mayor to receive contributions for building a pier near the town walls on the South side of the said town, to make a deep and sufficient harbour, &c. (fn. 130)
In 1588 an Act was read a third time in the Upper House “for repayringe the Peere of Hertilpoole (fn. 131).”
No effect seems to have been produced. In 1665 an unsuccessful attempt was made to procure Parliamentary aid (fn. 132). In 1719 a small duty was imposed on imported or exported grain, towards repairing the pier. In 1723 and 1724 the pier was “very much in decay,” and several sums, particularly fifty guineas given by Lord Dungannon (Viscount Vane), were ordered to be expended thereon. This and other benefactions are recorded on flat stones, exactly like grave-stones, let into the surface of the pier. “Lord Vane, by his generous subscription, first began to repair this pier in the year 1721.” “John Hedworth, Esq. Mayor of this Corporation, repaired twenty-eight yards of this pier.” “Anno 1729 Henry Lambton, Esq. Mayor of this town, repaired twenty-five yards of this pier.” “John Hylton, Esq. Mayor of this place, repaired eighteen yards of this pier.” “George Bowes, Mayor of this town, . . . . . . . ”
In 1804 the pier was exceedingly ruinous, and the Corporation in vain endeavoured to procure Parliamentary relief. In 1810 a petition of the inhabitants to the Mayor and Aldermen states, that the late storms had carried away about thirty feet from the end of the pier; that on the destruction of the pier, the South town wall will be in danger to be carried away, by which a large part of the town would be overflowed; that in the event of the destruction of the pier and harbour, not only ships in the coal trade, but other vessels, will be deprived of a safe retreat in storms, and the fishermen, who, with their families, form the principal part of the inhabitants, &c. will be prevented carrying on their trade, and become burthensome, &c. At the same time a petition from the shipowners of Sunderland and Newcastle was presented to the House, stating, that “after a gale of four and twenty hours, Hartlepool is the only safe harbour betwixt the ports of Sunderland and Bridlington, a line of coast of ninety miles; in every wind easily accessible by light vessels, and by all laden vessels of a hundred tons and under—a description including about half the ships employed in the Northern coasting trade. In Hartlepool they may ride secure from the storms most frequent and destructive on the Eastern coast, and in moderate weather can sail out with all winds.” (fn. 133)
The pier was then a mass of ruins, the fishermen were left without shelter, and the lower part of the town was threatened with immediate destruction. Under these circumstances, at a meeting of the Corporation and inhabitants 17 Oct. 1810, it was determined to try the effect of a subscription. George Pococke, Esq. lord of the manor, set an example by a munificent subscription of 500l. which was followed by liberal contributions from the Earl of Darlington, the Bishop of Durham, and many private gentlemen. A Committee was formed, who reported that an expdediture of 3500l. would render the pier and harbour secure. In 1811, 695l. 4s. 10½d. was expended; in 1812, 905l. 18s. 11½d.; and in 1813, 256l. 1s. 11½d.; but the subscriptions were found inadequate to complete the whole plan of the engineer (fn. 134), and the Committee were obliged to content themselves with endeavouring to secure such objects as were within the reach of their limited resources. With the aid of individual contributions, and by the active exertions of one member of the Committee (fn. 135) in forwarding the progress of the Bill through both Houses, an Act was at length obtained, which received the Royal assent April 15, 1813, “for improving the Pier and Port of Hartlepool.” By the provisions of the Act, “every vessel entering or using the port shall pay a duty not exceeding twopence per ton; every boat or coble used within the port, or belonging to any fisherman, pilot, or other person residing in Hartlepool, or within the distance of one mile, shall pay five shillings; and every dwelling-house charged to the poor-rate, of the annual value of five pounds, a sum not exceeding one fortieth part of the rental (fn. 136).”
The Commissioners considered their first object to be the support, and, if possible, the completion of the pier. The next important point would be to clear out the old mooring-ground. It would be also highly desirable to cleanse and deepen the inner-harbour: but their limited resources afforded little room for distant speculation. The pier extends 154 yards, running East and West (fn. 137) in nearly a straight line; a considerable portion of the Western end has been firmly rebuilt from the foundation, but it still wants a firm connexion of masonry with the old portion to render it secure. A capstan has been placed near the end of the pier, which has often proved of essential service.
Hartlepool lies in a great corn country, and is most commodiously situated for shipping corn and lime. In order to improve the haven and town, it is possible at a small expence to carry a mole cross the slake, from the South-west angle of the town-wall to the main land, which would stop the tide from flooding many valuable acres of ground, and occasion a sweep of water to cleanse an extensive bason, where ships would lie in great safety under the shelter of the land, and ply close to the walls, which at a small cost might be converted to a quay for merchandise. Another great advantage the town would derive from such a mole is, that the land communication would be effectually secured, whereas now, at high water, carriages must come seven miles round. The Mayor of this Corporation is generally a man of consequence in the county, and it is not to be doubted, but some such project might be carried into execution, at once to enrich the place, and benefit the adjacent country. Hutchinson, vol. III. p. 32.
In 1795 Robert Dodd, engineer, addressed a report to the Corporation, in which he proposed to change the Slake (about two hundred acres flooded at high water) into an immense wet dock (fn. 138), capable of containing the whole navy of Britain (fn. 139).
It is hardly necessary to add, that the plan was not adopted; nor is it probable that any very material extension of the port will take place, unless a staple article of export, like coal, were to be worked in its neighbourhood.
The limits of the port of Hartlepool extend from the Black Shore in the river Tees South, to the Blackhalls on the sea-shore North (fn. 140).
The old grants of murage (fn. 141) (that is, of tolls on articles exposed to sale, given by the Bishop to the burgesses for the maintenance of their walls,) prove that the importation of merchandize was considerable at an early period. Hartlepool at the same time partook largely in the herring fisheries, and is expressly named in some regulations relative to the trade in 1331 (fn. 142). The Scottish wars, of course, increased the commerce of the port, which has since sunk into gradual decay (fn. 143), less from any disadvantage of situation, than from the great tide of commerce which the coal-trade has thrown into the ports of the Tyne and Wear. A century ago the export of corn from Hartlepool was considerable (fn. 144). This also has declined, and the only staple article at present is fish, of which several tons are early salted for exportation.
Several attempts have been made to procure coal in the neighbourhood, which, had they succeeded, would have raised Hartlepool rapidly to commercial wealth. The result of these experiments leaves little hope of eventual success (fn. 145).
|In the year 1800||226||256||437||556||993|
Total number of houses, 257; families employed in trade or agriculture, 36; nearly the whole of the remaining families were employed in the fishery (fn. 146).
Some interesting remarks on the distinctive manners and habits of the fishermen, who form the chief population of this isolated port, may be seen in Sharpe. The inhabitants are almost all related, or connected by frequent intermarriages (fn. 147). They are in general honest, free, and independent, but courteous to strangers and to their summer visitors. Their livelihood depends on the temper of the “most unruly element;” and when the weather is unfavourable for any length of time, they are frequently reduced to pressing necessity. They are in general sober, marry early, are faithful in their attachments, and the wife is universally the purse-holder. The women perform the most laborious part of the occupation on shore. They may be seen on the beach waiting the return of the cobles, and carry the lines home: the task of baiting also belongs to them; they procure the mussels for this purpose, and are often seen in groupes on the coast seeking sand-eels as far as the Tees' mouth.
“During the summer months the fishermen remain at sea nearly the whole night, provided with a compass, and possessing a perfect knowledge of all the land-marks. They are extremely expert in the management of their cobles, but the rapid approach of the storm sometimes baffles all their skill, when they are obliged to leave their lines, and use their utmost efforts to reach the shore (fn. 148).”
An ample and accurate detail of the fisheries (fn. 149) is given in Sharpe. Cod, haddock, ling, skate, whitings, soles, plaice, hollibut (fn. 150),—and in their season herrings and mackerel (fn. 151),—are usually taken. The turbot (fn. 152) was, till lately, caught only accidentally; but a few years ago a turbot fishery by nets was established, and has been extremely productive. No place on the North-eastern coast is, perhaps, better adapted than Hartlepool for a fishing on an extended scale. It is suggested that the introduction of the five-man boat (superseding the coble) would enable the fishermen to pursue their business with much less hazard (fn. 153).
A life-boat (fn. 154) was established at Hartlepool in 1813, by voluntary contributions; and a mortar, with a barbed shot, &c. according to Capt. Manby's plan, has been added.
Sharpe's Hartlepool, so often and so largely quoted, contains, it should be added, accurate lists in Natural History. The catalogue of “Birds observed at Hartlepool,” belongs too generally to the Eastern coast to be placed here exlusively. The Wild Swan is seen only in severe winters, as well as the Barnacle, Anas Erythropus, and the Brent Goose, Anas Bernicla. The Pintail Duck, Anas Acuta, is also only seen in hard weather. An Eider Duck, Anas Molissima, was shot in 1788. The Little Auke, Alca Alle, and the Black Guillemot (fn. 155), are extremely rare. The Bittern, Ardea Stellaris, is now seldom seen; the common Heron, Ardea Cinerea, is frequent on the borders of the slakes. The Ruff, Tringa Pugnax, is of the rarest occurrence. A number of Woodcocks were found drowned on the North sands several years ago. The Bohemian Chatterer, Ampelis Garrulus, was found dead on the sand-hills in 1814.
A fine Chalybeate-spring rises a few yards without the walls, near the Water-gate. The water is extremely clear, has a faintly sulphureous smell, and a slightly chalybeate taste. It is covered by the tide at high-water (fn. 156). Another Spring on the shore, near the South Battery, contains iron and sulphur.
And thus, with the exception of the Church and Friary, which are reserved as a separate portion, the story of the ancient Borough of Hartlepool, in its strength and its decay, has been compiled, perhaps in too minute detail, almost exclusively from Sharpe, to whose pages the reader may be safely referred for as much accurate information as was ever compressed within the same compass, and for as much amusing matter as was ever brought to bear on so confined a subject.
Robt' de Brus Om'ib[us] videntib[us] vel audientib[us] has litt'aa - salt' - Sciatis me consencientib' concedentib' heredib' meis dedisse, &c. d'o [&] s'co Cuthb'to [&] monachis ei' de Dunelmo p' animab', &c. mansuram illam in h'terpol q' fuit Gileb'ti fab' c' domib[us] [&] tofto ad eam p'tinente [&] duos Batellos ad piscandu' 'i p'ram, &c. elemosina' Lib'am, &c Hiis test' Rob'to Will'o [&] Bern' filiis meis Juone de crossebi [&] Ric' filio ei' Hug' de Brus Henr' Murdac Nigello de Hert Galopin Rob'to de s'co Oswaldo Ada' de Nesebit Walt'o sat'e Walt'o vilain Huctredo de Edene Rad stute [&] alis multis
Will'de Brus Omnib', &c Sciatis me p' salute anima' pat's, &c. dedisse, &c. deo [&] glorioso Confessori Cuthb'to [&] monachis in Dun'lmo, &c. t'ra illa' que fuit Rog'i de Wulueston' in villa mea de Herterpol iuxta capella' b'ate Helene in pura', &c. elemosina' Concedo etia' donat'one' qa pat' meus Rob't' de Brus dedit s'c'o Cuthb'to (vide cartam Roberti supra) Quare nolo, &c Hiis t' Svano Capell'o Eudone capell'o Simon' Capell'o Ada' de Seton Henr' Murdac' Will'o de Heriz Rob'to le Pam' de Hert'pol Joh'e Marchau't Lamb' Walt' Koie [&]aliis multis.
The structure consists of a nave with regular ailes, and a chancel and West tower (fn. 157). The tower and nave only are ancient. The chancel, which has been abridged and rebuilt (fn. 158), opens under a lofty pointed-arch springing from clustered pillars. The ailes are formed by five light clustered pillars on each side, supporting pointed arches: the lights are modernized. The West tower and South door are the most striking portions of the original structure. The tower is lofty, embattled, and crowned with four crocketed pinuacles; the heavy flying buttresses seem added for support, as the tower has swerved from its perpendicular (fn. 159). The South entrance is under a circular arch of several deep mouldings, chiefly ornamented with the chevron. It owes its present perfect state to the protection of a clumsy South porch.
The interior is neatly pewed with oak. There is a gallery at the West end, erected probably in 1724, when a great portion of the structure was rebuilt or repaired (fn. 160). The font is of Yorkshire marble, “the gift of George Bowes, Esq. 1723.”
It has been stated, that the Chapel of St. Hilda was given to Guisbrough Priory with the mother Church of Hart, and that both have vested in the patronage of the Crown since the Dissolution. The Vicars of Hart, till a late period, always held the Chapelry. In 1807 Nathaniel Hollingsworth, M. A. obtained a separate presentation to the Perpetual Curacy, and was succeeded, in 1812, by the Rev. William Wilson.
The whole revenue of the Perpetual Curacy does not exceed 200l. per. ann. 10l. per ann. Lord Crewe's Bounty; 200l. Queen Anne's Bounty, vested, in 1727, in the purchase of lands in the parish of Bishop Middleham (fn. 161). An augmentation of 800l. by Parliamentary Grant in 1812, to be vested in the purchase of land; and in 1814 a further augmentation; 200l. from the Bishop of Durham; 200l. from the Trustees of Lord Crewe's Charity; and 600l. from Queen Anne's Bounty.
Chantries.—There were at least three Chantries within the Church of Hartlepool: 1. Bishop Skirlaw, in 139. . granted licence to the Mayor and Commonalty of Hartlepool to found a Chantry of one Chaplain at the altar of St. Helen, to pray for the good estate of Bishop Skirlaw, of Maude wife of Roger Clifford, and of the said Mayor and Commonalty, and for the rest of their souls after death; with licence to settle on Robert Rosson, Priest of the said Chantry, and his successors, three messuages which Geoffrey de Eltham and Isabel his wife held for life; and seven messuages, forty acres and a half and ten roods of arable land, one acre of meadow, ten tofts and crofts, and 14s. rent in Hartlepool and Neleston, held of the same Maude Clifford (fn. 162).
2. St. Mary's Chantry, founded at the same time with the former, by similar episcopal licence, to consist of two Chaplains at the altar of the Virgin. The endowment was one messuage, which Isabel de Shildon, wife of John Goldsmith the elder, held for life; one messuage, which Thomas Kyrke held, &c.; thirty messuages, twenty-seven tofts and crofts, two roods and a half of land, and 84s. 6d. rent, held of Maud de Clifford. The Mayor, &c. had also licence to grant seven messuages, held of Maud de Clifford, to Walter Bakster and William Howe, guardians of the fabric of St. Hild's Church, in order to maintain the choir of the Church, and to support a perpetual light at the altar of the Virgin.
Thomas del Kyrke and John de Thornton, Chaplains on the foundation. John Presbyter, p. m. Kyrke, 1413. John de Stranton, 1435, pr. by the Mayor of Hartlepool. John Holmes, the last Chaplain, received 5l. in 1553. The Chantry was valued at 7l. 13s. 4d. per ann.
In 1607 Sir Henry Lindley, Knt. and John Starkey, Gent. granted to Henry Dethicke, Bachelor of Laws, a wasted messuage in Micklegate, parcel of the Chantry of St. Mary, as the same was granted by the Crown to Lindley and Starkey, under 4d. rent, April 1607.
Half a close in Hertlepoole on ye Hewge, iiiis.; a close called the Long Close, viiis.; two Nunery Close, iiiis.; a close in ye Butcherchaire, called Cross Close, viiis. iiiid.; a parcel in Fishergate, iis. vid.; another parcel in Fishergate, 1s. All which were granted by the Crown to George Warde and Robert Morgan, of London, Gent. 5 Jac. and by them to Richardson and Walton (under the crown rents, stated 20 Feb. 7 Jac. (fn. 163) ) 13 March, 11 Jac. Tennant and Speeding grant to Robert Parrett (fn. 164), of Hartlepool, Gent. the Half-close on the Hewghe, and two closes at the Outchare, parcel, &c.
In the chancel, on a large slab, inlaid with a brass plate, bearing the full effigies of a comely woman in a high crowned hat, ruff, long waist and stomacher, close gown with long sleeves and flowered petticoat—casta fides victrix:
Here under this stone lyeth buryed the bodie of the vertuous gentlewoman Jane Bell, who dep'ted this lyfe the vi daye of Januarie 1593, being the dowghter of Laverance Thornell, of Darlington, Gent. and late wyfe to Parsavel Bell, nowe maire of this towen of Hartinpooell, marchant.
Whos virtues if thou wilt beholde,
Peruse this tabell hanging bye (fn. 165),
Which will the same to the unfolde.
By her good lyfe learne then to die.
ætatis suæ 40.
Two stone effigies, removed from the church-yard a few years ago, are placed near the North chancel wall. They are defaced and mutilated; but the more perfect figure is evidently not an ecclesiastic, grasping in one hand a glove, and in the other holding a scroll, now illegible; an angel supports a pillow at his head, and his feet rest on a couchant hound. The other figure is intended for a female, with the hands clasped on the breast in prayer (fn. 166). Two other mutilated figures remain in the church-yard.
An old altar-tomb, once doubtless within the choir, is now about five feet without the East wall of the modern chancel. The cover, a blue slab of gigantic proportions (fn. 167), is without effigy or inscription; but on each of the four sides or uprights, the lion of Bruce is repeated, without variation or addition. This old giant tomb, which seems to speak the broad monumental character that succeeded to the cairn and the barrow, covers, doubtless, the ashes of the Norman Bruces before they had assumed the arms of Annandale.
The Parochial Register begins in 1567 (fn. 168).
11 May 1641. Charles Hood, Captain, and Marie Collingwood, married. Dec. 27, 1643, John Hudspeth, souldier, buried. 3 Feb. Myles Anderson. 6 Mar. George Gybson, souldier. 15 Mar. Thomas Martindale. 1644, Nov. Capt. Benton buried. Two Scots souldiers drowned. Thos Wortley, a Scots souldier, &c.
Jan. 2, 1750. Cæsar, a slave of Mr. Macdonald, baptised (fn. 169).
The Chapel of St. Helen stood in the Warren, probably near St. Helen's Well, in the Farwell-field, where the ground still appears considerably elevated, and hewn stones are frequently discovered. According to Burton, William Brus gave this Chapel to Guisbrough Priory, for the support of the light before the great altar (fn. 170).
“The frieradg of Hartilpool was founded by (the same) Robert Bruse (fn. 171), being Gray Friers of the order Saint Fraunces, as I am thereof informed; and for the value of the same house you shall know at my cuming up (fn. 172).” So saith Master Layton, one of the visitors of the Northern Abbies before the Dissolution. Tanner says, this house existed before 1275; but it is mentioned amongst their foundations in England, at a Chapter of the Franciscan Order, held at Narbonne 1258. It was one of the nine houses within the Wardenship of the Grey Friers of Newcastle (fn. 173).
The stok, store, domestical stuff, with detts recovered, iil. iis. iiiid. Rewardes, with pent'ons paide unto the . . . . xis. The remayner of the prices of goods and catels, xiis. iiiid. Leade and Bells—lead, xii foth.; belles, ii. Woode and underwoddes, iil. Plate and jewells, xxviis. viiid. (fn. 174)
Testamentary Burials.—1372. John Ogle gave five marks. 1476. John Trollop, of Thornlaw, Esq. (fn. 175) In 1423 Robert Wyclyf, Master of Kepyer Hospital and Rector of Hutton Rudby, in Cleveland, left xxs. each to the mendicant friars of Allerton, Richmond, and Hartlepool (fn. 176).
In 37 Hen. VIII. William Williams held the Priory of Hartlepoole of the King in free socage. In 1605 Ralph Conyers, of Layton, Esq. held the scite of the house of the Friers in Hartlepoole, six cottages, a garden, &c. in free socage (fn. 177). The scite was afterwards in the possession of the family of Porrett, and was purchased in 1634 of Robert and William Porrett by the trustees of Smith's Charity. (See hereafter.)
The building now called the Friery, on the moor to the East of the Church, has no monastic character, but is rather (as Hutchinson describes it) “the shell of a mansion belonging to the lay proprietors, built after the Dissolution;” an old gavel-ended house, with mullions and dormer windows (fn. 178). Some traces of older masonry are visible in the fragments of walls which surround the Friary grounds; and the foundations which still remain betwixt the present mansion and the Friary barn possibly mark the exact scite of the monastery. There is an excellent well belonging to the Friary, forty-three feet deep and six feet square, of hewn stone. “The garden produces the best reputed Ribston pippins in the country (fn. 179).”
The Friary (with the lands within the walls) pays a fee-farm rent of 2l. 10s. 9d. lately purchased from the Duke of Leeds by G. W. Meadley, Esq. and devised by him, “honoris et amicitiæ ergo,” to the Rev. James Tate, of Richmond (fn. 180).
Charitable Benefactions to The Chapelry of Hartlepool.
The charitable bequests under the will of the eccentric Henry Smith, Alderman of London (fn. 181), have been already mentioned. In 1634 the trustees acting under the will purchased of Robert and William Porrett, Gents. divers parcels, which are described in a deed dated Dec. 20, 1641, as “one capital messuage (fn. 182) and divers other messuages, lands, and tenements, with their appurtenances, in Hartlepool,” &c. The Churchwardens and Overseers are empowered to receive out of the said messuage and parcels 30l. per ann. to be applied to the relief of aged poor and infirm people (fn. 183).
Hartlepool was one of the places nominated to receive 24l. annually by the will of Henry Hilton, Esq. whose strange testamentary disposition has been sufficiently noticed (vol. II. p. 21). The bequest (reduced by agreement with John Hilton, Esq. to 16l. per ann. 1663) expired in 1739.
Sir William Blackett, Baronet, Burgess, Alderman, and sometime Maior of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, dep'ted this life the 16th day of May 1680. By his last will he did bequeath to the poor of the parish of St. Gyles (fn. 184), in Hartinpoole, forty shillings yearly for ever (fn. 185).
The lands (fn. 186) belonging to the poor consist, with the Frierage, of about nineteen acres, leased in 1729 for 38l. 10s.; in 1816 for 141l. 2s.
The Free School was founded by the will of John Crooks, of Hartlepool, Gent. dated Sept. 1742 (fn. 187). He bequeathed 15l. per ann. for the purpose of teaching twenty-four boys reading, writing, and arithmetic, and 5l. per ann. to purchase shoes and shirts for the same scholars, charging the whole on his freehold estate at Stranton. Some years afterwards Mr. John Leighton, son of Marjory, sister and coheir of John Crooks, took advantage of the statute of mortmain, to seize a moiety of the estate. Ann Crooks, spinster, the other sister and coheir of the testator, generously gave her share by deed of gift 21 Nov. 1756 (fn. 188), to the charitable purposes intended by the founder. The trustees are ordered to apply three fourths of the clear rents in the instruction of such a number of poor boys resident in Hartlepool as the rents will afford; they are to learn reading, writing, arithmetic, and the church catechism; the remaining fourth is to be applied to the purchase of stationery for the school, and afterwards shoes, shirts, and stockings. The master to be appointed by Ann Crooks during her life, and afterwards by Robert Leighton or his heir at law. When the seven trustees are reduced to three, Ann Crooks, or Robert Leighton, or his heir, or, on failure of these, the surviving trustees, shall fill up the number to seven, to be chosen from persons residing in or near Hartlepool. The deed of 1756 describes the lands as the undivided moiety of six closes in Stranton. A division has taken place, and the trustees hold “a barn, a garth, two closes of seventeen acres, two closes called West and South Low field (five acres), rent 28l. per ann. A school-house, built from the savings of the rental, is held under the Corporation for forty years from Sept. 1790, under a ground-rent of two shillings. Thirty children are taught at present; but there is no longer any distribution of shoes, &c. (fn. 189)
A Sunday School was established some years ago, chiefly by the exertions of the Rev. Benjamin Lumley. It is supported by subscriptions and an annual sermon, and is under the superintendance of the Rev. William Wilson.