I was looking for information on Sparrow House and found your "conversation" about it . I 'd looked for the house on a recent visit to the area, but of course found nothing -- Interested to learn that it had survived until the 1950's or '60's when I still lived in Newcastle.
Like your member "Newbie" , Frank Fletcher, my great, great, great grandfather Richard Spearman also lived and worked at Sparrow House farm, in the 1790's as an "agricultural labourer". Perhaps he might even have met Frank's 'ggggrandfather' ! I guess Richard perhaps raised himself up a notch by marrying the then owner , James Watson's daughter Sarah in 1792, by license at Bothal St Andrew's church . ( His older brother Edward married her widowed sister Ann a year later and became owner & miller at Sheepwash as a result). Richard & Sarah had 4 children , all born at Sparrow House farm, until Richard ( perhaps with the help of his father-in-law and brother ? ) became the miller at Bothal Mill on the Duke of Portland's estate, in 1801.
I don't know if Richard Spearman held the lease on Bothal Mill from !801, but I did find the lease he signed with the Duke in 1807, in the Northumberland Archives. Richard was first in a line of 5 members of the Spearman family to be millers at Bothal, up to my great grandfather Richard Robert Spearman and his mother Margaret who finally gave up a rapidly declining business in 1877.