Maberly Phillips.

A history of banks, bankers, & banking in Northumberland, Durham, and North Yorkshire, illustrating the commercial development of the north of England, from 1755 to 1894, with numerous portraits, facsimiles of notes, signatures, documents, &c online

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Online LibraryMaberly PhillipsA history of banks, bankers, & banking in Northumberland, Durham, and North Yorkshire, illustrating the commercial development of the north of England, from 1755 to 1894, with numerous portraits, facsimiles of notes, signatures, documents, &c → online text (page 20 of 57)
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in 1806, when probably the firm was re-constituted. In 1808 they were carrying
on business at Berwick, Morpeth, North Shields, and Newcastle.

The earhest members of the Berwick firm that we can record were : — Thomas
Shadforth, William Batson of Newcastle, and Richard Batson of Berwick, trading
as "Shadforth, Batson, & Co." The members of the Newcastle, North Shields,


and Morpeth houses were : — John Reed of Chipchase Castle, William Batson of
Newcastle, William Smith Batson of Newcastle, William Reed of Dockwray Square,
North Shields, Archibald Reed of Newcastle, and Robert Hepple of Morpeth ;
trading as " Reed, Batson, Reeds, & Co."

At the public meeting held in Newcastle, June 30th, 1803, it was resolved to
accept in payment the notes of Batson & Co. (see page 6g). In 1808, May 2nd,
the members of the Berwick firm dissolved partnership and constituted the new
firm of William Batson, John Reed, William Reed, Archibald Reed, William Smith
Batson, William Berry of Berwick, Thos. Richard Batson of Berwick, and Robert
Hepple. Two years afterwards, on December 17th, 18 10, the Newcastle firm was
dissolved, but re-constituted with all the old partners except Robert Hepple of
Morpeth. Their Newcastle business premises were then at the north end of the
Tyne Bridge, probably the same that the Tyne Bank vacated when they moved to
the Flesh Market. The early North Shields premises were on the New Quay.

The commercial excitement of 18 15 again brought trial to the bankers. At
the public meeting held July 22nd, John Carr of Dunston, Esq., in the chair,
confidence was expressed, and an agreement made, to accept the notes of Messrs.
Reed, Batson, & Co. with those of other bankers (see page yy). In the following
year it again became necessary to support the notes of the Newcastle bankers.
Messrs. Reed, Batson, & Co. having an establishment at North Shields, the
inhabitants there issued the following notice : —

"The Banking Houses of Messrs. Eeeds, Batson, & Co. having resumed their payments we the
undersigned having the fullest confidence in their Stability, as also of the Banking Houses of Sir M.
W. Ridley & Co., and Messrs. Lambton & Co., and being particularly anxious for the restoration of
Public Confidence, do hereby agree to accept the Notes of the above Banks in Payment as usual."

The document bears 226 names and concludes : — " N.B. The original lists are
at Mr. Barnes's- for further signatures. North Shields, Thursday Noon,
July 2Sth, 1816."

The difficulties were for the time tided over. About this period the house
was strengthened by the admission of Sir Francis Blake.

Mr. Archibald Reed took a very active part in the municipal affairs of the
town, and was appointed to the Mayoralty no less than six times. But evidently
he was not popular with all parties. On October 14th, 18 19, "The Mayor
(Archibald Reed, Esq.), had proceeded down the river with the civil power, aided
by the boats of his Majesty's ships, with a view of opening the navigation of the
river (which had been interrupted for some time by the riotous proceedings of the
keelmen), and had gone on shore at North Shields." While the Mayor and
party were in the Northumberland Arms Inn, the mob attacked the steamboat


with stones and other missiles ; the marines fired upon the mob and one man was
killed ; the mob then attacked the Inn, the doors and windows of which they
demolished, and it was with great difficulty and danger that the Mayor and party
escaped by the back door.

On November 20th of the following year, Archibald Reed again being Mayor,
Newcastle and Gateshead were illuminated "as a testimony of joy on the
abandonment of the bill against her Majesty Queen Carohne." A disturbance
occurred which brought out the following announcement : —

"To THE Public— As the Conduct and Behaviour of a Magistrate (Archibald Reed, Esq.,) on Monday
Night, 20th November, 1820, during the Illumination, in calling out the Military, when even the Civil
Power was not required, has commanded universal Detestation ; and as the Publick have no means of
Redress, he being a Ministerial Tool of a Magistrate, acting under the Iron Hand of the Law, and so
incorrigible that he will not let the Odium which he incurred during his Mayoralty (a Period pregnant
with Wonders 1 I 1) be buried in oblivion, but still seems inclined to make Odium more odious by
tyrannizing over the People ; and as he places no confidence in the Publick, they cannot be expected
to put any Trust in him or his Promissory Notes : It is therefore requested by a number of Tradesmen
(who have themselves come to the Resolution) that the Northumberland Bank Notes be no longer
taken in Business. And as this Resolution becomes more general he will feel what the Publick can do
in Retaliation, and by such means he may be brought to his Senses.

It has been said in excuse that this Modern Hannibal, when he made, at the Head of the
Dragoons, his foolish Harangue to the People, was elevated with the Juice of the Grape ; but this will
not atone for the rash Act, as it might have been the Cause of a very serious Tumult, especially on a
Night when there was such a Multitude of People in the Streets of Newcastle.

For the above, and many other ignoble Deeds of this Noodle, he ought to be treated with ineffable

Contempt ; and each sober thinking Man may very justly exclaim, in the Words of the Poet

* Alas ! Poor Gentleman, I'm sorry for ye,
And pity much your upper Storey ! '
22nd November, 1820."

Whether this was an empty threat of some spiteful person, or really carried
weight, it is difficult to determine ; but in a little more than twelve months the
bank stopped payment, the following announcement being issued on November
30th, 182 1 : —

" Sir Francis Blake, Bart., Reeds, & Co., beg Leave to assure the public that the most unremitting
Exertions are making for the Purpose of preparing an accurate Statement of their Affairs, and that it
is their Intention to submit the same forthwith to the Examination of Persons of the highest
Respectability, who it is expected will make their Report thereon in a few Days.
November 30th, 1821.

The news of the stoppage spread consternation through the North of England,
and brought forth the celebrated letter from " Peter Pry to Bob Fudge. (See


Some enterprising tradesmen took advantage of the opportunity to speculate
in the notes of the firm. JAMES HORSLEY, Linen Draper, &c., lo, Dean
Street, Newcastle, announces : —

" SEVENTEEN SHILLINGS PER POUND Allowed in Goods at regular prices for SIR F. BLAKE,

At North Shields the notes had a higher value : —

" Theatre, North Shields, Eighth Night of Subscription, on Wednesday, December 19th, 1821. Knight
and Wood Demon, or The Clock has struck, &c., &c. Sir Francis Blake & Co.'s Notes will be taken at
the Theatre for their Full Value in exchange for tickets."

In January, 1822, we gather from the following announcement the value
of the notes : —

" George Smith, Woollen and Linen Draper — Hatter and Hosier — Three doors above the Custom
House (for many years with the late Mr. Geo. James Spencer, Old Custom House Entry, Quayside),
&c., &c. Sir F. Blake, Reeds, & Co.'s Notes taken in full for Goods, or the best Price given in Cash
if required."

Before the end of the year Mr. Smith had become more cautious, and in the
Newcastle Coiirant for September 21st, 1822: —

" Respectfully informs his friends and the Public that his commission for the Northumberland Notes
ceases on the 30th of the present month, after which he will not pledge himself to receive them in
Full for goods as heretofore."

On October i8th he advertises in the same paper that he

" Having received a commission for £500 of the above Notes respectfully informs his Friends and the
Public, that he is enabled to receive them in full for goods, and pledges himself to charge every article
on the lowest ready money terms. Orders by Letter punctually attended to, and goods sent to the
country on approbation, if required. — Newcastle, October 18th, 1822"

In the next month he offers for the notes nineteen shillings in the pound
in cash, on condition that half the amount be taken in Goods, for which twenty
shillings in the pound will be allowed and the lowest ready money prices charged.

That prompt exertions were made to gather in all debts due to the firm will
be seen from the following circular : —

" Me Sir,— The circumstances in which Sir Francis Blake, Baronet, Reeds, & Co., are

unexpectedly placed, render it incumbent upon them to insist upon the immediate Liquidation of the
Debts due to them. I have therefore received their directions to make this Application for Payment

of £ and Interest due from you to them, and to inform you that, however painful it may be to

their feelings, they will be obliged to proceed to recover the same, if not paid forthwith.

I am, your obedient Servant,
Newcastle, 8th December, 1821. J- CHATER.

p.g. — Sir Francis Blake & Co.'s Notes will of course be received in payment.

(E. Walker, Printer, Newcastle.)"


Towards the end of the year the following skit appeared :-

" Do NOT Chew that Hemlock Rank."
Tune. — " A Shepherd once had lost his Love."

A Black Bird sat beneath a brae,

With a fal-lal-la, and a falalala ;

And chirped and sang this cheerful lay,

Fal-lal-la, Palalalalala.

" bring Reed's Notes to me, I pray.

And twelve-and-sixpence I will pay —

In eighteen months bring what you may,

With a fal-lal-la, Falalalalala."

This Black Bird dealt in mugs of clay.

With a fal-lal-la, &c. —

And chamber-ware, blue, white, and grey,

Fal-lal-la, &c.

" So, My Dear Fellows," he would say,

•' Bring Reed's Bank Notes to me, I pray,

And you two-thirds in mugs I'll pay, —

With a fal-lal-la, &c."

This Bird was minus far they say,

With a fal-lal-la, &c.

And thus his Bank debt Nickt away.

Fal-lal-la, &c.

For Silly dupes who would not stay.

Brought him Reed's Notes from day to day ;

And Mugs and Bird's Eggs* hugged away.

With a fal-lal-la, &c.

But stay good folk, I pray you stay,

With a fal-lal-la, &c..

Nor trust too far this man of clay,

Fal-lal-la, &c.

By Bird's Notes don't be charmed away,

But on Bruis'd Reeds rely you may ;

A safer tune to you they'll play,

With a fal-lal-la, Falalalalala.

At this time a considerable surplus on the estate as a whole was anticipated.
The following statement of the affairs of the bank appeared : —

Amount of debts

£406,164 14 8 Col. Reed's property valued at.

229,798 17 Sir F. Blake's Do. do.


,. £176,365 17 8








Leaving a balance in favour of
the Bank of

On November ist, 1822, the following official statement was issued : —

Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1st November, 1822.
At a meeting of the Principal Creditors of Sir Francis Blake, Bart., Reeds, & Co., resident in

Newcastle and the immediate neighbourhood, held this day, at the Northumberland Bank, the Right

Worshipful the Mayor of Newcastle in the chair, the following Statements and Propositions were

submitted to the Meeting by the partners in the Bank : —

By the Accounts stated by Messrs. Loraine and Lamb, it appears that the debts due from
the Bank at the time of the suspension of their payments in November, 1821,
amounted to £406,174.

It further appears, by an Account now produced, that by the payment of debts due to the
Bank, and made in their own Notes and other Securities, and by the discharge of the
Debt of £80,000 and Interest, due to the Exchequer, Bill Loan Commissioners, and
other Debts, for securing which the Parties held Deeds and other available Securities,
a Reduction of the Bank Debt has been effected to the extent of . . . . . . £249 415

And that there are other payments immediately to be made to the Bank, in their own Notes
and Securities, to the Amount of

Which will leave the total Amount of Debt due from the Bank . .

* PromiseB eighteen months henoe.



[168] ■

For the Liquidation of this Debt, the following Portions of the Estates of Sir F. Blake and
Col. Reed, and other Assets, are proposed to be appropriated, viz., Monies stipulated to
be paid to the Bank before the Period when the first Dividend is proposed to be made 13,940

Certain Estates belonging to Col. Reed, estimated to be worth . , . . . . . . 57,000

Other Estates belonging to Col. Eeed (now in Mortgage) and which are estimated to be

worth beyond the Amount of the Mortgage . . . . . . . . . . 42,000

The last-mentioned Estates will be conveyed subject to Col. Reed's private Debts, and to his
Liabilities to Sureties and others, but as all those last-mentioned Liabilities will be
discharged on Payment of the Debts of the Bank, his private Debts only (as stated
below) will be ultimately chargeable upon this property.

Certain Estates of Sir Francis Blake, estimated to be worth beyond the Incumbrances to

which they are subject . . . . . . . , . . . . . . . . 50,000

Assets belonging to the Bank to be got in before the Period when the last dividend will be

payable, and which according to the most moderate Calculation will amout to . . 20,000

(Besides other Assets of the Bank to a considerable Amount, but which may not be realized

within that period.)


Deduct Col. Reed's private Debts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16,000


It is proposed to vest the above-mentioned Estates in Trustees for Sale, and a large Proportion
of the Estates valued as above at £57,000 are already advertised.

From the Produce of the last mentioned Estates, and the above-mentioned sum of £13,940, a
Dividend of Ten Shillings in the pound on the Debt remaining due from the Bank is proposed to be
made in the course of the month of February or March next ; and it is further proposed to discharge
the Remainder of the Debt by Two Instalments of Five Shillings in the Pound each, payable in Twelve
and Eighteen Months from their Date, with Interest upon the whole Debt, at £4 per cent., to be
calculated from the 1st Day of December, 1821, such Interest to be paid with and in addition to the
last Instalment. The remaining Property of the Partners, computed at upwards of £50,000 and which
is not included in the above Arrangements, will still remain liable to the claims of the Creditors, it not
being intended that they shall be released from such claims until all their debts shall be discharged.

The above Estimates of the value of the Property belonging to Sir Francis Blake and Col. Reed,
are made upon a very moderate Scale, and are considerably below the Sums expected to be produced
by a Sale of the Estate.

The following Resolutions were then submitted to the Meeting by Thomas Hanway Bigge, Esq.,
and seconded by Thomas Fenvdck, Esq., and unanimously agreed to : —

1. That the Statement which has been produced is satisfactory to this Meeting, and leaves no Doubt

upon their Minds that the Property proposed to be vested in Trustees, together with the remaining
Property of the Partners in the Bank is much more than sufficient to satisfy all their debts.

2. That it is the Opinion of the Meeting, that it will be manifestly for the Interest of the Creditors to

accede to the Arrangement proposed, it being obvious that a Commission of Bankruptcy must be
the Result of hostile Proceedings being resorted to by any of the Creditors, and that the long delay
which such a Proceeding would occasion in the Settlement of the Bank Affairs, would be highly
prejudicial to the Interests of all Parties concerned. It is therefore most earnestly recommended
by the Meeting, that the Arrangement in Question be acceded to.

ROBERT BELL, Chaibman.


Further delay appears to have been unavoidable, and on April 3rd of the next
year (1823) the following announcement appeared : —

" Sir Francis Blake, Bfc., Reeds, & Co., have the Satisfaction to inform the Public, that they have
already received Letters from a great number of their Creditors assenting to the arrangement which
they have proposed : and they beg Leave most respectfully to solicit those Creditors who have not
already written to Mr. Loraine, to do so as soon as possible ; as the Payment of the Dividend is only
delayed by the Want of these communications."
April 3rd, 1823.

This was soon followed by the following notice : —

" Sir Francis Blake, Bart., Reeds, & Co., beg leave to inform the public, that a very considerable
Majority of their Creditors, have now signified their approbation of the arrangement proposed in their
former advertisement ; but as those Creditors who have not yet signified their Assent are, principally
Parties residing at a Distance from Newcastle ; Sir Francis Blake & Co. take the liberty most
respectfully to inform them, that their communications may either be addressed to Mr. Loraine, at the
Bank, or made personally or by Letter to any of the following Gentlemen, who will give any
explanation, respecting the Arrangements that may be required : — Mr. Lambert, Solicitor, Alnwick ;
Mr. Brumell, Solicitor, Morpeth ; Mr. Dale, Solicitor, North Shields ; Mr. Kirsopp, Solicitor, Hexham.
Sir Francis Blake & Co. having been given to understand that several of the Creditors supposed that
it will be time enough to signify their Assent to the Arrangement when they apply for their Dividends ;
they take the liberty to repeat, ' That The Payment Of The Dividend Is Delayed for No Other Cause
Than The Want Of The Necessary Communications From The Remainder Of The Creditors.' "
Newcastle, 21st April, 1823.

The enterprising Draper, George Smith, is again willing to speculate in the
assets of the bank, and in the Newcastle Courant of April 22nd, 1823,
announces : —

"The Creditors of the Northumberland Bank, may be accommodated with prompt Payment of 19/6 in
the Pound, for any Proportion of the Whole of their respective Claims upon the Bank, on Application to
George Smith, Woollen and Linen Draper, Hatter, Hosier, &c., Quayside, Newcastle ; in the following
manner, viz. : — 9/G in cash and 10/- in goods charged on the lowest Ready Money Terms. If 15/- in
the Pound be taken in Goods then the full change will be given."

The magnificent estates of the partners were brought to the hammer on
November 28th, 1822, " at Mr. Fletcher's, the Turk's Head Inn, Newcastle." The
names of Mr. Thomas Carr, Mr. John Fenwick, Mr. Stevenson, Mr. Stoker, Mr.
Cram, Mr. Ed. Bell, Mr. E. Clint, and Mr. W. Shanks, appear as the most constant
bidders. Another Sale was announced to be held at the same place on Tuesday,
28th October, 1823 (By order of the Trustees named in two several Deeds of
Trust, Executed by Sir Francis Blake, Bart., and Colonel Reed, Respectively).

On November 6th, 1823, they sent out the following : —

" Sir Francis Blake, Bart., Reeds, & Co., have the satisfaction to inform the public that the Trustees
in whom the real Estates of Sir Francis Blake and Colonel Reed are invested, have been enabled to


make Sales of Property to a very considerable amount, and are now about concluding other
arrangements which they expect will enable them, very shortly, to give notice to the Public of the
specific Time when the next Dividend of Seven Shillings and Sixpence in the Pound will be paid.

As the Debts of the Bank bear Interest, the Delay (altogether unavoidable) in the payment of
their Instalment, will not occasion any loss to the Creditors. — Newcastle, 6th Nov., 1823.'^

The affairs of the bank were not wound up until 1842. In that year the final
dividend was paid amounting to £67,220 ; the names of the Trustees then being
Robert Forster, John Clay, William Lowrey, Robert Grossman, and William

WILLIAM BATSON. — He was one of the first men to employ Richard
Grainger, who may be said to have reconstructed Newcastle. Mr. Batson
commissioned him to build Higham Place, which was so named from his estate at
Ponteland. Mr. Batson lived at No. i, Northumberland Street, Newcastle (now
Dawson's sale-rooms and Shops adjoining), and died there January 12th, 1826,
aged 83 years.

GEORGE WAKEFIELD.— He was the son of Robinson Wakefield of
Darlington, by his wife Ann Fell. He married Ann Wright of Stockton-upon-
Tees. He was a member of the Society of Friends, and near the close of the
last century came from Whitby to reside at North Shields. Mr. Wakefield was a
shipowner, and had been most successful with his vessels during the time of the
French Wars.

It is said that Mrs. Wakefield, led away by her husband's prosperity,
persuaded him to build a mansion in North Shields that was called " Wakefield
House." It was erected on what is now the north side of Northumberland Square,
and was upon such a scale of magnificence for the Quakers of that day, that
George Richardson of Newcastle, another member of the Society, journeyed from
Newcastle "to warn and admonish brother Wakefield," and accordingly
" solemnly warned him that if the enterprise was persisted in, few years would
elapse before not one stone would remain upon another of the great house." The
warning was disregarded, the mansion completed, and a supper given to the

In February, 1806, Mr. Wakefield left the Society of Friends and with six of
his children was baptised at Christ Church, Tynemouth. In July of the same
year he died in his new house, being only 42 years of age. His death must have
been sudden, as on the previous Wednesday, he and his children were confirmed
by the Lord Bishop of Durham in St. Nicholas' Church, Newcastle. After his
death the establishment was broken up, but no purchaser could be found for the


house. Eventually it was pulled down, and Northumberland Square fomied — the
houses on the north side being faced with the stones from the mansion.

Mrs. Wakefield lived in Shields for many years, and died there November,
1847, aged 80 years.

THOMAS RICHARD BATSON.— He was elected an Aldennan of Newcastle,
December 31st, 1835, at the first election after the passing of the Municipal Reforni
Act. It is said that he never made a single speech in the Council, but at wide
intervals seconded a motion. In 1832, at the formation of the North of England
Joint Stock Bank, Mr. Batson was elected managing director. In the directory
of 1833, he is described as a shipowner residing at i, Higham Place. In 1844, his
address is 4, Lovaine Terrace. He was appointed a Director of the New Gas
Company, January 22nd, 1829. Mr. Batson met with an untimely death. On
Sunday, February 21st, 1845, as he and Mrs. Batson were returning to their
residence at Reedsmouth after attending service at Bellingham Church, the horse
attached to their phaeton ran away, overturning the vehicle down a very steep
bank on the south side of the river Reed. Mr. Batson's head came in contact
with a tree, and death resulted instantly. Mrs. Batson was much shaken and
insensible for some time, but eventually recovered.

WILLIAM SMITH BATSON.— In the Newcastle directories for 1801—
1834 — 1838, he appears as residing, without profession, at No. i, Northumberland
Street. He died July 8th, 1858, at Bolam Vicarage.

JOHN REED (Colonel).— From " Men of Mark," I gather that the founder of
this branch of the family of Reed was Archibald Reed, a tradesman of Bellingham,
who died 1729, aged 86. A tablet to his memory is erected in Bellingham Church.
"Old Archie Reed" had two sons, Ralph and John, and a daughter, Martha.
Ralph was Sheriff of Newcastle, 1710-11, and Mayor 1716-17. He died before
his father, and was buried in St. Nicholas' Church, Newcastle, April 12th, 1720, s.p.
John, the surviving son, in 1732 purchased Chipchase Castle and estates, the old
family property of the Herons. In the same year he was made High Sheriff of
Northumberland. He married Mary, daughter of Gawen Aynsley of Little Harle,
died April, 1754, and was buried in the chapel at Chipchase. Having no issue he
left his property to his nephew Christoper Soulsby (son of his sister Martha and
Christopher Soulsby of Newcastle), who took the name of Reed. His marriage
on April 23d, 1757, was duly announced in the style of that period. " Married at

Online LibraryMaberly PhillipsA history of banks, bankers, & banking in Northumberland, Durham, and North Yorkshire, illustrating the commercial development of the north of England, from 1755 to 1894, with numerous portraits, facsimiles of notes, signatures, documents, &c → online text (page 20 of 57)