within the limits of the town's walls. Indeed they preferred to do this as a matter of personal convenience. Hence it was that when the cares of the business day were over, the evenings were often devoted to social gatherings in some quaint old tavern or other. For this purpose, clubs were organised, and pleasant rules and regulations formulated, to the intent that the spirit of good fellowship But these should reign supreme among the members. clubs do not seem, in old days, to have been confined to any particular house. On this point Dr. Bruce says: "Some clubs kept a taster, whose business it was to inform his employers in which tavern the best barrel was on tap." He proceeds: "The late Mr. Robert Doubleday used to say that after a party had sat a sufficiently long time at his table-which was loaded with the finest Spanish and Portuguese wines-the company would adjourn, host and all, to some favourite public-house, such as the Stone Cellar, in the Close, to clear out' with beer."



Now, hereby hangs a tale, not so generally known as it ought to be. There was a club, or society, of this convivial sort which was certainly in existence in 1751, and perhaps for a few years before that date. But death called away some of its members as time went on; and the infirmities which accompany old age prevented others from being as punctual in their attendance as in days of yore. It was resolved to discontinue the meetings, and perform the "happy despatch" upon the club. there was much of the milk of human kindness in the survivors. As the club was about to cease and determine, these resolved that some object of permanent utility should be set on foot as a kind of legacy to their fellow-townsmen in after days. This excellent idea was duly canvassed by the members, after the deliberative fashion of the English race. At last, on a certain notified day on which it was determined to come to some practical conclusion on the question, Mr. Richard Lambert, an eminent surgeon, suggested the establishment of an Infirmary. The idea was taken up in good earnest, and vigorously supported in the local papers.

Hence yonder building rose: on either side
Far stretched the wards, all airy, warm, and wide;
And every ward has beds by comfort spread,
And smoothed for him who suffers on the bed:
There all have kindness-most relief-for some
Is cure complete-it is the sufferer's home:
Fevers and chronic ills. corroding pains,
Each accidental mischief man sustains;
Fractures and wounds, and withered limbs and lame,
With all that, slow or sudden, vex our frame,
Here have attendance-here the sufferers lie
(Where love and science ever aid supply),

And heal'd with rapture live, or sooth'd by comfort die.

Men of Mark 'Twirt Tyne and Tweed.

By Richard Welford.

Leonard Carr,

ALDERMAN AND HOST OF THE NAG'S HEAD INN. NLESS there were two contemporaneous Leonard Carrs in Newcastle during the Civil War, of which there is no evidence, the person who bears that name in local history must have been an exceptionally active and busy man. For, during the greater part of his life, although engaged in the higher branches of Tyneside commerce (he was a merchant, a hostman, and an owner of salt-pans), he found time to bear his share of public work as an alderman and Tyne Commissioner, to fill on several occasions the office of Governor of the Merchants' and Hostmen's Companies, and all the while to conduct the principal hostelry in the town-the Nag's Head Inn.

Leonard Carr first appears in local annals as a witness at an inquiry held in St. Nicholas' Church on the 11th of February, 1600, where he is described as of the age of 21 years, "servant to George Dent, merchant, clerk of the town chamber of Newcastle." He was then, apparently, just out of his time. The books of the Hostmen's Company, under date May 19, 1609, disclose him enrolling himself as a member of the fraternity, and about to add to his avocation as a merchant adventurer the buying and selling of coals. In 1617, upon the reorganization of the Tyne Conservancy Authority, he was appointed one of the Commissioners who were to supervise, control, and preserve the navigation of the river, and as he and Cuthbert Bewick were entrusted with special duties in the matter, the Privy Council ordered them to be paid for their services. A subsidy roll of 1621 shows that he was an inhabitant of the parish of All Saints in that year. Possibly he had entered upon the occupancy of the Nag's Head by that time, and was assessed upon his goods there, for the inn was in All Saints' parish, at the foot of Allhallow Bank, facing the Sandhill. However that may have been, he was dealing extensively in wine and other liquors a year or two later. The "Household Books of Lord William Howard" contain many items in which his name appears as purveyor of cheering liquids to the Naworth family.

At the inn he certainly was in 1634, for three Norwich soldiers, whose Northern adventures in that year form one of the most interesting of Richardson's Reprints, found him there :

Then did wee take a view of the Market Place, the Towne Hall, the neat Crosse [the Cale Cross], ouer against wch almost is a stately, prince-like, freestone Inne, in wch we tasted a cupp of good wine; then taking a view of the 4 Churches in the Towne, and breaking our fast


in that fayre Inne (Mr. Leonard Carr's), we hasten'd to take horse.

Sir William Brereton, afterwards a famous Parliamentary general, passing through Newcastle the following year, remarks, in his "Notes," that "the fairest built inn in England that I have seen is Mr. Carre's in this town," and he regretfully adds that "We lodged at the Swan, at Mr. Swan's the postmaster's, and paid 8d. ordinary, and no great provision." It is apparent from these observations that Leonard Carr was a prosperous and popular citizen.

A few weeks after Sir William Brereton's visit, on Michaelmas Monday, 1635, mine host of the Nag's Head was elected Sheriff of Newcastle. His promotion came to him at a time of trouble. The political horizon was clouded by stormy discussions respecting ship-money, and with angry controversies about royal prerogative; the municipal sky was darkened by shadows of the conflict. Before he had been three months in office he sustained a personal bereavement in the death of his wife. On the very day she died, that famous quarrel between Vicar Alvey and John Blakiston broke out which set the townspeople by the ears for long after. The following May, Newcastle was visited by pestilence of an aggravated character which swept away the inhabitants by hundreds, paralysed trade, and caused the town to be shunned and deserted. In the midst of it all, a commercial crisis arose-a serious dispute with the London Company of Merchant Adventurers-and the Sheriff was placed in the forefront of the contention. Thus, long ere his term of office expired, Leonard Carr had lost his wife, seen his friend the Vicar defied and denounced by one of the leaders in what he deemed to be disreputable faction, witnessed the ravages of a malady which robbed him of his friends, and had been chosen to lead a conflict with the most powerful trading organization in Europe. It is unnecessary to enter at length into the details of the dispute between the merchants of London and those of Newcastle. Sufficient for the present purpose are the facts that Leonard Carr and Alderman William Warmouth were sent to plead the cause of the local body in London; that they went, saw the Governor and Secretary, attended conferences with important functionaries, and came back without having achieved their object. It may, however, be added that in the end, although the quarrel lasted all through the Civil War, the Commonwealth, and until after the Restoration, the Newcastle merchants won their case, but in the meantime they had lost the trade in cloth which had given rise to the contention.

A public man so able and useful as Leonard Carr would speedily have reached the mayoralty if the course of events had run smoothly with him. But he was a Churchman and a Royalist, and the drift of public opinion was in a direction quite the contrary. He was made an alderman in 1641; Governor of the

Merchants' Company the same year, and successively to 1645; Governor of the Hostmen's Company in the years 1642 and 1643, and again in 1653 and 1654; but he proceeded to no higher function. After the storming of Newcastle in 1644, his friends had not the power to bestow further honours, and his opponents sought only his downfall. In the conflict which preceded the final overthrow of the Monarchy he had taken a prominent and active part against the Parliament, and when the day of reckoning came he was among those who suffered. Articles were exhibited against him, which may be read at length in Bourne's "History of Newcastle.

Being summoned before the Privy Council and the Committee for Sequestrations to answer for his delinquency, Alderman Carr admitted the substantial accuracy of the charges which had been brought against him and awaited his fate. Delays occurred, and it was not until after Christmas, 1657, when the Commonwealth itself was approaching its fall, that the punishment of his loyalty was inade known. On the 28th December in that year, a letter received from the Lord Protector and his Privy Council to remove Mr. Leonard Carr from his office of Alderman of Newcastle-upon-Tyne on a charge preferred against him by the Standing Committee of the North for abetting, &c., against the Parliament, was confirmed by the Mayor and Common Council of that town."


Mr. Carr did not long survive his removal from office. He was seventy-eight years of age, and in failing health, when his deprivation was confirmed, and at the beginning of August following his troubles came to an end. By a process of compounding, probably, he had preserved the Nag's Head Inn and adjoining property from confiscation, and by his will he charged them with an annual rent of £5 for the poor of his parish. In the old church of that parish-All Saints'-he was buried, and there, sixty years later, Bourne saw his tombstone, and penned the following paragraph respecting it :

There is an old Stone, which lies between the Vestry and Quire Door, with its inscription erased. It belonged to Aiderman Leonard Carr, who gave £5 yearly for ever to the poor of this parish, and appointed it out of divers Houses in the Butcher-bank. He was an Alderman of the Town before the Rebellion, and turned out by the Rebels. He deserves a better Monument.

Ralph Carr,


Local annalists and historians have been somewhat partial in their selection of persons to represent the culture, the industry, and the enterprise of the North of England. Of some good men's lives ample details are forthcoming; of others only meagre details are obtainable; of many there is no record at all. In this last-named category comes a remarkable man, who occupied a leading position in Newcastle during the greater part of last

century. He was one of the foremost merchants upon the Tyne; the founder of a famous bank in Newcastle; a considerable landowner in Northumberland and Durham; an earnest and liberal supporter of numerous schemes of progress and philanthropy. But he did not enter any corporate body, to become sheriff, alderman, and mayor, nor publish a book, nor paint a picture, nor display any marked eccentricity of character or conduct; and therefore local history is silent respecting him. The assiduous researches of one of his descendants have now, however, enabled us to place among the men who have made their mark upon North-Country life this local worthy-Ralph Carr, of the Old Bank, Newcastle; of Dunston Hill, in the county palatine of Durham; and of Hedgley, Northumberland.

Ralph Carr was descended from the same stock as Cuthbert Carr, of St. Helen's Auckland, whose heroic defence of the New Gate of Newcastle during the siege formed the subject of a previous sketch. His grandfather was John Carr, merchant and boothman, apprenticed, in 1655, to Phineas Allen, and set over the following year to William Johnson (father of Sir Nathaniel Johnson, Mayor and M.P., Governor of the Leeward Islands and of South Carolina), whose daughter Abigail, widow of William Bonner, he married. John Carr (eldest son of John and Abigail), a mining operator in Cumberland and Westmorland, agent to Lord Thanet, the Claverings of Axwell, and others, and the purchaser, in 1704, of the estate of Dunston Hill, in the parish of Whickham, was his father; his mother being Sarah, daughter of William Wynne, of Gateshead, woolstapler. Ralph was born on the 22nd September, 1711, and, being destined for a commercial career, was apprenticed to Matthew Bowes, merchant adventurer and boothman. In due time he was admitted to his freedom, and, having made a tour through Holland and Germany to the Baltic, as far as the newly-founded city of St. Petersburg, he commenced life on his own account in Newcastle.

The account books, letters, and MSS. relating to Ralph Carr's business undertakings for more than half a century have been preserved. They show that in no long time after his commencement he was engaged in commercial operations of magnitude and value. The death of his father, in 1739, gave him the Dunston Hill property, and enabled him to extend still further his business transactions. Like most merchants of his time, he speculated in coals and iron, timber and corn, wine and spirits, butter and tea, tobacco and snuff, and dealt in a wide variety of other vendible articles; was at one and the same time shipowner and merchant, broker and underwriter, commission agent and bill discounter. His financial position was such that when, in September, 1745, Prince Charles Edward, landing at Lochaber, raised the standard of rebellion, and troops came marching through the North of England to prevent the revolt from spreading, he was able to render


profitable service to the Government. He advanced cash to commanding officers against drafts on the Pay Office; collected and transmitted money (in one month he sent £30,000) for the use of the army in Scotland, and speculated in corn, stores, and forage required by the royal troops.

Among his friends and correspondents in these proceedings were the brothers John and Alexander Coutts, who were conducting in London and Edinburgh a business similar to his own. Out of their acquaintance sprang the idea of establishing in Newcastle an independent provincial bank. No country town in Great Britain, it is said, possessed at that time an institution wherein banking business alone was transacted. There were several establishments called banks, notably Woods's at Gloucester and Smith's of Nottingham, where other branches of trade were carried on in the same premises. But Ralph Carr projected an establishment to deal in money and nothing else, and on the 1st of January, 1756, he formally opened a banking house pure and simple. The first partners were Matthew Bell, John Cookson, Joseph Airey, and himself, who undertook by their deed to carry on the business of "bankers and dealers in exchange" for ten years at Joseph Airey's residence in Pilgrim Street. The capital was only £2,000, divided into four equal shares, but the partners were all men of wealth and credit, and the liability was unlimited. In the first year of their partnership they issued notes for various sums to the value of £15,648, received deposits from Lord Ravensworth, Robert Ellison, the Infirmary Trustees, and others, amounting to £10,000, and made a profit of £1,017. At the end of the ten years Joseph Airey retired, and John Widdrington the younger (Mr. Carr's nephew) and Joseph Saint were admitted. With their assistance the banking business grew and prospered until, at the end of 1774, the firm found themselves with a note issue of £180,000; cash and bills in hand, £103,597; with other bankers, £47,860; navy bills, £14,609; overdrafts, £38,000; deposits exceeding £85,000, and a profit upon the twelve months' trading of £5,712. For 32 years Ralph Carr was the guiding spirit of the establishment. What was at first but a venturesome experiment had proved a remarkable success, and before he retired the creator of provincial banking had seen his example copied all over the kingdom, and his own house in Newcastle designated as "The Old Bank" to distinguish it from local imitators.

Amidst the engrossing occupations of commercial life in Newcastle, Ralph Carr did not find time to marry till he was forty-seven years old; then he was united to Isabella, only surviving daughter of the Rev. Henry Byne, Vicar of Ponteland. Although he had consider ably enlarged the house at Dunston Hill, extended the boundaries of the grounds surrounding it, and beautified the property by judicious planting of ornamental trees, he resided for a long time before his marriage, and for


some years after it, at Cross House, Westgate Streetthe old mansion which, long devoted to other uses, still forms the junction of that thoroughfare and Fenkle Street. It was here, doubtless, that Dr. Alexander Carlyle, minister of Inveresk, making an excursion to Newcastle with Sir David Kinloch and others in the summer of 1757, found him and his relations and partners, the Widdringtons, as recorded in the famous "Autobiography":-"On this expedition I made some very agreeable acquaintance, of which I afterwards availed myself-Ralph Carr, an eminent merchant, and his brother-in-law Mr. Withrington, styled 'the honest attorney of the North,'" and, as he states elsewhere, "almost the only man who had any literature" in the town. Dunston Hill was probably Mr. Carr's summer resort; but in after years he made it more and more his permanent abode, and fixed his town residence in Charlotte Square. His place of business as a merchant was in Hanover Square, where his nephew, and sometime partner, John Widdrington the younger, resided, and from whence he dated the greater part of that voluminous correspondence with Northern Europe and the American colonies which has been preserved in portly volumes at Dunston Hill.

Having accumulated wealth, Ralph Carr began, like many Newcastle merchants before and since, to invest it in landed estate. He had obtained in 1769 a profitable lease from Merton College, Oxford, of the great or rectorial tithes of the parishes of Ponteland and Embleton, and in 1784 he purchased from the Carrs of Eshott the estate of High and Low Hedgley. Upon this property he at once commenced to indulge the love of forestry which he had developed to some extent upon his patrimonial inheritance. Besides enlarging the mansion at High Hedgley, he extended the gardens, laid out extensive woods and plantations, and diverted the course of the river Breamish through the estate from a dangerous into a manageable channel. A few years later he bought Prend wick, in the parish of Alnham; and about the same time acquired from Mr. Bell, of Woolsington, the estates of Bygate Hall, in Upper Coquetdale, and Lumsdon, upon Redewater. These investments gave him possession of moorlands dear to the sportsman, of burns and streamlets sacred to the angler, of camps and battlefields celebrated in Northern history and song. Towards the close of his life he purchased from his friend Sir John Dick, who had acquired it during a long residence as British Consul at Leghorn, the fine collection of oil paintings and statuary which adorn Dunston Hill, and added to the library at that place the valuable works on maritime jurisprudence and international law which still occupy its shelves.

Like his father, Ralph Carr was a member of the Nonconformist congregation assembling first at the Close Gate, and afterwards in Hanover Square, Newcastle-of which latter place of worship he was a trustee. One of

his cousins, a Miss Halliday, became the wife of the Rev. Richard Rogerson, who officiated there from 1733 to 1760-the minister under whose influence the worshippers adopted those Unitarian views to which they have since adhered. Of his politics it is not easy to judge. He voted in 1774 for Sir Walter Blackett and Sir Matthew White Ridley, the "magistrates' candidates," who were opposed by the Hon. Constantine J. Phipps and Thomas Delaval, the candidates of the "burgesses"; in 1777 he voted for Sir John Trevelyan against the adventurer Stoney Bowes; in 1780 he plumped for Ridley, against Bowes and Delaval. Local considerations so completely influenced these elections that votes afford no clue to views on Imperial questions, but it is known from his letters and papers that he was opposed to the Americans in their struggle for independence, and that in other matters he sympathised with the policy of the elder Pitt. On social questions his opinions were broad and clear. In one of his books, when he was 85 years of age, he wrote:

I remember when there was only one ale-house in Whickham. Now there are seventeen, and equally increased in Swalwell, chiefly occasioned by the great increase of brewers, who encourage people to set up public-houses and become bondsmen and intercessors with the justices to license them, who are culpably too ready to do it on account of their fees. This is ruin to the lower class, and calls for redress, for upon a fair calculation there is more paid at this day for drink alone than was expended fifty years ago for house-rent, clothing, provisions, and every other support of families.

But, severe as were his strictures upon the drinking customs of his day, and the poverty and misery engendered by them, he was a liberal contributor to the wants of the deserving poor. He was one of the founders of the Newcastle Infirmary, a generous supporter of the local dispensaries, the Lying-in Hospital, and kindred institutions. Every week for some years he gave to forty-eight persons-twelve from each of the four parishes of Newcastle-sums varying from 1s. to 2s. each, while he dispensed unlimited bounty to wayfarers at his own door.

After his retirement from business, Ralph Carr lived the life of an active magistrate and country gentleman. He was for fifty years a justice of the peace for the county of Durham, and in his eighty-first year was able to state that he had scarcely once missed attending the assizes during the preceding half century. Although of mature age when he married, he had the satisfaction of seeing his eldest son, John Carr, united to a daughter of the house of Ellison, of Hebburn; his second son, Ralph, holding a distinguished position at the bar; and his second daughter, Harriet, whose accomplishments were the natural object of his pride, occupying a high position in the social and artistic world as the wife of Colonel Cheney, of the Grenadier Guards, afterwards General Cheney, who was made aide-de-camp to the king for his services in the Peninsula under Sir John Moore. When his grandson, the late Ralph Carr-Ellison, was two years

old, on the 7th May, 1806, at the great age of ninetyfour, he passed away; and a few days later he was buried in the chancel of the church of Ponteland.

Till nearly the close of his existence Ralph Carr remained in full possession of the vigorous intellect which had made his fortunes. In his ninetieth year he wrote in one of his account books at Dunston Hill an earnest appeal and a pious adjuration, with which this imperfect sketch of a remarkable man and a remarkable career may fitly terminate :

I pray the Almighty to grant to all my successors His grace, to be thankful to Him for ye mercys he is pleas'd to vouchsafe to them, and to employ this short existence here in true piety to their merciful God, Brotherly affection to their Relations and Friends, and to promote the happiness of all their Fellow Creatures, and that they may so live as to make it a Better House, not one Built by Hands, Eternal in the Heavens. Amen.

The Greenfinch.

HE Greenfinch (Fringilla chloris), known as the green linnet, is a common resident species in Northumberland and Durham. It also associates, remarks Mr. John Hancock, "with chaffinches, sparrows, and other small birds, and appears in large flocks in autumn." This interesting bird, as Dr. Brehm points out, must be regarded as forming, as it were, a bond of connection between the hawfinches and goldfinches. It has a strong conical beak, somewhat compressed at its edges, with a small ball-like elevation in the interior of the upper mandible. The feet are larger



bordering on the Mediterranean, and in other parts. It would appear to be a winter visitor in Shetland and Orkney, where it often appears, during that season, with flights of linnets, larks, snow buntings, and other birds. About the middle of March, or earlier, says Morris, the birds begin to disperse over the length and breadth of the land, and by the middle of April they disappear from their winter haunts. At the end of autumn they collect in flocks, and, in severe weather, frequent farm-yards with other kinds of small birds. In the pairing season they are lively and rather pugnacious, Like the chaffinches, they are fond of washing themselves, and seem to take a pride in looking smart. If a flock be ever so noisy, when one bird sounds the alarm note that danger may be apprehended, all the others are mute. Their flight is quick, strong, and undulated, performed by two or three rapid strokes of the wings, which are then closed, and a swoop follows, down, and then up. They sometimes wheel about for some little time before alighting, but often settle down quickly and set to work in search of food. If alarmed, they fly into the nearest trees. The food of the bird consists chiefly of grain and wild seeds, hawthorn fruit, the leaves of weeds, and the larvae of insects, on the latter of which the nestlings are fed. Meyer likens its note to the syllable "tway," which is full and mellow, and is uttered in summer from the topmost spray of a hedge, or some tree higher than others, as well as on the wing; but there is not any approach to a song until about April, or later, and the song, even then, is but humble. When flying, it repeatedly utters its call, which, though a soft note, can be heard at a considerable distance; when employed as a cry of warning, it is accompanied by a gentle, distinct whistle. The greenfinch commences to nest in April, or even earlier if the season be well advanced; but nests are most numerous in May. That is, the first nest, as the birds usually breed twice, and occasionally three times, in the year. The nest is found in various situations-in hawthorn hedges, bushes, and trees. One of its favourite nesting places, according to Bishop Mant, is the pine tree :

A cradle for the green bird's bed,
And bowery covert o'er her head,
A forked pine supplies.


than those of the true hawfinch, and the body is elongated, but powerful. The plumage is principally of a green colour (hence the distinctive name of the bird), that of the male being olive green on the upper part of the body, the lower portion greenish yellow, the wings ash grey, the tail black, the anterior quill feathers of the wings and the five exterior tail quills beautifully marked with yellow. The greenfinch is found over the whole of Europe, from south to north, in the countries

Bishop Butler at Stanhope.

TANHOPE, the metropolis of the rich lead mining field of Weardale, Durham, was, up to twenty odd years ago, famous as a rectory to which was attached the princely revenue

of six or seven thousand pounds. In ancient days, even back to Hugh de Pudsey's time, Stanhope was of considerable importance, for then the prince bishops of the palatine repaired in great state in the summer months to hunt the red deer in Weardale Forest, the chief

« VorigeDoorgaan »