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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COMPANIES NOT OF THE FIFTEEN BYE-TRADES. (fn. 1)
This ancient company was incorporated with the Plumbers, Glaziers, Pewterers, and Painters, in 1536, and separated from them in 1717. (fn. 2) In 1702, this society obtained an assay-master.
BRICKLAYERS AND PLASTERERS.
An ancient record of this society, which is still in their possession, dated "the viith day of Nouember, in the yere of ouyr Lord God A thousand four hundreth and four and ffyffty," enjoined them to meet yearly at the feast of Corpus Christi, to go together in procession as other crafts did, and play, at their own charge, two plays, viz.: "The Creation of Adam," and "The Flying of our Lady into Egype." After the plays, the wardens were to be chosen by the common assent of the fellowship; each man of the said craft to be at the procession when his hour was assigned him; that they should not take any to apprentice, nor set any to work either within the town or without, but such as be the king's liegeman, on pain of 20d. one half thereof to go to the fellowship, and the other half to Tyne Bridge; that no Englishman, not being a freeman, should work in the town, on pain of a pound of wax; that if any free brother, or his wife, should die, all the lights of the fellowship should be borne before them, according to the custom of the said fellowship.
In 1614, this fraternity had their meeting-house in a lower story of the White Friar Tower, in the same room with the Meters, and under the hall of the Masons. Another ordinary of this society, dated January 19, 1660, constituted them a fellowship, with perpetual succession, who should meet on the 24th of February, in every year, and choose two stewards, who might make orders, plead, and be impleaded, &c. in the courts of Newcastle; that they should not be molested by the company of Masons, or the Slaters; that no foreigner should work in the town, under a penalty of 6s. 8d.; that none should employ an alien born, under the like penalty; that apprentices should serve seven years, and that no second should be taken till the first had served three. January 21, 1691, an order was made by the corporation of New castle upon Tyne, that the Slaters and Tylers should not exercise the trade of Bricklaying and Plastering, otherwise than in making and mending chimney-tops above the slates, and plastering them; but that the annual acknowledgment from them to this society should cease to be paid in future.
Nevil Tower appears to have been repaired by this society for a meeting-house in 1711, and has continued to be their hall ever since. The society consists of 111 members. On enrolling the indenture of an apprentice, £20, £10, and latterly £6, was paid; but some of the members refusing to comply with this charge, 2s. 6d. being all that can be demanded by law, the company, in a hasty fit of resentment, resolved to sell their property, to prevent those apprentices who paid only the legal sum for enrolment from enjoying any benefit therefrom. Accordingly, in 1826, their property in the Bird and Bush Yard and Silver Street was sold for £1090, (fn. 3) 0,00,15,19 1788 1788 0 0
The ordinary of this society, dated April 14, 1648, citing one of more ancient date, made them a fellowship, with perpetual succession, to meet on the 6th of June every year, and choose two wardens, who, with the fellowship, should make bye-laws, sue and be sued, &c. in the courts of Newcastle; ordered that they should not be molested by the company of Coopers, Pulley-makers, and Turners; that no brother should set an alien to work; that they should take apprentices only once in four years, but put their own children to the business, at their pleasure; and further enjoined that they should not impose upon the public by excessive prices. January 30, 1695, there is an order in the books of this fraternity, that every brother should pay a fine of 6s. 8d. for every hundred weight of hemp unsound, "for rope yarn for either shipp, keel, water-gins, cole-pitts, or lead-mines." In 1697, the common council of Newcastle, granted to this society part of the room at the west end of the Correctionhouse, in the Manors, formerly the hall of the Coopers, for a meeting-house. Their present hall is Austin Tower, near the south-east corner of the new gaol; but they generally hold their meetings at a tavern. The company at present consists of about 40 members, and their average annual income amounts to £115.
The ordinary of this society, dated December 18, 1663, constituted five persons of the occupation a fellowship, with perpetual succession, and enjoined them to meet yearly on the 10th of August, and appoint two wardens, who, with the fellowship, might sue and be sued, &c. in the courts of Newcastle, and have power to make byelaws: that apprentices should serve seven years; that every brother should attend at meetings; and that none but those who were free of the town, and this fellowship, should exercise their trade. This ordinary was confirmed by the judges August 15, 1664. September 28, 1713, the corporation of Newcastle granted a lease of the meeting-house at the Close Gate, formerly that of the Carpenters, for 21 years, to this fraternity, at the rent of 2s. 6d. per annum. March 19, 1770, mention occurs in the common council books, of the tower at the south end of the town's wall, as having been used as a meeting-house by the House-Carpenters, and afterwards by this society. They now hold their meetings at a tavern, and consist of 14 members.
Upholsterers, Tin-Plate Workers, and Stationers.
The ordinary of this society, dated July 22, 1675, constituted six Upholsterers, three Tin-plate Workers, and two Stationers, a fellowship, with perpetual succession, and ordered them to meet annually on the 25th day of July, and choose four stew morial. This king granted the further privilege of digging coals, stones, mines, minerals, &c. therein, for the use and benefit of the burgesses. (fn. 4)
A colliery that was working on the Town Moor at the time of the Commonwealth, extended 100 acres under the superficies, and was valued to the town at £35 per annum. The colliery on this Moor was advertised to be let April 16, 1763. Nothing more occurs on this subject until September 29, 1825, when the corporation granted a lease of the Town Moor colliery, for the term of 31 years, to the late C. J. Brandling, Esq. on the following terms:—"Certain rent £500 to commence on the Sept. 29, 1826—for 500 tens. Tentale rent 20s. per ten. Certain rent after the first five years £600 for 600 tens. Tentale rent, as before, 20s. per ten. The surface is not to be broken or entered upon, on any pretext whatever. The lessee has a power of determining the lease at the end of the first four years of the term, and afterwards at the end of any three years, by giving twelve months notice."
The Nun Moor lies on the west of the Town Moor, extending from where the Thorn Bush stood, near Barras Bridge, to the grounds at Kenton. It belonged to the Nuns of St. Bartholomew, and, after the dissolution, was sold by John Branxholme, to Robert Brandling, of Newcastle, merchant, for £20. About the year 1650, it was purchased of Mr. Charles Brandling, of Gateshead, by the corporation of Newcastle, who annexed it to the Town Moor. (fn. 5) By an inquisition taken 37 Henry VIII. Nun Moor is certified to be within the county of Northumberland.
The Castle Leazes, anciently called the Castle Field, according to a tradition menards—two Upholsterers, and one of each of the other branches, who, with the society, shall have power to make bye-laws, impose fines, &c.; that apprentices should serve seven years, and no second be taken till the first had served three; that they should not interfere with each other's callings; and that no person not free of the town and this society, should exercise their trade in Newcastle. This society holds its meetings in a room in the Guildhall, and consists of 15 members. (fn. 6)
The ordinary of this society, dated August 3, 1611, enjoined them to meet on the 20th day of September in every year, and choose four wardens, who were to pass accounts, and make an equal division of their money on the day following. There was a card or table of rates and duties of the same date. October 18, 1670, upon the alteration of measures, another ordinary was granted to this society. June 30, 1726, a new card or table of rates and duties was appointed by act of common council.
The Free Meters claimed and exercised the exclusive privilege of measuring all corn imported and exported, for which they made rather extravagant charges, particularly to non-freemen and foreigners. Their charges were 5d. a last for freemen, 10d. for non-freemen, and 1s. 10½d. for aliens. These demands were resisted a few years ago; and the company at last gave up the point, at the assizes in 1821, without a struggle, on Mr. Justice Bayley giving an intimation, "That the action could never be supported when the charges were unreasonable;" the learned judge declaring that "every custom must be reasonable."
The oldest ordinary of this society is dated 1528. September 25, 1648, the common council of Newcastle made an order to revoke the ordinary of this fraternity for refusing to go down and lend their assistance, on the revolt of Tynemouth Castle. September 27, 1667, a second ordinary was granted to this fraternity, which constituted them a body politic, 16 in number (vacancies in which by death or removal were to be filled up by the mayor of Newcastle), and ordered them to meet on Michaelmas day, and choose two stewards, with power to make bye-laws, sue, &c. in the courts of Newcastle; accompanied with a table of wages. January 1, 1670, an other ordinary was granted to this society. December 14, 1704, a new table of wages was appointed them by the common council. (fn. 7)
The ordinary of this society, dated September 13, 1675, appointed eight Scriveners a fellowship, with perpetual succession. "James Turpin, Scribe," occurs in 1586. In these times, the business of a Scrivener consisted principally in making leases, writings, and assignments, and procuring money on security. This society must soon become extinct, as it consists of only two members, Richard Lacy and Richard Rogerson; while every attempt to increase the fellowship has been defeated.
This society appears to have existed as a guild or fraternity in Newcastle upon Tyne from time immemorial; (fn. 8) and by a clause in the Great Charter granted by Queen Elizabeth to that town, they were incorporated as a free and distinct fraternity. Forty-eight persons are named therein for the better loading and disposing of pit-coals and stones upon the Tyne, and for their own better support as a society, with the title of Governor, Stewards, and Brethren of the Fraternity of Hoastmen in the Town of Newcastle upon Tyne—a common seal is granted them. The governor and stewards are to be annually elected on the 4th of January. Power is given them to load and unload any where on the Tyne between Newcastle and Sparhawk, yet as near to Newcastle as they can. In return for these privileges, the Hoastmen granted to her majesty and her heirs for ever, one shilling for every chaldron of coals shipped in the port of Tyne for home consumption. (fn. 9)
In 1602, there were 28 acting Fitters or Hoastmen; (fn. 10) but in the next year, in consequence of a complaint made by the Twelve Mysteries, a number of persons belonging to these fraternities were, by an order of council, admitted Free Hosts. On May 6, 1618, an information was made in the Star Chamber against several Hoastmen and Skippers of Newcastle upon Tyne, for adulterating coals. Judgment was given on this occasion against R. Bewic, J. Cole, R. Hodgson, W. Jennison, T. Hall, and H. Maddison, to be committed to the Fleet, and pay a fine of £20 each, to his majesty's use: the decree to be read in the open market at Newcastle upon Tyne, two several market-days.
During the reign of Charles I. great abuses and extortions crept into the coaltrade, chiefly under royal authority. The civil war also injured this trade, and inflicted great calamities upon the city of London. The Hoastmen paid 3d. per chaldron towards the support of the royal cause; and when the king was a prisoner in Newcastle, they defrayed one-half of the expense of the coals used by his majesty and his retinue. (fn. 11)
The Hoastmen, on June 21, 1659, were called upon, by order of the committee for preventing abuses in monopolies, to answer the complaints exhibited against them by Ralph Gardiner, Esq. (fn. 12) In 1674, the Hoastmen endeavoured to procure an act of parliament, to regulate the great abuses and exactions upon the collieries for their way-leaves and staith-rooms. A design of renewing the Hoastmen's charter was opposed by the Twelve Mysteries of Newcastle, and nothing was effected.
In 1682, the Hoastmen of Newcastle made an order, that no one in future who was free of any of the Mysteries of that town, otherwise than by patrimony or servitude, should be admitted to the freedom of their society, unless by particular favour. The Hoastmen, in 1690, made an order, that the custom of gift coals at London should be wholly laid aside. In 1697, the mayor of Newcastle granted a warrant to four persons to seize on coals, grind-stones, and rub-stones, sold by foreigners, i. e. those not free of the town and Hoastmen's Company.
February 4, 1706, a fruitless attempt was made to rid the Hoastmen of Newcastle of the duty of 12d. per chaldron, which had been granted by that society to Queen Elizabeth, and her successors, kings and queens of England, for ever. November 20, 1749, this fraternity made an order to repeal a former one, dated July 2, 1742, resolving thenceforth to admit any person free of the Mysteries according to the charter of James I. By another order on the same subject, dated May 22, 1751, it was enacted that each Mystery man, coming to be admitted a Free Hoastman, should bring a certificate under the hands of the clerk or stewards of such Mystery. (fn. 13)
This respectable fraternity consists of 29 members. They hold their meetings in the Mayor's Chamber. In 1824, it was calculated that 839 persons had been admitted to the freedom of the company. (fn. 14)