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GEORGE CRAWHALL, ESQ.,
As you are the principal personage in this part of the Dale, whose "Men
and Manners" I have endeavoured to illustrate, there was none who, with
more propriety, could be selected to dedicated this Book unto than
In the presentation of my design, whilst depicting the most prominent
features belonging to my country and countrymen, I still kept in view
desirable improvements to be effected, practical benefits to be deduced,
glaring faults to be amended, and prevailing errors to be corrected, for
individual as well as the general good.
But none will more readily perceive this to have been my intention than
yourself, from your long connexion and frequent communication with it and
I can safely affirm they are pointed out with no unkindly feeling, or
unfriendly disposition, or with any desire to give personal offence or
individual umbrage, but such liberties as I have taken with others, I have
not forgotten to omit myself.
Yet there is much to commend, - the openness of disposition – the
undisguised expression of friendship – the practical proofs of hospitality
– the straight forwardness of purpose – the manly declaration of opinion –
and the strict adhesiveness to truth under any circumstances – are
admirable traits in the Weardale character.
An attempt to prevail, by undue advantage, over each other, either by word
or by deed, is met with general reprobation, understood contempt, and is
remembered after many days.
Sincerely wishing yourself every earthly happiness, prolonged life, and
I am, Sir,
Your faithful Friend,
J. R. FEATHERSTON.
AUGUST 25TH, 1840
This publication is confined (with some
few exceptions) to the mining district in the Forest Quarter of the Parish
of Stanhope, in the County of Durham.
SUBSCRIBERS FOR EXTRA COPIES
G. H. Ramsey, Esq., Derwent Villa.
Joseph Pease, jun., Esq., M.P., Southend.
Matthew Bell, Esq., M.P., Woolsington.
John Bowes, Esq., M.P., Streatlam Castle.
Mrs George Crawhall, Newhouse.
Mrs Sowerby, Old Park.
W. H. Brockett, Esq., Mayor of Gateshead.
Mr Robert Marshall, Newcastle.
Mr Robert Russell, do.
Mr Robert Colquhoun, do.
Mr Thomas Bowes, do.
Mr Thomas Atkinson, do.
Mr George Burdiss, do.
Mr Abraham Dawson, do.
Mr Wm. Martin, Whitestones.
Nicholas Burnett, Esq., Blackhedley.
Thomas Emerson, Esq., Frosterley House.
Joseph Roddam, Esq., Stanhope.
John Robinson, Esq., Hunstonworth.
Mr Wm. Redshaw, High House, Rookhope.
MEN AND MANNERS
The river Wear that gives the name to an
extensive tract of country extending eastwards to Bishop Auckland, rises
at a village two miles west-north-west from Saint John’s Chapel ; and is a
union of Burnhope and North Grain brooks.
The vale higher up, as it
approaches the confines of Cumberland, is deep and narrow, and mountains
tower on all sides, numerous hamlets are scattered in every direction.
The small but well-built town of Weardale Saint John is seven miles west
from Stanhope. A market is held on every Saturday, and on the lending
money week there is considerable bustle ; the scene is animated and
interesting, as on this day a plentiful supply of butcher meat, meal,
potatoes, &c., is exposed for sale. There are two fairs in the year for
the purchase of cattle, which are progressively increasing ; at the close
of each of which there is a dance among the young people ; the only two in
the year, excepting on the second Saturday pay evening. Merry nights, that
were once so much in repute, have all but ceased to be. In the space
fronting the principal houses is a handsome cross, erected to commemorate
the election of Sir Ralph Milbanke, who gained his election as a Member of
Parliament for the County of Durham principally through the votes of the
freeholders of Weardale.
Ireshopeburn, Wearhead, Westgate, and Darddryshield, contain a number of
houses and inhabitants, where are shops for joiners, black-smiths,
grocers, linen drapers ; and at most of them are good inns.
Coweshill public-house is the resort for the men at the high part, and
Short-thorns for those at the lower end of Colonel Beaumont’s works, and
are creditably conducted by two powerful landlords, who speedily quell
On each bank of the river the land is exceedingly productive, is divided
into small enclosures, the hills abounding with grouse ; and sheep and
kyloes graze upon them during the summer months. In one of the most
retired and healthy situations lived in easy circumstances the Simpsons,
who for generations had maintained an unblemished reputation. Peace had
its unbroken seat within the walls of the ancient house that bore their
name, and plenty crowned the board. Heir had succeeded each other as wave
follows wave, till at length the last appeared in the person of a kind old
English laird, whose stalwarth frame age had compelled to bend, and whose
hair was as white as the driven snow. His sons had died in their prime,
leaving him only females. The wife of his bosom had also been consigned to
the silent tomb, thus creating among his daughters more than an usual
anxiety to administer to the wants and comforts of their venerable sire.
all good-looking, lovely women ; yet there was one called Anna among them
of uncommon beauty, but whose health being delicate, became the especial
care of the sisters as well as of the father. Nature had conferred upon
her a fair complexion, features perfectly formed ; lightened with eyes
expressive and blue as the azure sky ; sufficently tall and elegantly
shaped. Her manners were mild and conciliating, her disposition gentle
and benevolent, and her actions were marked with kindness and
Not far distant, and also residing upon their own estate, dwelt another
family of long Weardale descent, and with whom there subsisted a strong
intimacy. Frederick, their eldest son, had from boyhood regarded this
daughter of his father’s friend with more than usual favour. Early had
commenced a secret wish : time being needed to divulge, served to conceal.
He was called away to learn a trade, and she to complete her education.
Thus were separated for a considerable period, hearts warmly attached ;
which distance could not alter or absence efface.
The lead mines in the county of Durham can equal any part of England for a
fine and athletic race of men. Removed from scenes of gross
licentiousness, and unacquainted with the pernicious practices too
generally prevailing in large towns, they inherit sound constitutions, and
their bodily frames are strangers to loathsome disease. Their diet is
plain and wholesome ; but with a sad want of animal food. Frank and free
in their manners, kind and hospitable at their homes, remarkable for
helping and assisting each other, it is not to be wondered they are
strongly knit to their native hills. Hunting is a favourite pastime, and
they keep among themselves large and excellent dogs, far too swift for
hares. They are second to none excepting the Fatfield Harriers, allowed to
be decidedly the best pack in the north of England.
The general purpose of the Weardale hounds
is for the sport of trailing, to which the men are much attached.
At the close of a day’s diversion with cheerful glee a score of fine
tuneful voices sing the old Weardale air :-
There’s no joys can compare
To the hunting the hare
In the morning, in the morning,
Being fine and pleasant weather.
With the horses and the hounds
We will sport upon the grounds,
Sing tantara, hurra and tantara ;
Brave boys we will follow
Over hill and over dale
We will gallop over the plain,
Poor pussy ! oh, poor pussy !
Poor pussy to discover.
Now pussy does arise,
And away from us she flies ;
We will give her, boys, we will send her,
We will give her a tanthunder.
Now pussy being dead,
We retire from the field,
To some tavern, to some tavern,
For to drive away all sorrow.
There we’ll drink till we are fou’,
When we have nothing to do;
Hurra, we will banish, we will banish,
All sorrow till tomorrow.
A hound is as requisite to complete a miner’s establishment at one stage
of his life as a wife. Courtship begins parallel with their teens, and
their marriages are generally contracted when young. Frequently a numerous
offspring arises, and, as they grow up, it would be beneficial to both
parents and children, if parental authority were longer continued than it
is at present. But he boys being placed as washers of the lead-ore under
master-men washers at the age of ten and eleven, and entitled to lent
money, they soon become much addicted to smoking tobacco and most of the
heaviest drinking, and they swallow gallons of ale generally when they are
sitting in their grove dresses. Their parents are aware of this, and
assume a corresponding consequence.
Their work is among lead-ore, scaling pastures, waiting upon and feeding
cattle, mowing, winning and stacking hay, and carting fuel against the
winter season. A galloway, couple of cows, a pig, from three to four acres
of meadow land and pasturage, with a house, constitutes one of their
stocks and farms.
The average life of a miner is about fifty years. Most of them are
subscribers to Westgate and Wearhead libraries ; a debating club has also
been established, and an instrumental band, lately formed, is a pleasant
pastime for those who are skilled in music.
It is a singular fact, during the long-protracted wars in which Great
Britain has been engaged, those able-bodied people were never enrolled as
volunteers ; and among all the political strife and bloodshed that from
time to time have occurred, they have never meddled in any shape whatever.
Most of them being freeholders, their voting for representatives in
Parliament, is governed by the opinions held by their employers.
Burtreeford House is in front of a beautiful waterfall, playfully dashing
down the rocks into a deep abyss, over which a new stone bridge was last
year erected, and much needed, for the people in Burnhope.
A cornmill is also here, and an extensive trade in this staple commodity
is carried on by two highly respectable brothers.
As groving is of all other occupations the most uncertain of gaining a
livelihood, the humanity and judgement of those worthy men have often been
well bestowed. Many an honest and deserving family would have been driven
to extremities, had it not been for their friendly supplies, and seldom
but the debt has been promptly discharged when fortune changed in their
Formerly many of the inhabitants belonged to the Church of Scotland, who
had a small chapel at Ireshopeburn, but it is now occupied as a
school-house. It was neatly fitted up with an oaken pulpit, and the seats
were well arranged. A palisading in front gave it a respectable
appearance, and adjoining was a comfortable house and a garden for the
The last resident pastor was much esteemed. His clerical hat, bushy wig,
lapelled waistcoat, and long dangling coat, toddling from house to house
in search of news, with the salutation of "what’s unco the day ?" is fresh
in the memory of many yet living.
Though his discourses laid no claim to depth of learning, or were
delivered with any attempt at display, yet his doctrine was according to
Scripture, and his addresses simple and easy to be understood.
Kilhope and Welhope were totally Presbyterian ; and these two highest and
mountainous districts poured down on a Sabbath day their entire population
to hear at this chapel God’s word explained and preached. Since then
attempts have been made to collect the scattered flock, but without
success : some of the more wealthy members have nominally lapsed into the
Church of England, and the aged people having died, their descendants –
not having imbibed their strong religious prejudices – have joined other
sects ; so that the church of the sister kingdom may in Weardale be
considered defunct and not likely again to be revived.
" How are you getting on here ? Such a night for rain and sleet, a duck
would have been glad of an umbrella."
" We are very pleased you have come ; our wife has been wishing for you
all last week to taste the spare-ribs. I really began to think we were
never to have another bed-time together. Stand near the fire : doff your
coat. Jane, bring the rum bottle and a glass ; come, I’ll help you."
" Lad, it’s strang ! it’s certainly Carrick’s, of High Toun."
" No ! it’s Harrison Barnfather’s. He cracked sadly on’t being the finest
old Jamaica he ever had ; I think mysel its good. What kept you so busy –
ought particular ?"
" Why yes ; we had Parker, wife, and daughter, on Sunday ; they stayed all
" Where did you put them ?"
" Put them ! since Graham has built us a hay-house we can put up a dozen
folk, and more than them."
" Tuesday I had to go with Ianson to the office. We made them understand
what we wanted, and it was granted. He made signs he would treat me, so we
into John Brown’s; Maister, Mr. Sowerby, Mr. Robinson of Hunstanworth, and
Mr. Featherston, were in the west parlour. David came in, but he was all
uneasy and in a fissle to be in beside them. He must be where the Maister
is, if possible. Jont Brown sat down beside us on the long-settle, but
they heard his voice, and sent for him ; there must have been some strange
speeches put up, as there was rare laughing. Aubone and Bill Roddam were
on couping cows. The Cleugh-washers had been to the shop seeking barrows,
and they called, and a Kilhope partnership dropt in, so we had the kitchen
gaily filled. We gat stayed far ower lang. We had beer at first ; but
Joseph Harrison found us with glasses. Wednesday, we had our bargains.
Thursday, Tommy Hodgson had to have killed our pig, but he never appeared
till Saturday. He had been to Burtree doing something for Ralph and Mally
; thou knows they must be served first ; he’s fond of a bit butching ; it
would have huffed him to have sought any body else. The pig just weighed
fourteen stone. I believe our hound is bellind ; if he does nor come round
we mun have another. Grisill’s gone to Darlington. We have bought a
" Is Neddy better ? Its been a bad backend for ailing people. Our Phillis
lost twee bairns very suddenly. The doctor said it was something in the
air. Folk still keep ganning off to the pits. Our grove is very poor ; ne
width of vein ; the cheeks have come fairly together. So Master Fred. is
gone off to be a merchant ; he’ll not take very well with confinement. The
cess comes very heavy – and the roads – I tell you, it pinches one. Hay
has ne feeding in’t this winter, but ye were lucky them three fine days.
Joseph Nattrass has getten Jem Gardner’s bargain. The new place has turned
out well ; its very well for all sides ; the men are making fair wage, You
see there’s nought else in this country but the mines to make a living by.
We have bargained for sixty pecks of tatees at sixpence a peck. Corn does
not fall ; Beck’s is still two and ten. Is Jacob Peart’s farm taken ?
there’s a want of pasturage ; twenty pounds the rent I understand ; it
would suit Milburn’s lads best, its se used. Sarah Stokes is ––––. Now
come and get your supper. It’s a pity you have set all our sausangers gone
; make free with what there is, and fill yourself ; what’s short, we will
make up with spirit and sugar : so Jane keep the kettle full of boiling
water. What, your neighbour at Blackdean, they say, is courting his
cousin. I don’t know her, but I’m told she is particular for looks,
goodness and behaviour. John Emerson would be far better of a wife too ; I
set nought by housekeepers. Will. Donaldson asked for a day’s hunting, and
it was granted ; horn, dogs, and six companions. It was laughable, when he
had got the dogs together he did not know what to say to them ; to make
them hunt he had to hegg them on, and forgot to loose the couples ; and
coupled they got a hare off at the view. Pattinson, the shoemaker, ran two
fields’ length, and was through himself ; he had to return home ; sitting
so much does not suit hunting. Peart, Donaldson thinks, with practice and
giving up joinering three days in the week during the season, will make a
firstrate hunter. The dogs eat the hare before the hunters got up : they
had a hearty day. Tom Peadon has sold Joshua, his bull ; Peadon won’t tell
the price, but Joshua says cheap, very cheap ; well worth the money :
he’ll make a bull now, he will. George Race conquers everybody at arguing
in the debating meetings ; a vast think his religion will not be improved
in such a place : what think ye ? Allison Craggs has begun to dress clocks
; Betty Mitchell cracks on him being a good hand ; he can make them strike
the quarters, and that’s what Harry could never do ; old Joe Mulcaster and
Sandy keep up wonderfully."
" Why really its ganning to strike four. If I stay much langer I’ll be
sure to be meeting Tommy Beck’s scholars, and I’ll be shammed ; I scarce
dare go home ; our folk will be shutting me out totally ; four o’clock in
the morning ! and I promised faithfully to be back before twelve."
" Stay, min, till I find my hat, and I’ll light the lantern, and set you
as far as the stile."
"No, no, now, I see ye want every body to know ; good rum and a good fire
deceived one : and I confess I like both."
Such is a night’s pross between two friendly grovers.
Newhouse, the seat of the principal agent for the lead mines of Thomas
Wentworth Beaumont, Esq., is situated in the most beautiful part of the
dale, and from the turnpike road appears to great advantage.
Just finished, and in front, is a substantial stone bridge over the Wear.
The house is old-fashioned, the windows are large, the
panes are fixed in with lead, and the walls are clad with ivy, fruit
trees, and creeping evergreens. It is enclosed in a grass curtain,
tastefully laid out with shrubs and flowers, and at the east end is the
garden. A sunk fence raises it much higher than the field in which it
stands ; to the left a long row of plane trees extends, and to the west
and south it is well sheltered with wood.
The entrance hall is spacious, is seated the entire length, and is filled
with various rare curiosities. The dining and drawing rooms contain
several valuable paintings and prints. In the library is a choice
selection of books, with some specimens of ornithology. The whole suite of
apartments in this famed hospitable mansion are fitted up with comfort
combined with elegance. The offices in which the business of the extensive
lead works is transacted, are in the east of the building.
In Weardale, the blessings of education are widely diffused by numerous
national as well as by other schools. Bishop Barrington expended large
sums of money in erecting school-houses. They are partly supported by voluntary subscription ; the quarter-pence, however, are trifling. Most
of the children attend.
The schools, conducted on the old system, are at Ireshopeburn and
The masters in general are respectable and qualified for their situations,
though it is highly desirable that more attention should be devoted to an
improvement in the manners of the scholars. In this instance, their
conduct is shamefully negligent, and it cannot be too severely
reprehended. Surely it could not be any hard task to teach and enforce the
boys to bow their heads, and the girls to make a modest courtesy, with
good morning or evening, to their benefactors or any respectable stranger
who may happen to meet them. Could this be accomplished – and there is no
apparent difficulty, if laziness could be overcome – it would redound to
the credit of the masters, the children, and the dale.
It would stamp civility on the character of the rising generation, as what
is learnt in childhood is rarely forgotten in after days.
Some eighty years ago the Reverend John Wesley paid his first visit to
Weardale, and continued to visit as long as his bodily health would
His persuasive eloquence and searching discourses speedily raised up a
number of followers, who have gone on increasing till Wesleyanism may
fairly be denominated the established religion of the dale. At every
considerable village is a chapel, and, what is far better, they are well
The High House, on a Sunday afternoon – were it not for some regular
sleepers, and they are not a few – is a spectacle worthy of beholding :
here you may see assembled from six hundred to one thousand good-looking,
fresh-coloured, and well-dressed persons of both sexes. Much pains are
dedicated to the singing and music, and the appointed minister on this
occasion delivers his crack sermon. The vicinity supplies its fair ratio
of local brethren, who, if not to be placed high in the scale of talent,
must yet have motives of sincerity awarded them. The soil of late has been
rather barren, observing the decrease on the plan, in producing these
unordained assistants to the reverends sent forth by the general
conference. In the pristine days of Methodism, outdoor preaching was the
custom, and the speakers were true to their duty and punctual at their
posts ; but now snow or rain will be a sufficient hindrance to their
delicate and degenerate successors.
The body here have been for some time at a standstill, and have declined
rather than increased in fervent zeal and personal holiness, and bear a
slender comparison to those whose voids they have filled up.
The profession of piety among them in numerous cases has been a stepping
stone to a share of this world’s wealth, and the dignity of being circuit
steward, and other similar offices, have given to many of them, in their
own eyes, a degree of importance, which is not a little fostered and fed
by preachers as well as by people. It is with difficulty some can even
maintain an outward shew of godliness, so as to keep within the rules of
membership. Nevertheless it is much to the praise of this connection,
that they have been, under Providence, the principal engine in effecting a
moral change in this wild district, and instead of insult and a volley of
stones, strangers are now met with civility and good behaviour. In many
instances, they have reclaimed and reformed individuals who were enemies
to their families and themselves, as well as a perfect pest and disgrace
to the neighbourhood.
Sixdargue in its better days has been one of the best of the Weardale
mansions, and fronts to the south-east. It is surrounded by some large
timber, and is situated in an excellent field. The house is much out of
repair, but having been last year occupied by its rightful owner, this
will soon be remedied. A fine stream of water runs near – the frequent
resort of anglers – being generally full of trout.
Fred, soon ingratiated himself into the favour of his master by the
attention with which he pursued his business, and the cheerfulness he
evinced in obeying the commands of those above him. Being supplied with
tolerable remittances of pocket money, and being of a generous
disposition the warehousemen and labourers soon paid him marked respect.
Strict injunction was imposed upon him, that he should attend regularly
morning and evening service at the Parish Church, which he scrupulously
fulfilled, and he likewise taught a class of boys in the Sunday School.
His coming to town was known by his father’s acquaintances, particularly
by those who had sprung from the west country.
After four years of close application, his ruddy cheeks had become pale,
and relaxation necessary ; his employer granted him permission to spend a
few weeks at home. His parents welcomely received him, but by none was he
more welcomed than by an old and faithful servant, who in former days had
accompanied him on his fowling and fishing excursions.
When all the most interesting questions had been answered upon both sides
; and visits paid to his more immediate relatives, John had the dogs and
guns in readiness to take the field in real good earnest against the
It so happened they were one day shooting near to Mr. Simpson’s property.
Fred. proposed they should call and enquire after the health of the old
gentleman, and present him with a brace of game. John drily observed, his
young master would stand a chance of being shot, as there was not such a
pretty creature to be seen as Anna. They were soon at the house, and the
door being open they walked into the kitchen, but the dogs had been less
ceremonious, having found their way into the parlour.
Anna soon appeared, and upon seeing who it was a deep crimson covered her
handsome face, not a little embarrassing Fred. Refreshment was soon
brought, and a polite invitation given to partake ; sorrow expressed that
her father and sisters had not been gone many minutes, adding, she was
quite certain they would have been happy to have seen them.
Four years make strange alterations in personal appearance ; from a
well-grown girl, Anna was now an exceedingly genteel formed woman.
During the time John and he were satisfying their hunger, Anna had left
the room to add her bonnet, and a slight shawl to throw over a dress of
white. She was to follow to where her father and sisters had gone to spend
the afternoon, and was about to say good bye, when Fred. asked permission
to accompany her, as he was on intimate terms with the same family ; and
taking up his hat opened the garden gate for her to pass through.
Their path for a considerable distance lay over a barren heath, and until
they reached some extensive pastures little conversation took place,
whatever might be passing in their breasts. When they arrived at their
destination, surprise was excited and a cheerful welcome given to Fred.,
and Mr. Simpson squeezed him heartily by the hand, and hoped he had called
at his house.
Fred replied, that he had ; and his daughter had shewn John and himself
every hospitality, for which he begged to thank him.
" Not at all, not at all ; come over on Sunday, as their worthy curate,
his little friend, had promised to come up to dine with him."
Tea being prepared, the ladies joined them. Silence was soon broken by Mr.
Simpson making many enquiries of Fred., seemingly all replied unto to the
laird’s satisfaction. Reserve soon vanished, and a mixed conversation
ensued, in which, by degrees, Anna took part ; and it was not long till
her and Fred. adverted to the circumstances of former days. They were soon
upon as intimate terms as ever ; and John having brought the ponies, Fred.
left in high glee, having been again in company with one in no manner
altered in his estimation, and who was as dear to him as his own
Explanation, as it regards this Chapter, is useless, excepting to those
who are cognisant with the neighbourhood.
" Kye, lass."
" A good discourse, a very good discourse."
" Now mind you, Sir ; you see it was thus, Sir ; I’ll tell you, Sir ; now
you see, Sir ; now mind you what I say."
" I was as drunk, aye, as drunk as a billygoat."
" Straight away, never mind ; hold on the brake."
" Isn’t Isaac a brave fellow ? div’nt you think a vast of Isaac ?"
" Exactly so, perfectly right."
" Niver sic a thing ; poh ! poh !"
" I am ; do you know who I am ? I say, do you know who I am ? I’m broad
Edward ; I’m braid Ned."
" We read in thy word."
" Come, come, come ; get away, get away, get away."
" Mary, fill this pint, and tell us how many we have had."
" My jove."
" I tell you, Sir, in her most gracious Majesty’s name, you are my
" How’s that ? thou beats me there : I’m no scholar."
" Thou knows she’s a brave woman, is’nt she ?"
" That is excellent, that is capital."
"Eh, what, what, eh, what ?"
" I would give up, did I not feel for the poor men ; I would, I would."
" I have a good mind to dork thee ; but I will forgive ye this time ;
" CUSH !"
" Get up, thou stirk."
" O, aye, it wad dat awhoever ; we sud be mencefu’."
" Whey, whey, good and weel."
" Howit, you knave."
" Why, for, because."
" I’ll tell the’ something that will anger the’, and that thou’ll not
forget for a twelvemonth."
" G— d—, sees’t the’, if I had ane hand to t’other, I’d finish’d the’ ;
sees’t the’, G— d—, where thou’s sitting."
" Varra lightlee te be see."
" Me fakron."
" Me mommet bade te deu."
" Thou’s a hinney, that ist the’ ;be a hinney."
" Hay ; aye, hay will be hay yet, mister."
Sunday came, and Fred. set off to Simpson Lodge with a joyful heart. The
family had left for Church : he made the utmost speed, and was soon seated
in the laird’s pew. Many eyes were fixed on him, and when the service was
over, enquiries and guessing to know which of the young ladies he could be
for became somewhat general.
The Curate, after he had christened some infants, joined the family
circle, and dinner was announced.
On this occasion he was unusually communicative, and, without any
starched sanctity, introduced such subjects as became the day. He related
his visit to the University upon lately taking his degree of Master of
Arts, and the various eminent Divines with whom he had met. He hoped it
would be practicable, by their united exertions, to provide aricles of
clothing for the poor against next, as they had done the last winter. The
Bishop had most thoughtfully sent a number of Bibles, Prayer Books, and
Psalters for distribution ; the congregation, during the summer, had been
to his entire satisfaction ; since prizes had been awarded the children
had attended better ; the singing was decidedly improved ; he quite
approved of the introduction of an anthem, and the parish, upon the whole,
was quiet and orderly, and, as far as he could learn, there was no want of
Anna looked to the utmost advantage, and did not escape the most polite
and watchful attention from Fred., whose health had much improved, from
his having been daily upon the heathery mountains inhaling their purifying
The Curate jocosely observed to Mr. Simpson, that he trusted before he
was consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury, he should have the honour of
marrying as many of his daughters as he could spare.
The time passed swiftly on, and Fred. had to say good night.
It was not long ere he reached his father’s, when John rallied him ; he
had little doubt but he had had another shot fired at him, and possibly it
might have proved fatal.
The gentleman upon whose watchful eye, comprehensive mind, and matured
judgement, numbers of the inhabitants in Weardale depend for their
employment and subsistence, "is of the middle stature, smartly made, a
benevolent countenance, bearing a strong family likeness. Ordinarily plain
in dress, free from ostentation, which he naturally despises ; clever in
his profession ; his experience and advice are esteemed a favour."
He is affable and humoursome among the men under his command ; and, being
wealthy, place is no object with him ; forgiveness is inherent in his
nature ; he is a free dispenser of hospitable entertainment and real
English fare, and many a cheerful glass his friends and he have together.
His influence, when exerted in a contested county election, meetings of
the parish, and in the general affairs of the dale, is tremendous.
Within these last few years there has sprung up another sect of Methodists
professing to be more strict in discipline, styling themselves Primitive
Methodists ; with what claim to this appellation it would be difficult to
establish, but it is not worth the while to enquire.
They have a number of adherents at Wearhead and Westgate, and they take
goodly care to plant their meeting-houses contiguous to those whom they
deem their laxer bretheren. In prayer they work themselves into a complete
phrenzy ; sing at the stretch of their voices their hymns to some of the
most popular tunes of the day ; such as "Scots whae hae wi’ Wallace bled,"
"Auld Lang Syne," "The Tyrolese song of Liberty," "Weel may the Keel Row,"
"Rule Britannia," &c., and it does not mater whether he or she in the
pulpit be preaching or praying, loud "Amens," "Praise God," "I do
believe," resound and ring throughout the building.
Their conversions are effected, to their mode of thinking, principally
during their public services, by the individual evincing signs of severe
mental distress. They are immediately surrounded, and intercession is
offered till their guilt and sin be removed. Sometimes supplication is
offered by a single person ; but if the case be desperate, it becomes one
of noise and confusion of tongues, for comfort, joy, and peace to be
communicated. So long as their probationers remain among them, they appear
well in the eyes of the world : for if they have been drunkards, they turn
sober ; if dishonest, they become honest ; if swearers, they cease from
this abominable practice ; and if they have been profane, they reverence
the Sabbath day. They are considered better men and women.
But so frequently does it happen that they fall away, that it is to be
feared the imagination is more affected than the heart ; and, lamentable
is the fact, their state is often worse than when they commenced to be
what is termed among them "steady".
Their camp-meetings have been aptly compared to the holy fair described
by the immortal Northern Bard. It is a serious question for these serious
people, if night meetings, particularly in the winter season, be for good
or be for ill to the morals of young men and women, if unaccompanied by
their parents or friends.
The ministers are remarkable for paying pastoral visits to their hearers,
especially in sickness ; faithfully dispensing unto them, according to
their own views, the consolations of religion. My heart has been filled
with admiration in listening to the mild and heavenly discourse and
invocation of Mr. Turner (the senior preacher here ), upon such solemn
occasions. With what affectionate earnestness, gentleness, yet fervency
of spirit did he beseech GOD ALMIGHTY, through the merits of the Redeemer,
to grant pardon and forgiveness. No boisterous singing, no profane tunes,
no din and disturbance, as if the ears of our Heavenly Father were all but
closed, and so deaf as HE could not hear. Away with such rudeness of wordly imitation from the chambers of the sick and the dying, as is
pursued by some of their class-leaders and exhorters, without reference to
prudence, or the situation of the invalids, even though they be actuated
with the best intentions.
A foolish and unseemly custom prevails of inviting to funerals five and
six score of mourners. To mention nothing of the expense, it is
impossible to prevent hurry, bustle, and confusion. It would be a great
boon to Weardale, if some person, more courageous than his neighbours,
would set the example and abandon this custom, which is condemned by every
one, and of the folly of which all are convinced. A hearse having now been
provided, no plea or justification can be advanced for such a waste of
money, or continuance of a custom so ill befitting the melancholy
Weardale may justly be denominated the Ireland of England, as it regards
the residence of the proprietors, and is yearly becoming worse. Scarcely
any one who owns land to any extent lives upon his estates. In consequence
of which land-stewards have to be appointed, and they invariably lean to
the side of their employers.
One of them, not long since, was attacked (Irish like) with loaded guns in
an open pasture. By timely flight, and under the kind protection of some
feeling persons, he escaped.
How different when the late landlord used to visit his tenantry. "They
were all happy and "contented, they loved and revered him ; whose "annual
coming was looked unto with pleasure "and delight ; the children decked
out to do him "honour, and the best they could procure was provided to set
for him." But this venerable old gentleman died last autumn, full of
years. His memory will be long and deservedly had in grateful remembrance
by them, and will not cease with the present generation.
Few countries can equal, let alone exceed, Weardale, for the diversion of
grouse shooting ; most of the moors grow heather to their very summits,
are well supplied with springs of water, and sand is plentiful, from the
numerous stone quarries that have been at different periods opened : all
necessary for the production of these birds.
Burnhope Moor is the most noted, and is capable of affording space for a
score of parties of sportsmen, without interfering with each other.
Game being last season a scanty crop, a jubilee was nearly granted unto
them ; they are strictly preserved, and poaching is completely laid aside.
Two years ago, a Weardale gentleman after the forenoon’s shooting, gave a
"dejeune a la fourchette" upon Ireshope Fell, as tastefully spread as it
could have been in the most finished dining-room, to the following
distinguished individuals :- The Earls of Crooksalter, Ireshope, and Littleharletower,
the Lord Chief Justice, the High Sheriff of
Northumberland (who presided), the Attorney-General, the Mayor of
Newcastle, the Rector of Saint Peter’s, and Geoffry Gorcock, Esq. The
viands, all as hot as when they departed the kitchen fire, consisted of
mutton and beafsteak pies, chickens and ham, green peas and new potatoes ;
preserved and apple tarts formed the second course. Grace was said and
thanks returned by the Rector. The repast being over, the cloth removed,
and the wine placed upon nature’s table, the toasts from the President
" The Sovereign ; health and a peaceful reign."
" The House of Peers, the second branch of the legislature, and may they
stand by their order."
Lord Crooksalter returned thanks in dignified terms, and gave the
The Earl of Littleharletower rose and said, he was certain he only
expressed the high gratification of his noble friends and the honourable
company by whom he was then surrounded, in conveying to the donor of the
feast their united obligations. His Lordship, therefore, called for the
health of the "’Squire of Earnwell," to be drunk in bumpers, with cheers.
Mr. Gorcock reminded the party it was time to resume active operations,
and they arose and dealt out unmerciful slaughter among the winged natives
of the heathery hills, till the shades of evening sheltered them.
Hotts Cottage is situated close to the public road ; it is a neat
building, and entirely covered with fruit trees.
In front an iron palisading separates a productive garden from a field
partly planted. Further to the right, and in this field, what was a barren
stony hill, is now hid with thriving trees of good growth ; being of an
oval form, and the fence, a thorn hedge, is no mean ornament.
The estate branches away to the tops of the hills, and is a famous
preserve for game, particularly for hares.
The family who so long occupied it, and to whom it belongs, have removed.
They could ill be spared, society being scarce.
Love is always on the wing to find its resting place. But if it not be met
with the same ardour, however painful it may be to the feelings, it is
wisdom at once to abandon the idea. This is true nobleness of action as
well as of spirit, and the object that once appeared all in all will by
degrees be wholly forgotten, and the happiness of both parties remain
But, on the contrary, plan upon plan, contrivance after contrivance, are
devised to be in each other’s society. Mutual acquaintances, tea drinkings,
marriages, and christenings, are all favourable opportunities.
Anna, with a young lady of the name of Miss Holden, and Fred., stood
sponsors for the child of a neighbour. After the church rites had been
administered, the Clergyman was invited to dinner, but being previously
engaged he promised to come in the evening, and he did.
The punch was freely circulated, and the Vicar being in a merry mood sang
"Gaffer Grey" in excellent style.
Fred. proposed to do his best, and began :-
Were I a haughty cavalier,
On fire for high-born dame,
To win her smile with sword and spear,
I’d seek a warrior’s fame.
But since no more stern deeds of blood
The gentle fair may move,
I’ll woo in softer, better mood
The lady that I love.
For helmet bright with brass and gold,
And plumes that flout the sky,
I’ll wear a mind of hardier mould,
And thoughts that sweep as high.
For scarf athwart my corselet cast,
With her fair name I wove,
I’ll have her pictur’d in my breast,
The lady that I love.
No mettled steed through battle throng
Shall bear me bravely on,
But pride shall make my spirit strong
Where honours may be won.
Among the great of mind and heart
My prowess I will prove,
And thus I’ll win by gentler art
The lady that I love.
The time had arrived when Anna, Miss Holden, and Fred., had to depart to
stay all night with a substantial and old-fashioned farmer. – Supper was
waiting, and when all were seated and helped, Mr. Proctor good-naturedly
turned to Anna and said, "Miss Simpson, I have been thinking of a husband
for you ; you are my god-daughter, and besides I can assure you likewise
you are no ordinary favourite. My dear (speaking to his wife), ‘seek’ me
the large Prayerbook containing the explanatory notes, in order I may see
what authority is entrusted to godfathers.
" Do you, Proctor, see the young ladies taken care of."
" Why, my dear, that is exactly what I mean."
" No, no, I wish you to help them with what they like the best."
" That I will – I will assist them ; and you need not go for the book as I
remember as I was reading the Commination last Sunday, and had finished, I
accidentally turned to the Baptismal Service, and we who stand for
children promise more, I imagine, than we inculcate ; but however, I’ll
now make amends. Well, what do you say to this, young gentleman ; I have
in view for you Miss Simpson."
Anna mildly replied she was fearful Mr. Proctor was too late, as she was
" Why, who may he be ; think well before you wholly give your word ; be
not too hasty, and so far you please me : you are young, and I offer you
my advice ; it is all for your good."
The old gentleman joked on till it was the hour to retire to rest.
Next morning was one of those clear autumnal skies – a brilliant sun
darting through the arched windows – the husbandmen preparing – Mr.
Proctor, in a loud voice, giving his directions for the day, and
distributing the shearers into the different fields.
Breakfast being over, Fred. took a respectful leave, and conducted Anna to
" Here Em., will you have a glass of ale."
" Why thank you – we have just come to have every one a pint – drink one
" Hae ye gettin a bargain."
" Yes ; we have taken the old place again."
" Ye are afore Lowe's grund."
" Some way, I would think, about fifteen fathoms; ar'n't we Whit ?"
" I would say see."
" She's a terrible hard thing."
" How will she turn out?"
" Indeed it's hard to say : she's nought to start on, in a manner :
there's a bit string off to the north side, and we'll tak that alang with
" Hae ye any mair price ?"
" Five shillings a bing, or we couldn't hae worked her ; it's ower little
: I'm certain we hae not cleared our powder and candles, besides sharping
and drawing ; but we mun be content ; it's better than being off wark : ne
lentmoney coming in does not answer."
" Ne, it does not answer weel."
" Ye'll be sinking still."
" We get on, min, very slowly : we are making nought : if we clear the
books that 'ill be what."
" That's a pity - how far do you expect to sink ?"
" Six fathoms mair."
" Hae ye holed your place yet, Carrick ?"
" No ; and, I is inclined to think, never will : we have to wood every bit
of our rise : our candles will scarce burn : man, we are bad for air -
she's varra raffy."
" De ye still keep good, Will ?"
" Yes ; we have a decent groove; though there's been a bit twitch : she's
monstrous easy to get : we can rive her down in some fashion."
" How's thee brother John's trial answered!"
" They have cut her, I understand ; she's a sparry thing, mixed with gay
lumps of metal ; she'll last them a bit : a fine streak of wholes –they
had a lang trial for her ; above a year and quarter ; through solid
" Is thou on at deed wark yet, Isaac ?"
" Yes, we keep driving away - thud for thud - not a bit altered as when
thou saw us : she's tough in our hands ; shots yield nought; it's fair
shearing it off; we are past where she should be ; last time she was
dialed; a shift will blunt thirty jumpers - ye may as well strike at
" What a metal has been raised out of the old yards !"
" Aye ! it's 'stonishing ; a vast of these men will hae the maist money
for their year's wark."
" There's Stephen's lads will hae a hundred pounds to tak."
" Mair than that man."
" It's a fine thing for twee bits of bairns; ye can call them nought
" Why, but Stephen was mainly there ; it's far better it's out than lying
in the earth - it does no good there."
" Is the horse coming to-morn ?"
" Yes ; he's to draw us a shift and a half, and Jos. is coming to ye."
" Then, one need'nt be there before ten ?"
" About that time, I would think, would be soon enough."
" They still keep the price of leed up."
" Some was saying that it had faw'n ten shillings a tun last week."
" From my heart I wish there would be war; it wad mak kittling wark ; leed
would gan up in price like a rattle."
" Does any body ken when the maisters are ganning to ride ?"
" Next Monday."
" Come, we mun hae this quart filled again, and hae sattled. I mun see
some of our men to-neet, or else they'll be at the rise top lang afore
they are wanted, as we fixed six ; and that 'ill not be good manners of
me. Is thou ganning my road, Rutherford ? we'll be company so far. Good
neet to ye all, lads."
When the quarter is ended, the masters ride to the groves, and examine
A few days after the men repair to the office and take a bargain,
generally for another three months, at so much a bing, if they have to
work for bouse, or such a price for driving a level, a rise, or sump, or
cutting dead ground.
It is customary for the men to adjourn from the office to the
public-house, and it is not infrequently happens that a battle ensues
before they part; but as they are fortunately in a state of
half-drunkenness, that fatality does not occur which might happen if they
An argue about being a more expert mower, a better fellow, or a more
clever workman, starts the fratch, and the quarrel is not always settled
by the first conflict, but is reverted to when they chance to meet again
under similar circumstances.
The men are divided into partnerships of four, six and eight, - each
having his shoulder fellow, - between whom a lasting intimacy springs up.
When an accident happens, all thoughts of personal safety are thrown aside
to render help. Their time for remaing at work, or what is called a shift,
lasts eight hours, after which they are "lowsed" by their companions.
The mine of Pasture Grove, or Burtreeford, has been one of the richest
ever opened, and still yields an immense quantity of metal. Here the skill
of the present head agent has been admirably displayed in overcoming
torrents of water, so that the low sills are now accessible, and worked to
Subsistence money to men and boys is lent once a month, and a clear pay is
made to them at the end of the year, which is attended by tradesmen and
others in quest of money.
Booths and stalls are erected for the sale of spirits, ale, wearables, and
all sorts of articles.
It lasts at New House two days, and continues other two, on the two
succeeding Saturdays, at Chapel.
There cannot be a more interesting sight than a Weardale wedding.
It is customary for the bridegroom’s man to seek the bridegroom and
conduct him to the house of the bride. Each young man arrives with a fair
partner, and from ten to twenty couple, gaily dressed, assemble on this
The older people assist to wait upon them, and they breakfast first, so
that they may be at the altar ere the clock strikes twelve. The priest
having performed the ceremony, and all being duly signed, the party make
to an inn, the landlord or landlady of which has had previous notice to
Four or five hours are spent in drinking wine and punch ; a fiddle is in
attendance, and many a merry joke and airy jig have they. The gloves and
expences at the public house are paid by the young men – the bridegroom
being exempted according to usage. They then set off arm-in-arm to the
groom’s house, where a substantial supper is provided, and ale and spirits
are handed round till all are satisfied. Then away they go again to the
nearest tavern, where most part of the night is past in carousing,
dancing, and merriment.
In the vale and at the east of the village stands the parish chapel of
Saint John ; at the west end is a square tower in which there are two
bells and a low spire surmounted by an ornamental vane. The inside is
commodious and capable of holding a large congregation, being galleried on
Enclosed in a large garden to the north is the new parsonage house.
Heatherly Cleugh Chapel and the clergyman’s residence and glebe are on
the brow of a hill near to some excellent buildings. These two places of
worship are literally deserted. some few of the principal inhabitants
profess to belong to the Church, but their appearance within her walls is
rare. A growing indifference to her ordinances is manifestly displaying
itself, and very soon the Church here will be but a name. Both the
incumbents of these two churches are absentees.
One, who is very clever, is under suspension till he can learn to conquer
a propensity opposed to the sober discharge of his duties ; and it is to
be lamented that the other should have abandoned his rightful charge, as
in nearly the last sermon with which he favoured the sheep of his pasture
he exhorted them "as their regular parochial minister – as one who would
have to give a strict account of his stewardship – as he who stood between
them and the dead, and for whose blood he would have to answer in the
great and terrible day of judgement – to live a religious and godly life."
He is now the located priest at Benwell Chapel, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Since he left his parish many an immortal soul has passed away, and,
according to his own words, they will be an awful reckoning for him with
his God. Such proceedings are a serious evil inflicted upon the Church of
England, to whose communion I belong, and to whose ritual I am staunchly
Surely it would only be fair that those who officiate should reap the
entire emolument. In common justice the clergy who reside in this remote
corner of the county, ought to be the legitimate overseers of their
people. Then they would naturally feel a settled interest in the spiritual
and temporal concerns of their parishioners.
The present reforming Bishop of Durham, Dr. Maltby, must be ignorant of
the state of this part of his Diocese. It would be a pleasant drive for
his Lordship some fine Sunday morning, when he might see for himself these
desolate and empty churches.
The curates are two determined opponents of all descriptions of dissent.
Sunday after Sunday, sermon following sermon, they are too often employed
in dealing out denunciations against all who do not think according to the
Church ; a strange plan to reproselytise a parish of which more than
nine-tenths of the inhabitants are dissenters. Churchmen are so thinly
sown that many and many a time the wardens are either Methodists or Ranters.
Ale and spirit drinking is the cardinal failing of the men of Weardale.
This cannot be disputed – as witness the waste of money – the frequent
fightings – the loss of work – the disordered body - the remorse of
conscience – torn clothes and bloody shirts – late hours and distressed
friends – with a number of other ills.
Of all the vices which belong to us, this is the first we should try to
overcome. Into this error, I confess, I have too frequently fallen,
without any plea to offer in justification. Unfortunately there are too
many of the same description. Even if country life, particularly in
winter, be gloomy and solitary, and company be oftentime to be sought for
in the tavern, it is a paltry excuse, and will not bear the test of next
morning’s reflection. It is my firm and decided, because well considered,
opinion that, be the yearly pays ever so good, Weardale will never be in a
reasonably prosperous state till this foolish and expensive practice be
considerably diminished. We drink and spend in days as much as would
serve some people, in other countries, weeks ; though let it be mentioned
and borne in mind that there is no systematic tippling among us as there
is in towns.
Benevolence is strongly stamped in the Weardale character. In proportion
as their pecuniary resources will admit, this estimable quality stands
more or less preeminent.
Sunday schools have for years been established, are well supported, and
many respectable individuals evince a deep interest in instructing the
youth of both sexes in the sacred volume, and other approved and excellent
books. Missionary associations have existed for a lengthened period ; and
anniversary meetings being held, interesting and valuable information is
communicated from the heathen lands.
There is scarcely a family which has not a Bible or Testament, and
religious and moral tracts are at intervals distributed.
The Chapel Club was instituted for the laudable purpose of assisting the
temporal necessities of members who, by accident, age, or ill-health, are
unable to follow their usual employment. It has been of great service, and
though at one time it seemed to have been visited with a languishing fit,
it has lately recovered, and obtained a considerable increase of
The Saint John’s Lodge of Odd Fellows is of recent formation, and owes its
prosperity mainly to the indefatigable and personal exertions of Jacob
Dent, who espoused its cause with zeal and enthusiasm.
This body, when decorated with the insignia of their various offices, has
a splendid and imposing appearance, particularly at the annual festival,
when (being joined by brethren from the neighbouring lodges) they hear
divine service, after which they walk in procession up and down the dale,
preceded by banners and the Weardale band. Should the weather be
propitious, they present a truly pleasing and beautiful sight. The
ordinary business being transacted, the accounts examined and settled, and
the other affairs of the lodge adjusted, they dine together in the
evening, enjoying social intercourse according to the rules prescribed by
odd-fellowship. The allowance during sickness is liberal.
Such like institutions cannot be too generally patronised by the higher
classes of society, tending, as they do, to preserve the independence of
The period of Fred.’s sojourn had now expired, and with a saddened heart
he parted from his friends, but not till he had awakened in Anna’s bosom
the inexplicable feelings of pure attachment.
He returned more than ever resolved to devote his whole powers to the
complete mastery of his business, determined to prove himself worthy of
her choice. A correspondence was commenced, which helped to diminish the
sorrow which their distance from each other created.
He was soon to be relieved of his apprenticeship, and having tolerable
expectations, his employer offered him a small share in the business,
promising to increase it if the same anxiety was evinced as he had
hitherto shewn. His first duty was to travel : by degrees he obtained a
fair opinion among the numerous customers who preferred being waited upon
by one of the principals ; and his partner having realized an independent
fortune, gradually withdrew, leaving nearly the whole management to him.
Finding himself in circumstances to maintain a wife, he did not hesitate
to solicit the consent of Mr Simpson for Anna’s hand.
The answer was favourable, and all preliminary arrangements being
satisfactory, the Curate feelingly read the marriage service, and Anna
became the wife of Fred.
Blackdean is the residence of an old Weardale family.
The house can claim no other distinction than being one of the better
sort. It is washed with heated lime, and presents a clean appearance.
Its situation is sheltered : it is within a few yards of the Wear, and in
front is an open space of level grass land, irregularly studded, in park
fashion, with a number of trees of ancient growth. To the south is a
shrubbery leading into the garden. Behind are rising plantations and the
village, consisting of a long row of houses, one half of which belong to
the Pearts of North Shields, who possess extensive property in Weardale.
To the north-west is a glen a mile in length, in which are majestic crags,
partly covered with wild ivy : both sides are planted with firs, mixed
with deciduous trees.
Walks are cut out, and fancy chairs placed at convenient distances.
There are ponds for fish ; black game occasionally breed in the woods,
and there is an abundance of rabbits.
Round clumps are scattered over the estate, giving it a romantic and
When Weardale was in the zenith of its prosperity, the length and breadth
of it was overrun with travellers, wholesale and retail. Articles of food
and raiment were fairly forced upon the inhabitants, as a good pay reached
their ears upon the wings of the wind ; but it is not so now.
Still however, remain the black bag and the grave visage – the laden ass
and the smooth soft speech – the spluttering laughing voice and the open
box of snuff : still is left, – "What a clean house ; real-ly what a clean
house ; real-ly have not seen such a one all last week : why, Mistress,
you never looked so young for many a day ; real-ly it cannot be owing the
new gown, making you look so handsome – indeed, indeed, Mistress, am not
joking – real-ly you look quite as young as any of your daughters, and
they real-ly would pass for angels, for real-ly they are as beautiful as
angels, and ye know I am a lover of women, Mistress :" thus gliding into
an order. Still a few circulars find their way, couched " Your esteemed
favours will much oblige ;" but not a tithe of what once came.
The old adage of " Money makes the mare to go" was never so visibly
illustrated as in the present condition of Weardale.
In the neighbourhood lives a son of Vulcan, who is almost beyond
description, and who wears a sailor’s red and green night-cap – blue
checked shirt, and breeches despising the help of slings. He is of a
powerful frame of body, and is famed for aloud and thundering voice.
He cares not what he says, how he says it, or to whom he says it.
On the same range of buildings with his blacksmith’s shop, which is his
own, and which he has obtained by unwearied industry, he carries on a "
Tom and Jerry."
This beer-shop being upon the main road, it is seldom without customers,
and he is everlastingly slipping in ; and it being the fashion to hand
every fresh comerin a glass of ale, his thirst during the day is quenched
over and over and over again.
There is a gentleman holding place under her Majesty, whose corporeal
powers are so often out of order, and his nervous system so frequently
affected by the laborious duties of his office, that he is under the
necessity of applying to this veterinary surgeon for medecine, who,
knowing what is beneficial for himself, seldom fails to prescribe the
effectual remedy. If any fault is to be found, it is that the dose is too
powerful, or over often repeated. This demi-spiritual and unlicensed
doctor has a number of patients, all within a convenient distance, and, as
he does not pretend to visit thrm, they contrive to pay their personal
respects, for he may appositely be designated the " Abernethy" of this
There is another witty publican, who, if he cannot afford to his callers
an afternoon’s amusement concerning corn and gospel, they must be of a
dull, frigid, stupid temperament. By knocking others down he has raised
himself up, and is now the second duster, grinder, and tempster, in the
Though considerably above the middle height he has long been familiarly
called " Little Tommy," and from his joking so much about this soubriquet,
some opine that he is not a little pleased with it.
Weardale people are attended by three medical practitioners, all varying
in the mode of treating themselves ; for a tee-total liver, a temperate
liver, and a free liver, are they. One is an old woman among old women ;
another is as reserved as his brandy-bottle ; and the other prefers the
brandy-bottle, or something like it, to a patient.
" Who was the aged man in the velvet shooting coat who preached yesterday
?" " One of the constables of the district."
" Is he a paid preacher ?" " No, he is a gratuitous preacher."
" Why is that his regular employment ?" " No, no he is a striker."
" Does he always appear as much affected as he was when he was giving out
the hymns?" " When he is laying on with his staff."
" Why he had a whole dozen verses to lecture from ; is he always as
lengthy ?" " Never ; but when he has to relate the case either for the
prisoner or himself, before the magistrates at Stanhope or Wolsingham."
" So this individual dressed a la’ sportsman, is preacher, striker, and
constable ; not a very orthodox trinity in one person. Last visit I paid
you, we heard in the morning a tall, gentlemanly, light complexioned,
rather good-looking young – no not so very young-person : he talked fine
; his text was ‘ Philip went down to Antioch ;’ he went through the fall
of man, his restoration, and claim to complete perfection, as if he had
handled the subject before. He did it at the pitch of his voice – who is
he ?" " A clogger ; you would not know him out of the pulpit, either by
dress or language. One is like his business, and the other is Weardale in
its most vulgar pronunciation."
" Why, then in the afternoon, in the same chapel, he was a little man who
stood up, wor e a black neckcloth, and nearly as black a beard ; made a
hundrum apology about being taken unawares and not prepared ; and after an
explanation of his subject in his own fashion, hit designedly upon the
word temperance, and rang as many changes upon temperance, temperance,
temperance, as could have been swung on the ropes of any twelve bells, in
any steeple, by the most noted ringers in the kingdom. Who and what is he
?" " Why he is jack of all trades ; joiner, grover, mason, waller, rake
and basket maker, for aught I know. Musician, singer, mimic, with every
art, trick, science and artifice else. He is a self-taught genius, a
natural prodigy, a honey-bee."
" Are these two persons living yet ?" "Yes and preaching."
" Are they considered your best orators ?" " The country do not rank them
as such ; they are not very much followed ; there is a Ranter at Westgate
who excels them. His preaching is of a bold and daring description, his
attitude is commanding and fearless ; words follow words in rapid
succession ; thought is followed by thought, following faster than is
desirable ; his voice is strong and powerful, his memory is subservient
and retentive, his sentiments are natural and correct, and display
self-convinced conclusions and deep research, and he delivers them in
language of a high order, and with tolerable pathos and eloquence. The ‘
pale horse’ in Revelations is considered his grandest display. Had he had
a polite and liberal education, Weardale might have been proud of such a
man, for he would have shone without the precincts of this native dale. If
he would be spoiled, he might ; having many worshippers who perfectly
idolize him and all he says and does."
" Is that tailor (I think I am right) still in Weardale, who put me in
mind of Wesley’s mode of dressing, as pourtrayed in the frontispiece of
the Methodist hymns ; and does he hold forth still ?" " Certainly, he
never was more zealous, and desires to be planned thrice on a Sunday, as
practice makes perfect."
" I should say this shews his heart to be in the work ; do they gratify
his laudable offer ?" " Yes, yes, a willing servant is seldom unemployed
" It struck me he reads more in God’s word than any of those whom I have
heard ; he so frequently quoted it ?" "Perhaps this more a habit of
expression ; should it be even so, I imagine Biblical learning would be
accompanied in his studies by Historical evidence and Polemic divinity.
To Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, or any of the dead languages, do none of them
make any pretensions ; it is long since they were unanimously cast aside
as perfectly useless to them.
"Do you believe their preaching does any good ?"
"Your question cannot be
answered in time ; it must wait till the secrets of eternity be divulged ;
though I confess I have my own thoughts concerning it ; forming my
judgement upon what I see, and hear, and know."
There are among us those who shall not be passed over in silence,
imagining themselves to be men, but devoid of manly actions. They are
better than half-waxed lads. It is scarcely possible from among this
number to select a more mischievous set.
Every plot, invention, and contrivance, are put in force ; and that at and
about the midnight hour – gates flung off, carried away, and broken, –
carts shifted, thrown over, and damaged, walls crushed down, and the
stones scattered all around, – young trees pulled up, the tops wrenched
off, and rendered useless, – peaceable people’s habitations assailed with
noise and disturbance. The innocent pastimes and laudable improvements of
those whose station ought to be a protection, are visited with their
vengeance. Add to this personal insult and disgraceful appellations –
measuring their impertinence by the supposed powers of their bodily frames
– and all this performed in sober moments, excepting the intoxicating
effect of Jane Maughan’s home-brewed, exhume their senses or excite their
Let them listen to a friendly warning, and desist from meddling with what
is not theirs, or any one’s belonging to them, as one circumstance is
certain – that if the same determination to break, destroy, molest, and
disturb, be to be pursued, they will have to abide, in their own
persons, the disgrace, the punishment, and the consequences. They ought to
reflect that, by such conduct, they inflict a serious injury upon others
by disheartening and preventing persons who have both the spirit to
afford, and the means of affording, employment in improving and beautifying
their possessions, from so doing, and thus hinder and obstruct (what is so
universally beneficial) the circulation of money.
Many Properties in Weardale are designated and held by curious titles,
such as the following:
" A fine evening ; what makes you in such a hurry."
" Stay, I want to speak to you : I was dreaming about you."
" Were you – that’s strange."
" Yes, and I was sure to fall in with you soon ; but how is all your
" Have they a Galloway to sell that will foal next year. I have taken a
farm, thirty pounds the rent."
" Why, have you ; where ?"
" It’s a bit of a secret yet. Have they a good shaped cow to part with ?"
" I think we have one, but I so not know exactly ; my father will tell
" Do you think they have any more ?"
" Ye are certainly for keeping a heavy stock of kye ; your mother will be
going with you."
" Your sister ?"
" A housekeeper, then certainly ?"
" Why, are you for milking them yourself ?"
" I don’t understand you, but, come, let me be."
" Your people will be up yet ?"
" My mother was sleeping with her knitting in her hand, and my father is
reading the newspapers with his night-cap on."
" I would like to speak to them. I’ll in, and light my pipe. I enter at
May-day. I must have forty or fifty wethers and as many ewes."
" You are for a grand stock at starting ; nothing like a few good pays
running ; but hout, hout, behave yourself."
" I’ll have some summer grass to let."
" Give over – what makes you men-folk so foolish."
" I am purposing to be at Whitsun Stagshaw."
" You are fairly pulling me to pieces."
" I want two or three breeding pigs."
" You are far over strong for me – you are riving me all to bits."
" I wish to know if anybody has a good dog they are tired of."
" Oh, do let me go – my mother’s calling ; she does not know a thing but I
am holding Whit Readshaw a-plague – this is about the time his partners
change ; she will be out of all patience.
" I have bought a cart and trapping nearly new."
" I will be getting my death of cold standing here. I will be up at the
love feast on Sunday."
" Then, mind, you are to drink tea with us."
" You are a fair plague – you do nothing but bother me ; oh, that filthy
tobacco, it makes such a nasty breath. Yes, yes, I will – really I will ;
now, no, let me go – my mother’s not shouting, but screaming. Yes, mother,
I am coming!"
Anna governed her household with a quiet temper, accompanied with firmness
and discretion, carefulness and management. Her most studious wish was to
make her husband’s home all he himself could desire, by anticipating and
providing whatever would conduce to his comfort and happiness.
Next to this, her offspring formed her chief delight ; carefully
superintending, herself, their wants and necessities. She listened to
their infant prattlings, encouraged and joined in their innocent gambols,
and cultivated their opening powers, with all the proud feelings of an
English mother. Truth was set before them in the most enticing colours,
and they were taught to be civil and obliging, kind and affectionate,
dutiful and obedient.
She was herself a pattern of moral rectitude founded upon Christian
principles. Her religion was not the crazy ebullitions of fermented
feelings, or the irregular flight of a disordered fancy, but sound, solid
and rational. She did not only supplicate and believe, pray and admonish
but sought out and personally relieved the needy and distressed, and by
well directed acts of benevolence diffused joy, thankfulness, and peace,
into the habitations of wretchedness, afflictions and misery. The sacred
Scriptures were daily read, and by them she guided her conversation and
practice. As far as the varying and changing scene of this life would
allow, no happier couple than Fred. and Anna could exist, nor could a
larger share of domestic felicity be possibly enjoyed. But the bounds were
defined, and had nigh approached their limits. Their youngest child – a
rosy cheeked, healthy boy – suddenly died, giving Anna’s constitution –
not one of the strongest – a severe shock. She never recovered. She took
his loss severely to heart, and it preyed, though she struggled against
it, upon her spirits. The seaside, her native air, travelling, and all
probable means were had recourse to ; yet within a year this amiable and
exemplary – this young and beautiful lady, was deposited in the same
grave, and by the side of her son. Inscribed upon a marble monument are
her many estimable qualities and unsullied virtues. It will be a
testimonial so long as the sacred edifice in which it is placed, and in
which in her youth she worshipped, shall survive – one of the most rural
and remote churches in the county.
Other painful occurrences float upon my memory, and many foolish acts of
my own are not obliterated ; let them serve for the future as beacons to
The task I voluntarily undertook is completed, with what success must be
left for others to decide. It has assisted to pass away many a lonely hour
in the dwelling of my ancestors, when snow and storm surrounded it.
I am warmly attached by every tie of affection, acquaintance, and
kindred, to Weardale. Being now the head of the Featherstons, I shall do
all in my power, in my situation, and according to my means, to promote
its prosperity, and the welfare of the inhabitants among whom I have
spent, and still look forward to spend, many more happy days.
Having in the preceding pages endeavoured to give a description of the "
Men," and tried to trace out the Manners of my country : if in doing so, I
have overstepped my path, I have done so intentionally, and as my name and
residence are affixed to this book, should any have cause to be offended,
I can easily be found – non mihi cura nec timor.
FRANCIS HUMBLE, PRINTER, DURHAM
Betty Mitchell, mentioned in page 24, died after a short illness, during
the progress of this work ; which had proceeded beyond that page ere we
were aware of the mournful fact.
"Even as at this time, as it was in the days of Noah, after this notice,
with real soundness of mind, according to this declaration."