On behalf of the Estate Committee may I wish you all Happy New Year.

During the last quarter of 2016 no less than nine houses were sold on the estate. On behalf of the Estate Committee I should like to welcome all newcomers – who by reason of the operation of the Deed of Mutual Covenants of 1895 automatically become covenantors and thereby benefit from the provisions of the Deed which have been enjoyed by owners of the properties on the estate ever since. The character and amenity of the estate have been created and protected by successive Estate Committees continuously since the first meeting on 30 May 1895. For 122 years Estate Committees have given effect to the wishes of the covenanters as to how they choose to self-regulate the density and character of building development on the 215 acres which constitute the – to give it its full title – Painshaw Field, Batt House and Birches Nook Estate.

Painshaw Field, Batt House and Birches Nook were three separate farms. The estate would have had to incorporate a further name had Merryshields Farm not been withdrawn from the original auction.

The three farms were purchased for the princely sum of £6000.

The 215 acres were noted to consist of 120 acres grassland, 35 acres woodland, 57 acres arable land and 3 acres of existing roads, houses and waste land.

To return to the ongoing exercise of including extracts from Estate Committee meeting minutes in these newsletters I shall turn to the meetings of 28 January and 9th February 1897. Both meetings were held at Lockhart’s cafe in Neville Street, Newcastle. By this time the committee had addressed various major issues pertaining to the estate and were able to turn their attention to less critical matters-such as fencing and the naming of roads.

Meeting of 28 January 1897

“Mr Scott submitted a written application for liberty to modify his fence along his South boundary and proposed to erect a military fence 5 feet to 5’6” high. It was agreed on all hands that any modification were to be permitted it should be granted to every proprietor. With this end in view Mr Adams moved and Mr Bradshaw seconded that any proprietor shall be at liberty to make the following modification in his fence at his own cost viz; to put onto the present fence another rail and to pale it with military paving not less than 2 ½ inches and not more than 3 ½ inches on the face and of a uniform height of 5 feet, the paling to be placed upon the side of the fence next to the road; tar disallowed. Carried unanimously”

The meeting also discussed water supply on the estate:

“The secretary read a letter from the secretary of the Newcastle and Gateshead water Company dated 17 December 1896 in which he stated that their engineer estimated that the cost of laying the pipes to supply the estate would be £4196 exclusive of the cost of obtaining way-leaves. The secretary added that this estimate included the provision and laying of pipes throughout the estate. The outlay appeared to the committee to be too heavy and Mr Adams spoke in favour of obtaining a supply from our own grounds and that near Apperley Woods. It was moved to appoint a Water Committee to consider the local resources and submit a working scheme for a local supply to a General Meeting. Carried”

Meeting of 9 February 1897

Under the heading “Nomenclature of New Roads” the committee discussed the issue.

Birches Nook Road was no doubt named after the farm through which it ran.

The committee, perhaps surprisingly, did not follow the obvious course of naming any of the remaining roads after the farms which the covenanters had purchased.

It is not clear from the minutes why the name Crabtree Road was adopted – perhaps there was an orchard or a particularly striking tree which impressed one or more members of the committee. Perhaps there is now somebody living in Crabtree Road who could bring to the current committee’s attention the genesis of the name still growing in their garden!

Meadowfield Road may be inferred to have been named after the Common Land at the junction of Meadowfield, Painshawfield and Well Roads, which at that time was a hay meadow.

Apperley Road was a little more contentious. Some members of the committee wanted to name the road Minster Road, no doubt to reflect that it connected the estate to the Turnpike Road (now New Ridley Road) which connected Branch End to Minsteracres, with a toll booth close to where the Quaker Meeting House now stands. The majority of committee members wanted to take the name Apperley Way, no doubt to preserve the name of the woods through which it ran. The majority vote prevailed. The road was named and still should accurately be referred to as Apperley Way.

Voluntary Subscriptions

Finally, may I ask those of you who intend to do so to pay the annual voluntary subscription of £50, or at least make it your primary New Year’s resolution to do so when the Honorary Treasurer sends out requests later in the year. The subscription has not risen for many years. The committee cannot function without sufficient funds. Bearing in mind the benefits that all covenanters enjoy through the work of the committee it really is a very small investment for the rewards it secures. There are costs incurred in sustaining the website, caring for the Common Land and undertaking the other work of the committee – most importantly perhaps of engaging in a full consultation process with all property owners potentially directly affected by applications to build close to their properties. The majority of covenanters pay the subscription. There have in the past been covenantors who have not paid the subscription but have nonetheless still used the committee consultation process, funded by others, to express their views and/or raise objections – which just goes to show how very important the process is to people when it affects them.