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west end of the said close, some parts (ut credit) was purchased of one Stephen Harland and of Adam Nicholson and others, about 1666 and 1670, which was many years before any lease made by the Dean and Chapter to his father in the year 1680, and he hath seen conveyances to that effect, and that his father enjoyed several parcels for many years after until he sold the same about 30 years since."
Richard Hornsby—" knows the ground on which the plaintiff's house is built, that within 12 months bypast, by order of the said Dean and Chapter, he measured the length of plaintiff's house where it fronted the street, which is 12 yards 1 foot 3 inches, or thereabouts, extending from Smith's house on the west to the utmost part of the said house on the east in the front thereof. That the plaintiff's house is bounded on said Smith's house on the west, on some buildings reputed to be Dean and Chapter on the east, on the curtain or back part of the custom house on the north, and the king's High Street on the south. That at the same time he measured the same extending from the plaintiff's house to a wall adjoining to the Coney Warren on the east, and the same is 48 yards and 2 feet in length in the fore part: that he measured the waste ground on the north, from the Coney Warren on the east to the west part of the curtain of the custom house on the west, lying on the north side of the plaintiff's house, which is in length 59 yards 2 feet or thereabouts."
Thomas Hunter—" knows the Coney Warren and the ground called the Dean and Chapter's close, and that the same adjoins on Thomas Smith's house on the west, and extends 50 yards or thereabouts to the Coney Warren on the east."
Robert Stewison :—" that about ten days ago he measured the length of plaintiff's house: that from the eastmost part thereof, to the eastmost part of Thomas Smith's, is V2i yards in his judgment. That from the east of plaintiff's house, to the wall adjoining to the Coney Warren on the east, is about 50 yards and 20 inches in length."
Mr. William Ettrick deposes (inter alia) "that Dr. Comber, the defendant's father, and this defendant, being all present, the Dr. caused to be taken an exact measure of the close, being 50 yards east and west, from the east end next the Coney Warren, to the dunghill which had the plaintiff's house on it, and the Dr. declared the same to be the Dean and Chapter's close, and since surveyed by a skilful person, who agrees the same measures as in the Dean and Chapter's lease thereof, and by that survey it contains 52 yards in length east and west on the north side. That the parcel of ground with the messuage thereon sold by this defendant to the plaintiff, being a small part of the premises sold to this defendant's brother, and used as a dunghill, and accounted of little use or value, and looked on as a boundary for the close." The dunghill was "used as a common dunghill, which this defendant's father claimed of right and caused to be led or carried away to his lands: and to one widow Barret that kept swine to set up an hogsty on the ground or dunghill, where the plaintiff's house now standeth, for which she paid rent to this defendant's father, as he hath heard and believes." As we have just observed, Mr. Ettrick sold these premises as his freehold, denying in toto the Dean and Chapter's right and claim, to all of which that body replied:
1st Answer of the Dean and Chapter of Durham:— "Believe that Dean Comber and the Chapter by indenture under their common seal, dated 21st July, 1694, did demise and grant to Walter Ettrick, Esq., deceased, the defendant William Ettrick's father, all that close or waste ground, &c. [see p. 316]. Believe the Dean and Chapter were then seised to them and their successors of the ground and premises in the lease, and that the rent hath been answered and paid. Believe that the plaintiff made such purchase of the defendant Ettrick as in the bill, and that the plaintiff since his purchase hath erected buildings thereon, but whether he hath expended so much money as in the bill [above £600] they know not. Believe that in several ancient leases made by their predecessors, the same premises are mentioned to contain 50 yards in length. And it appears by former leases and other ancient descriptions, that the ground so demised and claimed by them as their freehold, did abut on the lands reputed Sir John Hedworth's, and which is in the last lease mentioned to be since built on and in the possession of Thomas Smith towards the west, so that they are advised and apprehended that the boundaries of their lands and tenements towards the west, must be the lands and tenements formerly Sir John Hedworth's, and afterwards built on and in the possession of Thomas Smith. And in case the plaintiff's house and buildings are built on any part of the lands demised by them to Walter Ettrick, or any other lease made by them or their predecessors, they are advised the same is on their freehold, and if it so shall appear, they hope their right shall be preserved to them. In all which they submit to the judgment of the Court."
2nd Ans. :—"Believe the tenements conveyed by the other defendant [William Ettrick] to the plaintiff are part of the premises conveyed to Walter Ettrick. Admit that they have claimed and do claim the same as such. Believe the rent of Is. reserved hath been paid or ought to be, as well for the plaintiff's as the other lands in the lease. In regard the plaintiff by his bill sets forth the house and tenement by him purchased, to bounder on the west on a tenement in the possession of Thomas Smith, which they are informed was built on the freehold lands belonging or reputed to belong to Sir John Hedworth, and they are well satisfied that their lands abut on Smith's house on or towards the west, they therefore claim the tenement conveyed by the other defendant [William Ettrick] to the plaintiff as their freehold, subject to the leases thereof made by them or their predecessors to the other defendant or his father under the rent of one shilling."*
The result of the suit, which was a protracted one, is not stated.
The original custom house (or at least the earliest known building used for such a purpose by the crown) of the port of Sunderland, from which the adjoining quay derives its name, is situate between No. 70 and No. 71 in the Low Street, about 50 yards to the east of the present establishment, and is now occupied as a public house, and by other tenants of Messrs. Robert Fenwick and Co., common brewers. The area or "curtain" in front, which is approached by a flight of stone steps from the Low Street, is known as the Old Custom House Yard.
• Oowland's MSS.
Upon the west end of the Custom House Quay, or on ground immediately adjoining thereto, then the leasehold property of Mr. Edward Lee, one of the common councilmen of Sunderland under Bishop Morton's charter, a ballast wharf was established, which, in 1647 was in the ownership and occupation of Mr. John Nicholson: it was subsequently in the possession of his descendant Mr. Adam Nicholson abovenamed, who used it for general purposes—one portion being used as a timber yard, another as a blacksmith's shop, &c, &c* Mr. Adam Nicholson was one of the freemen of Sunderland, and died about the year 1701 : who succeededf to the ballast wharf we know not, but it long ago fell into desuetude, and its site built upon.
"Thomas Huntley'sJ Key" is now known as "Holmes' Wharf," having been, previous to the year 1827, called "Neddy Wright's Quay;" about which time Mr. John Gilbert Holmes, wharfinger, bought it, and considerably extended its eastern and western boundaries over and above the length named in the return by the purchase of adjoining properties. At the same time he called it
• Gowland'a MSS.
t At a Bylaw of the freemen, held October 2, 1703, Ralph Nicholson, of Sunderland, was elected a freeman in the place of Ralph Adamson, deceased; and at another Bylaw, held June 19, 1708, Thomas Hodgkin was elected a freeman in the place of Ralph Nicholson, deceased.—Freemen's Election Book.
% In 1685, Thomas Huntley, of Sunderland, was one of the freeholders in East Burdon.—Surtees. At a Court Baron held in 1682, "Thomas Lambton, for being drunke, assaulting Mr. Thomas Huntiey in his own house [was fined] 13s. 4d."— Oarbutfs History of Sunderland, Appendix, p. 41. At a Bylaw of the freemen, held August 27, 1700, William Hinckswas elected a freeman in the place of Thomas Huntley, deceased: on the same day, John Huntley was elected a stallinger in the place of WUliam Hincks, then newly elected a freeman.—Freemen's Election Book. See also p. 256 of this work.