STAC Lawson et al v Mitford et al

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Under development.


There are a number of scattered Elizabethan Star Chamber cases which relate to early coal mining in Heaton, Northumberland. This is an attempt to provide a summary and in due course to provide a timeline for the events they relate to.

This page is part of the Elizabethan Star Chamber Project, for other cases related to Northumberland see STAC co Northumberland, and for the few related to Durham, see STAC co Durham


Contents

Breakdown of documents:

  • Transcription STAC 5/L45/17 - B A - Raphe Lawson of Bourghe[Brough], Yorks v Randall Fenwicke, Willm Fenwicke, Robert Metforde, Henry Metforde, Robert Fenwicke, Lyonell Fenwicke, Oswoulde Fenwicke, Jerrarde Fenwicke, John Fenwicke, Martyne Fenwicke, Henry Ellwood, Robert Errington, James Lawson, George Wawne, Edwarde Lowrence and Willm Backe
    • date tbc - Bill of Complaint of Raphe Lawson (appears identical to the bill in STAC 5/L24/6)
    • 12 Feb 38 Eliz (1596) - Answer of Randall Fenwick
  • Transcription STAC 5/L22/16 - I D - Ralfe Lawson v Oswald Fenwick et al
    • 1 May 38 Eliz (1596) - Examinations of Randall Fenwick, Robert Fenwick, Lyonell Fenwick & Oswald Fenwick
    • 30 Oct 38 Eliz (1596) - Re-examination of Oswald Fenwick


  • Transcription STAC 5/L24/6 - B A - Ralph Lawson of Brough v Randle Fenwicke of Newcastell uppon Tyne, Willm Fenwicke his brother, Robert Metforde of Sighill in the said Countie, Henry Metforde of Newcastell, Robert Fenwicke, Lyonell Fenwicke, Oswould Fenwicke, Jerrado Fenwicke, John Fenwicke of Brenkelie in the said Countie, and John Fenwicke his bastard brother, Martyn Fenwicke, Roberte Fenwicke of Whellpington in the said Countie, Henry Elwood, Roberte Errington, James Lawson, George Wawne, Edward Lawrence and Willm Bucke
    • date tbc - Bill of Complaint of Raphe Lawson
    • date unknown - Answer of Robte Mitforde
    • date unknown - stray Interrogatories
    • 12 Jan 39 Eliz (1597) - Re-examinations of Robarte Fenwick & Lyonell Fenwick
  • Transcription STAC 5/L27/32 - I D - 39 Eliz - Ralph Lawson v Robert Metford, Henry Metford


  • STAC 5/L36/5 - A - 38 Eliz - Ralfe Lawson v Robert Fenwick et al
  • STAC 5/L21/40 - A - 39 Eliz - Ralph Lawson v Robert Mitford
  • STAC 5/L48/32 - Rn - 40 Eliz - Ralph Lauson v Robert Mitford et al
  • STAC 5/L39/30 - Rr - 41 Eliz - Ralph Lawson v Robert Mitford et al


  • Transcription STAC 5/F9/17 - B A - Randall Fenwycke v Rauffe Lawson of Brough, Yorks Esquyre, Isaacke Witherington, Robt Dent, George Dent, Wm Dent, John Dent, John Strangwishe, Robt Spore, Edmonnd Whyte, Robt Barnes, Henrie Brigges, Gerrerd Richardson, John Smarte, John Arkell, Robt Anderson, Robt Atkinson, Andrew Tompson, Willm Lawson and Nicholas Fetherstone
    • date tbc - Bill of Complaint of Randall Fenwycke
    • 19 May 38 Eliz (1596) - Answers of Robert Dent, George Dent, John Dent & John Stranguishe


  • Transcription STAC 5/F24/4 - I D - Randall Fenwick v Rauffe Lawson, Isacke Witherington, Robert Dent, George Dent, William Dent, John Dent, John Strangwishe, Robert Spoore, Edmond White, Robte Barnes, Henry Brigges, Gerrard Richardson, John Smart, John Arkell, Robte Anderson, Robte Atkinson, Andrewe Tompson, Willm Laweson & Nicholas Fetherston
    • 24 May 38 Eliz (1596) - Deposition of Robert Dent
    • [24 May 38 Eliz] - Deposition of John Stranguishe
    • [24 May 38 Eliz] - Deposition of George Dent
    • [24 May 38 Eliz] - Deposition of John Dent


  • STAC 5/M52/11 - B - 39 Eliz - Robert Mitford v Isaack Wetherington, George Dent, Robert Dent et al


  • Transcription STAC 5/M15/12 - B A C I D - Robte Myttford of Sighill [Seghill], Northumberland v Raphe Lawson, Isacke Witherington, Robert Dent, George Dent, William Dente, John Dent, John Strangwishe, Robert Spore, Edmunde White, Robert Barnes, Henry Brigges, Gerrard Rychardson, John Smarte, John Arkell, Robert Anderson, Robert Atkinson, Andrewe Tompson, William Lawson And Nycholas Fetherstone
    • date tbc - Bill of Complaint of Robte Myttford
    • date unknown - Answers of Raphe Lawson, Robte Dent & Robte Spore
    • date unknown - Interrogatories
    • 9/10 Jan 40 Eliz (1598) - Deposition of Raphe Lawson
    • 9/10 Jan 40 Eliz (1598) - Deposition of Robart Dent
    • 9/10 Jan 40 Eliz (1598) - Deposition of Robart Spoors


  • Transcription STAC 5/L18/8 - B A - Raph Lawson of Brough, Yorks v Robte Mitford, Parcivall Harbottell, Oswold Harbottle, James Sandeland als Clarke & Nicholas Blaykett
    • 15 September 42 Eliz (1600) - Bill of Complaint of Raph Lawson
    • 13 November 42 Eliz (1600) - Answers of Robte Mitforde, Parcivall Harbotle & James Sandiland als Clarke


  • STAC 5/L19/16 - I D - 43 Eliz - Ralph Lawson v Robert Mitforde, Percival Harbottle et al



Timeline:

  • 6 July 1543
    • date on which Ralph Lawson claims that Henry VIII did grant, bargain & sell the manor of Byker & Byker Moor to James Lawson, his grandfather STAC 5/L18/8
  • c. 37 Eliz (1594/1595)
    • per Robert Mitford's answer STAC 5/L18/8, Ralph Lawson commenced a suit at The Council of the North claiming title to Heaton Banks as part of Byker manor.
  • 1 August 1595
    • date on which Randall Fenwick claims in his answer, STAC 5/L45/17, to have been granted a lease of Heaton Banks by Robert and/or Henry Mitford.
    • The re-examinations of Robert Fenwick & Lyonell Fenwick, STAC 5/L24/6, brothers of Randall, state the term of the lease was 3 or 4 years
    • date on which Robert Mitford claims in his answer, STAC 5/L24/6, to have granted the lease to Randall Fenwick
    • (1 August 'last past') - date on which Randall Fenwick claims in his bill, STAC 5/F9/17, to have been granted a lease by the Mitfords
  • 17 September 1595
    • date on which Randall Fenwick claims in his answer to the bill of Ralph Lawson, STAC 5/L45/17, to have sent George Wane and Robt Fenwicke onto the grounds at Heaton Banks to dig & get coals, and while he, along with Lyonell, Oswall, Gerrett and John Fenwicke were at Jesmond, the workmen George Wane and Robt Fenwicke were attacked by Willm Dent, George Dent, John Dent, Isack Woodrington, Robt Spower, John Strangishe, Edward Whyt and Robert Brigges, friends & servants of Ralph Lawson. Following which, when Randall & his colleagues arrived, Willm Dent et al discharged their guns & shot arrows at them.
  • 9, 10, 11 & 12 December 'last past' (1595)
    • date on which, according to Ralph Lawson's bill, STAC 5/L45/17 & STAC 5/L24/6, and confirmed in Interrs & examinations STAC 5/L22/16 & STAC 5/L27/32, Randall Fenwick et al repair to Jesmond & send Robte Fenwicke brother to the said Randall, George Wawne and Willm Back and others into Byker Moor to dig coal.
  • tbc (implied between mid Dec 1595 & late Jan 1595/1596)
  • 18 Dec 1595 and 2 & 12 Jan 1595/1596
    • Randall Fenwick, according to his bill, STAC 5/F9/17, went to the pits with his workmen & servants, and was attacked by Isaacke Wytherington, George Dent, Willm Dent, John Dent, John Strangwishe, Robt Spore, Edmonnd Whyte, Robt Barnes, Henrie Brigges, Gerrerd Richardson, Andrew Tompson, John Smart, John Arkell, Robt Anderson, Robt Atkinson, Willm Lawson, Nicholas Fetherstone and others. See also bill of Robert Mitford and associated Interrogatories, STAC 5/M15/12, which refer to the same actions & the same dates.
  • 18 Dec 1595
    • Robert Dent in his deposition gives an account of his presence STAC 5/F24/4
  • 18 Dec 1595
    • according to Robert Dent in his answer to the bill of Randall Fenwick, STAC 5/F9/17, he went to the pits to deliver a letter from the Lord Warden of the Middle Marches, asking the complt (Randall Fenwick) to suspend operations, while he took further advice, and it is claimed that Randall Fenwick ignored this, whereupon a copy of the letter was also delivered to the Justices of the Peace, Robert Delaval & Henry Anderson
  • 12, 13 & 14 Jan 1595/1596
    • Robert Dent in his answer to the bill of Randall Fenwick, STAC 5/F9/17, claims that he sent two servants to ask those working there to leave peacefully, but the servants were threatened and left without any violence.
    • In the depositions, Robert Dent, John Stranguishe, George Dent & John Dent all claim not to have been there on these dates STAC 5/F24/4
  • tbc (by implication, between 12 Jan & 19 May 1596)
  • 12 Feb 38 Eliz (1595/1596)
    • Answer of Randall Fenwick to the bill of Ralph Lawson STAC 5/L45/17
  • 1 May 38 Eliz (1596)
    • Examinations of Randall Fenwick, Robert Fenwick, Lyonell Fenwick & Oswald Fenwick STAC 5/L22/16
  • between 1 May 1596 & 12 Jan 1596/1597
  • 19 May 38 Eliz (1596)
    • Answers of Robert Dent, George Dent, John Dent & John Stranguishe to the bill of Randall Fenwick, STAC 5/F9/17
  • 24 May 38 Eliz (1596)
    • Depositions of Robert Dent, John Stranguishe, George Dent & John Dent STAC 5/F24/4 NOTE that in these depositions, the claim is made that Robert Dent had an Interest in the coal pits by virtue of a Lease granted by Ralph Lawson to Robert Withrington to the use of Robert Dent
  • 30 Oct 38 Eliz (1596)
  • 11 December 39 Eliz (1596)
    • per Robert Mitford's answer to the bill of Ralph Lawson STAC 5/L18/8, Ralph Lawson's suit at the Council of the North was dismissed to be tried at Common Law, and possession to remain with Ralph Lawson until he should be evicted at Common Law. Claimed that the lease to Randall Fenwick was in order to try the title at Common Law, however, this doesn't appear to tally with the evidence above that the lease to Randall Fenwick was granted 1 August 1595
  • 12 Jan 39 Eliz (1596/1597)
    • Re-examinations of Robarte Fenwick & Lyonell Fenwick STAC 5/L24/6
  • 23 June 39 Eliz (1597)
    • Examination of Robert Mitford of Seghill in response to bill of Ralph Lawson STAC 5/L27/32
  • tbc
    • Bill of Complaint of Robte Myttford STAC 5/M15/12. Comparison required with bill of Randall Fenwick, STAC 5/F9/17, they appear similar, it is possible that Robert Mitford presented his own bill after the death of Randall Fenwick
  • date unknown
    • Answers of Raphe Lawson, Robte Dent & Robte Spore to the bill of Robert Myttford STAC 5/M15/12
  • date unknown
  • 9/10 Jan 40 Eliz (1597/1598)
    • Depositions of Ralph Lawson, Robart Dent & Robart Spoors STAC 5/M15/12
  • 41 Eliz
    • Robert Mitford claims in his answer to the second bill of Ralph Lawson STAC 5/L18/8 to have brought an action of Ejection firme, which should have been tried at Northumberland Assizes 41 Eliz, but was suspended on account of a challenge that the Sheriff at the time was kindred with Robert Mitford. (Poss Thomas Bradford??, check relationship).
  • 22 September 41 Eliz (1599)
    • Ralph Lawson in his second bill of complaint STAC 5/L18/8, claims that Robert Mitford leased a coal pit on Byker Moor to Parcivall Harbottell of Ravensworth, for a term of 5 years
    • date of this lease confirmed in Robert Mitford's answer STAC 5/L18/8
  • 16 October 41 Eliz (1599)
    • Parcivall Harbottle, Oswoold Harbottell of Sighill, James Sandiland als Clarke, Nicholas Blaykett & others unknown, entered a pit on Byker Moor and started to dig for coals, as claimed by Ralph Lawson STAC 5/L18/8
  • Hilary Term 42 Eliz (1599/1600)
    • Parcivall Harbottell commences suit in Kings Bench, on an action of ejection firme, against Patricke Parnent, John Weigh, Thomas Conyngham, William Lane & John Swanddoy, servants of Raphe Lawson, as claimed in his bill STAC 5/L18/8
  • 15 September 42 Eliz (1600)
  • 13 November 42 Eliz (1600)
    • Answers of Robte Mitforde, Parcivall Harbotle & James Sandiland als Clarke to the second bill of Ralph LawsonSTAC 5/L18/8
    • Robert Mitford claims in the above answers that he & Randall Fenwick having answered the original complaint of Ralph Lawson (in Feb 1595/1596), this case remains in this court as yet undetermined


Locations:

  • Blagdon: Blagdon, Northumberland, home to Lyonell Fenwick STAC 5/L22/16
  • Brenkeley: Brenkley, Northumberland, home of John Fenwick, near Stannington, STAC 5/L45/17
  • Biker/Bicker/Byker/Bycar/Bykar: Byker, Northumberland.
    • Byker Banckes: The complt's name for what the defts call Heaton Banckes
    • Byker Edge: 'Byker Bankes or Bicker Edge' STAC 5/L24/6
    • Byker More/Moor: At the core of the dispute, whether the land in question is called Byker Moor or Heaton Moor, and thus whether belonging to Byker or Heaton manors.
      • Ralph Lawson claims 'the said moore doth lye neare & adioyne to the water of Tyne', which at the southern end in Byker manor, it almost certainly did. STAC 5/L18/8
  • Gosford Milne: Gosford is Gosforth, Northumberland. Whether the mill was a windmill or water mill is not clear. There were watermills on the Ouseburn near here, but not clear whether they were there in the 1590s? STAC 5/M15/12.
  • Greate Benton: Longbenton, Northumberland. '..grounde called Heaton Banckes northweste of Tuthill up Ouse burne to Greate Benton feilde ..' STAC 5/M15/12.
  • Hetton/Heton/Heyton/Hetonn/Haton/Heaton: Heaton, Northumberland.
    • Adernes Wall or the Pykes Wall: The Roman Wall (Hadrian's Wall or the Pict's Wall) 'do you knowe that the wall called Adernes Wall or the Pykes Wall dothe devyde the Boundes and Marches betwene Heaton Banckes and Byker Moore or whether do you knowe or have hard the said wall to be Byker Boundes and howe far dothe the same wall extend westward dyrecting the said Boundes' clearly this refers to the Roman Wall, and its status as the boundary between Heaton & Byker. The key to this dispute would appear to be that, although the Roman Wall did provide the boundary between Heaton and Byker at the eastern end of that boundary, at the western end, approximately where it would have descended the slope to the Ouseburn, there was an outlier of Byker Moor to the north of the wall whose bounds were not clear. STAC 5/M15/12
    • Braken Well or Heaton Well: in Heaton Moor STAC 5/M15/12
    • Heaton Banckes/Banks: Location of the coal pits in question.
      • Interrogatories ask whether it lay west of Heaton, and also questions whether there is evidence of old trees having been cut down, but the purpose of this question is not clear STAC 5/L24/6.
      • Depositions of Robert & Lionell Fenwicke suggest it 'lye westwarde' 'and to the southe warde of the weste of Heaton' STAC 5/L24/6
      • Deposition of Ralph Lawson gives it as 'north weste from a place called Tuthill to greate Benton alonge upp Use burne' STAC 5/M15/12, and notes there to be one or two mills & millers houses.
    • Heaton Hyll or Bracken Hill: In Heaton Moor STAC 5/M15/12
    • Heaton More/Moor: At the core of the dispute, whether the land in question is called Heaton Moor or Byker Moor, and thus whether belonging to Heaton or Byker manors.
    • Holing Hyll: Interrogatories refer to a house which had been demolished, which by implication was at this location. STAC 5/M15/12
    • Newe Heaton: Interrogatories refer to a house built by Christopher Mitford at Newe Heaton. This is likely to be the later Heaton Hall STAC 5/M15/12.
  • Jesmonde/Jesmond: Jesmond, Northumberland, lies opposite Heaton on the west bank of the Ouseburn. STAC 5/L45/17
  • Ravensworth: Ravensworth, Co Durham, home of Percival Harbottle, another early coal mining area.
  • Sandgate: ' ...... catell of the Inhabitantes of Sandgate in or neere Newcastell ordynaryly gone .....' (Interrs in STAC 5/L22/16) Sandgate is a suburb on the eastern side of Newcastle, approx a mile from the land in question here. This statement is of interest as it appears to indicate that the residents of Sandgate did not have access by right to any pasture for their cows, but could pay to pasture them on Byker Moor/Common.
  • Sighill/Sughill/Syckhill: Seghill, Northumberland, home of Robert Mitford and Oswald Fenwick.
  • Stannington: Stannington, Northumberland, home of Lyonell Fenwick. Note that his abode is also given as Blagdon, which is close to Stannington.
  • Tuthill:
    • South East of Heaton Banks STAC 5/M15/12, therefore unlikely to be associated with the Tuthill associated with Tuthill Stairs in Newcastle?
    • A possible correlation with the hill which is called Byker Hill in the early Ordnance Survey maps, and which lies approximately where Tuthill would be expected to lie.
  • Use Burne/Ouse Burne: Ouseburn, river that runs through Jesmond Dene, between Heaton & Jesmond, to the River Tyne
  • Whellpington: STAC 5/L45/17: Either Kirkwhelpington or West Whelpington, Northumberland, home of Robert Fenwick.
  • Walker:
    • Walker More: STAC 5/L24/6: Answer of Robert Mitford, 'Heaton More als Walker Moore' parcel of the manor of Heaton. This confuses, rather than clarifies, the position of the land in question, as Walker is to the SE of both Heaton and Byker, on the N bank of the Tyne.