Page images


· In a country possessing such a variety of soil, the produce is of course proportionably various. The usual rotation of crops is, after suniuer fallow, wheat, oats, beans, or pease; and occasionally a crop of broad clover, iu lieu of the three last. On some few spots of gravelly soil, turnips and barley are grown in almost perpetual succession, a crop of clover being sometimes interposed. The produce of wheat on good land, is from twenty to thirty bushels per acre; in inferior land, from ten to twenty bushels per acre: the produce of barley is from thirty to forty bushels; of oats, from twenty to forty. The manures are chiefly lime, and the produce of the fold-yard; and though abundance of sea-weed might be collected on the sea coast, and, properly applied, would constitute valuable manure, yet the farmers in general neglect, or remain unacquainted with, its use.

The furms are principally of a middling size, few of them exceeding 200 acres. The largest portion of each farm is generally appropriated to tillage; but towards the western extremity of the county, the whole is applied to pasture. About one-third of the land is supposed to be of ecclesiastical tenure; the remainder is possessed by various proprietors : the leases seldom exceed six years; and are too frequently rendered of little value by injudicious restrictions. The leases held of the See of Durham are for longer ternis; generally for lives, or for twenty-one years, renewable every seven years, on payment of an arbitrary fine. The farm-houses are in general well situated, and commodious; but the fold yards are too few, and small; and, for want of granaries, the eorn is frequently threshed before it is dry. Threslring machines have been lately introduced; and machines for the drill husbandry are used in many parts of the county.

The cattle of Durliam are in great repule; as for form, weight, produce of milk, and butter, and quickness of fattening, they are not inferior to any in England. The sleep are mostly large, and covered with long wool: thinse denominated the Tees-water breed, are most celebrated. In Wear-dale, the breed is small, but the meat finely flavoured: when fat, the quarters seldom weigh inore than from fourteen to eighteen pounds eachi,


[ocr errors]

" In

The waste lands are of considerable extent in the western parts of the county, being supposed to occupy nearly 130,000 acres. In the lower parts, many hundred acres have been inclosed, and cultivated, within the last thirty years. The common fields, excepting in the western district, are but few; the lands belonging to townships having been principally inclosed soon after the Restoration. The water-shaken grounds cover a very large proportion of the county: those bordering ou the Tees, and other rivers, are drained by means of wide ditches, provincially called stells. other parts, were springs burst from the sides of the hills, endangering the ground-below, oblique cuts are made to intercept the water; and conduits of stone, or brick, laid along the bottom of them to convey it to a main conduit, which carries it down the hill: the earth is then thrown in again, and the surface levelled for the purpose of culture."* Sometimes, in the flat grounds, under-drains are madle; and when halt filled with pebble stones, are levelled again with earth and turf. The woodlands are not of any considerable extent; and chiefly confined to the parks and seats of the nobility. The banks of the rivers and brooks, how. ever, particularly in the vicinity of Durham, are fringed with wood of long growth, and much value. The public roads are, in general, good; but those belonging to townships, are in many parts extremely narrow, dangerous, and irregular.

* Durham,” observes Sir William Appleby, “ taking its small dimensions into consideration, is not to be equalled by any other county in Great Britain, except Middlesex, for its numerous and important coal, lead, and iron mines; its large cast metal founderies, and iron manufactories, potteries, glass-houses, copperasworks, coal-tar and salt-works; quarries of marble, fire and freestone; lime, brick and tile-bilus; grind-stone, and mill-stone; linen and woollen manufactories; trade, agriculture, and population."+

The MINERALOGICAL substances found in Durbam are bumerous and valuable. The east and worth-east parts of the county are particularly famous for their extensive coal-mines; and

the • Granger's General View, p. 45.

t Ibid. p. 15.

[ocr errors]

the quantity of this important article is so great, as to exceed all calculation. The seans (or strala) now worked, are five in number: these extend horizontally for many miles, and are from twenty to one hundred fathoms beneath the surface; each stratum is from three to six or eight feet thick. Below these are several other seams of coal; and many parts of the county, besides those where the pits are situated, abound with this substance. On many of the mines, steam-engines have been erected for raising the coal with greater dispatch, than could be obtained by the use of horses; the expense is also much less. In the great sea-sale collieries, many horses are continually kept under ground, for the purpose of drawing the coals to the mouth of the pits: in the land-sule collieries, the same kind of work is performed by men or boys.

In the vicinity of Walsingham, a beautiful black-spotted limestone is procured, for hearths, chimney-pieces, and other ornaments. This neighbourhood also abounds with fine mill-stone. Many excellent quarries of slate for building have been opened in different parts of the county; and Gaieshead Fell is peculiarly famous for producing what are vulgarly termed Newcastle grindslones, from being shipped off at that port. Fire-stone, of high estimation in the building of ovens, furnaces, &c. is obtained in various parts of Durliam, and exported in immense quantities.

The principal Lead Mines of Durham are situated in Tees-dale, and Wear-dale: those of the former place are not particularly suecessful; but the prorlace of the latter is of more considerable value. The general method of working them is similar to that pursued in the adjacent counties of Cumberland and Westmore. land. Great improvements of late years have been made by introducing waggon-levels, which, at the same time that they carry off the water, save the most fatiguing part of manual labor. The method of smelting the ore in Wear-dale, is by the blast hearth: biit in Tees-dale, air furnaces have been introduced with much



Several extensive works for manufacturing salt from sea-water have long been established at South Shields; but the produce of


these works is not at present so considerable as formerly, owing to the discovery of a very singular salt-spring at Birtley, in this county, which has been thus described by Sir William Appleby. “ It arises at the depth of seventy fathoms, in an engine pit constructed for drawing water out of coal-mines, at the extremity of a stone drift, drove 200 yards north-east therein; and what is more extraordinary, springs only in such drift in every direction; though the pit, and every other contignous, has been excavated both above and below it many fathoms. Its mixing with the fresh water in the same pit, would have occasioned it remaining totally unnoticed, but for an accident which happened to the boiler of the engine soon after its erection. One morning the bottom of thre boiler suddenly dropt out: the engineer, amazed thereat, informed the undertakers, who, upon esannitiation, found it incrusted witte a vast quantity of strong salt, and the iron wholly corroded, Upon tasting the water, though incorporated with inimense quantities of fresh, it was found exceedingly brackish and salt, on which the workings were explored, and the above mentioned very valuable salt spring was discovered to arise in such drift only; and has for these nine years produced 20,000 gallous per day, four times stronger than any sca-water whatever. In consequence of this important discovery, a large and extensive manufactory of salt has been established by a company of gentlemen, who, after encountering many difficulties, have brought it to very great perfection, the quality being most excellent."* At Butterby, near Durham, is another salt-spring, which issues from a rock in the river Weare, and is only visible when the water is low: it contains somewhat more of the sulphate of magnesia, or Epsom salt, than the spring at Birtley.

The manufactures of Durham are numerous and important. Thie south side of the Tyne is fringed with manufactories and coal staiths. At Swalwell, and Wilaton, are some of the first ironworks in England; and at Lamley is a manufactory for converting scrap-iron into engine-boiler plates, and cast metal into malleable



Granger's General View, p. 22.

iron. Steel-works have been established at Shotley-bridge, Swalwell, Team, and Gateshead. Tammies, carpets, and waistcoatpieces, are manufactured at Durhanı: tammies and huckabacks are also made at Darlington; where a machine has been established for spinning fax into yarn; and another for grinding spectacle glasses. Cottons are manufactured at Castle Eden, Stockton, and Bishop's Auckland; and sail-cloths, glass, and other articles, at Stockton, Sunderland, and South Shields.

- The principal Rivers of Durham, are the Tees, the Weare, and the Derwent. The Tees rises in the vast moors which form the district wherein the counties of York, Cumberland, Westmoreland, Durham, and Northumberland, nearly unite. After issuing from the moors, the stream flows south-eastward, through the romantic valley of Tees-dale, for nearly thirty miles, when suddenly turning to the north east at Sockburne, it falls into the German Ocean at some distance below Stockton. The river, through the whole of its course, assimilates with its external attendants of rocks, moors, and mountains; being broad, shallow, and rapid, frequently ravaging the valley with its inundations, and precipitating itself in vast cataracts. After emerging from the deep dell beneath the Abbey of Egglestone, it flows with rapidity through the rich demesne of Rokeby, below which it receives the Greta from Yorkshire, and another small stream from the moors of Durham. In the highly ornamented territory which surrounds the majestic walls aud towers of Raby Castle, it forms a fine feature, and preserves its romantic and striking character through great part of its after progress to the sea.*

The Wedre derives its waters froni the same wild range of moors which produces the Tees; but flowing considerably to the north of that river, it crosses the central part of the county, and falls into the sea near Sunderland. Wear-dale, like Tees-dale, is a very wild and romantic district, and, like that also, is pleasantly intersper, sed with towns and villages: emerging from its recesses, the river passes B shop's Auckland, when assuming a north-eastern direction, it


Skrine's History of Rivers in Great Britain.

« PreviousContinue »