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The gentlemen above named were, in 1715, the twelve freemen of the freemen and stallingers of Sunderland. The ground divided amongst them, to the exclusion of the stallingers, was part of the division of the Town Moor, formerly known as the "Coney Warren" and its banks, lying between the Long Bank on the west, the Pottery Bank and Barrack Street on the east, Warren Street on the South, and Mr. Thomas Oswald's and the Railway Wharf Company's copyhold property on the north. The triangular plot of ground in the New Town, lying between the High and Warren Streets, was allotted to Messrs. Stephen Waite, William Shippardson, Henry Holmes, John Huntley, and Gawin Noble. And the ground lying on the north side of the High Street to Bank Street, to Messrs. William Ettrick, Richard Robinson the elder, Edward Robinson, Richard Robinson the younger, Thomas Hodgkin, John Hodgshon, and Thomas Robinson, with a separate allotment to each, on the Banks on the north side of Bank Street.
Names Of The Streets, Etc., In The New Town Of Sunderland, With Their Breadths In Yards As Shown On The " Scheme."
Fishers Street, (the south side of it then built in the old town, and the residence of the fishermen, now called Warren Street,) breadth eleven yards.
Chapel Street, (leading from the "Chapel Hill," westwards to the Long Bank, now part of the High Street,) breadth ten yards.
Bank Street, (this name still remains unchanged,) breadth seven and a half yards.
Old Wife's Lane, (now Wellington Lane,) breadth three yards and three-quarters.
i. The Fish Market, as shown by the "scheme," was then (1715) at the west end of the triangular plot of ground ^between the High Street and Warren Street, near the •residence of the fishermen, opposite to Messrs. Wilbam Nicholson and Sons' Wellington Iron Works.
Wilbam Ettrick, Esq , of Silksworth, a freeman of Sunderland, above named, upon oath, in his separate answer to the bill filed by Sir William Middleton, Bart., M.P., and Wilbam Ettrick, Esq., of High Barns, against the freemen and stallingers of Sunderland, in the year 1729, in the court of exchequer, referred to at page 131, says, "This defendant doth admit it to be true that at a meeting of the said freemen, some years since, in order to consider of proper methods for the raising of money for the carrying on the building of the new church at Sunderland, it was agreed that the same should be raised by the taking off and dividing some small parcels of the said Coney Warren, and believes that, accordingly, the sum of one hundred and twenty pounds, or thereabouts, was raised by that means and applied accordingly towards the building of the said church, but believes it was generally thought, or believed by the said parties, that they had no right so to do."
This belief of Mr. Ettrick's and the other freemen, is strongly corroborated by the act of parliament passed in the year 1719, for creating Sunderland into a distinct parish from Bishopwearmouth, only four years after the division of the New Town and Banks by the freemen, when a large portion the "Intack" of the Town Moor was enclosed by the inhabitants for the church, churchyard, rectory house, and garden, by the consent of Nathaniel Lord Crewe, Bishop of Durham, and all the remaining parts of the Town Moor were reserved by a saving clause in the act, for the bishop and his successors, the same as if it had never passed. The names of the freemen and stallingers are never mentioned in this act, showing that their only claim to pasturage on the Town Moor was then doubtful, and their consent to the inclosure of part of it not even worth asking for.
Mr. Ettrick omits to say, in his answer to the bill before named, that " some small parcels of the said Coney Warren" were divided amongst his brother freemen and himself, and that they were both sellers and buyers of four hundred and three square yards of ground in the new town, with an additional allotment of about two hundred yards more, on the banks on the north side of Bank Street, for the nominal sum of ten pounds from each freeman.
It is only an act of justice towards Messrs. William Ettrick and Richard Robinson to state, that the ground allotted to them, lying between the Long Bank and Old Wife's Lane, was never in their possession, or at least they don't appear to have made any permanent use of it, inasmuch as it seems to have been vacant when Burleigh and Thompson published their plan in 1737. The ground was lying waste in 1746, and upon it a fire was kindled by a lawless mob, who burnt therein the effects of the first Roman' Catholic chapel, or room for worship, known to have existed in Sunderland and its neighbourhood after the Reformation, and during the severity of the penal laws against the Roman Catholics. This chapel or room was in the third story of the house and shop, No. 30, Warren Street, then occupied by Mr. Francis Whytehead, master mariner, a member of an old Roman Catholic family, who brought the vases, &c. from Holland, and presented them to decorate the altar. The Rev. Mr. Hankins, the priest, who also resided in the house, fled from the town attired in woman's clothes. The following account relating to this daring outrage, is extracted from the Gentleman's Magazine, for January, 1746.
"Extract of a letter from Sunderland, Jan. 23, .
"Yesterday a number of people, consisting chiefly of sailors, went about ten o'clock in the morning to the popish mass-house in this town, where they found several people at prayers, and a couple to be married, who, with Mr. Hankins, their priest, all fled out; upon which, the sailors immediately pulled down their altar and crucifix, together with all the seats, the priest's robes, all their books, the furniture, and every individual thing in the room, and burnt them in a fire in the street made for that purpose; and also a large library of books and papers belonging to the priest; among which was found, before they were committed to the flames, a list of the names of several people in this place, who are well affected to the present government, called by the papists 'odd friends,' with letters annex'd to their names not yet decypher'd. The list so found is written by the popish priest's own hand, and is as follows:—
'A list of Odd Friends.' Matthew Russell* SD; Thomas Ayre,f S D; Warren
* Mr Matthew Russell was the second son of Matthew Russell, Esq., of Rowenlands in the county of Cumberland. He was born August 2nd, 1685, settled in Sunderland in the year 1717. where he commenced business as a Timber merchant, and became the owner of the shipbuilding yard and some adjoining property in the Low Street, now the property of John Thomas Alcock, Esq., Ship Builder tho site of the Gas Works, the western part of Mr. Alcock's premises being occupied by himself as his timber yard. By industry and perseverance, Mr. Matthew Russell acquired a handsome fortune, one half of which, amounting it is said to £10,000, he devised to his nephew William Russell, Esq., Sunderland, then of Newbottle, and afterwards of Brancepath Castle, grandfather of Viscountess Boync, the present lady of that splendid baronial mansion. On the 12th July, 1725, Mr. Matthew Russell was elected a Vestryman of Sunderland church, which office he held until his death.
Sometime previous to his death, Mr. Matthew Russell was afflicted with blindness, Mr. William Russell carried on the timber yard after his uncle's death.
In addition to the handsome fortune bequeathed to him by his uncle, Mr. William Russell, who was also a second son of the then squire of Rowenlands, inherited another £10,000 from his father, so that he commenced life with £20,000, an immense sum at that time. He afterwards became the owner of, and his name has since been inseparably connected with, Wallsend colliery, on the Tync, (from which he derived immense wealth—being one of the richest commoners in England) "Russell's Wallsend" being familiar to the uttermost ends of the earth.
Mr. Matthew Russell died without issue, July 30, 1760, and was buried according to the register of burials in Sunderland Churchyard, on the 8th of the following month. Shortly after the death of his uncle, Mr. William Russell erected a beautiful monument to his memory in the west wall of Sunderland churchyard, bearing the following inscription :—"Juxla hunc Parielem conditur quod mortale fuit Matthcei Russell, de Sunderland, Mercator, Obyt xxx Iuly, Anno Domini MDCCLX,-<E<«fi« sua lxxv." This monument is now kept in a good state of preservation by the Russell family, in gratitude to the gentleman to whom they are so greatly indebted for their princely possessions.
t Mr. Thomas Ayrcs, shipowner, a member of a very old and highly respectable Sunderland family, father of the late Mr. Thomas Ayres, Green Terrace, and the late Mrs. Burrell, of Lambton Street, Bishopwcarmouth, and grandfather of Mr. Thomas Ayres, of Traflbrd Park, near Manchester, steward of Sir Humphrey do Traflbrd, of that place ; Mr. Henry Ayres, Trederwen House Llansaintffaid, near Oswestry; Mr Burrell Ayres, Fir Grove, WestEnd, near Southampton ; Mr Chas. Josh.