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 6 of 57)
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prohibited the Northumbrian from doing what his neighbours just across the
border might do with impunity. Ten years afterwards, the act, as far as it
related to notes between the value of £1 and ^5 was suspended, which
suspension, by subsequent enactments, was continued for many years.

In October, 1776, T. Slack of Newcastle announced that he w^ould take light
gold for lottery tickets. In the same year, Mr. R. Beilby, engraver, handed to
the treasurer of the Infirmary " a tw^enty shilling note left by a person who
applied to him for a copper-plate in order to defraud the Perth United
Banking Company."

In March, 1777, a third bank was commenced in Newcastle, trading under the
name of the "Tyne Bank." Their first premises were "In the Close near Tyne


Bridge." A note of theirs for £s dated June 3rd of that year, is signed — " For
Baker, Shafto, Ormston, Cuthbert, and Self— Joseph Lamb." In October of the
same year, they were troubled by the forgery of their £s notes. Those presented
they judiciously paid, called in all their outstanding paper, and " issued £s notes
from a beautiful new plate very different from the old one." About this time
Robert Knowles the North Shields postman, was executed for stealing a letter
containing two Bank of England bills, the property of Robert Rankin, merchant,
who subsequently became a banker.

During the next few years several new firms entered the field. It is very
difficult to find the exact date of their commencement, as in many cases they
were previously merchants or tradesmen, doing a little lending or borrowing, and
gradually developed into acknowledged bankers. In this way originated Thomas
Pearson and Sanders and Sons of Whitby ; Richardson and Mowbray of
Darlington (who were surveyors as well as bankers) ; Lumley and Smith of
Stockton-on-Tees ; and George and Henry Hutchinson of the same place.

In 1784 another properly constituted bank opened in Newcastle, making the
fourth in that town, the partners being Joseph Forster, Palfrey George Burrell,
Robert Rankin, and Joseph Harris. They traded as the "Commercial Bank,"
their premises being in the Close opposite the Long Stairs.

In 1785 another Whitby bank commenced, the partners in which were
Wakefield Simpson and Abel Chapman. They subsequently obtained the title of
the " Old Bank," and ran their course for upwards of a century. Whitby was
evidently a busy town at that time, for shortly afterwards two other banking
firms were founded, viz., Clark, Richardson, & Hodgson ; and Pease & Co., of
Whitby and Malton.

The country bankers must soon have formed some kind of society for
mutual action in matters affecting their general welfare, for in 1783 a Bill was
introduced for taxing receipts and promissor}'- notes, and to protest against such a
measure, the north-country Bankers held a meeting at York Tavern, York.
Twelve firms appear to have been represented, the first on the list being
Messrs. Bell, Cookson, Carr, & Widdrington.

Steps to oppose the suggested tax were taken in Newcastle. We read : —

•' A very numerous meeting of the principal tradesmen of the town was yesterday held at the
Merchants' Court, respecting the tax intended to be laid upon receipts, when several letters received
from a Committee in London were laid before them. It was unanimously resolved — that the tax
upon receipts will be in the highest degree oppressive and injurious to the trade in this town and
neighbourhood. A Committee of twelve persons was appointed to correspond with other Committees
and to consider of the mo3t proper steps to be taken in the further prosecution of this business,"



Soon after it was announced : —

"iThe tax on promissory notes is to extend to
notes issued by banks, and also private
bankers, all over Great Britain. Guinea notes
of the Bank of Scotland are exempted from
any tax ; five pound notes to pay 3d. ; ten
pound notes to pay 6d; fifties, and all
above, Is,"

Banking had now become pretty-
general throughout the country, and
competition was evident even at this
early date. On the 31st December,
1787, Ralph Carr, the originator of
the first bank, retired from the firm
in disgust, as will be seen in the
account of the '' Old Bank." Doubt-
less his remarks at this time were
occasioned by rumours that were
abroad in Newcastle as to the
formation of another new bank.
Meetings were being held at the time he penned his protest,
and on the ist February of the following year, a fresh
establishment opened its doors in Pilgrim Street, opposite
the end of the High Bridge. It was to be styled " Thomas
Davison-Bland & Co., The Bank in Newcastle." According
to a clause in an Act passed in sixth of Anne, the Bank of
England obtained the sole right to have a partnership of more
than six persons. The new bank starting in Newcastle in
1788, availed itself of the full number of partners allowed,
who were duly announced. In reality there were seven
partners, though the name of the last never appeared before
the public. Several of the proprietors were in some way or
other connected with India. So much was this the case, that
the new establishment was locally known as the " Nabobs'
Bank." The partnership thus formed only retained its original
title for two years, when some of the founders retired, new
members were admitted, and the name of the firm changed to
R. J.Lambton & Co., the well-known house of the present day.

Before me is a letter written by the Newcastle bankers


" In the matter of the separate commission of Bankruptcy against James King." It
commences, " We, the Committee of Bankers in Newcastle-upon-Tyne," and
finishes, " Witness our hands this 30th day of July, 1788." *

This is the first intimation that the Newcastle bankers had a properly
constituted Association. The members of it met to consider the opening of the
New Bank, and agreed to deal with it upon " amicable terms."

Fortunately we are able to give some record of the resolutions passed at
various meetings held by this Association of bankers soon after this date, and
feeling sure that they will be of interest to the banker of the present day, these
are given in full. Some of the charges agreed upon will cause a sigh for the
"good old times."

" At a Meeting of the Partners of the Different Banks in Newcastle, 22nd March, 1790.

Pbesent : —
For Old Bank - - Mr. Widdrington, Mr. Gibson, Mr. Wilkinson.

Exchange - - Mr. A. Surtees, jun.

Tyne Bank - - Mr. Lynn.

Commercial Bank - Mr. Kent.

Bank in Newcastle - R. Chambers.

Besolved — That the Interest to be given by each Bank in future be 2J per cent, provided the Money lays
3 Months.

Resolved— Th&t the par Date for drawing upon London be 40 days.

Resolved — That it be taken into consideration against next Winter whether it wou'd be right to finish
Business at 3 o'clock in the afternoon during the 3 Winter Months. The Custom House shuts
up at that hour.

Dec. 1, 1790. — A meeting of the Bankers in Newcastle was held at Turner's this day, when they
agreed to shut up at 3 o'clock till 1st February next, every day except Saturday which is to remain as
before till 5 o'clock Present— Messrs. Wilkinson, Gibson, A. and J. Surtees, Lamb, Waldie, Rankin,
Kent, and R. Chaonbers.

1st July, 1791.— At a Meeting of the Bankers — Present — Mr. Widdrington, Mr. Gibson, Mr.
Wilkinson, Mr. John Surtees, Mr. Lynn, Mr. Forster, Mr. Landell, R. Chambers ;

1st.— It was proposed on the 1st of August next by J. Surtees, to charge all stamps for bills under £50
and none above that sum.

2nd. — To discount bills down to 30 days on London.

3rd.— To charge 1 per cent, and Postages on Returned Bills.

4th. — To allow no Interest on cash accounts.

5th.— If any person requiring a Bill on London at 60 days shou'd ask a Return of 20 days Interest not
to grant it.

6th. — To charge Bills on Sunderland and Shields 2s. 6d. per cent, besides postage and Interest.
* Messrs. Davison-Bland & Co. having so recently started their bank (February, 1768), would not be interested.


7th. — To charge Bills on other places in England, 5s. per. cent., also Edinburgh and Leith. To charge
Bills on other places in Scotland 10s. per cent.

N.B. — Agreed to meet again about the 20th inst. in order to determine matters after considering these


26th July, 1791. — At a meeting of the Proprietors of the Banks of Newcastle and Durham.

Pbesent : —
Old Bank - . . . . Messrs. Wilkinson and Gibson.

Exchange Bank . - - . Mr. John Surtees.

Tyae Bank - - - Mr. Lynn.

Commercial Bank . . - - Messrs. Forster and Rankin.

Bank in Newcastle - - - - Mr. Chambers.

Durham Bank ... - Mr. Pearson.

Resolved and Agreed — 1st. — To take no London Bills at longer dates than 30 days par.

2nd. — Not to draw on London under 40 days par, and not to allow interest on bills which they draw at
longer date so as to reduce them to 40 days date. But this is not to extend to Bankers with
whom they exchange notes ' or to customers who have had the value 40 days at the Bankers.'

3rd. — No interest to be allowed on cash accounts. Interest is only to be allowed on notes drawn payable
with 2 J per cent, to be specially payable so as to prevent their transfer. Or upon Bankers' Receipts
with a NT. that such Interest shall be paid for the money. In amount not under £100 and only
in case the money remain 3 months in our hands payable with interest.

4th. — To charge on return'd bills £1 5s. per cent., for Exchange 15s., and Commission 10s., besides

Postage and Protest, and interest when due.
[This appears to be a mistake, except it be intended to state that if a return'd bill continued long

unpaid after its return, that Interest is to be paid from the time it falls due. — J. S.]

5th. — To charge upon Bills on Sunderland and Shields and other places in the Counties of

Northumberland and Durham and Berwick 2s. 6d. per cent, besides postage and interest.
6th. — To charge on bills on other places in England 5s. per cent.
7th. — Do. on Edinburgh and Leith 5s. per cent.
8th. — Do. on other places in Scotland 15s. per cent.
9th. — To allow no interest on London Bills paid to them at a short date.

10th. — When Stock is purchased for any customer he is to deposit the money 43 days before the
Purchase be made, or pay Interest for that Time.

11th. — Not to make cheques payable by bills on London but generally upon Demand by the Banker on
whom drawn.

12th. — These resolutions to take place on the 1st August next. " Not to extend to transactions at

Baker and Co. have made their additions which were not attended to at the meeting.

20th April, 1792. — At a meeting of the Proprietors of the Banks of Newcastle.

Peesent : —
Old Bank - Sir Matthew White Ridley, Bt., Mr. Widdrington, and Mr. Gibson.
Exchange Bank - - - Mr. Aubone Surtees, jun., and Mr. J. Surtees.

Tyne Bank - - - Mr. Lamb.

Commercial Bank - - None.

Bank in Newcastle - ■ - R. H. Williamson, Esq., R. Chambers.


Sir Benjamin Hammett's Bill being procured, or rather the heads of this intended Bill moved
for in the House of Commons, for the making bankers' real estate liable for their simple contract

Resolved — That Mr. Hopper Williamson be requested to draw up his sentiments on Paper, which he
has expressed verbally to the gentlemen present, and which seems to be the sense of the whole
meeting and to send the same to George Pearson, Esq., one of the proprietors of the Durham
Bank, who proposes going to London in a day or two and to request he will wait upon Sir John
Scott upon this Business."

From 1779 to the end of the century the state of the copper coinage and the
quantity of base copper in circulation, appears to have caused great trouble to the
tradesmen of the North of England.

The Newcastle Journal of October 23rd, 1779, says : —

" It has for many months been the practice of interested and ill-minded persons to purchase
bad copper coin, for little more than half-price, and by the means of xmder agents concerned in the
coal works and manufactories upon the River Tyne and Wear, to pay the same away amongst
Keelmen, Pitmen, Artificers, Mechanics, and Labourers. The incredible and amazing quantity of bad
half-pennys, introduced by such illegal means into this town, has induced the principal Merchants
and Tradesmen to take into consideration the proper mode of preventing this evil. With these views
they have applied to the Magistrates, who have readily assented to put in force the laws against
circulating counterfeit copper coin (see the advertisement), and the Merchants and Tradesmen have
also at the same time come to the resolution, not only to refuse such base coin in payment from
country shop-keepers, but have also entered into a subscription to prosecute all persons who shall
presume to circulate it for the future."

The advertisement referred to was the following : —

Newcastle, Octobeb 21st, 1779.


The Statute of the II. Geo. 3, c. 40. For the more efiectuaUy preventing the Counterfeiting the
Copper Coin of this Realm, Enacts as followeth : —

1st. — " That if any Person or Persons shall make coin or counterfeit any of the Copper monies
of this Realm commonly called Half-penny or a Farthing, such person or persons offending therein,
his, her, or their Counsellors, Aiders, Abettors, and Prosecuters, shall be judged guilty of Felony.

If any person deals in copper coin below standard value . . . . to be considered Felony.


" Any person or persons who shall by an information on oath before a Magistrate, discover any
offender against the said Act in this town and county, so as he, or they, may be prosecuted to
conviction, shall be paid by the Town Clerk a reward of Twenty Guineas for each offender so

A long Caution is detailed and finishes " Let all Ship Masters, Waggoners, and Carriers, be
aware that they don't make themselves aiders and abettors of the Coiners, by knowingly carrying their
Counterfeit Money. It is recommended to all labouring persons who are usually paid their wages in
Copper Coin, that they carefully inspect the Halfpennys they receive, and return all that are bad to
the payers."


In 1780 the following hand-bill was issued : —


1\ /["ANY Inconveniences daily arising from the great Circulation
^^^ of COUNTERFEIT HALF-PENCE in this Town and
Neighbourhood ; in Order to put a Stop to such illegal and
pernicious Practice, the Traders here have resolved, that from
and after the 21st Day of August inst, they will not receive any
COUNTERFEIT COPPER COIN in Payment. Such Resolu-
tion they conceive will be the only effectual Means of suppressing
the increasing Intercourse and Traffic of lawless Coiners and
some unknown atrocious Individuals, their Associates in the

Newcastle, Aug. 21, 1780.
In 1782, a newspaper announces : —

Newcastle, October 31st, 1782.


" Whereas attempts have been made to introduce large quantities of base and Counterfeit
Copper Coin into Circulation in this Town, an Evil, which unless timely checked may be attended with
great Injury to the fair Trader, and distress the Manufacturers and Workmen. The Magistrates,
therefore, in order to correct the Abuse, do hereby give Orders to all Sergeants at Mace and Constables,
to seize and bring before them all such Quantities of Counterfeit Copper Money as shall be brought
into this Town by Land or Water Carriage, in order that the same may be cut in Pieces or melted
down, and the offenders brought to condign Punishment."

Newcastle, Novembeb 7th, 1782.

" In consequence of last week's advertisement, a numerous meeting of the Merchants and
Traders in this Town was held in the Merchants' Court, the Right Worshipful the Mayor in the
Chair, when a Subscription was opened, and a Committee appointed for the purpose of pursuing the
most effectual measures for suppressing the Circulation of Counterfeit Copper Coin in this Town.

And at a Meeting of the Committee this Day the following Resolutions were agreed to :^

1st. — That the Circulation of Counterfeit Copper Coin in this Town and Neighbourhood is an Evil
which ought to be remedied.

2nd. — That all base and Counterfeit Copper Coin so imported or introduced into this Town by Land or
Water carriage be immediately seized and carried before a Magistrate in order to its being melted

3rd. — That all Persons seizing such Copper Coin so imported or introduced and carrying it before a
Magistrate shall not only be paid a Reward of Ten Pounds per cent, for the nominal value
of the Copper Coin so seized and melted, but shall be indemnified by the Committee against any
action that shall be brought against them for such Seizures.

4th. — That in future no Payments in Copper Coin from the Country be accepted.

WM. DARNELL, Chairman."


The Newcastle Chronicle for April 5th, 1783, contains the following
paragraph : —

" Last Saturday certain persons buying groceries, &c., in the retail shops, offered in payment small
quantities of counterfeit half-pennys of a New Coinage, unmixed with others, and better executed than
any counterfeits that have yet appeared here. The head side is George III., the other the crown and
harp, 1775 ; they are very thin and light, and (like most other counterfeits) are stained with a dark
colour, to disguise the complection of the base metal."

A meeting of the Committee was called in reference to the above, when
many of the old resolutions were revived with an addition,

"That a Petition of the Merchants, Manufacturers, and Traders, of this Town and County, to
Parliament, for such addition to or Amendment of the present Laws relating to Copper Coin, foif
the more effectual preventing the Coining, conveying, having in Custody, uttering, and circulating
Counterfeit Copper money, and for seizing the same and prosecuting the possessors of it, as to the
wisdom of Parliament shall seem meet, be forthwith prepared and laid before the Committee for their

The question came up again in September, 1784. An advertisement
appeared quoting various sections of the Act against this offence, A reward of
£20 was offered for any evidence that would convict an offender, and a Caution
given that states : —

" All those evil-minded persons who for the sake of private Lucre buy, take, or receive this base Money
at an under rate value and put it off in payment for the full value, are involved in the same Guilt with
the Coiners and their accomplices the Vendors and Sellers, and may justly be considered as Aiders and
Abettors of the Coiners. They are as much accessories to the Coiners as the receivers of Stolen Goods
are Abettors to Thieves, for if Coiners and Thieves could not get their false money and Stolen Goods
disposed of, they would cease from coining and stealing.

Let all Ship-masters, Waggoners, and Carriers, be aware that they don't make themselves
Aiders and Abettors of the Coiners, and thereby subject themselves to the same Punishment as the
Coiners, by knowingly carrying their Counterfeit Money. . . . It is recommended to all labouring
Persons who have heretofore been usually paid their wages in Copper Coin, that they take no more at
one payment than five Pence three Farthings, and that only of good Mint Coin, and that they carefully
inspect the Half-pence they receive, and return all that are bad to the Payers, and if the Payers refuse
to pay them with legal Monies ; that they will then apply to a Magistrate for Redress."

On September ist, a Meeting of the Principal Merchants and Traders of
Newcastle and Gateshead was held at the Guildhall, when the Mayor was asked
" to communicate a request to all Coal Owners, Fitters, Glass Owners, Manufac-
turers, and others, that they will pay no larger quantities of copper coin to their
workmen, servants, and labourers, than shall be necessary for change, and that
only in real Mint Half-pennys."

' [40] ^^__

The Newcastle Chronicle of September 4th, announced : —

Newcastle, August 23rd, 1784.

" WE, the COMPANY of BUTCHERS of this Town being unable any longer to support the
intolerable Burthen and increasing Losses and Injuries, we have collectively and separately long
laboured under from the boundless growing Circulation of Counterfeit Half-pence, have this Day
assembled at our Meeting House, to consider of the best Means in our Power to stop so insupportable
a public Grievance. The greatest Part of the Money we have received for our Meat sold in the Market
for several years past, has been chiefly of base Counterfeit Copper Coin, not intrinsically worth half
its nominal value ; our Graziers, and those we buy Cattle of, will not receive such Money in Payment
from us, and even good Half-pence in any larger Quantities than the necessary Change : Under this
Oppression we cannot carry on our Business, and find ourselves reduced to the Necessity of resolving,
which we unanimously do, that we will not hereafter take in Payment any base or Counterfeit Half-
pence whatever, nor any more good Mint Half-pence at any one Payment, than shall be necessary for
Change, not exceeding Five-pence Three Farthings: And to prevent any Disappointments in the
Market, we authorize our Stewards to publish this our firm Resolution, under their Hands, both by
Hand-Bills, and in the Newcastle Newspapers, that all Persons concerned, may take Notice thereof,
particularly those who have heretofore made a Practice of paying their Keelmen, Pitmen, Glassmen,
Workmen and Labourers Wages, with Copper Money, and those who have usually, either brought
such Money to the Market themselves, or sent it by their Housekeepers, Servants, or others ; hoping
that they will in future bring or send ODly good Gold or Silver Coin to Market.

And we recommend it to all those Working and Labouring People, who have heretofore been
generally paid their Wages with Half-pence, to refuse such payments in future ; assuring them, that
no Person is by Law obliged to take more Copper Money at any one Payment than Five-pence three
Farthings, even of the real Mint Coin.

Signed by Order of the Company,





" WE, the COUNTRY BUTCHERS who attend Newcastle Market with Meat, having for a long Time
past been greatly injured and oppressed by the large increasing Circulation of COUNTERFEIT
COPPER COIN in that Town and Market ; and having seen a Resolution lately entered into by the
Company of FREE BUTCHERS there, for the purpose of stopping so intolerable a Grievance ; We do
most heartily approve of, and concur in the same, and hope they will persevere therein : And do
hereby resolve in Conjunction with them, that we will not hereafter take in Payment any BASE or
COUNTERFEIT HALF-PENCE whatever, nor more good Mint Half-pence in any one Payment
than what shall be necessary for change, not exceeding Five-pence Three Farthings : And we desire
this may be published along with the Company's Resolution. Given under our Hands this first day of
September, 1784.

John Fenwick, Francis Singleton, William Partis, Ra. Potts, jun. John Embleton,

William Cleugh, Thomas Potts, George Fenwick, Edw. Challoner, Tho. Embleton,

Jos. Forster, Archibald Dunn, George Wallis, Edw. Turner, John White,

James Forster, Ra. Potts, Robert Potts, John Challoner, Richard Swan."


A few days later the following hand-bills were issued : —

Newcastle, September nth, 1784.

MANY Persons in this Town being unable to distinguish the
MINT HALFPENNYS of the present King's Coin, from
some of the Counterfeits resembling them, have therefore without
Distinction refused to receive all Halfpennys bearing the impression
of King George the Third, and of Consequence to avoid the
Counterfeit Halfpennys, have refused many good Mint Halfpennys,
which ought to have been received as Change, or in Payments
under Sixpence : The Mayor, therefore, desires that the Merchants
and Traders of this Town will meet him in the Mayor's Chamber
in the Guildhall, on Monday next, at Eleven o'Clock, to consider
of the best Means to avoid Doubts and prevent Mistakes of this


13th September, 1784.
A T a numerous and respectable Meeting of the MERCHANTS
■^^ and TRADERS of this Town and County, held at the
Guildhall this day, to consider of the best Means to avoid Doubts
and prevent Mistakes, respecting the difficulty of distinguishing
the MINT HALFPENNYS of his present Majesty's Coin, from
some of the Counterfeit Halfpennys resembling them,

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 6 of 57)