Historical Account of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Including the Borough of Gateshead. Originally published by Mackenzie and Dent, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1827.
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1685 – 1782
During the short and imprudent reign of the last of the Stuarts, "the magistracy (of Newcastle) was composed of Papists and Protestants, Conformists and Non-conformists; the cap, the mace, and the sword, were one day carried to the church, another day to the mass-house, and on a third to the Dissenting meeting-house." (fn. 1)
On August 13, 1688, an address to the king, "for the inestimable blessing of a Prince of Wales," was agreed upon and signed at the assizes held at the Castle of Newcastle, by the high sheriff, deputy lieutenants, justices of peace, and grand jury of Northumberland.
In November this year, the town received Lord Lumley, and declared for the Prince of Orange and a free parliament. Upon this occasion, a beautiful statue of king James II. on horseback, erected upon a white marble base, before the Exchange, in the midst of the Sand-hill, was demolished by the mob, who dragged the statue and its horse upon the Quay, and turned them over into the river.
After this Revolution, considerable fears were entertained of some movement in favour of the discarded monarch. Watches were set at the gates of the town, and the common council ordered arms and ammunition to be provided by the mayor and aldermen. The militia of the town was also embodied in 1690. The first Sunday after the 13th of October this year was appointed as a thanksgiving-day for his majesty's safe return from Ireland; when the mayor was ordered to "have a feast-dinner at the town's charge, and after the evening service that they come to the court and take a glass of wine, and have bonfires as is usual." (fn. 2)
Henry Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle upon Tyne, died July 26, 1691, and, having no male issue, that title became extinct in the male line of the family; but John Hollis, Earl of Clare, who had married Margaret, his third daughter, having advanced the Revolution with great zeal, was promoted, in consequence of his services to the house of Orange, to the dignity of Marquis of Clare, and Duke of Newcastle upon Tyne. (fn. 3)
In the beginning of 1696, a scheme was in agitation, between the king of France and the abdicated king James, to make a descent upon Great Britain, in the vicinity of Newcastle upon Tyne. It was stated, in a memorial drawn up on this occasion, that most of the inhabitants of the northern districts were Jacobites; that the cavalry might be easily mounted in this country; and that 20,000 carriages and cart-horses, which carried coals from the mines to Newcastle and Sunderland, would be useful for carrying the baggage of the army. (fn. 4)
The corporation of Newcastle, in 1697, presented, through the Earl of Scarborough, an address of congratulation to king William, on his return to England. (fn. 5)
On the 22d of August, 1701, while the assizes were being held, John Fenwick, Esq. of Rock, assassinated Ferdinando Forster, Esq. of Bambrough Abbey, one of the representatives in parliament for Northumberland. They quarrelled about some family matters at dinner, at the Black Horse inn, near the White Cross, which was then the best inn in Newcastle. Fenwick challenged the other to fight, and, as they went out, he stabbed Forster behind. This dastardly act was perpetrated between the White Cross and a thorn tree, which stood at that time in Newgate Street, upon which spot he was hanged on the 25th of September following. All the gates of the town were shut during the execution, lest a rescue should be attempted by the people of the north, with whom the name of Fenwick was held in great veneration. (fn. 6)
In 1702, the members of the corporation and the other principal inhabitants of Newcastle addressed queen Anne on the death of her predecessor, king William III. Shortly after, her majesty was petitioned concerning the fortifications of the port of Tyne; and a memorial was sent to Prince George of Denmark, lord high admiral of England, relating to the losses sustained by the coal-trade for want of protection. (fn. 7)
The House of Commons seems to have participated in the fears expressed by the corporation for the safety of the port and town of Newcastle; for, on the 21st of December, 1705, an order was made that the whole House should attend queen Anne, with an address, to request her majesty to give speedy and effectual orders for fortifying these places.
In July, 1706, the mayor, recorder, aldermen, sheriff, and common council of Newcastle, addressed the queen on the glorious victories of her majesty and her allies, in the battle of Ramilies, and the success of her fleets and armies in Spain. The address contains the following quaint expression:—"Then your majesty arose like another Deborah." In the following year, the queen was addressed on the happy Union of the two kingdoms of England and Scotland.
On the rumour of an intended invasion, several ships of war and transports with land-forces, under the command of Lieutenant-general Withers, arrived in the Tyne on March 27, 1708. The corporation sent a loyal address to the queen on this occasion.
In April, 1710, it was in agitation, in the common council of Newcastle, to purchase of the crown the fee-farm of the town, at the price of £2200. At the same time, an address was ordered, congratulating the queen on the success of her majesty's arms. In June, the queen was petitioned concerning a riot of the keelmen in the port of Tyne; and in December following, in consequence of a malicious report that the plague was raging in Newcastle, the common council transmitted to the lord mayor of London a certificate to the contrary, and which was ordered to be published in the Gazetteer and other public papers.
On April 27, 1713, the corporation of Newcastle addressed queen Anne on the conclusion and signing of the treaty for a general peace; and, on the 29th September following, the same body addressed king George I. on his accession to the throne of Great Britain.
On Thursday, October 6, 1715, the Earl of Derwentwater joined Thomas Forster, Esq. one of the representatives in parliament for Northumberland, and other gentlemen, who had that day appeared in arms against the House of Hanover. The whole party proceeded to Rothbury, and the next morning marched to Warkworth, where Charles Stuart was proclaimed king of Great Britain, &c. On Monday the 10th, Forster, who had been appointed general, was joined at Felton by 70 Scots gentlemen from the Borders, when he directed his route to Morpeth, which he entered at the head of 300 horsemen. He intended by a rapid movement to surprise Newcastle; but finding the attempt would be imprudent, he turned westward to Hexham, from whence he marched by way of Rothbury to Kelso, to join the Highlanders under Mackintosh.
When the magistracy of Newcastle heard that a rebellion in the county of Northumberland had actually commenced, they instantly adopted every imaginable precaution for the security of the town. All Papists and suspected persons were imprisoned, the loyal inhabitants formed themselves into an association, and a body of 700 volunteers were armed for the defence of the town, while the keelmen offered another body of 700 men to be ready at half an hour's warning. The militia and train-bands, who about that time were ordered to muster at Killingworth Moor, were taken into the town for its better defence. The Earl of Scarborough, lord lieutenant of Northumberland, with his friends, and the neighbouring gentry with their tenants on horseback, also repaired to Newcastle, the gates of which were strongly walled up with stone and lime. In the midst of these warlike preparations, a battalion of foot and a few troops of dragoons entered the town, when all fears for its safety vanished.
On the 18th of October, Lieutenant-general Carpenter, with Hotham's regiment of foot, and Cobham's, Molesworth's, and Churchill's dragoons, entered Newcastle. This force, on the 25th, set out from thence, and on the following day arrived at Wooler, intending to attack Kelso immediately. But the rebel army having marched from that town to Jedburgh, and then to Langholm, General Carpenter deemed it impracticable to continue the pursuit with his heavy horse. He therefore returned to Newcastle; and, after refreshing his troops, marched towards Preston, where this attempt to support the principles of Legitimacy was completely crushed.
On this critical occasion, Alderman White, of Newcastle, was peculiarly zealous for the existing government; and Lord Crew, bishop of Durham, justly complimented the town for its loyalty. It appears that the corporation expended above £850 in raising their own militia, and accommodating the soldiers sent down against the rebels from Michaelmas this year to the Michaelmas following. (fn. 8)
At the assizes in 1723, Mr. Edward Riddle, attorney, was tried for killing Captain Lilburn in a duel in the Nun's Garden at Newcastle, and acquitted, no proof being adduced that Mr. Riddle killed him.
On October 21, 1724, a great fire began in the house of Mr. Joseph Partis, merchant, near St. Nicholas' church in Newcastle, where, by the explosion of a barrel of gunpowder, a great many persons lost their lives. There had been a very wet summer this year in the vicinity of that town, and the greater part of the hay and corn were spoiled.
On October 10, 1727, the coronation of king George II. and queen Caroline was celebrated with great solemnity at Newcastle. "The day was ushered in with ringing of bells; the magistrates in their scarlet gowns, accompanied by the common council, clergy and gentry, went from the Guild-Hall to church, with musick playing, and cannons firing, and from thence proceeded to the mayor's house, where a splendid entertainment was prepared for them; and after dinner they repaired to the market-place, where a fountain was erected which ran wine; where the magistrates, common council, clergy, and gentry, drank the healths of the King, Queen, and royal issue, with many other loyal healths, in presence of many thousand spectators; thence they went to Guild-Hall, where the said healths were repeated with the like ceremony as above, and the conduit running wine all the time for the populace, whilst a great bonefire, erected in the market-place, was burning, the cannons firing at each health: they afterwards returned to the mayor's house, where there was a ball for all the ladies; and the evening was concluded with rejoycings, bonefires, illuminations, ringing of bells, and all other demonstrations of joy." (fn. 9)
In 1733, two men were executed upon a gallows erected for the purpose on the Town Moor, where none had been hanged for thirty years before. Six years afterwards, Michael Curry and John Wilson were executed, each for murder. Curry's body was immediately carried to Hartley, and there hung in chains.
During the severe winter of 1739–40, the poor in Newcastle suffered severely; and numbers must have perished with the excessive cold, had not Alderman Ridley permitted them to carry away as much as they pleased from his heaps of small coal. The corporation also gave £50 to the four parishes of the town, and Walter Blackett, Esq. 200 guineas, besides £50 to Gateshead parish. (fn. 10)
On the 9th of June, this year, an alarming riot commenced at Newcastle, in consequence of the dearness of provisions. The militia of the town was instantly raised; and a promise being given that corn should be sold at a much lower rate, the mob was pacified. On the following day, Alderman Ridley, at the head of the militia, announced that the corn-factors had set a certain fixed price on their grain, which information was received by the multitude with satisfaction and applause.
On the 21st of June, the pitmen, keelmen, and poor of the town, finding that the factors kept their shops shut up, and that most of them had absconded, proceeded to plunder the granaries. A vessel loaded with rye, and about to sail, was also stopped, and the grain sold to the poor at the stipulated price. On the 25th, the militia was imprudently disbanded; when, on the following day, immense numbers of people assembled on the Sand Hill, while the mayor, aldermen, and other gentlemen, were consulting in the Guild Hall on the best measures to be adopted during so pressing an emergency. The mob soon grew extremely unruly; and a gentleman, venturing out to inform them that the ship would be defended until the poor were supplied with the rye in it, was knocked down. Upon this, the rioters were fired upon; and one of them having been killed, and several wounded, they rushed in a body upon the gentlemen assembled in the hall, wounded most of them, and then proceeded to ransack the town-court and chambers. Many of the public writings and accounts were destroyed, and a very large sum of the corporation money was carried off. The mob afterwards traversed the streets, where, finding all the shops shut up, they threatened with horrid execrations to burn and destroy the whole place. In the evening, three companies of Howard's regiment, under the command of Captain Marmaduke Sowle, who had marched that day from Alnwick, entered the town, and soon dispersed the rioters, forty of whom were seized and committed to prison. At the following assizes, six of this number were convicted and transported, each for seven years. Their names were, Thomas Grey, James Harriot, Thomas Wilson, William Sopit, Robert Hatherick, alias Hatherwick, and William Keed, alias Kid, alias Keedy. This affray is said to have cost the corporation £4000. (fn. 11)
On Monday, August 8, 1743, William Brown, a bold and desperate man, leader of a band of thieves or Moss-troopers, and who had been convicted of returning from transportation, was hanged without the Westgate at Newcastle. His execution had been hastened for fear of a rescue.
War was proclaimed against France, on April 7, 1745, in the usual places in Newcastle, the mayor and aldermen attending in their scarlet gowns, and accompanied by their proper officers. In the early part of this year, the French privateers were so audacious as to pursue the shipping close to Tynemouth bar.
When the rebellion this year burst out in Scotland, the magistrates and the inhabitants of Newcastle again displayed their attachment to the House of Hanover. On September 19, eight hundred and thirteen persons signed an obligation either to appear in person, or to provide each an able man, to act in concert with his majesty's forces in defence of the town. On the following day, the town's militia mounted guard.
On Sunday morning, September 22, the alarming news of General Cope's defeat by the rebels arrived at Newcastle, and threw that place into the utmost consternation. Many of the most opulent inhabitants fled immediately, and removed their most valuable effects into the country with the greatest precipitation. On the contrary, others redoubled their exertions for the defence of the town. More cannon were procured; and on Wednesday the 25th of September, part of the Northumberland militia, consisting of about 400 horse, and above 200 foot, well armed, entered the town. These volunteers were assiduous in learning their military exercise, particularly the gentlemen that composed a company with red and pink cockades. On the 12th of October, 600 Dutch, of General de la Roque's regiment, arrived from Berwick, where they had been landed. In the mean time, the town's walls were being repaired, and about 200 cannon were placed upon them. (fn. 12) Even the water-gates on the Quayside were built up with gun-holes in them. On the 19th of this month, the Hon. General Huske reviewed the volunteers, militia, and the English and Dutch troops which composed the garrison. These formidable preparations, it is probable, induced the rebel army to enter England by way of Carlisle.
On Saturday, October 26, Barrell's, Wolfe's, Fleming's, and Munroe's regiments of foot, arrived at Newcastle from the south, and encamped upon the Town Moor. On Monday the 28th, Field-marshal Wade, commander-in-chief of the army intended for the north, entered the town; and on the following day, his encampment was increased by the arrival of Pulteney's, Cholmondley's, and Blakeney's regiments of English foot, and of Holstein's, Gottorp's, Patot's, and three regiments of Hizzell's, all Dutch, under Prince Maurice of Nassau. These were followed on Thursday by the grand train of artillery, escorted by Batteroy's regiment; and on Friday by the Royal Scots, commanded by General Sinclair. The whole army now consisted of 15,000 effective men, in high spirits and well equipped. (fn. 13)
On Saturday, November 16, General Wade marched for the relief of Carlisle; but learning at Hexham that it had fallen into the hands of the enemy, he, on the Wednesday following, sent a division of dragoons to Newcastle, with orders to proceed southward to Durham; and on Friday he himself returned to Newcastle, with the main body of the army, which was quartered in the town and neighbouring villages. (fn. 14)
On Tuesday the 26th, Marshal Wade marched southward to Ferrybridge, in pursuit of the rebels, who were then advancing upon London; but though watched by two superior armies, they effected their retreat into Scotland. On the 18th of December, General Huske, with about 1100 men, arrived at Newcastle; and on the 20th, Marshal Wade again entered the town with his staff. (fn. 15) During the four succeeding days, the following regiments arrived in succession, viz. the Scots Royal, Wolfe's, Battereau's, Fleming's, Barrell's, Pulteney's, Blakeney's, Cholmondeley's, and the Old Buffs. On Christmas-day, several hundred horses were pressed in the town; and on the following day, the troops began to move northwards, except Barrell's and Pulteney's regiments, with several additional companies, that were ordered to remain in Newcastle.
On Thursday the 26th, several captains of ships, and others skilled in gunnery, set out from Newcastle, with Marshal Wade's train of artillery, for the city of Carlisle, which, five days afterwards, surrendered to the Duke of Cumberland. The news reached Newcastle on the eve of the new year, when great rejoicings took place, and the bells were rung all night and the next morning.
On January 15, 1746, there was another great press for horses in Newcastle. On the 16th, the Duke of Rutland's regiment arrived in that town; on the 21st, the Duke of Bedford's; on the 23d, the Duke of Montague's horse; and on the 26th, sixteen pieces of brass cannon, with stores, gunners, and matrosses, being destined for Scotland.
On the evening of January 27, 1746, there were illuminations and rejoicings in Newcastle, to welcome his royal highness the Duke of Cumberland, who was on his way to direct the military operations in Scotland. But, to the great disappointment of the populace, his royal highness did not arrive till about one o'clock on the following morning. After some hours' refreshment, he set out again at seven o'clock the same morning. Some outrages, which will be noticed hereafter, were committed upon the Roman Catholics both in Gateshead and Newcastle on this occasion. The corporation offered £50 reward for the discovery of the offenders in Newcastle.
On Monday the 21st of April, the news of the great and decisive victory of Culloden arrived at Newcastle, when the greatest rejoicings ever known took place. (fn. 16) On the 26th of May, his serene highness the prince of Hesse, in passing through the town from Scotland, received the compliments of the corporation.
About one o'clock in the morning of July 23, his royal highness the Duke of Cumberland arrived from Scotland. He was immediately presented with the freedom of the corporation, as a token of their high esteem for his many princely virtues, and the grateful sense they entertained of his distinguished services in defence of the laws and liberties of Great Britain. The Trinity-house complimented his royal highness with the freedom of that fraternity; and both the town and Trinity-house addressed the king on the above-mentioned ever memorable victory.
On September 15, Alexander Anthony, a native of Lincolnshire, 23 years of age, and a soldier in Brigadier Cholmondeley's regiment, then quartered in Newcastle, was shot on the Town Moor, for entering into the French service. He was wounded and taken prisoner at the battle of Fontenoy, and afterwards enlisted into Fitz-James's horse, in which corps he fought bravely at the battle of Culloden.
April 25, 1749, being appointed for a general thanksgiving for the peace, great rejoicings took place in Newcastle. After attending divine service at St. Nicholas' church, the magistrates and a great number of gentlemen returned to the Exchange, when three volleys were fired by three companies of Colonel Buckland's regiment. The magistrates then partook of an elegant entertainment in the Merchants' Hall. A fountain, which was erected on the Sandhill, run wine for a considerable time; fire-works were played off from the top of the castle; the town was illuminated; and a grand assembly added to the pleasures of the evening. There were also extraordinary rejoicings on Sunday the 11th of June following, being the anniversary of his majesty's accession to the throne. In the evening, a great variety of fire-works, under the direction of Mr. Barker, a schoolmaster, were exhibited from a scaffold in the Carliol Croft.
In March, 1750, the keelmen of Newcastle made a stand, which continued for seven weeks. On the 27th of April, five or six persons, supposed to be keelmen, assembled in a field near Elswick; where one of them, from a stile, proclaimed Prince Charles king of England, France, and Ireland, &c. The corporation next day offered a reward of £100 for the discovery of the offenders.
About eleven o'clock in the night of July 24, this year, a fire broke out in the Close, near the end of the Tyne-bridge, which burnt down several dwelling-houses and warehouses between the street and the river. A collection, amounting to £806, was made for the poor sufferers.
On the 4th of July, 1751, the mayor, recorder, aldermen, and sheriff of Newcastle, went to Durham, to congratulate the Right Reverend Joseph Butler, lord bishop of Durham, on his arrival at his palace in that city. They were received in a very courteous manner, and magnificently entertained. His lordship, at his primary visitation in Newcastle, remained two days at the Mansion-house.
Richard Brown, a keelman, was executed on the Town Moor, Newcastle, on the 21st of August this year for the murder of his daughter; and on the 27th of the same month, Henry Douglas, a surgeon in the navy, on half-pay, was killed in a scuffle with Edward Holliday, a seaman, in the house of David Shield, an innkeeper.
On the 27th of September, this year, Ewan Macdonald, a recruit in General Guise's regiment, was executed on the Town Moor, for the murder of Robert Parker, a cooper; and his body was afterwards dissected and anatomized in the Surgeon's Hall. This young man had been grossly irritated to the perpetration of the crime for which he suffered, though not by the person that was killed.
On February 17, 1753, (fn. 17) the river Tyne, in consequence of a sudden thaw, swelled to a prodigious height, when, by the impetuosity of the current and the violence of the wind, all the ships at the Quay of Newcastle were driven from their moorings.
At the assizes this year, Dorothy Catenby was condemned and executed for the murder of her bastard child. Three men were also tried and condemned for committing a rape on Elizabeth Hall at Elsdon, of which cruelty she died. They were respited from time to time, and finally pardoned.
The mayor and aldermen of Newcastle, on May 22, 1756, proclaimed war against France; and on the same day, the high sheriff of Northumberland declared war without the Westgate, which is in the liberties of the county of Northumberland. (fn. 18)
In July this year, the populace of Newcastle paraded the streets with an effigy of Admiral Byng, which was afterwards hanged and burnt. At the assizes, Richard Curtis was sentenced to be hung for the murder of William Atkinson, a town's serjeant, who came to arrest Charles Cowling by an escape warrant; but he was reprieved because the warrant was void, and afterwards pardoned.
On account of the severity of the winter, in February, 1757, upwards of £900 was collected for the poor of Newcastle, of which the corporation gave £200, and Sir Walter Blackett, Bart.£100. (fn. 19)
On February 20, 1758, William Bland, a soldier in General Buckland's second battalion, then quartered in Newcastle, was shot on the Town Moor for desertion. He had been impressed into the service. On the 27th of this month, a meeting was held in the Guildhall, for the purpose of forming an armed association.
On the 21st of September, a sheep, being pursued by a butcher's dog, ran down a lane in the Close, and, in jumping into the river, threw two dyers, named Clowney and Porteus, who were washing cloth, into the Tyne. They were both drowned.
On the 1st of November, the mayor and magistrates, in their scarlet robes, preceded by the town's band of music and the regalia, went from the Mansion-house to the Guildhall, attended by the colonels and officers of the two battalions of Yorkshire militia quartered in Newcastle, and the principal gentlemen of the town and neighbourhood, where many loyal healths were drunk, and proclaimed his late majesty George III. amidst the joyful acclamations of several thousands of spectators, who accompanied them to the usual places of proclamation.
The coronation of their majesties George III. and queen Charlotte was observed in Newcastle, on September 22, 1761, with every demonstration of joy. The gentlemen volunteers fired at the artillery ground, and the Yorkshire Buffs on the Sandhill, where a fountain ran with wine. The rejoicings concluded by a ball and illuminations.
In consequence of a long continued tempest of wind and rain, the river Tyne rose to a prodigious height on the 2d of December this year. Many of the shops, cellars, and warehouses in the Close, Sandhill, Quayside, Sandgate, and Gateshead, were filled with water. The damage was computed at upwards of £4000. A quantity of timber floated half way up the Broad Chare; and a sloop and several keels and boats were driven upon the Quay, where the water was three feet deep. His majesty's ship Solebay, and 17 colliers, broke from their moorings at Shields; but most of them were safely brought to.
On August 27th this year, George Stewart, a pawn-broker, belonging to Sandgate, was executed on the Town Moor, Newcastle, for shooting Robert Lindsay, a keelman; and on September 3, James Edgar was executed at the Westgate, for breaking into the house of Edward Bigge, Esq. of West Jesmond.
On August 2, 1766, (fn. 20) Jean Grey, convicted of perjury, stood in the pillory, on the Sandhill, Newcastle, one hour, pursuant to her sentence.
On January 25, 1768, a sailor was killed by a bull, which the populace were baiting on the Sandhill, Newcastle. (fn. 21)
The admirers of Mr. Wilkes in Newcastle assembled at various inns and public houses, on April 18, 1770, to celebrate his liberation from confinement; and a subscription was opened for his support, as the defender of the liberty of the subject. A candle was made by Mr. Kelly, of the Quayside, to be lighted on this occasion, which consisted of 44 branches, issuing in four circular divisions from the main stem, and forming four circles at the top, where they all terminated horizontally with each other, and would cast 45 lights. It weighed 22½ lb. From the bottom to the top of the main stem it was about three feet. The magistrates adopted precautions for the preservation of the peace; but the entertainments were conducted with the greatest order and decorum. (fn. 22)
On August 30, 1771, his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland, accompanied by his Grace the Duke of Northumberland, Earl Percy, Lord Algernon Percy, Sir Edward Blackett, and Sir John Hussey Delaval, Baronets, arrived in Newcastle from Seaton Delaval. He was saluted by 21 pieces of cannon, sumptuously entertained at the Mansion-house, and presented with the freedom of the town in a gold box There was a grand assembly in the evening. (fn. 23)
About two o'clock on the morning of Sunday the 17th of November, the inhabitants of Newcastle were alarmed by an unprecedented and dreadful inundation. In consequence of an unremitted fall of heavy rain in the west, the water in the Tyne rose upwards of twelve feet above the common flow of a good spring tide. The flood was so rapid and sudden, that the inhabitants in the lower parts of the town saved their lives with difficulty. The middle arch of Tyne-bridge, and two other arches near to Gateshead, were carried away, and seven houses with shops standing thereon, together with some of the inhabitants, were overwhelmed in destruction. (fn. 24)
Happily, the wind blew from the north-east: had it blown from the west, the greater rapidity of the current might have produced still more fatal consequences. When the arches of the bridge began to fill, the water rushed with great violence along the Close and the Sandhill, to the north corner of which a boat was rowed. A great quantity of tar, timber, deals, &c. was swept off the Quay, upon which three sloops and a brig were left when the flood subsided. Between seven and eight o'clock in the morning, the water was at a stand; from eight to nine, it fell five inches; from nine to ten, sixteen inches; from ten to eleven, twenty-five inches; from eleven to twelve, thirty-two inches; from twelve to one, four feet; from one to two, five feet four inches; and it was off the Quay about four o'clock that afternoon. The utility of Jarrow Slake appeared, as has been observed, in this disaster; as it took in so immense a body of water, that at Shields the flood was no higher than a spring tide.
On Saturday, August 15, 1772, the sheriff of Newcastle conducted the judges across the river in the mayor's barge, attended by several gentlemen in the river jury barge, and landed them on the Quay opposite the Exchange, which they walked through, and were received by the mayor at the foot of the court-stairs. They were then preceded as usual by the regalia into court, where they opened their commission.
On November 23, this year, the corporation of Newcastle petitioned the House of Commons on the scarcity and dearness of all sorts of grain, occasioned chiefly by a general failure of the preceding harvest.
Early in the morning of March 6, 1773, Mr. Barber's house at Summer Hill, near Newcastle, was destroyed by fire. It was suspected to have been set on fire by the person or persons who sent Mr. B. two incendiary letters, demanding him to place money upon his garden wall. A reward of £110, and his majesty's pardon, were offered, for the discovery of the offenders, without effect.
At the assizes this year, the important dispute between the magistrates and burgesses, respecting the Town Moor and Leazes (as will be noticed hereafter), was compromised. On this occasion, many of the burgesses illuminated their houses, and paraded the streets with music, &c. Serjeant Glynn was conveyed to his lodgings in the Forth in great triumph, amidst the cheering of the populace.
In January, 1774, the river Tyne was frozen over for about four miles below the bridge at Newcastle. On the 18th of this month, two young men skaited six miles in 15 minutes. (fn. 25)
The 10th of August being the anniversary of the trial between the magistrates and burgesses, a number of the latter assembled, and baited a bull on that part of the Town Moor which the corporation had let for improvement. They afterwards dined at the Black Boy, in the Groat Market; and the day concluded with ringing of bells, firing of guns, &c.
A meeting of the free burgesses of Newcastle took place at the Forth-house, on October 23, 1775, to petition his majesty against the war with America. It was signed by 1210 burgesses, and presented by Sir George Saville; Sir W. Blackett and Sir M. W. Ridley, Barts. having declined to present it.
On December 2, the recorder, eight aldermen, the sheriff, fourteen of the common council, and other gentlemen and inhabitants, amounting in all to 169 persons, signed an address to the king, lamenting the defection and revolt of many of his subjects in America, and assuring him of their abhorrence and detestation of so unjustifiable a spirit of resistance. This address was presented by Sir Walter Blackett and Sir M. W. Ridley, Barts. On the 20th of this month, the corporation of Newcastle subscribed £50, "for such occasional acts of benevolence as should be useful to the soldiers employed in his majesty's service in America."
A heavy fall of snow commenced at Newcastle, in the evening of January 16, 1776, which continued almost without intermission all that night and the next day. The frost was also uncommonly intense; and six men and women perished in the neighbourhood of the town. The river, from Newburn to about two miles below the bridge, was firmly frozen.
On August 21, Robert Knowles, the North Shields postman, was executed on the Town Moor, for stealing a letter out of the Newcastle post-office, containing two £50 Bank of England bills, the property of Robert Rankin, merchant, of Newcastle; and on the same day, Andrew Mackenzie, a soldier, was executed for highway robbery, at the Westgate, Newcastle.
The corporation of Newcastle, on February 20, 1778, offered an additional bounty of two guineas to every able seaman that should enter on board his majesty's ship the Content, Captain Prescott, which vessel was appointed to protect the trade of the port of Tyne.
A subscription was made, in May this year, for the defence of Newcastle, its port, and neighbourhood. It amounted to £1784, 15s. of which sum the corporation gave £1000. (fn. 26)
When the news of Admiral Kepple's acquittal reached Newcastle, on February 15, 1779, there was a grand illumination and general rejoicings in that town and Gateshead; and on the next day, an effigy of Sir Hugh Pallister, holding in his hand an altered log-book, was carried through the streets, and afterwards hanged and burnt in the Bigg Market, amidst the acclamations of a great concourse of spectators. On the 18th of the same month, the master and brethren of the Trinity-house resolved to present, at their own expense, the Hon. Augustus Kepple, admiral of the blue, with the freedom of that body, in an elegant gold box; and on the 22d of March following, the thanks of the mayor, aldermen, sheriff, and common council of Newcastle, was ordered to be transmitted to Admiral Kepple, on his honourable acquittal, for his long and eminent services to his king and country.
The Anti-Gallican privateer, of Newcastle, completely fitted and manned, sailed on the 6th of March on a cruise; and on the 24th of the same month, the Heart of Oak privateer also sailed on a cruise. She mounted 32 guns, and carried 150 men.
In the evening of December 3, this year, a flax-loft belonging to Mr. T. Kidd, at the foot of the passage leading to the Groat Market meeting-house, was consumed by fire. By great exertions, the liquors in the cellar underneath were preserved.
On February 3, 1780, there was a numerous meeting of the Protestant Association of Newcastle, at the Guildhall of that town, when the Cumberland petition was adopted. It was signed by 7661 persons, and presented to the House of Commons, on the 2d of June following, by Sir M. W. Ridley, Bart. and seconded by Sir William Middleton, Bart. one of the members for the county of Northumberland.
October 25th, being the anniversary of king George III.'s accession, when he entered into the 21st year of his reign, was observed in Newcastle with unusual rejoicings. The 10th regiment of foot was reviewed on the Town Moor by Lieut. Gen. Lord Adam Gordon. When the magistrates returned from church, Sir George Saville's West Riding Yorkshire militia fired three volleys on the Sandhill, where his majesty's health was drunk. A grand entertainment was given at the Mansionhouse, and in the evening there was a brilliant assembly.
On June 16, 1781, the Beverley Buffs, or East York militia, marched into camp at Ayton Banks on Gateshead Fell, and on the 18th were joined by the South Lincoln, from Tynemouth and Sunderland. The camp broke up on the 29th of October.
On February 27, 1782, a very high wind blew down the roof of the flint glasshouse, belonging to Messrs. Williams and Co. in the Close, which, falling upon the furnace, soon caught fire, and burnt with great violence, until the whole building, except a gable end, was destroyed.
A great fall of snow, on March 10, was next morning followed by a very heavy rain, with a strong fresh wind, which raised the river Tyne to an alarming height. Ridley Hall bridge, and five arches of Hexham bridge, were thrown down; and Haydon bridge was rendered impassable. Upwards of 50 light colliers, lying under Tynemouth Castle, were obliged to cut away or slip their anchors, and drive to sea.
On June 25, the East York militia again marched from Newcastle into camp at Ayton Banks, and were shortly after joined by the North York militia, commanded by Sir Ralph Milbank. This camp broke up on the 11th of November. (fn. 27)