1685 – 1782
On the death of king Charles II. in 1685, addresses were sent up to his successor,
James II. both by the corporation and Trinity House of Newcastle.
In the following year, the town's chamber was robbed, when the corporation offered
£100 for the discovery of the offenders.
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
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)
On January 14, 1695, an address of condolence on the death of the queen was
ordered by the common council to be drawn up, and remitted to the burgesses in
parliament, to be presented to the king.
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
In the beginning of March, 1709, the keelmen struck, and refused for some months
to work; nor would they, during that time, permit any keels to sail upon the river.
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
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
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
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)
The winter of 1728 having proved remarkably severe, the magistrates of Newcastle
made a collection for the relief of poor housekeepers, which amounted to the sum of
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.
On the 11th of August this year, one man was executed at Newcastle for coining,
and another for horse-stealing.
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
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
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
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.
On February 6, 1747, peace was proclaimed, with the usual solemnities, in the two
public markets at Newcastle.
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 April 13, 1752, eighteen faws, strollers, or vagrants, from Morpeth, were shipped on board the Owner's Goodwill, Captain Moorland, lying in the Tyne, in order
to be transported to South Carolina.
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.
At the assizes this year, Alice Williamson was condemned for burglary, and executed on the Town Moor on the 7th of August following.
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.
In August, 1759, a public subscription was opened, to encourage recruits to enlist
into the 36th regiment of foot, or in Crawford's Royal Volunteers, and to which the
corporation contributed £315.
On January 6, 1760, a malting and two dwelling-houses, at the head of Hornsby's
Chare, Newcastle, were consumed by fire.
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.
On June 9, 1762, war was declared against Spain, at the usual places in Newcastle.
The general thanksgiving for peace was observed at Newcastle, on May 5, 1763,
with the usual religious solemnities and sportive festivities.
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.
In consequence of the great solar eclipse on Sunday, April 1, 1764, the morning
service was not begun in any of the churches in Newcastle until twelve o'clock at noon.
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.
In January, 1767, a subscription was made for the relief of poor housekeepers in
Newcastle, to which the corporation gave fifty guineas.
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 December, this year, the corporation offered premiums for the largest quantity
of fish and potatoes brought into Newcastle in one year.
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)