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

. (page 31 of 57)
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 31 of 57)
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England was under suspension of gold payments for their own notes, so that the
holders of this " promise to pay " of the Thirsk Bank could be paid with a
" promise to pay " of another bank which by Act of Parliament was ordered not to



Per favour of Sir John Evans, I have record of another five guinea note of this
firm issued from Thirsk, and dated 3rd November, 18 14, and from a one pound
note dated Leeds, August 29th, 1809, we gather that their head office was in that

They are not named in the hsts for 1816 ; tradition says that they suspended
payment in the panic of 1 8 1 5 .

ffictchcv, Stubb0, Dew, d Stott •Wortballerton,

Founded prior to 1823. Partners. Termination unknown.

Information incomplete.

THE Directory for 1823 gives the above firm as bankers at Northallerton,
the London Agents being Glyn & Co. I am informed that they were not
local gentlemen, and carried on their business principally at Boroughbridge,
where it is stated their head office was situated. The books of Messrs.
Backhouse & Co. show that they had an account with the firm at Boroughbridge.

Jforster, BiutcU, IRanFiin, 8. Co, iFiewca8tie=upon=Trpne.

Founded 1784. THE COMMERCIAL BANK. Discontinued 1793.


Francis Forster. Joseph Harris.

Joseph Forster. Charles Atkinson.

Palfrey George Burrell. John Burdon.

Robert Rankin. William Kent.

RESUMABLY the development of trade, and perchance the prosperity of
the existing banks, led to the formation of a fourth bank in Newcastle on
July 24th, 1784.

I produce a copy of one of their early notes. Though payable to bearer, it
was originally issued to Mr. Thomas Denham. It must have been one of the first


[267j -

notes of the bank in question, as it is dated the day before their opening to the




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r ^.

^^^^^:fi^^^^ ' 7^:y^^:\

Francis Forster of Newcastle, Palfrey George Burrell of Alnwick, Robert
Rankin and Joseph Harris both of Newcastle, opened premises in the Close,
opposite the Long Stairs, trading as the Commercial Bank. Mr. Harris acted as
managing partner mitil October, 1785, when he quitted the firm. Evidently some
dispute had arisen, as subsequently Mr. Harris brought an action against the pro-
prietors of the bank, when it was shown that he had been a partner, but had received
notice to withdraw. He disregarded it, and some time afterwards came to the
office, and began to inspect the books, which two of the partners forcibly wrenched
from him. Two clerks were called to give evidence, who substantiated the facts
related, and stated that Mr. Harris had grossly neglected keeping the books, the
department of the business which he had undertaken, and that it occupied them
six months after he left, to get the accounts into proper form. The deed of
partnership was produced, and showed that for neglect of duty or misconduct, any
member of the firm could be dismissed, by the other partners giving him six
months' notice. This notice having been given prior to the assault, the plaintiff
was non-suited, and " strongly reprobated by Justice Butler for the absurdity of
bringing the case all the way from Newcastle to Guildhall."

The place of Mr. Harris in the bank was taken by Alderman Charles Atkinson
of Newcastle. His partnership was of short duration, as he soon afterwards


became involved in some colliery transactions in Scotland, which caused him to
suspend payment.

In May, 1786, Mr. John Burdon of Hardwick, County Durham, and Mr.
William Kent, merchant of Newcastle, joined the firm, which then became
Burdon, Forster, Burrell, Rankin, and Kent. In 1788, a letter previously referred
to (see page 24), from the Committee of Bankers, is signed Burdon, Forster, & Co.

On December 31st, 1791, the bank offices were removed from the Close to
the west end of Mosley Street, opposite St. Nicholas' Church. Here they pursued
the ordinary avocation of bankers until the general panic in 1793.

Like the other banks in the town, the ''Commercial" had a considerable note
issue. The panic in the year named caused such a demand for gold in payment
of notes, that on Monday, April 8th, 1793, the bank failed to open its doors.

The following notice intimated their intention to the pubhc : —

" The Proprietors of the Commercial Bank under the firm of Burdon, Forster, Burrell, Rankin, and
Kent, lament that the Agitation of the Public Mind, and the run upon them resulting from it, will
lay them under the Necessity of suspending their Payments for a short Time.

They have however the Consolation of giving to their Friends and the Public the most positive
Assurance that their Funds are infinitely beyond their Debts, and that a short space of Time, employed
in their Arrangement, will make them abundantly productive.

They are ready to show an accurate State of their Affairs, from which it will appear, that after
the Discharge of all Demands upon them, a clear Balance of 25,0001. will remain in the Office over
and above their private Property.

Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Monday Morning, April 8th, 1793."

Upon April 8th, as recorded at page 48, a public meeting was held in
Newcastle, the Mayor presiding, and a Committee of Investigation was appointed.
On the following day the Committee reported that the proprietors of the Commercial
Bank having stated to the public their intention to discontinue their business, it
was not deemed necessary to go into their accounts. Subsequently, however, two
of their number did examine them.

A meeting was held in Gateshead on April loth, when it was stated that

" The Proprietors of the Commercial Bank having determined not to recommence the Banking
business their notes cannot at present be taken, but we have the strongest assurance that as soon as
the Affairs of that Bank can be wound up their Notes will be paid in full."

On April 12th, the proprietors of the Commercial Bank publicly announce—

" That no Effort or Sacrifice on their Part shall be wanting to give effect to their earnest Wishes to
restore to the Holders of their Paper its full Value, that in liquidating their affairs they will not regard
their own advantage but the benefits resulting to their clients, and their private fortunes shall be at
once called out in addition to their joint funds. The Protection and Countenance they have hitherto
received is a sure Pledge of the Indulgence being afforded them which the general State of Public
Credit makes necessary."


On April i8th they issued a notice saying that according to promise they had
prepared a statement of their Debts and Credits, and wished the Committee to
examine it immediately, but they had been so engaged with other affairs that they
could not do so till next week, when they would be able to show they could pay
all demands. They also state that as soon as possible they will fix a date from
which depositors and holders of notes shall receive interest, and that they will
receive their own notes in all payments due to them. On the 26th of April
the firm

"respectfully acquaint the Public that they will allow Interest at the rate of 61. per Cent, per Annum,
to commence the 12th May next, upon their Notes and other Bank Debts, which shall then remain
unpaid, and to continue till such Demands be discharged, or a day appointed for that Purpose.

They also beg Leave to lay before the Public the Report of the Gentlemen who did them the
Favour to examine the State of their Debts and Credits, and trust it will satisfactorily show that
Stability in their Funds which they before assured the Public they possessed."

[copy of the bepoht.]

•* Newcastlb-upon-Tynk, April 24th, 1793.
We, the undersigned, being two of the Committee for the Support of Public Credit in this Town, having
been particularly requested by Messrs. Burdon, Forster, & Co., to examine into the State of their
Accounts and report our opinion thereof, and the Committee approving of their request, and
recommending our compliance therewith, We, this day, fully investigated the same, and it appears to
us, from the Books of Account, and other Documents, produced by those Gentlemen, that, after
discharging all their Banking Engagements, there will remain a Balance of £27,000 and upwards of
their public Funds, exclusive of their private Fortunes.



The proprietors of the bank were true to their word, and on September 26th
of the same year announced " that they will be prepared to pay the Remainder of
their Notes now in circulation on Monday, the 14th Day of October, 1793, and
request the Holders of such Notes will present them for Payment at their Office
on that Day or in the Course of that Week. And they give Notice that the
Allowance of Interest will cease on the 14th Day of October."

It would appear that Messrs. Surtees, Burdon, & Co. took up the business
left by the retiring bank, as a newspaper advertisement states : —

" AH Bills drawn by Messrs. Gurneys, Birkbeck, & Taylor on Messrs. Burdon, Forster, & Co. will be paid
by Messrs. Surtees, Burdon, & Co.— Newcastle, April 18, 1793."

Much of my information regarding this bank is from an interesting MS.,
which says : —

" The writer was five years in the Bank, say from 1788 to 1793, and is the only person living belonging
to that establishment. (Signed) James Potts.

Newcastus-upon Tyne, September 21st, 1829."


The firm had a branch at Alnwick, probably the first bank possessed by that
town. The British Directory for about 1790 has under the "Traders " of Alnwick,
" Palfrey George Burrell, Banker." The accompanying form shows that they
issued drafts from Alnwick payable in London.

Lz)ffMJ \a/f4^ /:^it^ /mij /<^ t/n' O/t/tr of

-V/l/u£j %C(W4^


i?w.,« ^^^^

FRANCIS FORSTER. — He appears to have been a partner for a very short
time. The bank was opened July 24th, 1784, and in a local paper of October 4th
of the same year we read : — " Francis Forster, Esq., a proprietor of the Sugar
House, partner in the Commercial Bank, and one of the aldermen of Newcastle,
died at his house at Seaton Burn, in Northumberland."

The family is supposed to have descended from the Adderstone Forsters
through a branch of the family settled at Buston. Mr. Forster was a merchant of
Newcastle, and acquired property at Seaton Burn, where he resided. In 1761 he
joined several other gentlemen in the purchase of premises in Hillgate, Gateshead,
for a sugar baker}^ He was the head of the firm of Forster, Rankin, & Atkinson,
who owned sugar-houses in the Close. He became a member of the Common
Council 1763, was elected Sheriff six years later, and Mayor in 1769 and 1779.
His name appears in the list of Aldermen of 1778, w^ien he was residing near
Nun-gate. The newspapers of the day speak most highly in his praise. His
daughter Eleanor married Rev. James Manisty, B.D., Vicar of Edlingham,
and became in 1808 the mother of Henry, afterwards Sir Henry Manisty, one of
Her Majesty's judges. At the death of Mr. Forster, his son Joseph succeeded his
father in the sugar-house and the bank.


JOSEPH FORSTER. — He was born in 1762, and brought up at Seaton Burn
and Newcastle, He married on July 8th, 1794, Mary, only daughter of Henry Scott,
and favourite niece of Sir John Scott, then Attorney-General, afterwards Lord
Eldon. By his marriage he was brought into intimate connection with the leading
families of the district. " Remember me affectionately to Mr. and Mrs. Forster,"
was the message which Lord Eldon sent to his niece and her husband when
announcing to his brother Henry his elevation to the peerage, July, 1799. He
was elected Mayor in 1801, being then an Alderman. On his retirement, October
9th, 1802, his praises were sounded by the local papers. He was joint-receiver of
the Derwentwater estates for the Commissioners of Greenwich Hospital. He was
appointed Mayor a second time in 1808, and a third time in 18 18. He died at his
town house in Westgate Street, April 7th, 1821, aged 59, and was buried in St.
Nicholas' Church. His wife survived him many years, and spent much of her
time with Lord Eldon. She collected and noted down numerous little incidents
of family life, which formed part of the valuable materials from which Twiss
compiled his " Life of Lord Eldon." Mrs. Forster died April 17th, 1846, aged 71,
and was interred in St. Nicholas' Church beside her husband. The tomb bears the
following inscription : —

" Sacred to the memory of Joseph Forster of Seaton Burn, in the county of Northumberland, Esquire ;
formerly alderman of this town, who died April 7, 1821, aged 59 years. And of Mary his wife,
daughter of Henry Scott, Esq., who died April 17, 1846, aged 71 years. And also of their children —
Henry, who died June 5, 1823, aged 28 years ; Joseph Francis, who died May 17, 1823, aged 31 years ;
Ellen, who died December 12, 1841, aged 43 years."

ROBERT RANKIN.— A partner with Forster & Atkinson as sugar-boilers.
His eldest daughter, Elizabeth, married Mr. Martineau, a manufacturer of Norwich,
and became the mother of Harriet Martineau. Miss Martineau in her
Autobiography writes : —

" On the occasion of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, in 1685, a surgeon of the name of
Martineau and a family of the name of Pierre crossed the Channel, and joined the Huguenots in
England. My ancestor married a Miss Pierre, and settled at Norwich, and his descendants afforded
a succession of surgeons up to my own day. My eminent uncle Philip Meadows Martineau, and my
eldest brother, who died at the age of thirty, were the last Norwich surgeons of the name. . . .
My Father when established at Norwich as a manufacturer, married Elizabeth Rankin, the eldest
daughter of a sugar-refiner at Newcastle."

Miss Martineau gives a graphic account of her journey as a child in 1807, to
pay a visit to her grand-parents at Newcastle, and mentions their attending the
ministry of the Rev. WiUiam Turner in Hanover Square. In 1838 Miss Martineau
came to Tynemouth, an invalid, to be near her brother-in-law Dr. Greenhow,
Newcastle, and while there wrote her well-known book " Life in a Sick Room."


In the Newcastle Directory for 1787, we find "Robert Rankin & Son,
Merchants, Bigg Market (foot)." Mr. Rankin died at the Hebburn Office,
Quayside, December, 1823.*

JOSEPH HARRIS. — He was (most probably) previously to his entering the
firm, a clerk with Messrs. Surtees, Burdon, & Co., as a one pound Note before me
of that firm, dated November 8th, 1770, is signed — "For Aubone Surtees and
Rowland Burdon. Joseph Harris," and from the account I give of the action
brought against the Commercial Bank by Mr. Harris, it will be seen that he had
undertaken to superintend the book-keeping when he joined the firm.

WILLIAM KENT. — In the Newcastle Directory for 1787, he appears as a
Fitter, having his office on the Quayside.

CHARLES ATKINSON.— He was elected Sheriff of Newcastle in 1765, and
Mayor in 1775 and 1783. During his first term of office, on July 8th, 1776, he laid
the foundation-stone of the southern pier of a bridge that was then being built
over the Tyne, to replace one destroyed by the "great flood." A copper medal
in a glass case was deposited in the stone. When the bridge was demolished in
1867 to make way for the Swing Bridge, the case was found and removed to the
Museum at the Black Gate. On April 13th, 1778, Mr. Atkinson was one of the
pall-bearers at the interment of Matthew Ridley of Heaton Hall. He married
Frances, daughter of James Moncaster, merchant, who in 1724-5 was Sheriff of
Newcastle. She died in 1793, aged 68. The Newcastle Directories for 1778 and
1787 show that Mr. Atkinson resided in the Side. He was a partner with Forster
and Rankin, sugar-bakers in the Close. He very soon left the bank, being involved
in some colliery transactions in Scotland, where he came to an untimely end. On
February 12th, 1797, in company with his son, he was inspecting the collieries in
which they were interested near Dunfermline, and whilst looking down an old
pit, a piece of timber on which he was standing gave way, and he was precipitated
to the bottom of the shaft — a depth of 40 fathoms. It was many hours before
his remains could be recovered ; the body was brought to Newcastle, and on the
19th was interred in St. Nicholas' Church, in the presence of an immense crowd
of people. Mr. Atkinson was held in high esteem ; a local chronicler wrote of
him as follows : —

" As a magistrate he was respected for his stern and incorruptible integrity and punctual attention to
the duties of his office ; and as a man, the goodness of his heart, and the affability of his manners,

♦"In 1776, August 21st, Robert Knowles the North Shields postman was executed upon the Town Moor, New-
castle, for stealing a letter out of the Newcastle post-office, in the preceding October. It contained two £50
Bank of England bills, the property of Mr. Robert Rankin. Knowles was apprehended November, 1775, but in
June 1776, he cleverly entrapped the jailer in his cell, fastened the door upon him and made his escape. A
reward of £20 was offered for his re-capture. A few days afterwards he was re-taken near Walker Colliery. At
the execution, Knowles was dressed in black, and read a paper, admitting his sentence to be just."


gained him the affection of all. His general worth and merit produced him an extraordinary popu-
larity, and his life was justly considered as a bright example of moral excellence. He ever stood forth
as a strenuous champion for the rights and privileges of his fellow-citizens."

In addition to his residence in the Side, Mr. Atkinson had a house at
Wallsend, for Bourne the historian mentions the beautiful houses and gardens
at Wallsend, one of which belonged to " Mr. Charles Atkinson of Newcastle,
Hostman," while another was owned by his father-in-law, Mr. James Moncaster,

JOHN BURDON. — He was the son of Nicholas, and the grandson of
Thomas Burdon of South Shields. The family, it is said, came from Nottingham.
John was born at South Shields, and was the youngest of eighteen children. In
1748 he purchased the manor of Hardwick (near Sedgefield). The mansion,
known as Hardwick Hall, was a spacious building in a commanding situation —
surrounded by very extensive pleasure-grounds, which Mr. Burdon greatly
improved. In 1780, he conveyed the property (reserving the life interest) to
William Russell, Esq. (Russell, Allan, and Wade, bankers, Sunderland), of

jfranftlanb, 3obn anb 3ame6. imbim.

Founded about 1820. Partners. Purchased by York

City Bank, 1845.

John Franhland. James Wilkinson.

James Franhland. Matthew Hutton Chaytor.

Sir William Chaytor.

JOHN and JAMES FRANKLAND were drapers who subsequently developed
into bankers, like so many country traders in the early part of the century.
Messrs. Peirson, who opened a bank at Whitby in 1 778, retired from the
profession about 1820, and upon the foundation thus left Messrs. Frankland built.

In one list for 1823 they are announced as John and James Frankland, Church
Street ; London Agents, Curtis & Co. ; and in another list of the same date as
Frankland and Wilkinson. By 1829 they had considerably extended their field of
operations. On October 20th of that year they entered into partnership with Sir
William Chaytor ; the members of the firm then being Sir William Chaytor of

* " Mr. Burden's politics will be shown by the following :— ' Newcastle, June 3rd, 1775.— Monday being the
Anniversary of the Restoration of King Charles II. it was observed by ringing of Bells.

The same Day the Bells of Sedgefield wore ordered to be rung on the above Occasion by John Burdon Esq.
of Hardwick; but that Demonstration of Joy not meeting the Approbation of a neighbouring Gentleman, he
took the Key of the Bell-room from the Parish Clerk and would not suffer ihem to give one Peal for the
Beatoration.' "

[274] ^

Wittoii Castle, John Frankland of Whitby, James Wilkinson of Sunderland, and
Matthew Hutton Chaytor. Their head office was at Sunderland, and they had
branch establishments at Durham and Whitby (occasional attendance at Bishop
Auckland), and subsequently at Hartlepool. (See Sir William Chaytor & Co.)

A period of seven years brought a separation of interests. In 1836 Messrs.
Chapman, bankers, of Newcastle, turned their business into a Joint Stock Company,
under the style of the Newcastle, Shields, and Sunderland Union Joint Stock
Bank, and soon after obtained the business of Sir William Chaytor, Frankland, & Co.
The Whitby establishment does not appear to have been included in this arrange-
ment. Messrs. Frankland and Wilkinson retained the business at the Yorkshire
seaport, and are regularly reported in the lists up to 1845. During this year their
connection was disposed of to the York City and County Bank, their note issue,
which was only ^2,076, thus becoming extinct. The Franklands were an old
and highly respected Whitb}^ family, and are recorded there very early in 1700.

The Wilkinsons were also originally drapers in Whitby, their standing being
much improved by the marriage of James Wilkinson with Jane Marsingale, who
was heiress to the Dunsley property. Mr. Samuel Wilkinson, solicitor, of Sleights,
near Whitby, is the present representative of the family.

(Boobcbilb, 3acl^6on, & Co. sun&erian&.

Founded about 1800. WEAR BANK. Failed 1815.


y^ohn Goodchild. John Goodchild, jun.

John Jackson. James Jackson.

William Jackson. Thomas Jones.
— Heurtley.

THERE is the strongest probability that this bank arose from, or was a
branch of a London bank bearing the same names, but reversed in order.
The list of London Bankers for 1801, has no mention of either name, but
in the list for 1802 appears Jackson, Goodchild, & Co., Cousen Lane, Upper
Thames Street, and in 18 12 the address is Dowgate Iron Wharf. They are
regularly recorded until 1819, the last year in which they are named. Later in
this account I shall be able to show that two members of the Sunderland firm had
the Dowgate Wharf address.


The earliest record that I have of the Sunderland firm is in the panic of 1803.
On July 23rd of that year, the following announcement was made : —

Sunderland, July 23rd, 1803.

" We, whose Names are hereunto subscribed, being fully convinced of the Ability of Messrs. Goodchilds,
Jackson, Heurtley, and Co. Proprietors of the Wear Bank, to answer every Demand upon them, do,
in order to appease the general Alarm, engage to support their Credit, and indemnify the public against
any Loss by their Notes, to the Amount of the Sums set opposite to our respective Names : —

Hedworth Williamson . . 5,000

William Peareth . . 5,000

Trustees of the late) inr\nn

J. Stafford, Esq. J ^^'^^

Cooper Abbs, & Co. . . 10,000

Edward Grey . . . . 6,000

Stephen Pemberton . . 2,000

Thomas Nicholson . . 5,000

Richard Pemberton . . 5,000

Thomas Horn and Son 5,000

Michael Longridge . . 2,000

Robert Biss . . . . 5,000

George Robinson . . 5,000

William Hayton . . 2,000

Rankin, Horn, & Walton 3,000

Robt. Gibbon, Jun.& Co. 1,000

Thomas Wake . . . . 5,000

Matthew Fairless . . 5,000

C. T. Thornhill . . . . 3,000

John White .. .. 1,000

Edward Wylam, Jun. . . 3,000

Christopher John Cay. . 5,000

Richard Mordey . . 3,000

George Matthews . . 1,000

Robert Reay . . . . 3.000

Threlkeld Busby . . 1,000

Christopher Dobson . . ] ,000

Charles Simpson . . 3,000

G. W. Meadley . . . . 1,000

William IMaude Ogden . . 3,000

Bernard Ogden . . . . 2.000

Joshua Lynn . . . . 1,000

John Burrell . . . . 1,000

Ovington, and Co. . . 1,000

Cuthbert Vaux . . . . 1,000

Nath. Horn . . . . 3,000
Grimshaw, Webster, & Co. 5,000

Rowland Webster, jun. 2,000

Thomas Collingwood . . 1 ,000

William Paley .. .. 1,000

Solomon Chapman . . 1,000

John Nicholson . . .. 1,000

Robert Cropton . . . . 5,000

Ralph Preston Robson . . 5,000

Joseph Harrison . . 4,000

William Wealands . . 4,000

John Bonner . . . . 4,000

Thomas Taylor . . . . 4,000

James Myers . . . . 3,000

Francis Lowes . . . . 3,000

Thomas Brunton . . 3,000

Union Pottery . . . . 3,000

John Davison . .


Cooper Abbs


Bonner and Taylor


Stonehouse and Satchel

1 800

James Hogg


John Rennet


John Chrisp


John Hunter


Thomas Hunter. .


William Haddock


Thomas Collin . .


Robert Davidson

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 31 of 57)