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on the north, the mid-stream of which commenced and took its course at and from the mid stream of the present channel at a point situate about 1,100 feet to the northeast of the north-west corner of the original Custom House of the port of Sunderland, adjoining Ettrick's Quay, and about 1,360 feet to the south-east from the east end of St. Peter's Church, Monkwearmouth; thence running across the Ham Sand about 540 feet in a direction nearly due north to another point at mid-stream, about 1,550 feet to the north-east of the said Custom House, and about 1,300 feet nearly due east of the said church; thence the channel passed through some ship^ building yards in a direct line with the " West Beacon," formerly standing upon " Dame Dolly's Rock," to a point at mid-stream, situate about 1,740 feet to the north-east of the said Custom House, about 1,360 feet north by east from the said church, and about 840 feet from the Pier or Commissioners' Quay: the Stell then bended to the north-east to a point in the mid-stream thereof, situate about 230 feet due east of the said "West Beacon," 2,030 feet from the said Custom House, 1,640 feet from the said church, and 860 feet from the tidal guage upon the quay at the north-west corner of the beaching basin; thence across the Potatoe Garth in a direction nearly parallel with, but at distances varying from 480 to 455 feet from the low water mark of ordinary spring tides on the north side of the present channel, to a point a little to the west of the Wearmouth Dock Tidal Basin, situate about 2,740 feet from the said Custom House, 2,440 feet from the said church, and about 760 feet north by west from the quay at the north-east corner of the beaching basin; thence to a point on the western quay of the said
tidal basin about 250 feet from its corner adjoining the river; thence crossing the said tidal basin to a point on its eastern quay, situate about 220 feet from the face of the north pier when measured in a due southerly direction; thence the mid-stream of the Stell pursued a nearly direct line to its confluence with the sea, about 270 feet to the north of the lighthouse upon the north pier.
From these measurements, which have been carefully reduced from Mr. Fawcett's Plan of the Mouth of the River in 1 719 (given with this work), and compared with a "Plan of the Mouth of the River Wear, showing its state in 1846," by John Murray, Esq., C.E., we find the land and water area of the said premises claimed by the parish of Sunderland to be as follows :—
ACRES. RO. PER.
Parts of the Ham Sand and Potatoe Garth, and grounds, &c, adjoining thereunto, situate to the west of the tidal basin, and between the
ACRES. RO. PER.
mid-stream of the Stoll and the
low water mark of the present
channel of the river ... ... 13 0 14
Part of Wearmouth Dock tidal basin,
the whole of the North Pier, Glacis,
and grounds, &c., on the north side
thereof 6 1 13
One-half, or from mid-stream to low
water mark on the north side, of
the tidal water of the present channel of the river ... ... ... 8 0 15
Total ... 27 2 2 The claim of the parishioners is founded upon the assumption that the mid-stream of the ancient navigable channel of the river is the northern boundary of their parish. This is confirmed by the following grant de novo, dated May 8, 1601, 43 Elizabeth, by special licence of Tobias Matthew, Bishop of Durham, to Ralph Bowes, Bowes. Esq., of Barnes, vice-admiral of the
County Palatine of Durham, of " the whole waste tenure, lying along the river or bank of the Wear, on the south part of the same, as far as the water extends itself and runs from west towards the east, within the parish of Bishopwearmouth, from the mete called the low water mark, to the mete called the high water mark, of the waste of the lord. To hold to the said Ralph Bowes, Esq., and his sequels in right as of new increase. Rendering therefore by the year to the said lord bishop and his successors, as lords of the manor of Houghton, ten shillings at the feasts of Pentecost and Saint Martin, as of new rent."* This grant, made previous to the separation of the parish of Sunderland from the parish of Bishopwearmouth, included the whole of the wastes then lying within the flow of the tide in the townships of Sunderland, Bishopwearmouth, and Ford. At that time, it is questionable whether the small township of Bishopwearmouth Panns existed, the only reference to it being in the "Survey and Value of all the Manno" lands ten" and possessions lying in the Countie of Durham being p'cell or belonging to the Busshopricke of Duresme now in the Quenes Mau Hands and possession by reason that the Sea there is voyde made in the moneth of Aprill in the thirtith yeare of the Reigne of O Sovraigne Ladie Elizabeth  by the Grace off God of England Ffrance and Ireland Quene Defender of the Fayth, &c.," where amongst the " Tennts by Copie at the Halmott Courtt," we find "Ralphe Bowes gent, a p'cell of grounde called panne hole, rent, 3 s."f From the locality, and on examination of the strata of the Panns, it is evident that the whole of it has been a sandy gravelly beach within the flow of the tide that washed the adjoining steep and craggy banks, and further evidence shews that this waste beach was quayed from the river by the families of Bowes, Lambton, and others, as the copyhold tenants of the manor of Houghton.
* From the Rolls of the Manor of Houghton, Exchequer Office, Durham.
t From the Bishop of Durham's Auditor's Omce, Exchequer, Durham.
The grant of river waste to Ralph Bowes, Esq., in 1601 covers, inter alia "The Stell Canch," now part of the site of the Potatoe Garth, as shown by the plan of the mouth of the River Wear in 1719, by Mr. James Fawcett. At the latter period, says John Murray, Esq., C.E., "the quay on the Sunderland side of the river terminated a little way below the then Custom House. The banks eastward formed the verge, or boundary of the Town Moor. The channel of the river was diverted towards the north, by high rocks, until it came again in contact with Dame Dolly's rock, on the northern side, where a beacon was erected. The channel then proceeded eastward, passing another beacon erected on the western end of the North rocks, near the low-water mark. The bar was situated still further to the eastward, and caused the river to diverge into various channels, at its confluence with the sea. There was also a swatchway through the Stell Canch, the waters of which found their way to the sea, in a circuitous manner, through the sands. The highwater mark at that time , approached within 150 yards of the east end of [Saint Peter's] Monkwearmouth church; it is now  420 yards distant from it, when measured in the same easterly direction; consequently a great portion of what is now dry land, and formed into streets and shipbuilding yards, was then overflowed by the tide.* Encroachment seems to have been the order of the day, for in a report on the state of the harbour in 1748, by Mr. Charles Labelye, the engineer of Westminster Bridge (as quoted by Mr. Murray) that gentleman "was
• "An Account of the Progressive Improvement of Sunderland Harbour, and the River Wear, by John Murray, Esq., C.E.," p. 6, London, 1849.