Record Series - 162     

'The Great Trial': A Swaledale Lead Mining Dispute

by Tim Gates

From 1705 to 1709, a legal battle was fought out in the court of exchequer between Thomas, Lord Wharton, and Reginald Marriott Esq. over the lead mines on Grinton moor in Swaledale. In its day this was a cause célèbre due to the high political office occupied by Lord Wharton and because of the vast sums of money that were at stake. Large numbers of local people were drawn in as witnesses on both sides and their testimony provides a fascinating insight into the life of this remote Yorkshire valley in the opening years of the eighteenth century. The book follows the course of the action, step by step, and contains full transcriptions of all the substantive documents in the case, most of which appear here for the first time; it also raises important questions about the truthfulness of witnesses, the process of taking oral evidence, and the likelihood of jury tampering. The result will be of great value not only to historians of the law but to anyone interested in the history of the Yorkshire Dales.

Tim Gates works as a field archaeologist and aerial photographer; he has a long-standing interest in cartography and map-making.

(hardcover, 429 pages)

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