Yorkshire Archaeological & Historical Society News     

`The Great Trial': A Swaledale Lead Mining Dispute in the Court of Exchequer, 1705-1708, edited by Tim Gates

The latest volume to be published in the YAS Record Series will be launched on Saturday 26th May at Fremington Sunday School, North Yorkshire.

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.

The launch event will run from 11.30 am - 4.30pm and will be held at Fremington Sunday School (roadside parking nearby). Dependent on weather there will be a walk in the afternoon around Grinton to look at the boundaries of Harkaside and the mines at Grinton Greets where the contested shafts are.