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Cornell University Library 
DA 670.D42F52 

Highwavs and byways in Derbyshire: 

3 1924 028 029 035 

Cornell University 

The original of tliis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 











The Peak Casth^ f> om Caiedale^ Casileton. 

Highways and Byways 
in Derbyshire 






1 908 

RicriARn Cr.AY and Sons, Limitkd, 


P'irst Edition 1905. 
Reprinted 1908. 


H. G. F. 



Only a brief preface is needed to explain the standpoint from 
which this book has been written. It is a book of narration 
rather than description, though the latter is not wholly wanting. 
The traveller can see with his own eyes and admire, according 
to his own standards, the delightful scenery of Derbyshire ; but 
the associations of the hills and dales and pleasant little towns 
and villages of the High and Low Peak and the river valleys — 
these he may not have leisure or patience to search out for him- 
self I have not closely described the show places of the 
county — numberless guidebooks happily render this unneces- 
sary — but I have attempted to enable the stranger to find 
without trouble his way about Derbyshire, especially if he go 
afoot and prefer the byways to the white limestone highways, 
dusty ■ in hot weather and thick with clinging " Derbyshire 
cream " after rain. This involves some iteration of direction 
which may, I fear, sometimes prove a little tedious to the 
reader in his chair, and for which I crave his indulgence. My 
route is an arbitrary one and does not cover the entire county, 
yet it winds its way into most of Derbyshire's fairest and most 
characteristic scenes. 

Of natural history and geology there is frankly nothing in 
this book, of science nothing, of sport nothing. Those again 
whose hobby is church architecture must consult the erudite and 


standard work of Dr. J. C. Cox, a monument of research. But 
the literary and historical associations of Derbyshire — its more 
human side, if I may so describe it — are, I hope, not 
inadequately dealt with. 

My obligations are many. I have made free use of all books, 
old and new, relating to Derbyshire, and have borrowed 
liberally from the volumes of the Notts and Derbyshire 
Archseological Society, which is fortunate, above most county 
societies, in the energy and numbers of its members and con- 
tributors. I am also more particularly indebted to Mr. Edward 
Hunter, of Ashbourne, for permission to use a short manu- 
script in his possession by the late Lord Denman, to Dr. 
Wrench, of Baslow, and Mr. Wright, of Longstone Hall, for 
much local information, and to Miss Erichsen not only for the 
charm of her illustrations but for numerous interesting details 
relating to persons and places. Nor would I forget to thank 
the many chance and momentary acquaintances whom I met 
on the roads and in the fields of Derbyshire and, perhaps, 
wearied by my questioning curiosity. 



February, 1905 













































































DERBY 479 

INDEX 493 



































THE lion's head ROCK, DOVEDALE Ill 

viator's bridge, milldalb 118 

the pike pool, beresford dale . . . ■. 121 

the fishing house, beresford dale 1 24 












MAM TOR 211 





CHEE TOR, miller's DALE 24O 








QUEEN Mary's bower, chatsworth 289 


























ALL saints' CHURCH, DERBY 486 








" God, who is truly thaumaturgus, the only worker of 
wonders, hath more manifested his might in this than in any 
other county of England." So wrote Dr. Thomas Fuller in 
praise of Derbyshire two centuries and a half ago. Had he 
been a Peakrill himself, his eulogy might be suspected of 
undue partiality, but he belonged to another shire, and the 
aiithor of British JVort/iies always spoke his true mind. He 
was thinking, no doubt, of the Seven Wonders of the Peak, 
which, in his day, before men were blasis with travel and books 
of travel, did actually create wonder and a sense of awe. But 
he was also thinking, we may be sure, of Derbyshire's bold 
hills and deep limestone valleys, of her heathy moors and rich, 
luxuriant plains, of all the varied delights which combine to 
make the county so popular with seekers after health and 
pleasure. For, however brief their stay, no one can help being 
sensible of Derbyshire's charm or can resist the spell of its 
fascination. The better the knowledge, and the more searching 
the exploration, the more a man admires and the more eagerly 
he returns. And though he travel far afield, he still finds 

!E B 


Byron's saying true : " I assure you there are things in Derby- 
shire as noble as in Greece or Switzerland." It has no glory of 
coast like Devon and Yorkshire, no jewelled lakes like 
Westmoreland and Cumberland, but in all else that is 
picturesque and beautiful Derbyshire is unsurpassed among the 
fair counties of England. 

Derbyshire is a county of contrasts — the northern half a 
land of hills and moors and green dales, the southern a land 
of pleasant meadows and broad champaign. The Trent 

" Who, like some earth-born giant, spreads 
His thirty arms along the indented meads," 

flows from west to east and bisects this southern portion, re- 
ceiving the waters of all the principal rivers and streams of the 
county. The little Mease, Leicestershire-born, joins the Trent 
at Croxall after forming for a few miles the south-west boundary. 
At Newton Solney, near Burton, the Dove, " Princess of 
Rivers " as Charles Cotton called her, who keeps the boundary 
between Derbyshire and Staffordshire during the whole of her 
sparkling course, loses herself in the larger stream. At Wilne, 
near the south-eastern corner of the shire, Derbyshire's chief 
river, the Derwent, which has flowed down through the centre 
of the county, swells the Trent, and lastly the Erewash enters, 
born on the edge of Sherwood Forest, near Kirkby, and its left 
bank in Nottinghamshire throughout. The Dove rises on the 
south-eastern slope of Axe Edge, near Buxton, but its chief 
tributaries are all cradled on the Staffordshire hills. The 
Derwent has its springs on the Langsett Moor, below Bleaklow 
Hill on the Yorkshire border, and brings down to Trent the 
waters of many a score of breezy uplands. Chief among these 
are the Ashop and the Alport, which enter Derwent before it 
reaches the Vale of Hope. The Noe flows in from Edale, the 
Barbrook from the East Moors, and below Rowsley Bridge the 
Wye appears, newly strengthened by the joint waters of the 
Bradford and the Lathkill. This is the Dove's chief rival in 


beauty from its source on the hill above Buxton, along its 
rocky channel through Ashvvood Dale and Miller's Dale to 
Monsal Dale, to where, after rounding Fin Cop, it winds 
through the meadows of Ashford and Bakewell past the towers 
of Haddon Hall. Then the Derwent enjoys a smooth course 
down Darley Dale to Matlock, forces a way through the gorge 
of Matlock Bath beneath the crest of Masson, and flows below 
the waving woods of Alderwasley to Ambergate, where the 
Amber joins it, a bright stream dawdling by circuitous route 
from the high ground above Ashover. From Ambergate, the 
true gate of the Peak, the Derwent runs due south through 
Belper and Dufifield to Derby, and then, for its last ten miles, 
turns almost at right angles to the south-east till it enters the 
Trent at ^^'^ilne. 

Such are Derbyshire's principal rivers — the rivers which we 
propose to follow somewhat closely in our journeying. The 
Erewash valley we shall not enter at all, nor shall we pursue the 
course of the Goyt, which rises on the north-western slope of 
Axe Edge and flows down into Cheshire, or of the Rother, 
which hurries through Chesterfield to Rotherham on its way 
to the Don and Humber. For a few miles we shall keep touch 
with the Trent, then track the Dove along the Staffordshire 
border 'to its trickling spring near Buxton, and pass through 
Chapel-en-le-Frith and Hay field, over Kinderscout to the Ashop 
and the Derwent. Then we shall travel with the Derwent down 
to Ambergate, making excursions up the Amber to Wingfield and 
Ashover and within sight of Chesterfield's crooked steeple, and 
thoroughly exploring the Wye and the uplands and valleys 
which intervene between Wye and Dove, and Wye and 
Derwent. This is the tourist's Derbyshire : to discover its 
bright beauties one has but to follow its streams. 

There are, indeed, three Derbyshires. The first is the Derby- 
shire of the Trent Valley, including therein all the county south 
of Trent and the large tract lying north of it to an imaginary 
line, drawn from the Dove near Ashbourne, through Belper, to 

B 2 


the Erewash Valley at Codnor and Heanor. Most of this is 
purely agricultural land, rich in tilth and fruitful of corn in the 
old days — Derbyshire Felix, as it used to be called in distinction 
from Derbyshire Deserta, the Morelands or moorlands of the 
Peak. This is not much visited by strangers, though, as we 
shall see, the Melbourne and Repton country is full of interest 
and quiet beauty, and there are pretty places, which we do 
not touch, in the neighbourhood of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, and 
historic houses at Bretby and Calke. The Erewash Valley, from 
Long Eaton to Ilkeston, Iron ville - ominous name — andPinxton, 
has been ruthlessly industrialised, and though the broad district 
between Ashbourne and Derby has escaped this unhappy fate, 
it has fewer attractions and historical associations than any part 
of Derbyshire. Those who keep close to the Dove through 
Tutbury, Doveridge and Norbury will lose little by ignoring the 
old high-road from Derby to Ashbourne. Derby itself invites 
a rapid approach by train. 

The second Derbyshire of our division covers the Peak 
district in the widest extension of the term, and takes in the 
whole of the county lying north of Ashbourne and Belper and 
west of the Derwent. This includes the Glossop moors, just 
outside our range, the desolate Kinderscout region, the Vale 
of Hope, Buxton and the Wye Valley, Bakewell and Chats- 
worth, Matlock and Wirksworth, and Dove Dale on the western 
side. In this area we shall find ourselves tempted to linger, 
and shall gladly yield. The third Derbyshire comprises all 
that lies to the east of the Derwent, looking towards the 
Bradfield and Hallam Moors and Sheffield in the north-east 
corner, and then, further south, across the East Moors to 
Chesterfield, and, still further south, to the industrial and 
mining districts of Alfreton and Pinxton. This division lies 
for the most part outside our purview. Sheffield is the natural 
centre for Stanage and the Hallam Moors ; the Chesterfield 
region is comparatively unattractive, save for Hardwick Hall 
and Bolsover, lying right on the Nottinghamshire border and 


belonging, from the tourist point of view, rather to the Notting- 
hamshire " Dukeries " than to Derbyshire : while the Alfreton 
district is wholly spoilt. We shall be content, therefore, to ex- 
plore the Amber Valley on the way to South Wingfield and 

Our Derbyshire, therefore, is not the Derbyshire of the 
plains, but of the hills and dales. The highest hills lie in the 
north-west corner and form part of the backbone of England, 
the great Pennine range. Kinderscout, near Hayfield, rises to 
2,088 feet; Axe Edge, near Buxton, to 1,756 feet; Bleaklow, 
near Glossop, to 2,060 feet. These are the giants of the High 
Peak, not very tall, it is true, compared with real mountain 
giants, but imposing and dignified enough while one is in their 
company. Other horizons, other hills. When we are in the 
Peak of Derbyshire, we do not ask for anything grander or 
more subUme than the scene which Nature has spread 
before us, 

" Among the moody mountains, where they stand 
Awed with the thought of their own majesty." 

But the distinguishing feature of the " Derby Hills that are so 
free" is the long ridge or "edge," a bold outline of continuous 
high ground dominating a valley. Even Kinderscout is a ridge 
of this character, frowning down over purple moors and black, 
treacherous swamps ; so, too, is Axe Edge, while other famous 
edges worthy of special note are Coombs Edge, between Suxton 
and Chapel, Stanage Edge, looking down upon Hathersage, Der- 
went Edge, above Ashopton, and Froggatt Edge, above Calver. 
Sometimes they simply rise out of the plain and form big 
barriers with no special feature save their bulk. That is the 
impression which edges like those of Longstone and Rushup 
leave upon the mind - guardians protecting their valleys, but with 
no grace of woods adorning their bare sides. But others are 
jagged and broken, with fantastic buttresses and pinnacles of rock 
projecting skyward, and their slopes are strewn with boulders 
in token of ancient convulsion. Such are Froggatt Edge, 


Gardom Edge, Birchin Edge, Derwent Edge, Middlelon Edge 
and a score of others. Derbyshire, indeed, has very few real 
hills standing in conspicuous isolation from their fellows. Of 
these, Win Hill (1,523 feet), overlooking Hope, is my favourite, 
separated from its neighbours, Lose Hill and Mam Tor, by a 
curious break in the long ridge which divides Edale from the 
upper part of the Vale of Hope. The cone of Thorpe Cloud, 
cleft asunder from the bulk of Bunster, commands the entrance 
to Dove Dale ; Masson climbs to solitary eminence above 
Matlock ; and on the Staffordshire border, at Hollinsclough, is 
the still rarer sight of a real chain of hills, HoUins Hill, Chrome 
Hill, Parkhouse Hill, Hitter Hill, Aldery Cliff, and High 
Wheeldon, each with a clearly-marked individuahty of its own. 
Of the Derbyshire dales one cannot speak in terms of too 
much praise. Some are broad and stately valleys girt round by 
hills, with smaller valleys radiating from them, little towns and 
villages set in their midst and cultivated farms upon the hill- 
sides. Of these, the Vale of Hope, from Castleton to below 
Hathersage, is at once the largest and the most beautiful, while 
Darley Dale, from Rowsley and Stanton to Matlock and Riber, 
possesses claims just as sure to second honours. The third 
place belongs to Edale. But the entire Derwent Valley is 
exquisite, notably from Derwent Hall to Ashopton, from Frog- 
gatt to Baslow and the demesne of Chatsworth, and the long 
stretch from Cromford to Ambergate. Of the rocky dales, 
where little or no room is left for tillage, and the beauty of the 
scene depends wholly upon the river gorge and its rocks and 
woods, Dove Dale, from Thorpe Cloud to Hartington, stands 
without a peer. High in the second class come the long gorge 
of the AVye from Topley Pike through Chee Dale to the entrance 
of Miller's Dale, the lovely reaches of the same river around 
Fin Cop in Monsal Dale, and the noble gorge of the Derwent 
from Matlock round the base of the High Tor to Matlock Bath, 
and from Matlock Bath to Willersley Castle and Scarthin Nick. 
Then, too, we have the retired dales of Derbyshire, away from 


the beaten track, shy retreats unspoilt by man. Of these, the 
dales of the Lathkill and the Bradford are unsurpassed for sheer 
prettiness, and their charming streams are a never-ending delight. 
Other dales are dry clefts in the limestone, such as Middleton 
Dale, one side of which is as imposing as the other is tame and 
uninteresting, the romantic Deep Dale, near Buxton, Monks 
Dale, near Wornihill, the ^Vinnats, near Castleton, Nabs Dale, 
running down from Hanson Grange to the Dove Holes, and 
the long wooded ravine between Cromford and Winster, through 
which winds the beautiful Via Gellia. 

Should you tire of the valleys and desire to breathe a larger 
air, the moors are never far distant^moors gloriously open and 
grand. North of the Dore and Chinley railway, stretching away 
from the old Manchester and Sheffield road through Chapel- 
en-le-Frith, Castleton and Grindleford Bridge, spread the wildest 
moors, with the great towering mass of Kinderscout heavily 
seated upon them between Edale and Glossop. They slope 
across the Langsett Moors in unbroken grandeur towards Peni- 
stone — the bleakest region in all England — and over Stanage 
Edge and the Rivelin Moors to Sheffield. Above Grindleford 
Bridge a great wedge of high moorland strikes down to the 
southward above the left bank of Derwent, narrowing as it 
penetrates, till it merges into cultivation on the Tansley Moor 
between Matlock and Ashover Hay. It is a barren stretch, as 
those will find who cross it from Baslow to Sheffield over Owler 
Bar, or ' by either of the parallel highways from Baslow to 
Chesterfield, or by the even more deserted roads to Chester- 
field which climb up out of the Derwent Valley at Rowsley, 
Darley and Matlock. Especially wild — even in bright sun- 
shine—are the Beeley Moor, above the village of that name, and 
the Gibbet Moor, above Chatsworth, though both, as they reach 
the edge and begin to fall towards the valley, terminate magni- 
ficently in the paradise of woods above Chatsworth Park. The 
public or semi-public paths on the Baslow, Curbar and Froggatt 
Moors fringe the edges which command wide prospects over 


the Derwent Valley ; elsewhere, and noticeably in the Kinder- 
scout region and the moors near the Derwent and Stanage 
Edges, jealous guards are set against intrusion. Footpaths are 
few — some even of these are disputed — and, if you venture, 'tis 
as likely as not you will find yourself stalked down by some 
wrathful keeper, a growling Cerberus to whom you are scarcely 
sure what kind of sop to throw. The farmer is much more 
placable if you stray than is the sporting owner, carefully count- 
ing the cost and computing the market value of every live and 
winged thing on his moor. 

These are the real moors of heather and bracken which flame 
with brown and yellow and purple in the autumn. The name 
is also given in Derbyshire to barren, treeless tracts, covered 
with thin herbage, stony and desolate, or even to reclaimed 
moorland, enclosed and girt with grey stone walls. About a 
century ago, thousands of acres of ancient commons were thus 
enclosed in Derbyshire, and the name of moor still clings to 
them. On the western side of Derbyshire, north of Ashbourne 
and between the Dove and the Wye, stretch miles of these 
uplands, so bare of trees that, as an old writer put it, " Trees I 
doe acknowledge are soe few, in ye Peake espetially, that had 
Judas been there, he would have repented, before he could have 
found one to act his execution." The main road from Ash- 
bourne to Buxton, as soon as it has climbed up the long hill 
out of Fenny Bentley, continues across these bare uplands, 
which are only relieved by the clumps of trees, planted in com- 
paratively recent years, on the summits of the little hillocks, or 
lows, where the plateau has done its utmost to break the 
uniform monotony by rising to a head. Most of the old Peak 
Forest between Buxton and Castleton, Tideswell and Abney is 
also of this character, and he who seeks to know Derbyshire 
must not wholly ignore these bleak tracks, which often lie 
within less than an hour's walk of the greenest and loveliest 

Let it not be supposed, however, that the High Peak and 


the Derbyshire Hills have always enjoyed their present fame 
and always attracted the lovers of the picturesque. The very 
contrary is the case. Rarely, indeed, before the end of the 
eighteenth century does one find a reference to Derbyshire 
which contains a word of praise for its moors and mountains. 
The nearest approach, perhaps, is in the curious introduction — 
or prolusion, as he styled it — which Philip Kinder wrote about 
1663 to a projected "History of Derbyshire," that was never 
completed. He quaintly describes his native county as " the 
plastick particle of ye eggs yolke, for figure and shape ye very 
picture and abstract of her mother England," and as being 
" crowned with ye diadem of ye peake hills." And there, in 
the Peak, he continues, " The stupendious torrs, praecipices and 
casmas bring amazement, yet courted by dehght, that for a 
time you seem to have arrested tyme with admiration. These 
crested rocks and proud browes of ye hills are fanned with a 
delicious ayre, and ye delicate breezes that pass through ye 
vallies are a sweete vernal zephire to refocillate and animate ye 
pasturage, and in winter she hath snow in plenty like a cover- 
lid to keepe her herbage warme." Evidently Kinder loved his 
native hills. But his contemporaries did not— at least, not his 
lettered contemporaries. If they lifted up their eyes to the 
hills, it was not, in the spirit of the Psalmist, for strength and 
help, but in thankfulness that they themselves were safe in the 
sheltered plains. It never occurred to them to admire the 
combination of wild hills and moorland in which we find 
pleasure and delight. To them a mountain was a toilsome 
obstacle to climb, and a moor was an unpleasant place, apt to 
be boggy, affording no protection from wind and rain, without 
roads and inns — a place where it was easy to go astray. See 
for example, how disrespectfully Michael Drayton speaks of 
the Peak in his Polyolbion : 

" But to th' unwearied Muse the Pealie appears the while 
A withered beldam long, with bleared, waterish eyes, 
With many a bleak storm dimmed, which often to the skies 


She cast, and oft to th' earth bowed down her aged head, 
Her meagre, wrinkled face being suUied still with lead." 

Or again : — 

" Ye dark and hollow caves, the portraitures of Hell, 
Where fogs and misty damps continually dwell." 

Even Charles Cotton, Isaac Walton's friend and a loyal son of 
Derbyshire, exhausts his vocabulary of insult in writing of the 
mountains and the moors of his native county, where " Nature 
only sufifers in disgrace " : 

" Like warts and wens, hills on the one side dwell 
To all but natives inaccessible, 
Th' other a blue scrofulous scum defiles 
Flowing from th' earth's iraposthumated boyles." 

When he writes of Chatsworth he compares it with a bright 
diamond in a socket of ignoble jet, 

" Environed round with Nature's shames and ills 

Black heaths, wild rocks, bleak crags and naked hills." 

Or again, when he is weaving a chaplet of verse for his beloved 
Dove, he says : — 

" In this so craggy, ill-contrived a nook 

Of this our little world, this pretty brook 

Alas ! is all the recompense I share 

For all th' intern perancies of the air, 

Perpetual winter, endless solitude. 

Or the society of men so rude 

That it is ten times worse." 

Will it be believed that the " craggy ill-contrived nook " he 
speaks of is none other than Dove Dale and Beresford Dale ? 
So, when Sampson Erdeswick wrote his Survey of Stafford- 
shire in 1603, he spoke of the Dove flowing past the side of 
Alstonefield for three or four miles " without any matter worth 
the noting." Those three or four miles were Dovedale ! The 
eighteenth century agreed in the main with the seventeenth, 
The "picturesque travellers," it is true, discovered the great 
beauty of Derbyshire valleys and dales, but the moors wearied 
and even disgusted them. Pilkington, who wrote in 1789, 


spoke for his time when he said : — " However, though the 
moors of Derbyshire are in themselves so unpleasing and 
disgustful to the imagination, yet they serve by way of contrast 
to heighten the beauty of the dales and valleys by which they 
are intersected. The sudden and great change in the 
appearance of the country which these occasion fills the mind 
with surprise and delight." Warner, in 1802, said of the 
road from Castleton to Sheffield, " Nothing can be conceived 
more dreary, rude and forlorn for twelve miles out of the 
sixteen." He positively welcomed the button manufactory at 
Hathersage as " offering the first dawnings of the hardware 
trade to which we were approaching," and added : " This 
scene of life and business is succeeded by a tract of moor in 
the true style of the Salvator Rosa scenery, the line of the 
horizon being broken by black, rocky crags which frown over 
the adjacent waste." The probabihties are that he did not so 
much as turn his head to look back upon the Vale of Hope 
from the Surprise View on Millstone Edge. But then had not 
Horace Walpole spoken of the Alps as " uncouth rocks " ? 

Like country, like people ! If the Peak was regarded as an 
uncivilised, inhospitable land, the Peakrills were thought to be 
little removed from savagery. From their gloomy caverns and 
forbidding precipices the gipsies came, according to a quaint 
old seventeenth century gipsy song : — 

" From the famous Peak of Derby 

And the Devil's Cave that's hard by ; 
Where we yearly make our musters 

There the Gipsies throng in clusters. 
Be not frightened with our fashion 

Though we seem a tattered nation ; 
We account our Raggs our Riches, 

.So our tricks exceed our stitches. 
Give us Bacon, rind of Walnuts, 

Shell of cockels and of small nuts, 
Ribbons, Bells and Saffron Linnin, 

And all the world is ours to win in." 


Philip Kinder, it is true, declared that " the common sort of 
people, out of a genuine reverence, not forced by feare or insti- 
tution, doe observe those of larger fortunes, courteous and 
readie to show the waies and help a passenger," but Cotton, 
who loved the delights of London Town, found the society of 
the Derbyshire squires insufferably " rude," and the superior 
eighte'.nth century tourist — a modish and rather conceited 
person — had no good to say of the Peakrill. " I have not " — 
so Pilkington wrote — " in any other part of England seen or 
heard of so much rudeness, indecency and prophaneness," and 
he expressed the pious hope that the introduction of manufac- 
tures and Sunday schools would civilise the Peak, and that the 
natives might learn decorum and civility from the refining in- 
fluence of conversation with tourists to Buxton and Matlock. 
Nowadays, we take the contrary view, and lament that the 
primitive virtues of rustic seclusion are spoilt by tourists ! 
No doubt the Derbyshire villager, especially the miner or 
groover, seemed an uncouth being to the polite and fashionable 
stranger, who was puzzled by the local dialect, and the eight- 
eenth century, whose philosophers invented " the natural man," 
only admired him in the abstract. Yet Kinder's estimate was 
probably much nearer the truth than Pilkington's, judging from 
the almost invariable kindness and hospitality which Derbyshire 
people show to the stranger in their midst. " Derbyshire born 
and Derbyshire bred ; Strong in the arm and thick in the head," 
so runs the saying. The Peakrills were simply rough diamonds. 
The truth is, that the Derbyshire roads, like those of most 
counties in England, were for centuries absolutely execrable, 
and, in a region like the Peak, communication was frequently 
not only difficult but dangerous. In Stuart days the road- 
maker simply threw the stone of the district on to the road and 
left it. He rarely dug drains to carry the water off, and rollers 
were unknown. Even in Arthur Young's days (circ. 1770) ruts 
were often four feet deep. As we perambulate the shire, we 
shall note the ancient highways which have long been super- 


seded by the new, and the sight of many of these at once 
explains why Derbyshire remained so long an almost unknown 
land. Philip Kinder boasts of this isolation and congratulates 
Derbyshire on having no history : — 

" Here is no Ackeldamas or feilds of blood, noe Theatre for Tragedies 
in this shire, noe battles fought, few warlick exploits, noe transaction of 
state, all which I take for blessing. But ye cause is there is noe strong 
castles, noe fortifications, whither armies may retreate, from whence they 
may issue. The vicinitie of Nottingham Castle and ye neighbour provinces 
have usurped this honour, if you call it honour or happiness to be in 
continual alarms. From. ye high Peakish mountains, whose horizon is seen 
dilated, wee may, as from the mainmast of this floating iland, take a 
survey of ye bordering counties ; here you may see them weltering in goare 
and blood, with storms and tempests and thunders and devastations ; in ye 
interim Darbyshire solacing with ye poett in this hemistick, 
' inediis tranquillns in itndh ' 
calme in ye midst of ye boisterous waters." 

We must not take this too literally, of course. We shall find 
historical associations in plenty for our purpose, burial places 
of ancient Britons who have bequeathed to us little more than 
their bones and their graves, the roads of the conquering 
Romans, broken memorials of Saxon piety, massive columns of 
Norman devotion. Here, as elsewhere, you may trace the slow 
course of the centuries. Yet Kinder was right, too. Derby- 
shire has not played a commanding part in English history. 
The castle of the Peverils at Castleton was never important ; 
Derbyshire's chief feudal strongholds lay in the lowlands not far 
from the borders, guarding the fords or commanding the roads 
thereto. Melbourne stood near the bridge over 'the Trent at 
Swarkestone ; Gresley, mid-way between Burton and Ashby-de- 
la-Zouch, watched the road into Leicestershire ; Duffield and 
Belper were well stationed on the Derwent a little north of 
Derby ; Codnor stood on the Erewash ; Bolsover Castle lay 
within easy reach of Chesterfield and the northern roads. Derby- 
shire's association with Mary, Queen of Scots, was due wholly 
to its remoteness and inaccessibility, for Elizabeth rightly judged 


that her captive would be safe near the Peak. So, in the Civil 
Wars, Derbyshire witnessed little more than a few skirmishes, of 
no particular importance. Even Wingfield Manor was rather 
a nuisance than a menace to the local Parliamentarians, so long 
as Derby and Nottingham Castle were held against the King. 
Again, as for Derbyshire's watering-places, the springs of Matlock 
Bath were not discovered until the close of the seventeenth 
century, and Buxton, despite its antiquity, has not a hundredth 
part of the associations of Bath. Nevertheless, we shall find, if we 
but keep our eyes open, abundant relics of the past that are 
hallowed by old memories, beautiful churches, ancient manor- 
houses, noble mansions in stately parks, old farmhouses lying 
'snug among sheltering trees. Much survives : but alas ! how 
much more has been suffered to fall in ruin, and how many 
legends have slipped beyond recovery from heedless and forget- 
ful minds ! Memories are short ; the traditions of the country- 
side are no longer handed down from generation to generation ; 
old books grow out of date, gather dust, and their pages are 
turned no more. 

It only remains to speak a word of the communications of 
Derbyshire. Railways are plentiful. The Midland main line 
from London to Manchester bisects the county from the south- 
east to the north-west, clinging to the picturesque Derwent 
valley from Trent to Derby, Ambergate, Bakewell and Rowsley, 
then threading the romantic valley of the Wye to Miller's , 
Dale, then tunnelling under Peak Forest to Chapel-en-le-Frith 
and so on to Marple. Through much tamer scenery the 
Midland line from Sheffield to Birmingham — through Chester- 
field, Derby and Burton — runs down the eastern side, and the 
Manchester and Sheffield line of the same great system crosses 
the north of the county from Chinley to Dore through Edale 
and the Vale of Hope. On the western side the North 
Staffordshire railway skirts the Staffordshire boundary in a 
great loop from Eggington and Tutbury through Uttoxeter to 
Ashbourne, where the new London and North-Western line 


takes up the running, clambers up to Alsop-en-le-Dale and 
continues at commanding altitudes high above Hartington to 
Buxton, whence it resumes the old track to Whaley Bridge and 
Stockport. These are the tourists' railways ; a light railway 
between Grindleford Bridge and Hassop, near Bakewell, 
promises a useful new link of connection, and some day, no 
doubt, Ashbourne and Derby will be brought into more sisterly 

The wise tourist will, of course, use the railways freely, but 
he will not wholly depend upon them. The truth is, that you 
cannot see Derbyshire by rail ; you cannot — this is a matter 
for deep thanksgiving — see it by motor ; nor yet can you see it 
by cycle. All these are useful adjuncts, aids in the rapid annihil- 
ation of distance, but they are not self-sufficient. To see 
Derbyshire you must walk. The big high-roads are splendid 
and inspiring — ride these if you will — but the by-roads that 
wander up and down at random, the stony lanes where no 
wheel save the heavy cart-wheel goes, the tracks over the wide 
moors and heather, the unmapped sheep-paths over the hill- 
side turning here to avoid a boulder, and there to escape a 
patch of bog, and sometimes swerving out of the way of a mere 
tussock, the foot-paths by the side of streams, through meadows 
where the deep grasses grow, by hedges full of song — these, 
these are the rewards of the foot-farer, the jogging pedestrian. 
He hears, as from a safe retreat, the toot of the motor horn and 
sees a great way off the white clouds of dust rise on the high- 
way — the whole valley shall know that Smith is riding by — 
hears and envies not at all, if he has understanding of Nature 
and her ways, knows the joy of the " lonely mountain tops," 
the calm of valleys, the music of streams, or ever 

" In solitude returning, saw the hills 
Grow larger in the darkness ; all alone 
Beheld the stars come out above hii head, 
And travelled through the wood, with no one near 
To whom he might confess the things he saw." 


The Pool Mell'OKrne Hall. 



Kegworth, in Leicestershire, four miles south of Trent 
Junction, was my starting point, chosen for no other reason 
than that a dotted hne on the ordnance survey map showed 
that I could cross from thence to Melbourne, the first place of 
importance in South Derbyshire, through the fields almost the 
whole way. In June, what attraction could be more potent ? 
Kegworth is a pleasant little town on the banks of the Soar, 
and situated on the old coaching road from Loughborough and 
the south to Derby and Manchester, which crossed the Trent 
at Shardlow Bridge. I found the house in which Tom Moore 
lived for a time to be near his patron. Lord Moira, at Donington 
Park, and then, from the side of the windmill which one sees 
from the railway, entered the first of a long succession of 
fields leading to Castle Donington. These fields command a 
prospect over the broad Trent Valley down to the big junction 
at Trent, where the white smoke is for ever rising. In the 
distance are the tall chimneys of Long Eaton, beyond the turn 



of the line of low hills which flank the Soar from Kingston to 
Thrumpton and then bend with the Trent towards Barton and 

The path runs through undulating country, never rising to 
more than two hundred feet, and brings one out by the church 
of Castle Donington, a straggling town set on the side of a hill, 
up which climbs the steep road from Nottingham to Ashby-de- 
la-Zouch. There is nothing in Castle Donington to hold us — 
the castle mound lies at the foot of the hill and the church is 
of little interest — and we cross the main road to the by-road 
leading towards Donington Park. Then, in half-a-mile a foot- 
path on the left conducts us through delightful fields, whose 
dense hedges were white and pink with blossom as I saw them, 
to a gate set in a corner of the park, where a belt of magnificent 
trees crowns the rising ground. The path does not enter the 
park but keeps along the low boundary wall, over which one 
soon observes a remarkable group of aged oaks, gnarled into 
strange and fantastic shapes, some dead, others in the last 
flicker of life, though this last flicker may continue for half a 
century more. A little beyond we get a glimpse of Donington 
Hall, a plain, two-storeyed building with chapel attached. 
The whole estate has recently passed into new and wealthier 
hands from neighbouring Burton. It was long the seat of the 
Earls of Huntingdon, ancestors of the first Marquis of Hastings, 
who lent it to Charles X. of France during the time of his exile 
in England. The house enjoyed a brief blaze of celebrity in 
the lifetime of the last Marquis, who in a few years squandered 
away a noble fortune. The story of Hermit's victory in the 
Derby of 1867 — that well-remembered struggle in a snowstorm 
which beggared the racing Marquis — belongs to the history of 
the Turf. Racing may be the sport of kings, but it is a sorry 
amusement on which to fling away a fine estate like Donington 
Park. We cross by a footbridge the drive to the Hall, and 
then, still keeping by the park boundary, reach more open 
ground by the side of a keeper's cottage. Here for the 

NEtr E.RicH<|E.N oo" 




1 ew Htdg s, Melbourne Hall 


first time we set foot in Derbyshire, and from here we get our 
first view of Melbourne on the opposite slope of the broadish 
valley below us. Away to our left — a long two miles distant — 
is a fine upstanding, church-crowned hill. This is Breedon-on- 
the-Hill, just inside Leicestershire, for the boundary runs 
between it and Melbourne. In the churchyard is the grave of 
the unfortunate steward whom the fourth Earl Ferrers murdered 
in 1760, two miles away at Staunton Harold — the last peer of 
the realm to be hanged at Tyburn after full trial by his peers in 
the House of Lords. He drove to the scaffold in a coach 
and six, and was hanged, it is said, with a silken cord. He was 
the first criminal to suffer by the " new drop " instead of the 
old cart, ladder, and thiee-cornered gibbet. 

Melbourne is a curious medley, of which part is as distress- 
ingly commonplace as any newly-built country town. This we 
may ignore. The other half, including the church, the Hall, 
and the great pool, is altogether charming. Melbourne had 
a castle once, one of the strong places of the Midlands, but 
not one stone now stands upon another, save for a few un- 
important fragments of the ancient wall which enclosed, it is 
believed, fully ten acres of ground. It dated back to Norman 
days, but was rebuilt at the beginning of the fourteenth 
century, when it passed into the hands of the Earls and Dukes 
of Lancaster, and from them into the possession of the Crow'n. 
John, Duke of Bourbon, of the royal line of France, languished 
here fornineteen years as a prisoner of war — he was taken at 
Agincourt — though there must have been some special reason 
for such prolonged detention. During the Wilts of the Roses 
Melbourne Castle was partially dismantled by Margaret, Queen 
of Henry VI., and thenceforward was resigned to slow decay. 

But though the castle has vanished, the cruciform church 
remains. It stands open to the road without enclosure, and is 
a magnificent example of early Norman work, with a fine 
central tower and two other small towers at the west end. 
Worthy of note are the arcades above the arches of the aisles, 


the three tiers of arcading in the central tower, the apsidal 
terminations of the transepts and the chancel— that of the 
chancel may be seen outside the building — and the traces of 
an upper chancel above the existing one, like the unique 
example in Compton Church, near Guildford. The monuments 
are disappointing, save for the inscription on a modern brass 
to the memory of the late vicar, the Rev. W. H. Cantrell 
(1808-1890). He is described as being the "last of his race," 
and then the Latin continues, " Quae vitia in eo fuerint scit 
Deus, non ego," i.e. " God alone knows what his faults were; I 
knew them not." It is his widow who speaks. Melbourne 
Church used to belong to the Bishops of Carlisle, and their 
stone tithe barn still stands near the west end. When there 
was war between England and Scotland, or the freebooters on 
either side of the Border made Carlisle an unpleasant residence, 
the bishop used to come down to Melbourne, confident that 
the Scottish raiders would not penetrate the Derbyshire hills. 

Just across the road from the east end of the church lay the 
rectory house, which had been annexed in the time of 
Henry H. to the see of Carlisle. In 1628 Sir John Coke 
acquired possession of it on a lease of three lives, and, in 17 10, 
this was turned into freehold. Sir John was one of Charles I.'s 
principal Secretaries of State, and was made the scapegoat for 
that monarch's ill-fated Scottish policy. When the Civil AVar 
broke out neither party trusted him, and Melbourne Hall was 
occupied for some time by a Major Swallow with Parliamentary 
troops from Derby. His descendant, Thomas Coke, one of 
Queen Anne's vice-chamberlains, is thought to have been the 
original of the Sir Plume of Pope's bitter sarcasm ; — 

Sir Plume of amber snuflf-box justly vain 
And the nice conduct of a clouded cane, 
With earnest eyes and round unthinking face 
lie first the snuff-box opened, then the case. 

Charlotte Coke, Sir Plume's daughter, married in 1740 a 
Mr. Matthew Lamb, son of a Southwell solicitor, who was the 

The Gardefi, Melbourne Hall. 


Cokes' confidential adviser. His ability was great and his 
ambitions speedily overstepped the narrow bounds of a 
provincial practice. Migrating to London, he became solicitor 
to the Post Office, entered Parliament, bought Brocket Hall 
in Hertfordshire, and was made a Baronet. His wife succeeded 
on her brother's death to the entire Coke estate, and before 
Sir Matthew died, leaving a million of money, he had securely 
laid the foundations of a family. His son. Sir Peniston Lamb, 
was raised to the peerage in 1780 with the title of Baron 
Melbourne ; his grandson was Viscount Melbourne, Queen 
Victoria's first Prime Minister, who, as the Hon. William Lamb 
— he was a younger son— married Lady Carohne Ponsonby, a 
daughter of the Earl of Bessborough. On the very same day 
his sister married Earl Cowper. Brocket was the principal 
seat of the family and Lady Caroline rarely visited Melbourne. 
We need, therefore, only just recall her mad infatuation for 
Byron, which was the talk of more than one London season. 
She met him for the first time at Lady Westmoreland's house 
in London. Byron was brought up to be introduced ; Lady 
Caroline refused to acknowledge his salutation and entered in 
her journal that Byron was " mad, bad and dangerous to 
know." Shortly afterwards he was again presented to her at 
Holland House. This time her mood had changed ; he called 
at Melbourne House the next day ; and the intrigue began — 
if intrigue it can be called where there was practically no 
pretence of concealment. One extract may be quoted from 
Lady Caroline's diary describing a call which Byron made at 
her house. She says : — 

" Rogers and Moore were standing by me. I was on the sofa. I had 
just come in from riding. I was filthy and heated. When Lord Byron 
was announced I flew out of the room to wash myself. When I returned 
Rogers ."^aid : — " Lord Byron, you are a happy man. Lady Caroline has 
been sitting in all her dirt witli us, but wdien you were announced she flew 
to beautify herself.' " 

" In all her dirt ! " So do fastidious poets talk ! However, as 


subsequent events only too clearly proved, Lady Caroline was 
scarcely responsible for her actions. Time also disclosed with 
what splendid self-restraint Lord Melbourne endured what 
must have been a life of torture. There was only one child 
of this unhappy marriage, a boy who was mentally deficient and 
died young. 

The estate then passed to Lord Melbourne's sister who had 
married Earl Cowper. The Earl was dead ; the widowed 
Countess had married Lord Palmerston ; and Melbourne Hall 
thus became associated with another of Queen Victoria's 
Prime Ministers. Lady Palmerston was a brilliant woman, 
long one of the leaders of London political society, and her 
drawing-room at Palmerston House, in Piccadilly, was practically 
the last of the great ^^'hig salons in England. At her death 
Melbourne Hall passed to her son by her first marriage, and the 
estate is still in the possession of the Cowpers, who do not, how- 
ever, reside there. 

But by far the most interesting association of Melbourne 
Hall is that it was the place where Baxter began to write The 
Saints' Everlasting Rest. It would be rash to say that the 
vogue of this book is over, though the theological tastes of the 
present day run in other channels. New editions are rare ; 
the copy we are nearly sure to meet in turning over the 
volumes on any second-hand book-stall is invariably old and 
brown with age. Baxter tells us in his autobiography how he 
came to write it. He had been serving as chaplain in one of 
the regiments of the Parliamentary army during the Civil War, 
and his health had utterly broken down. After the fashion of 
the day the surgeons had bled him most unmercifully, and he lay 
worn and weary at the house of Sir John Coke, or Cook, as 
Baxter spells the name. But let the author speak for 
himself: — 

" The second book which I wrote and tlie first which I began was that 
called 'The Saints' Everlasting Rest.' Whilst I was in health I had not 
the least thought of writing books, or of serving GOD in any more public 


way than preaching. But when I was weakened with great bleeding and 
left solitary in my chamber at Sir John Cook's in Derbyshire, without any 
acquaintance but my servant about me, and was sentenced to death by the 
physicians, I began to contemplate more seriously on the Everlasting Rest 
which I apprehended myself to be just on the borders of. And that my 
thoughts might not too much scatter in my meditation I began to write 
something on the subject, intending but the quantity of a sermon or two 
(which is the cause that the beginning is in brevity and style disproportion- 
able to the rest), but being continued long in weakness, where I had no 
books nor no better employment, I followed it on till it was enlarged to 
the bulk in which it is published. The first three weeks I spent in it 
was at Mr. Nowel's house at Kirby-Mallory in Leicestershire ; a quarter of 
a year more, at the seasons which so great weakness would allow, I bestowed 
on it at Sir Tho. Rous's house at Rous- Leach, Worcestershire, and I finished 
it shoitly afterwards at Kidderminster. The first and last parts were first 
done, being all that I intended for my own use ; and the second and third 
parts came afterwards in beside my first intention. 

"This book it pleased GOD so far to bless to the profit of many that it 
encouraged me to be guilty of all those scripts which after followed. The 
marginal citations I put in after I came home to my books, but almost all 
the book itself was written when I had no books but a Bible and a Concor- 
dance. And I found that the transcript of the heart hath the greatest force 
on the hearts of others. For the good that I have heard that multitudes 
have received by that writing, and the benefit which I have again received 
from their prayers, I here humbly return my thanks to Him that compelled 
me to write it." 

It was not, of course, the present Hall in which Baxter stayed, 
for that only dates back to about 1700 — though there are large 
remains of an older Tudor house built into the back — and the 
building itself is hardly as noteworthy as its garden. 

This has every charm that a garden ought to have. It is 
green and spacious, silent and sweetly scented, cool with running 
and with springing water, and owes as much to art as to nature. 
The original formality of its Dutch style is tempered by age. 
The stiff yew hedges, still kept carefully trimmed, have 
assumed such massive and splendid proportions as to be almost 
monumental, and the great cedars and limes and pines that 
overhang them have long grown beyond control of the shears 
and exhibit the most varied and fantastic shapes. You may 


wander down broad flights of shallow steps, through a long 
twilight tunnel cut in the heart of the yew hedge, to the 
symmetrical fish-pond which is surrounded on three sides by 
high walls of yew, in which are clipped bowers and niches for 
statutes. A rococo, and rather portly, Perseus leers delightfully 
at an equally plump and self-satisfied Andromeda. On the one 
side two Cupids quarrel and leaden tears run down their 
dimpled cheeks ; on the other they embrace with rapture. 
Indeed, the wealth of garden sculpture and ornaments is 
renowned, one leaden vase in particular, of noble proportions 
and adorned with many figures, being an oft-quoted model of 
its kind. ' It is approached by a long lawn at right angles to 
the fish-pond, and the vista of the light feathery foliage of the 
limes, which here meet overhead, springing from the sombre 
hedges of the pervading" yew, is very beautiful. But there are 
endless vistas, fountains, statues, intersecting alleys and noble 
avenues ; and even a delightful grotto with rocaille work and a 
trickling well, whose waters are extolled in heavy Alexandrines 
inscribed on a marble tablet. In the springtime the moist 
young greenery of trees and turf, the carpet of pale sweet- 
smeUing flowers, and the chorus of rooks, of wood pigeons and 
of thrushes make this garden the most desirable place imagin- 
able. Tom Moore, who often came to Melbourne when he 
was living at Kegworth, describes its beauties in his Pegasus ; 
or. The Ashby Guide : — 

" Melbourne, thy sweet and gardens gay 
Shall for a moment claim delay, 
But vain are all descriptive powers 
To paint those bright Elysian bowers, 
Where Nature spreads her thousand dyes, 
With nicest skill to charm our eyes, 
And Flora and Pomona join 
To stamp the lovely spot divine. 

Across the road from the gardens lies a broad lake, called 
the Pool, filling an ancient quarry, so tradition says, where the 
stone was got for Melbourne Castle. 


From Melbourne we turn towards Swarkeston Bridge by 
way of King's Newton, a romantic single street village contain- 
ing the picturesque ruins of an ancient hall, the old home of 
the Hardinges, which was burnt in 1859. Here Charles II. 
once spent a night, but the name of King's Newton, or Newton 
Regis, is of much earlier date. At the cross roads at the 
entrance of the village stands the Pack Horse Inn, whose name 
tells the story of the unmetalled lane running down the hill 
near by. This was the pack-horse track, and once the main 
highway from north to south through the midlands when 
Swarkeston Bridge was the only bridge over the Trent between 
Burton and Nottingham. Shardlow Bridge was not built till 
the coaching days. Then, when the Cavendish Bridge at 
Shardlow was built, the line of traffic quitted Swarkeston and 
King's Newton, and ran from Derby to Loughborough by way 
of Alvaston, Shardlow, Kegworth, and the valley of the Soar. 
The old track received yet another blow when a better road 
was cut from Swarkeston to Melbourne, which left King's 
Newton high and dry upon the left. Nevertheless we will 
take the ancient way down to the bridge, noting as we descend 
the fine brick wall which used to enclose King's Newton Hall 
and its delightful situation on the crest of the slope. A few 
yards down on the right hand side is a sunken path leading to 
the Holy Well. Why it was accounted holy I could not dis- 
cover, but the spring is surmounted by a plain, arched stone 
structure five feet high, with the Latin inscription, 

Fans sacer hie struilur Robcrlo noininis Hardinge. 

and the date 1662. This was the Hardinge who entertained 
King Charles in the house above. Perhaps Sacred Majesty 
walked down to it or drank from it, and thus sanctified the 
spring ! Our track, nearly choked in places with brambles, 
winds through the fields, emerges at length by the side of a 
farm, and enters the main road at the beginning of the long 
approach to Swarkeston Bridge. The actual span over the 


Trent is no more than 414 feet, but the bridge in its entirety is 
1304 yards, or three-quarters of a mile, in length, and consists 
for the most part of a raised causeway with numerous arches. 

In summer these look futile and meaningless as they stand 
in the dry meadows, but the Trent even now has a trick of over- 
flowing his channel and spreading his floods far and wide, and 
in the old days, when floods were regarded as a dispensation to 
be accepted rather than as a nuisance to be abated, the valley 
must often have been impassable. Tradition says that the 
bridge was built at the expense of two maiden sisters, whose 
lovers were drowned while trying to ford the river. They 
devoted their whole fortune to keeping it in repair. A little 
chapel stood on one of the piers on the Stanton side, a sure 
sign of the bridge's antiquity and importance. Such chantry 
chapels were frequent in early days ; there was even a religious 
order known as " The Brothers of the Bridge." London 
Bridge, for example, was first built, if Stow may be trusted, by 
the monks of St. Mary Overie's. At Droitwich the road 
actually passed through the bridge chapel, leaving the priest on 
one side and the congregation on the other; on Wakefield 
Bridge the Gothic chapel still remains — though much restored 
— that was built on the site of an older one by Edward IV. in 
memory of his father, the Duke of York, and his adherents 
who fell at the battle of Wakefield. The Swarkeston chapel 
was probably a much simpler building, with a priest in attend- 
ance to say prayers and to take toll. Bridges then were few 
and far between, and if they saved people the discomfort and 
often the peril of a fording, the privilege was worth, in common 
gratitude, a prayer. 

The Swarkeston Bridge chapel suffered the fate which befell 
most other religious buildings in England at the Reformation. 
It was looted. The plunderer was Mr. Edward Beamont, of 
A rkeston, and the Church Goods Commissioners of 1 5 5 2 reported, 
" We have a chapell edified and buylded uppon Trent in ye 
mydest of the greate streme annexed to Swerston bregge, the 
whiche had certayns stufife belongyng to it, ii desks to knell 


in, a table of wode, and certayne barres of yron and glasse in 
the wyndos, which Mr. Edward Beamont, of Arkeston, hath 
taken awaye to hi.s owne use, and we saye that if the chappell 
dekeye, tlie brydge wyll not stande." Evidently a mean and 
paltry theft, for which we hope Mr. Beamont's conscience 
twinged him. The bridge stood, however, though the chapel 
fell into ruins, but there was more than one lawsuit respecting 
liability to pay for its upkeep. The present span over the 
river dates only from 1796 — 97. The earlier one had been 
carried away in 1795 by the timber which came floating down 
the river from a timber yard during a heavy flood. 

Naturally, Swarkeston Bridge witnessed some fighting in the 
Civil War, for both sides were anxious to command this 
passage over Trent. In a skirmish here on Jan. 5 th, 1643, 
Sir John Gell, of Hopton, the most active of the Parliamentary 
leaders in the Midlands, routed the Royalists and kept a firm 
hold of the bridge throughout the war. A century later, 
in 1745, Swarkeston Bridge was held for two nights by the 
advance guard of Prince Charlie's Highland army, so that the 
main body might cross the Trent without molestation. But 
the opportunity never came, for the order was given to 
retreat from Derby by the way they had come. 

Nor has Swarkeston Bridge lacked its tribute of song. 
Thomas Bancroft, the poet, was born in early Stuart days at 
the little village hard by, and in his collection of Epigrams, 
published in 1639, he wrote : — 

' ' Swarston, when I behold that pleasant sight 
Whose river runs a progress with delight, 
Joyed with the beauties of fresh flowery plaines 
And bounteous fields that crown the Plow-man's pains. 
I sigh (that see my native home estranged) 
For Heaven, whose Lord and tenure's never changed." 

Bancroft's elder brother had sold the family property and 
emigrated to America. In those days Sir John Harpur, of 
Swarkeston, — whose monument and that of his father a 



Justice of the Common Pleas, are still to be seen in the 
church— was one of the principal gentry in South Derbyshire, 
and at his death Bancroft wrote an epitaph with a curious 

Ntm" LRiCH-iCN. 

bridge : 

The Balcony Field; S-warkeston. 

pun in it, and an interesting reference to the 

" As did cold Hebrus with deep grones 
The Thracian Harper once lament, 
So art thou with incessant mones 
Bewayled by thy doleful Trent, 


While the astonisht Bridge doth show, 
(Like an Arch-mourner) heaviest woe." 

Bancroft used to fish in the Trent by Swarkeston Bridge ; — 

" Sweet river, on whose flowery margin laid, 
I with the slippery fish have often played 
At fast and loose." 

And, two centuries later, it was a favourite fishing haunt of 
a very different and much more famous man. Herbert 
Spencer, in his recently issued Autobiography, tells "how one 
morning, when he was a young man living with his parents at 
Derby, he found he could not sleep, and so, he says, " I got 
up, dressed, sallied out, walked to Swarkeston, five miles off, 
and began fishing by moonlight." A place without associations 
is lacking, whatever its beauty, in completeness. Without 
human interest it is shorn of half its attractiveness. Swarkeston 
Bridge is only a very long bridge to the person who crosses it 
unthinkingly. Those who know its past can people it with 
strange figures, and will be glad to add to the motley throng 
the youthful figure of Herbert Spencer fishing there in the 
moonlight. Alas that a practical but prosaic County Council 
should have been guilty of filling in some of the arches with 
vile blue bricks ! 

Just beyond the little church on the river bank are the 
extensive ruins of the old mansion of the Harpurs, which was 
fortified for the king by Colonel Hastings in 1643 — doubtless 
one of the Donington Park Hastings — though he had to 
withdraw after the skirmish by the bridge. A large and 
picturesque farmhouse has been built out of the stone and bricks, 
but enough remains to show what an important place it must 
have been. Near by stands another ruin of later date at one 
side of an enclosure — known locally as the Balcony Field — 
about a hundred yards long by sixty wide. It 'is a shallow 
building, one room only in depth, with three storeys in each 


tower and a single long room in the middle above an open 
pillared arcade. The back is a blank wall unbroken by any 
window. It seems to have been an elaborate Stuart summer 
house, or banqueting house, with garden and bowling green 

WtY LRiCnjt^i 

Wakeiyn Hilton. 



The broad road before us leads on to Derby, through the 
little village of Chellaston, famous for its alabaster. We will 
not, however, go on to Derby now, nor will we choose the other 
main road through Barrow and Twyford to the west. Let us 
rather turn back over the bridge and take the narrow by-road 
up the right bank of the Trent, which here runs in a fairly 
deep channel, though at the bends tell-tale flood-posts more 
than hint its wayward character. In a couple of miles Ingleby 
is reached, a delightful little village, innocent alike of church 
and inn, and set among noble trees. Beyond the last farm 
where the road twists to the left at right angles and passes 
through a gate, take the footpath through the field up to the 
crest of the rising ground. If your desire be to see Anchor 
Church, which is said to have been a hermit's abode on the 
river cliff — it has been much altered in modern times —bear to 


the right ; but the place is hardly worth the trouble of finding. 
Keep to the left, therefore, where the footpath forks and slants 
across to the road by a belt of wood, and there take another 
continuing path on the left, which leads down to the elaborate 
stables at the back of Foremark Hall, an Adams mansion, the 
lower half of stone, the upper of brick, with a fine horse-shoe 
staircase of approach. This seat of the Burdetts, built in 
1762, was the favourite residence of that fox-hunting Radical 
squire, Sir Francis Burdett, the hero of the famous Westminster 
election of 1807, and the hope of the advanced Reformers and 
of all the discontented throughout the land. He it was who 
barricaded his London house against the Speaker's warrant, 
and was fined _;£^2,ooo and endured three months' imprison- 
ment for a vigorous attack on the Government over the Peterloo 
riots in 181 7. He lived to see Reform carried, and lived also 
to sit on the Tory side of the House of Commons. " I am 
sick of the cant of patriotism," he said on one well-known 
occasion in the House, and Lord John Russell, with a bitter 
taunt, retorted that if there was one thing more nauseous than 
the cant of patriotism it was the recant of patriotism. The 
undulating and finely timbered park of Foremark is delightful, 
and contains the little church consecrated by Bishop Hacket 
in 1662, which serves the people both of Ingleby and Milton. 
Hacket was the Royalist Bishop of Lichfield, who rebuilt the 
cathedral shattered in the Civil War and excommunicated his 
own dean. We make our way across the fields to the little 
village of Milton, and Repton is but a mile and a half 
further on. 

Repton is charmingly situated on the slope of the rising 
ground above the Trent, from which it is about a mile distant. Its 
claims to have been a Roman station are of the slenderest, but 
in post-Roman days, when England was split up into its 
various Saxon kingdoms, Repton was one of the principal 
towns of the great Angle kingdom of Mercia. There was an 
important Saxon abbey here, a portion of which may be seen 




Fr'tory Catc^ Rc/'ton. 

in the crypt beneath the chancel, and here kings and princes 
have been buried. Then came the plundering Danes, who 


destroyed the town and preferred Derby as a more convenient 
centre ; but in later days, when Mercia was reconquered by the 
Saxons, another church arose, and in Norman times the Austin 
Canons removed hither from their Priory at Calke. The 
Prior's House is now the residence of the Headmaster of 
Repton School, and the picturesque gateway that led into the 
precincts still serves as entrance to the school grounds. The 
Church of St. Wystan has an exquisite spire, but the interior 
of the building is exceedingly disappointing, save for the tiny 
Saxon crypt with four spiral columns and eight fluted responds 
by the walls. Here in this dim chamber lies a nameless and 
battered knight in armour, evidently brought down from above 
into this weird, uncomfortable-looking resting-place to be out 
of the way of living worshippers. 

Nowadays the fame of Repton rests upon its school, the 
only school of any celebrity in the entire county. It was 
founded as a village grammar-school by Sir John Port in 1557, 
whose trustees bought the Priory site from the Thackers, 
furious Protestants, who, fearing lest Queen Mary should 
restore the Prior and his monks, had " destroyed the nest that 
the birds might not build there again." Sir John Port did for 
Repton what John Lyon did for Harrow, and Lawrence 
Sheriffe did for Rugby. His foundation passed through all the 
vicissitudes common to the country grammar-school Thus, 
while in the third quarter of the eighteenth century it had 
become a boarding-school in something of the modern sense 
of the term and had more than two hundred scholars, in 1854 
there were no more than fifty. Then the school found its 
reconstructor in the person of Dr. Pears, and the years of his 
headmastership saw Repton take its place amid the best dozen 
higher public schools of England. Of its scholarship there is 
not so much said, but it has proved a nursery of athletes, and 
the style of its cricket is unimpeachable. 

It is a mile from Repton Church down to the bridge over 
the Trent — one of the very last main road bridges in England 


to be freed from tolls, and the toll board is erected as a sort 
of trophy in the village of Willington just beyond,, where we 
cross the Midland Railway from Derby to Birmingham. I 
wished to see the confluence of the Dove and the Trent, as 
my route followed for so many miles the course of the smaller 
stream, and at the Willington cross-roads turned leftwards to 
the towpath of the Trent and Mersey Canal. This was 
one of the most important waterways designed by that 
Derbyshire genius, James Brindley, of whom we shall have 
something to say when we reach his birthplace near Tideswell. 
The victorious railway lies on its left hand, just as busy as the 
canal is quiet, though the latter is not yet wholly deserted by 
the alow-moving barges. Two miles on, at a bridge with a 
house by its side, leave the canal if you would see the actual 
meeting of the waters, and go down the farm road to its 
termination across the railway, and out into the fields on the 
right hand, having first obtained permission for the trespass. 
Here the Dove comes hasting along, flowing rapidly with 
many a gurgling eddy between low banks, and fringed on one 
side with willows and alders. The Dove itself at this point 
has little claim to picturesqueness, and whatever beauty the 
landscape possesses is supplied by the right bank of the Trent. 
There, across the wide stream, lies Newton Solney, a pretty 
village with graceful church spire and creeper-covered hall, while 
a mile or more up the reach the bank becomes wooded and 
rises a hundred and fifty feet to the battlements of Baldon Castle. 
We must needs retrace our way to the canal and cross the 
bridge into the main road from Derby to Burton. This is the 
ancient Ryknield Street, the Roman road from Birmingham to 
Chesterfield through Burton and Derby. It was along this 
highway that Dr. Johnson, then a lean, lank and scrofulous 
young man of twenty-six, and his " darling Tatty," a robust 
widow of forty-nine, rode into Derby to be married. The 
Doctor shall tell anew the story of what happened, as he once 
told it to Boswell : — 


"Sir, she had read the old romances and had got into her head the 
fantastical notion that a woman of spirit should use her lover like a dog. 
So, Sir, at first she told me that I rode too fast, and she could not keep up 
with me ; and, when I rode a little slower, she passed me, and complained 
that I lagged behind. I was not to be made the slave of caprice : and I 
resolved to begin as I meant to end. I, therefore, pushed on briskly, till I 
was fairly out of her sight. The road lay between two hedges, so I was 
sure she could not miss it ; and I contrived that she should soon come up 
with me. When she did, I observed she was in tears." 

And thus the battle was won, ere the nuptial knot was tied, on 
the high road to Derby. 

It is worth while turning leftwards for half a mile to the fine 
old Monks Bridge over the Dove, whose name is a reminder 
that there was once a powerful abbey at Burton-on-Trent. 
Just below this bridge the canal is carried across the river on 
stout low arches — another of Brindley's triumphs, which in its 
day was one of the wonders of the district. From the bridge-side 
let us take the footpath which soon slants across to Eggington 
Church, set among the trees at the corner of a pretty park. 
In the village turn rightwards up the main street, then to the 
left at the first branch road, and, where this road begins to 
bend round to the left, take a footpath on the right which 
leads through rich meadows into the high road near Eggington 
station. Here we are on the fringe of the common where in 
1644 the Dutchman Major Mollanus — a soldier of fortune 
who sold his sword to the Parliament — scattered a squadron of 
Royalist horse. At Eggington we cross the North Stafford- 
shire railway, and, as twilight falls, the roads are busy with the 
clattering milk-carts for the local butter factories and the 
supply of the distant towns. The milk trade is the staple 
agricultural industry in this corner of Derbyshire. At Hilton 
— a not very attractive village save for a fine half-timbered 
house in the main street — we join the main road from 
Derby to Uttoxeter, but soon quit it again for a footpath 
which leads through delightful meadows down towards 
the pretty church of Marston-on-Dove, and then, turning 

42 TUTBURY CH. iii 

westwards, conducts us in another mile to the outskirts 
of Tutbury. 

Tutbury lies on the Staffordshire bank of the Dove — which 
throughout its entire length forms the boundary between 
Staffordshire and Derbyshire — but no Derbyshire tourist, 
afoot or awheel, can resist the subtle attraction of this castle- 
crowned hill which rises from the plain. John Bright used 
to say that old abbeys only suggested to him superstition and 
old castles violence — a characteristic utterance from one who 
had little sense of historical association and thought no 
noble prospect complete without the chimneys of cotton- 
mills in the foreground, background, and middle distance. 
Superstition there may have been in old abbeys —is it extinct 
in modern Puritanism ? Violence there certainly was in old 
castles, but of scarcely more cruel type than is found in 
modern Industrialism. However, we have not come hither to 
argue, but to enjoy what Erdeswicke, in his Survey of 
Staffordshire^ three centuries ago called " the large, and brave 
prospect both to it, in it and from it." Tutbury Castle was 
built by one of the Conqueror's ablest henchmen, Henry de 
Ferrers, Earl of Derby. Twice it was forfeited to the Crown 
for its owner's share in unsuccessful rebellion, and then, in the 
middle of the fourteenth century, it passed into the hands of 
John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. He rebuilt it in 1350 
on a lavish and extended scale, and for some years Tutbury 
was perhaps the gayest place in all England, and its halls and 
courtyards resounded with constant revelry. As part of the 
Duchy of Lancaster it reverted to the Crown, and in Tudor 
days was let on lease to the Talbots, the Earls of Shrewsbury, 
by whom it was kept in no more than tolerable repair. 

Such a place in the reign of Queen Elizabeth must have 
been very inconvenient to live in, for it had been built as a fort- 
ress, and in two centuries the standards of comfort and taste had 
greatly changed. At the close of the year 1568, however 
there was great commotion at Tutbury Castle, News had 


come that it was to be set in order for the reception of Mary 
Queen of Scots. The sixth Earl of Shrewsbury, who had just 
married Bess of Hardwick, had been appointed Mary's guardian 
or keeper by Queen EUzabeth, and he was to take care of his 
charge at Tutbury, because of its remoteness from Scotland 
on the one hand and from the sea-coast on the other. 
Queen Mary was to be isolated : what better place could be 
chosen than this little town with its strong castle on the banks 
of the Dove ? In a later chapter we shall deal more fully with 
Shrewsbury and his Countess and with their unhappy captive, 
who had fled into England from her rebel Scottish lords. 
Those who are curious in these matters may find among the 
State Papers full hsts of the "wardrobe stuff " and the silver 
plate which were sent down from the stores in the Tower of 
London for the Queen's use in Tutbury Castle. They 
included nineteen pieces of tapestry work showing the History 
of the Passion, the History of Ladies, and the History of 
Hercules; four "Turquey" carpets and beds, chairs and 
stools, with sheets and pillows and pillow-beers of best 
Holland and others of coarser stuff, besides silver basins and 
ewers and spoons, and four gilt " chandellours." The old 
place needed all these and more also, and we may be sure 
that the niggardly Elizabeth took care not to send too much. 

Queen Mary came riding down from Bolton Castle in 
Yorkshire, through Ripon, Wetherby, Rotherhara, Chesterfield, 
and Wingfield, and reached Tutbury on February 4th, 1569. 
It was a large cavalcade, for Mary brought with her sixty 
attendants, her lords and ladies in waiting, her physicians and 
chaplains, her grooms and cooks. Tutbury could not accommo- 
date them all, and some had to find quarters at Burton, a few 
miles away ; while Mary herself bitterly complained of the 
draughts and the cold in the castle. It was a shivery place 
and gave her headaches and " grief of the splene." In one of 
her letters, written some years later at the time of her 
second stay in the castle, she thus describes her apartments : 




John of Gaunt' s Gateway, Tutbury Castle. 

" I am in a walled enclosure, on the lop of a hill, exposed to all winds 
and inclemencies of heaven. Within the said enclosure, resembling that of 
the Wood of Vincennes, there is a very old hunting lodge, built of timber 


and plaster, cracked in all parts, the plaster adhering nowhere to the wood- 
work and broken in numberless places. The said lodge is distant three 
fathoms or thereabouts from the wall, and situated so low that the rampart 
of earth which is behind the wall is on a level with the highest point of the 
building, so that the sun can never shine upon it on that side, nor any fresh 
air come to it, for which reason it is so damp that you cannot put any 
piece of furniture in that part without its being in four days completely 
covered with mould. I leave you to think how this must act upon the 
human body ; and, in short, the greater part of it is rather a dungeon for 
base and abject criminals than a habitation fit for a person of my quality, 
or even of a much lower. 

" The only apartments that I have for my own person consist of two 
little miserable rooms, so excessively cold, especially at nights, that but for 
the ramparts and entrenchments of curtains and tapestry that I have made 
it would not be possible for me to stay in them in the day time, and out of 
those who have sate up with me at night during my illnesses scarcely 
one has escaped without fluxion or cold or some other disorder." 

As for the garden, she continues, it is no better than a 
potato ground fenced in with dry wood — "a place fitter to 
keep pigs in than to bear the name of a garden : there is not 
a sheep-pen among the fields but makes a better appearance." 

But what prisoner was ever content with his prison ? Mary, 
like Napoleon at Longwood, was determined to be satisfied 
with nothing — an easy role — but, fortunately, the other side 
of the case has also been preserved. In consequence of the 
Queen's complaints, Walsingham appointed John Somers to 
report to him on the state of Tutbury Castle. Here are his 
words : — 

" As to the lodgings appointed for this Queen, being the chiefest of the 
house, standing orderly together^ flanking all alongside a fair large green 
court, the prospect to the east very fair, and some to the west (but not far), 
as they are now ordered, by transposing of some partitions, sealing one 
chamber and by making of one chimney. There is a fair dining chamber 
about 36 feet long, joining to that a fair cabinet private with a chimney. 
Next to that her bedchamlier, about 27 feet long, for two beds and a 
pallet as she used to have, and within it a proper closet private and other 
good rooms for the rest of her gentlewomen which lie not in her chamber 
four or five." 


The grammar of this is hopelessly confused but the sense is 
clear, and Somers concludes by saying : " Thus, in my opinion, 
she shall be very well lodged and accommodated in all things. 
. . . The country is champaign, very pleasant, fruitful and 
commodious for all needful provisions at hand. I call it 
England, for methinks here we be out of it in a wilderness. 
God bring us first thither if we must go, and then shortly 
further southward." No doubt, Tutbury was horribly draughty, 
and the sanitary arrangements, of which Mary also complained, 
were most obnoxious, but her quarters were hardly so bad as 
she depicted. 

Mary was reasonable enough at first. She consented to 
reduce her retinue by one-half— a point about which Shrews- 
bury was very anxious, considering that Elizabeth only allowed 
him the entirely inadequate sum of £45 a week for expenses. 
She made herself very agreeable to Shrewsbury and his 
Countess. " She daily resorts to my wife's chamber," the 
Earl reported, " where with Lady Leviston and Mrs. Seton 
she sits working with her needle, wherein she much delights, 
and devising works. Her talk is altogether of indifferent 
trifling matters, and without any sign of secret dealing or 
practice, I assure you." So wrote the Earl, whose report was 
scanned very jealously by Elizabeth's steely eyes. She sent 
him a warning against being influenced by the seductive 
manners of Queen Mary and objected warmly to her growing 
too intimate with the Countess. The Earl was greatly upset. 
What was he to do? he asked. How could he prevent 
Queen Mary and the Countess from meeting ? " True," he 
said, " I cannot avoid such resort unless I kept fast the doors, 
so that she should think herself a strait prisoner, yet am ready 
and willing so to do if her Majesty (Queen Elizabeth) 

The year 1569 was an exciting one for all concerned. 
Elizabeth, as yet, had no thought of violence; she was 
prepared to let Mary go on terms, for there was still a strong 


party on her side in Scotland. Mary herself, while her talk 
was of indifferent trifles, was busy plotting escape and luring 
on to hope for her hand in marriage the unfortunate fourth 
Duke of Norfolk, despite Elizabeth's friendly warning to him 
to "take care on what pillow he laid his head." But her 
health was not good, and in April, when she was removed 
to VVingfield, she grew worse. Shrewsbury, too, had a violent 
attack of the "goute" and went off to " the baynes at Bucke- 
stones " without Queen Elizabeth's leave, leaving Sir John 
Zouche to act as his substitute. Elizabeth was furious, ordered 
his return at once, and appointed the puritanical Earl of Hunt- 
ingdon — from Donington Park— to act as co-gaoler and co- 
guardian. In September they were all back at Tutbury, where 
Shrewsbury was much annoyed at being obliged to tolerate 
Huntingdon's presence. Next month came the insurrection of 
the Catholic Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, who 
planned a dash down from Tadcaster to Tutbury to carry off the 
Queen. Shrewsbury got wind of the plot, and he and Hunting- 
don entered Queen Mary's chamber, pistolets in hand, and 
searched among her papers. In November they spirited her 
away to Coventry, until the danger in the North had blown 
over, and it was said that had any attempt at rescue been 
made Shrewsbury had orders to take the Queen's life. They 
were at Tutbury again by Christmas. Shrewsbury's vigilance 
had disarmed Elizabeth's suspicions of his loyalty, and the 
Earl of Huntingdon's commission came to an end. Queen 
Mary was plotting as usual — who can blame her for it? — and 
in February of 1570 Shrewsbury had the lock of her outer 
chamber door taken off so that his people might see what her 
servants were doing at any hour of the night. He also gave 
the Queen a sound rebuke for trying to escape. Mary was 
offended but helpless, and in May she was removed to Chats- 
worth. Nor did she again see Tutbury Castle until the end of 
1584, just after Shrewsbury had been released from a charge 
which had grown intolerably irksome to him. Then, after 




spending a few more unhappy months there, she began her 
fateful journey south from castle to castle, until the last sad 


q iff. ■S^f^'" 

The Moat, Tutbury Castle. 

scene of her troublous life was enacted in the courtyard at 



It is not very easy to follow Queen's Mary's description of 
the castle from the present state of the ruins. Her apart- 
ments, which are said to have been in the north-eastern 
corner of the bailey, are now wholly demolished. The best- 
preserved fronts are the northern and the eastern, where, in 
the early Stuart time, considerable rebuilding and strengthen- 
ing of the older fabric took place. The outer part of the 
eastern gateway is of this period, and the huge buttresses 
of what is known as John of Gaunt's Gateway on the northern 
side. The dry moat remains around the circuit of the walls, 
and the tall tower on the northern side may still be climbed 
and gives a magnificent prospect up the valley of the Dove. 
On the south side is a mound upon which about a hundred 
years ago an inconceivably stupid ruin was built out of the 
stones lying round about. This bears the fooKsh name of 
Julius's Tower. The bailey is empty of buildings and makes 
a smooth expanse of green turf which, when I visited it, was 
occupied by noisy merry-go-rounds and all the other hideous 
amusements of a country " Feast." Tutbury Castle might be 
spared these vulgarities and their attendant rowdiness. The 
castle is now a farm — a fate which has also overtaken Wingfield 
Manor — and the farmhouse has been built on the eastern 
side by the entrance gateway. 

Below the castle is the church with a fine Norman nave 
and richly . adorned western doorway, but Tutbury itself is 
rather disappointing, save for the half-timbered front of the 
little hostelry, the Dog and Partridge, in the main street. 
We descend to the bridge over the Dove, just below which in 
the river bed was found the Tutbury treasure, the contents of 
a military chest upset while the Earl of Leicester's army, after 
being driven out of the castle, was hurriedly crossing the ford, 
in Edward II.'s reign. Passing over the level crossing of the 
railway we take the rOad— the lower one is the prettier of the 
two — to Sudbury, through champaign country which calls for 
no remark. 

SudOury HaU. 



Sudbury is a charming village — prettiness itself— and the 
home of the Vernons, whose graceful Elizabethan mansion of 
red brick stands in a delightful park. The road juns close to 
the house, and is bordered by its level lawns, but the beautiful 
gardens and the lake are hidden from sight. It was a lady 
who built the Hall, Mary, daughter of Sir Edward Littleton 
and wife of two Vernons, the first being Walter Vernon 
of Houndshill and the second John Vernon of Sudbury. She 
was contemporary with Bess of Hardwick, and, maybe, was 
influenced by the example of that imperious lady to occupy her 
long years of widowhood in building a house worthy of the 
Vernons. She died in 1622 ; her son. Sir Edward Vernon, 
laid out the grounds, and the head of the family was ennobled 
in 1762. Queen Adelaide, the kindly consort of the sailor 

E 2 


King, William IV., lived here for three years, during her 
widowhood, from 1840 to 1843. 

In the pretty church by the side of the Hall are monu- 
ments to many of the Vernons, who have played their 
part — creditable rather than distinguished — in the history of 
England for the last three hundred years. We will speak only 
of the George Vernon who was a great patron of the chase, a 
typical horse-loving, fox-hunting, English county gentleman. 
His fame is enshrined in a ballad, whose lilt more than atones 
for its lack of the literary graces. Hounds met at Shirley 
Park, eight miles to the north-east, where they found a fox which 
led them across country to the Dove, swam the stream and ran 
to the Weever Hills, the kill taking place in Wootton Old Park. 
The ballad begins : — 

" One morning last winter to Shirley Park came 
A brave noble sportsman, George Vernon by name, 
Resolved over hedges and ditches to fly, 
Came a hunting the fox — bold Reynard must die." 

Then, after sundry intervening verses, it continues : — 

" The sportsmen they rid at a desperate rate, 
As if they had run for a thousand pound plate, 
No hedges could turn them, no wall could them set. 
For the choicest of sportsmen in England were met. 

" The hounds they did rally and briskly pursue, 
Do you hear little Careless, she runs him in view, 
Fifty miles in four hours, which is a great ride, 
But in Wootton Old Park bold Reynard he died. 

'■ Come, gentlemen sportsmen, wherever you be, 
All you that love hunting come near unto me ; 
The chase is now ended, you've heard Reynard's fall, 
So here's a health to Squire Vernon of Sudbury Hall." 

After all, a ballad like that, sung with a will in chorus, is a 
better memorial than any mouldering monument. 

Just beyond Sudbury Hall the highway divides, the direct 
road to Ashbourne branching off to the right by the side of 


Sudbury Park through Great Cubley. The name of great in 
connection with Cubley has become so palpable a misnomer 
by the lapse of time that it is being tacitly dropped. Cubley, 
which is worth a visit from the enthusiastic Johnsonian as being 
the birthplace of Samuel Johnson's father, is a dwindling 
village which once had a market and a fair. A glance at its 
church reveals its antiquity, and the Montgomerys of four 
hundred years ago who lie within it — most of their estates 
passed to the Vernons by marriage — dwelt in a mansion near 
by, of which no trace remains save the depression of the 
moat. But we keep to the left along the undulating road to 
Doveridge, another charming village with a big mansion 
and an exquisite church, containing many monuments of 
the Cavendishes — the Waterpark branch of that house — 
who used to live until recently in the adjoining Hall. The 
best monument, however, is the one to the memory of 
William Davenport, of Hanbury, in the full dress of a cavalier 
with resetted high boots. He, his wife, and three little girls 
are kneehng in prayer,, while the baby — presumably a boy — is 
almost falling out of his cradle in order to show his little face. 
Nor could there be a more typical gem of eighteenth century 
diction than the epitaph of the Rev. John Fitzherbert (pb. 
1785 cet. 68), of whom it is said, " He was vicar of this church 
for thirty-nine years, in which he delivered the momentous 
doctrines of Christianity with a peculiar propriety and an 
affecting energy." In the churchyard is a glorious old yew 
tree, whose low wide-spreading arms are proppea and pillared 
by a score of supports. The trunk is sadly decayed and a 
mere shell, yet the tree covers half this side of the churchyard 
with its green shade. In our exploration of Derbyshire we 
shall not find a prettier God's acre than this at Doveridge, for 
the entire setting is perfect and the quiet of the place is 

The steep lane to the left of the church leads down to a 
suspension footbridge over the Dove^ giving access to a raised 



causeway that slants across the wide open meadow on the right 
bank of the river. This affords a good view of Doveridge 
. Hall perched on the slope we have just quitted— a rather pon- 
derous brick mansion on a base of stone. The causeway 
brings us out into the main road by the six-arched bridge 
which here spans the Dove. Uttoxeter's graceful spire — a mile 
away — may beckon the traveller to its market-place, where 
Johnson once stood bareheaded, doing penance for the boyish 

Doveridge Church and Yew trees. 

pride of half a century before which had made him ashamed 
to stand and sell books at his father's side. Our path, however, 
lies across the bridge, on which a curious scene was enacted 
more than a hundred years ago. A httle boy was crossing it on 
his way to school when a man seized him by the collar and 
held him over the river, threatening to drop him into the water 
unless he would curse the Methodists. " Never," said the 
child, " you may kill me if you choose, but I never will." The 


boy was Michael Thomas Sadler, who afterwards became the 
leading advocate of the Ten Hours' Bill for factory children, 
and, with Richard Oastler, prepared the way for the triumphs 
of the good Earl of Shaftesbury. Sadler's father lived at the 
Old Hall, Doveridge, and was a liberal-minded Churchman who 
favoured the Methodists. It is hard to realise the stupid 
fanaticism which would terrorise a child in order to protest 
against the religious views of the child's father. The boy, who 
thus early showed his grit, began to preach while in his teens 
— often to the accompaniment of a shower of stones. He 
went to Leeds, where he started business in 1800 at the age of 
twenty, entered Parliament for Newark in 1829, and died in 


Twenty yards from the bridge a stile on the left gives access 
to the meadows, through which a path runs diagonally and 
ascends a little bluff at the further side. From here we 
obtain a delightful view up and down the broad valley of the 
Dove. We look across to the town of Uttoxeter, which hides 
nothing from our eyes, and beyond and above it to* the open 
fields behind — the fields of a ridge which steadily rises as it 
spreads away to the right and clothes itself in woods. A few 
tall chimneys in and near Uttoxeter are but slight blemishes, 
and the woods of Doveridge blend in the distance with those 
of Needwood. In the foreground are broad meadows through 
which the Dove performs some of her finest zigzag feats, 
glancing like silver where the sun strikes her surface at the 
bends. In the distance, the Weever Hills of the Staffordshire 
border begin to show themselves. Our path runs out through 
fields into a lane, which drops to a farmhouse, passes to its left, 
and continues as a cart track on the level of the river, keeping 
close beneath the long overhanging line of the Eaton Woods. 
Opposite a farm the main track turns down at right angles to 
the left and crosses the Dove at a ford just below its confluence 
with the Churnet. We keep straight forward, and, though 
the path grows faint, the direction is clear. Avoid crossing to 


a footbridge and go on till the path slants to the riverside at a 
looping bend. A handbridge takes us across a tiny tributary 
in the far corner where the woods descend to the stream, and 
then a succession of fields bring us out into a main road 
again by the side of the bridge at Rocester, an ugly village 
with a Roman name, and an ugly cotton mill. Denston is 
only two miles away up the road over the bridge, and 
two miles beyond that again is Alton, with Alton Towers, 
the famous seat of the Earls of Shrewsbury and Talbot, on the 
further bank of the Churnet. But these belong to Stafford- 

From Rocester Bridge a footpath led me through a maze 
of fields out into a road near the village of Roston. There 
had been a well-dressing, or well-flowering, here the day 
before, a charming Derbyshire custom which has been revived 
in many villages of recent years, when the principal wells are 
dressed with flowers and a simple religious service is held at 
their side. Here at Roston the school children had walked in 
procession from Norbury Church, a mile away, with the clergy 
at their head. Hymns were sung on the way, and again on 
reaching the well, where the Benediction was pronounced. 
The Roston well — it bears the name of Friday Well — stands in 
a farm-yard at the back of a little Primitive Methodist Chapel, 
and I found the entrance decked with branches and boughs of 
trees, with a rustic arch adorned with cheap flags, large 
festoons of laburnum and lilac, and a scroll bearing the text, 
"O ye wells, Bless ye the Lord, Praise Him and magnify 
Him for ever." Over the well itself an elaborate structure had 
been raised, which had evidently kept the good women of 
Roston very busy for the previous day or two. A large 
wooden frame had been made, rounded at the top and divided 
into separate partitions. In the centre was a representation of 
Battle Abbey, with the outline of the building picked out in 
haricot beans. A Union Jack waved above it — the red being 
supplied by geranium petals, the blue by cornflowers, and the 


white by rice. The background was of moss and other green 
stuff. Devices were formed out of Indian com, Unseed and 
small fir cones ; daisies in intersecting rings and as borders 
were a feature of the decoration, and bright colours were 
obtained from different flower petals. " Peace unto All " was 
the legend at the top of the frame, and at the foot '' God save 
the King," while a dove of haricot beans spread benign and 
sheltering wings over all. The whole was a most creditable 
display of ingenuity and good taste. The frames are coated 
over with wet clay into which salt has been kneaded in order to 
keep it moist and adhesive, and the flowers and other ornaments 
are then stuck on one by one. 

From Roston it is but a mile down to Norbury, whose church 
on the steep bank above the Dove is the most charming build- 
ing of its kind in Derbyshire. 

" Sweet Norbury, decked with rural smiles, 
Gleams faintly through these sylvan aisles ; 
'Mid Gothic grandeur soars serene 
O'er bold varieties of scene." 

So sang John Gisborne in his Vaks of Weever, but the third line 
is strange, for Norbury Church has no spire and its low tower 
can by no stretch of imagination be said to " soar serene." The 
building is dedicated to an unknown saint, Barloke by name, 
and the conjecture that he was some British saint of an early 
century certainly receives confirmation from the recent 
discovery of two elaborately decorated pre-Norman cross 
shafts which were found built into one of the buttresses of the 
north wall. The ground plan of Norbury Church is most 
unusual, for the chancel, 46ft. 6in. in length, is only three feet 
less than the nave. There is a north but no south aisle, 
the tower, standing between two chapels, taking its place. 
It is the chancel, however, which is the glory of Norbury 
Church, and its nine great windows flood it with a stream of 
light. The rich glass— in soft browns and greens, unique of 
their kind — dates back to Henry Knivetoa's day^ the rector 


who built the chancel in the middle of the fourteenth century ; 
but the glass of the fine east window was taken from windows 
in the north aisle, to replace what had been sold by a Vandal 
incumbent of a century ago. On the chancel floor stand a 
number of finely sculptured table-tombs of the Fitzherberts, who 
for long centuries were the lords of Norbury. The two finest 
are those of Nicholas, who died in 1473, and his son Ralph, 
each bearing a recumbent effigy in admirable preservation. 

Norbury Church. 

The brass of Sir Anthony Fitzherbert, the 13th Lord of 
Norbury, lies in the centre of the chancel floor. This Sir 
Anthony was the sixth son of Ralph Fitzherbert, and was a 
judge of great renown in the early days of the sixteenth 
century, and author of La Graunde Abridgement and 
L Office el I'AucforUe de Justices de Paix-\^^', book" which 
have now passed into oblivion, but which were quoted 
as standard authorities for many generations. He died in 


1538; the house he lived in still survives, a few yards to the 
west of the church. This old residence of the Fitzherberts — 
its comparatively recent front does but conceal its real antiquity 
—contains a series of magnificently panelled rooms, one of 
which is known by tradition as " Sir Anthony's study." The 
Fitzherberts dwelt here down to 1649— the earliest Fitzherbert 
monument in the church is of Sir Henry, the fifth lord, who 
died in 1367— and in that year Sir John Fitzherbert died with- 

The Chancel and Fitzherbert Tontl's, Norbury Church. 

out issue and the estates passed to the Fitzherberts of Swinner- 
ton in Staffordshire. The Hall then became a farmhouse and 
so remained until the estate changed hands and the modern 
mansion, higher up the hill on the site of the old vicarage, 
was built by the new possessor. The Norbury Fitzherberts 
remained true to the Catholic faith at the Reformation and 
suffered cruel persecution for their constancy. Sir Thomas 
Fitzherbert, the eldest son of the judge, was one of the most 

6o ELLASTON chap. 

prominent victims of the Elizabethan persecution, which was 
just as merciless as the Marian. He spent thirty years of his 
life in prison at Derby and Lambeth, in the Fleet and in the 
Tower, as a contumacious recusant, but there is evidence to 
show that the malignant severity shown to him was partly due 
to private spite on the part of some of his Protestant neigh- 
bours. The Fitzherberts, like the Eyres of North Derbyshire 
with whom they intermarried, were a large family with many 
collateral branches, and took different sides in religion and 
politics. Thus, while the Norbury Fitzherberts waned, the 
Protestant Fitzherberts of Tissington waxed, and it is the 
latter branch of the family which has been in the ascendant 
during the last two centuries. 

Here at Norbury we are in George Eliot's country. Just 
across the river in Staffordshire is the little village of EUaston, 
and EUaston is the Hayslope which the novelist describes so 
vividly in the second chapter of Adam Bede.. Readers will 
remember how the landlord of the Donnithorne Arms explains 
to a traveller who has ridden up that there is to be "a 
Methodis preaching " that evening on the green, and how the 
traveller stays to listen to Dinah Morris's address. No one ever 
drew a landscape in prose more graphically than George Eliot, 
and so, though the passage is long, we must quote it whole : — 

"The green lay at the extremity of the village, and from it the road 
branched off in two directions, one leading farther up the hill by the church 
and the other winding gently down towards the valley. On the side of 
the green that led towards the church the broken line of thatched 
cottages was continued nearly to the churchyard gate ; but on the opposite 
north-western side there was nothing to obstruct the view of gently- 
swelling meadow and wooded valley, and dark masses of distant hill. That 
rich undulating district of Loamshire to which Hayslope belonged lies 
close to a grim outskirt of Stonyshire, overlooked by its barren hills as a ■ 
pretty' blooming sister may sometimes be seen linked in the arm of a rugged, 
tall, swarthy brother ; and in two or three hours' ride the traveller might 
exchange a bleak treeless region, intersected by lines of cold grey stone 
for one where his road wound under the shelter of woods, or up swelling 
hills, muffled with hedgerows and long meadow grass and thick corn, and 


where at every turn he came upon some fine old country-seat nestled in the 
valley or crowning the slopes, some homestead with its long length of barn 
and its cluster of golden ricks, some grey steeple looking out from a pretty 
confusion of trees and thatch and dark red tile. It was just such a picture 
as this last that Hayslope Church had made to the traveller as he began to 
mount the gentle slope leading to its pleasant uplands, and now from this 
station near the green he had before him in one view nearly all the other 
typical features of this pleasant land. High up against the horizon were 
the huge conical masses of hill, like giant mounds intended to fortify this 
region of corn and grass against the keen and hungry winds of the north, 
not distant enough to be clothed in purple mystery, but with sombre 
greenish sides visibly speckled with sheep, whose motion was only revealed 
by memory not detected by sight, wooed from day to day by the changing 
hours, but responding with no change in themselves — left for ever grim and 
sullen after the flush of morning, the winged gleams of the April noonday, 
the parting crimson glory of the ripening summer sun. And directly 
below them the eye rested on a more advanced line of hanging woods, 
divided by bright patches of pasture or furrowed crops, and not yet 
deepened into the uniform leafy curtains of high summer, but still showing 
the warm tints of the young oak and the tender green of the ash and lime. 
Then came the valley, where the woods grew thicker, as if they had rolled 
down and hurried together from the patches left smooth on the slope, that 
they might take the better care of the tall mansion which hfted its parapets 
and sent its faint blue summer smoke among them. Doubtless, there was 
a large sweep of park and a broad glassy pool in front of that mansion, but 
the swelling slope of meadow would not let our traveller see them from 
the village green. He saw instead a foreground which was just as lovely — 
the level sunlight lying like transparent gold among the gently-curving 
stems of the feathered grass and the tall red sorrel, and the white umbels 
of the hemlocks lining the bushy hedgerows. It was that moment in 
summer when the sound of the scythe being whetted makes us cast more 
lingering looks at the flower-sprinkled tresses of the meadows." 

There is the picture, vivid as a photograph, and it is plain 
to see that the artist loved the meadovt^ better than the hill, 
and the corn-field more than the open, wind-swept moor. Her 
Loamshire is, of course, Staffordshire ; her Stonyshire is 
Derbyshire, and the barren hills of which she speaks are the 
mountains of the Peak. Those who read Adam Bede again 
after visiting this part of England, and wish to identify the 
places named in the novel, will not err if they interpret 


Oakbourne as Ashbourne, Snowfield as Wirksworth, Eagledale 
as Dovedale, Norbourne as Norbury. The Donnithorne 
Arms at Hayslope or EUaston is the square, substantial- 
looking Bromley Arras at the cross-roads. Donnithorne 
Chase is either Wootton Hall, a fine old mansion a mile to the 
north, or Calwich Abbey, a mile to the east on the wooded 
right bank of the Dove — probably, we should say, the 

George Eliot's father, Robert Evans, was the son of the 
EUaston wheelwright, who had moved across the river into 
Staffordshire from a little Derbyshire hamlet by the side of 
Raddles Wood, nearly a mile north-east of Roston. His 
two-storeyed brick cottage on the roadside with a strip of 
garden in front is still standing, though it has long since been 
divided into two small tenements. The adjoining workshop, 
where Evan'^ plied his craft, is now a wash-house and rough 
cowshed combined. In one of the tenements dwells a lonely 
old woman, long past eighty and nearly blind, who has some 
fragmentary recollections of the Evanses, and is puzzled to 
understand why wandering tourists come and ask her about 
Adam Bede. She had heard tell of it, she said, and had 
once tried to read it, but she liked bigger print and something 
" of greater profit." Many attempts have been made to 
identify the characters which appear in Adam Bede and refer 
to actual fact the leading incidents of the novel. It is 
admitted that George Eliot had her own father, Robert Evans, 
in her mind when she conceived the character of Adam, while 
her uncle, Samuel Evans, was the prototype of Seth. Dinah 
Morris, the preaching body, was suggested by her aunt, 
Elizabeth Evans, the wife of Samuel, though in the novel 
Dinah eventually married Adam. George Eliot herself, when 
questioned on this point, wrote to a correspondent, " You see 
how she {i.e. Elizabeth Evans) suggested Dinah ; but it is not 
possible you should see, as I do, how entirely her individuality 
differed from Dinah's." This Elizabeth Evans, whose maiden 


name was Tomlinson, was born at Newbold, in Leicestershire. 
As a girl, she moved to Nottingham, where she worked as a 
lace-mender, and becoming "converted" in 1797 at the little 
chapel of Beck Barn, she became an enthusiastic evangelist, 
adopting Quaker dress and preaching with great fervour. 
While she was in Nottingham a young woman named Mary 
Voce was sentenced to death for poisoning her youngest child. 
The case excited great public interest, and Elizabeth 
Tomlinson and another woman obtained permission to visit 
the girl in prison. They stayed with her day and night until 
the morning of the execution, and, after bringing her by their 
prayers and entreaties to repentance, rode with her in the 
hangman's cart to Gallows Hill, escorted by huge crowds and 
a procession of Methodists singing hymns. This was the 
incident which suggested to George Eliot the poignant scene 
in Adam Bede, where Dinah Morris visits Hetty Sorrel, after 
she has been condemned to death for the murder of her child. 
The fame of Elizabeth Tomlinson's success as an evangelist 
got noised abroad, though in those days a very powerful 
section of Methodist opinion was firmly opposed to women 
preachers, and she accepted an invitation to work at Tutbury. 
It was at Ashbourne in 1802 that she met her future 
husband, Samuel Evans, who had been persuaded to walk over 
from Snelstone to hear "a very pious female from 
Nottingham" preach. They were married in Nottingham, 
then migrated to Norbury, and eventually, after living a few 
yeais in Derby, they moved, in 18 14, to Wicksworth, where we 
shall meet with them again. 

Wootton Hall, at the back of Ellaston, was for some time 
the home of Jean Jacques Rousseau, who began to write his 
Confessions there and composed many of his Letters on 
Botany in a spot called the " Twenty Oaks." John Gisborne 
recalls the tradition in his Vales of IVeever : 

" Lo ! where these oaks encircling meet, 
There Genius formed his rural seat ; 


OfL in calm solitude the sage 

Composed his fascinating page ; 

Or, bending on the turf, surveyed 

With nice regard each flower and blade ; 

Or marked gay Nature's liberal smile, 

Admired Britannia's temperate isle ; 

Yet thought on Gallia's lovelier vales. 

Her brighter founts, her softer gales, 

Thought on her chains with Freedom's sigh, 

And all the Patriot kindled in his eye." 

At the outset Rousseau was not fortunate in the weather. It 
snowed incessantly and the wind cut his face. But, he wrote, 
" in spite of all, I would rather live in a hole of one of the 
rabbits of this warren than in the finest rooms in London." 

There is little to choose between the rival roads to 
Ashbourne, whether one takes the Staffordshire bank of the 
Dove from Ellaston through Mayfield, or the Derbyshire bank 
through Clifton. We will take the latter for the fine view it 
commands on leaving Norbury, looking down to Calwich 
Abbey — where Handel used to stay — and across to the inviting 
Weever Hills. The Dove is never far away from us in this 
pleasant valley till we reach Clifton ; then the road to Ash- 
bourne trends to the right, and in a short two miles we enter 
the outskirts — having long seen the tall, pointed church spire — 
of this delightful Derbyshire town — outskirts which the railway 
people and the builders have done their very best, and with 
lamentable success, to despoil of their picturesque beauty. 


T^te Gravitnar School, Ashbourne. 



Ashbourne is one of the pleasantest country towns in all 
England, delightfully situated at the head of a little valley 
under the hills and standing at the gate of exquisite scenery. 
The one thing lacking is that the Dove does not contrive 
somehow to flow through the town — it achieves no less marvels 
elsewhere — for it is nearly two miles away at Mayfield. 
Ashbourne has thus to be content with an undistinguished 
brook, named the Henmore or the Schoo. The town shows 
to least advantage from the Clifton Road by which we entered 
it. Any other road of entrance — and there are eight in all — 
does it ampler justice, even the level approach from Mayfield 
and Staffordshire which leads us past the glorious old parish 
church. This is set on the very outskirts of Ashbourne, and 
the broad thoroughfare runs straight until it reaches the 
Market Place, where it splits in all directions, and either climbs 



the hills at once or dips down Dig Street over the Henmore 
before it sets you on the way to Derby. 

In the coaching days and the many centuries of laborious 
travelling before Macadam, Ashbourne was naturally a town of 
importance, owing to its being such a meeting place of the 
roads. It lay on the main line of traffic from Manchester to 
London. Whether you came by Buxton or by Leek you 
passed through Ashbourne — the rival routes met there, and 
together climbed the fearful hill leading up out of the town to 
Derby. It was a hill so steep that they had to cut another, 
only less steep, which joined the Old Hill or Spittle Hill in 
a long mile. Canning, who used to visit the Boothbys of 
Ashbourne Hall, celebrated it in lines which are almost in- 
variably misquoted : 

" So down thy hill, romantic Ashbourne, glides 
The Derby Dilly carrying three insides ; 
One in each corner sits and lolls at ease, 
With folded arms, propt back and outstretched linees ; 
While the pressed bodkin, pinched and squeezed to death, 
Sweats in the midmost place and scolds and pants for breath. " 

So Canning wrote in The Loves of the Triangles, his clever 
satire on Erasmus Darwin's Loves of the Plants. He had 
probably been nauseated with Darwin's praises in the drawing- 
room of the dilettante Boothbys, for Darwin was a Derbyshire 
man and his vogue was enormous. The Derby Dilly was, of 
course, the Derby Diligence, but the curious fact about these 
lines is that they owe their present fame to O'Connell's happy 
application of them, in the House of Commons, to Lord 
Stanley and his handful of malcontents. Canning was an 
enthusiastic lover of Ashbourne and its neighbourhood. One 
of his earliest poems was entitled A Spring Morning in 
Dovedale — it is unhappily lost — and not long before his 
death he told a fiiend how eagerly he was looking forward to 
revisiting " haunts which to him had been scenes of almost 
unalloyed enjoyment." 


Ashbourne is rich in all sorts of odd buildings and charities, 
quaint almshouses, built by pious founders, which afford com- 
fortable retreats for old age with house, garden, and weekly 
income, where the ten poor men or ten poor women have 
nothing to do but sit at the door of their " domus eleemo- 
synaria" — how the rippling syllables contrast with the brutal 
abruptness of " workhouse " — watch their vegetables grow, and 
gossip or quarrel with their neighbours. But Ashbourne, to 
many of those who visit it, is chiefly distinguished from its 
having been for many years the playground of Dr. Johnson, 
who spent his holidays here in the company of his old school 
fellow and lifelong friend. Dr. Taylor. Johnson was born at 
Lichfield, but, as we saw in the last chapter, his father came 
from Great Cubley, midway between Ashbourne and Sudbury, 
where the family had lived for generations. Their status was 
very humble — the Johnsons were day labourers — and, as the 
Doctor used to say with a laugh in his later years, it was all 
the more creditable for him to be so zealous an advocate of 
the rqspect due to rank and birth when he hardly knew who or 
what his own grandfather had been. There are still people in 
Ashbourne who remember two brothers called Johnson living 
at the corner of Dig Street. They were saddlers, big powerful 
men over six feet high and broad in proportion, and the 
general belief was that they were not very distant relations of 
Dr. Johnson and offshoots of the Cubley stock. 

The house where Johnson used to visit Dr. Taylor is still 
the best private residence in the town, now that Ashbourne 
Hall has been put to other uses. It lies opposite the Grammar 
School and near the church, the last house but one on the 
south side of the principal street, a solid, substantial brick 
building known simply as " The Mansion." Local tradition 
says that the fa§ade was designed by a travelling Italian 
architect, who also designed the fajade of Dr. Boswell's house 
— the name is most appropriate — on the other side of the 
street. We know from Johnson himself that the house was 



partly rebuilt in 1784, for he makes rather fretful reference to 
the building operations. " On the 20th," he says, " I came 
hither and found a house half built of very uncomfortable 
appearance ; but my room has not been altered. That a man 
worn with diseases, in his seventy-second and seventy-third 
year, should condemn part of his remaining life to pass among 
bricks and rubbish appears to me very strange." Evidently 

Dr. Taylor's Hoicse, Ashbourne. 

Johnson disliked the presence of masons and bricklayers, and 
the successive layers of dust which their dilatory processes 
entail. His room was in the little side wing which fronts on 
to the street, and evidently does not belong to the plan of 
the main frontage. It is now used as a bath room ! 

The mansion itself has many beauties, principally the entrance 
hall with its charming old Adams fireplace and stucco wall 
decorations. The staircase and gallery are supported by 
marble columjis. The railing of this gallery used to bear a 


shield displaying an anchor — said to have been Dr. Taylor's 
coat of arms — but this vanished many years ago. The dining- 
room is finely panelled, but the chief apartment is the octagon 
room, built out by Dr. Taylor into the garden at the back, for 
the purpose, so legend saith, of entertaining King George III. 
Here hung the famous lustre chandelier which Boswell speaks 
of. The hook remains ; the chandelier unfortunately is gone, 
no one knows whither — though it was there within living 
memory. The statues which stood in the niches round the 
room found a home in the Ashbourne Town Hall, but have 
since been destroyed. The mansion in old days was full of 
old pictures and old furniture, but a disastrous sale took 
place in the middle of last century and everything seems to 
have been scattered to the four ends of the earth. 

The garden at the back has suffered considerable change. 
The summer house belongs to the Taylorian era, and is 
naturally called after Johnson ; in the paddock beyond the 
fountain has been filled up, though the outline of its basin 
can still be traced in the depression of the ground. The old 
entrance gates are visible near the railway footbridge in a field 
now quite detached from the property. On very great occasions 
guests were brought round this way instead of being taken to 
the street door. Once, when Dr. Taylor was expecting the 
Duke of Devonshire to dine with him, he gave orders that his 
Grace was to be driven twice round the grounds so that he 
might imagine the garden was twice its real size. At its foot 
runs the Henmore, diverted by the North Western Railway 
Company, in order that they might set their ugly new station 
on the site best suited to their plans. Dr. Taylor spent con- 
siderable sums in the construction of cascades and the laying 
down of pipes for his fountain ; and it is believed that he too 
diverted the stream from its natural course, with the result that 
the lower parts of Ashbourne were liable to be flooded after 
a heavy thunderstorm. Thus the railway company simply 
transferred it back to its original bed, and since then there have 

70 DR. TAYLOR f^H- ^ 

been no more floods, though, as I saw the Henmore, with old 
tins and broken crockery protruding from its trickle of dirty 
grey water, it seemed impossible to conceive it running in spate. 
Even in Dr. Taylor's day, if the dead cat of Boswell's story 
and the choked cascade were common incidents, the presence 
of the Henmore flowing through the grounds must have been 
a somewhat doubtful joy. After Dr. Taylor's death the 
mansion was sold to a Mr. Webster and was occupied by a 
retired officer of the name of Powell. Subsequently a branch 
of the Tissington Fitzherberts lived in it, and then a Colonel 
Wilkie. The house now belongs to the railway company and 
is the residence of Dr. Sadler. 

Dr. Taylor had been an old schoolfellow of Johnson's at 
Mr. Hunter's school in Lichfield. They were also con- 
temporaries at Oxford, Johnson being at Pembroke College, 
and Taylor at Christ Church. Boswell tells us that he 
had a good estate of his own, and he certainly enjoyed 
splendid preferment in the Church, for he was Rector of 
Market Bosworth and of St. Margaret's, Westminster, and a 
Prebendary of the Abbey. Bosworth can have seen little of 
him, for he was usually in residence in London during the 
winter months, and he spent his summers at Ashbourne, where 
he was "a diligent justice of the peace." In politics he was 
devoted to the predominant Devonshire interest. But despite his 
Whiggism, which, to his friend's high Toryway of thinking, was " a 
negation of all principle " and, " no better than the politicks of 
stock-jobbers and the religion of infidels," he retained the 
estimation of Johnson, who once said of him to Boswell, " Sir, 
he has a very strong understanding." Boswell draws his 
portrait for us in his own inimitable way when he says that 
" Taylor's size and figure and countenance and manner were 
that of a hearty English squire, with the parson superinduced." 
He was, in fact, the typical squarson, thoroughly content with 
the world, which he looked upon with complacent eyes, pleased 
with Providence for calling him to a good station in life, 

72 THE BIG BULL chap. 

enjoying his rents and his benefices, Hberal to his inferiors, 
hospitable to his friends, and thoroughly comfortable and 
warm in every way. Everything belonging to the Reverend Dr. 
Taylor was well appointed. His " post-chaise was large and 
roomy, drawn by four stout, plump horses and driven by two 
steady, jolly postilions." His establishment matched his 
equipage; "his house, garden, pleasure-grounds, table^n short, 
everything good and no scantiness appearing " ; and he 
possessed a treasure of an upper-servant in Mr. Peters, "a 
decent, grave man in purple clothes, and a large white wig, 
like the butler or major-domo of a bishop." Dr. Johnson's 
own domestic arrangements in London were apt to be of a 
rather untidy and haphazard order, but he loved luxurious 
quarters when he found them, and he was well pleased to take 
his holidays at Ashbourne. 

We hear of him being there between 1737 and 1740, and of 
the frequent visits he used to pay to Bradley Hall, three miles 
to the east. This was the residence of a Mrs. Meynell and 
her daughters, " who were, perhaps, in point of elegance and 
accomplishments, inferior to few of those with whom he was 
afterwards acquainted." So a note in Boswell assures us. 
The eldest daughter afterwards married one of the Tissington 
Fitzherberts, and of her Johnson used to say that " she had 
the best understanding he had ever met with in any human 
being." At Bradley Hall, too, he began a life-long friendship 
with Mrs. Hill Boothby, sister of Sir Brooke Boothby of 
Ashbourne Hall. But it is of Johnson's visits to Ashbourne at 
a much later date, from 1770 onwards, that we have the fullest 
accounts preserved, not only in Boswell, but in Johnson's 
letters to his friend, Mrs. Thrale. In these we find him 
describing in his most sportive vein, how Dr. Taylor kept a 
farm, and how the pride of the farm was a great bull. This 
bull was his boast — there was not his equal in Derbyshire, he 
said, and the talk at his table often veered round to the 
bigness of bulls and the hugeness of this one in particular, 


So Johnson writes : — " I have seen the great bull 
and very great he is. I have seen likewise his heir 
apparent, who promises to inherit all the bulk and all the 
virtues of his sire. I have seen a man who offered a hundred 
guineas for the young bull, while he was little better than a 
calf." Next year he again solemnly informs his Streatham 
correspondent that the great bull has no disease but age, and 
that he hopes in time to be like him. But what does Mrs. 
Thrale think ? A man had come to Dr. Taylor the other day 
to rent a farm from him. He was shown the bull, and had 
the Unblushing effrontery to say that he had seen a bigger ! 
His prospects of getting the farm fell at once to zero, for the 
offence was gross. Twelve months later Dr. Johnson again 
wrote, " We yet hate the man who had seen a bigger bull." 

However, Johnson found a topic even more alluring than 
bulls in strawberries and cream. " I have never wanted 
strawberries and cream," he writes in 1771, and once more he 
adds in a postscript, " Toujours strawberries and cream." 
Happy man ! A voracious eater at any time, Johnson's 
appetite for fruit, and especially for wall-fruit, was limitless. 
Mrs. Thrale says that he used often to eat seven or eight 
peaches before he began his breakfast, and she had frequently 
heard him protest that he had never in his life had quite as 
much as he wished of wall-fruit, except once, and that was at 
Lord Sandys' seat at Ombersley. Unfortunately, the quantities 
are not stated ; one suspects that he cleared a whole wall-side. 
Lucy Porter at Lichfield used to keep the best gooseberries on 
the bushes in her garden till Johnson came down to pick them, 
and he- often records the pleasure it gave him to gather 
currants. " Dr. Taylor wants to be gardening," he writes in 
1775. " He means to buy a piece of ground in the neighbour- 
hood, and surround it with a wall, and build a gardener's house 
upon it, and have fruit and be happy." To have fruit and be 
happy ! After all, that is not a bad ideal for summer in the 
country. ' But Doctor Taylor was evidently capricious in his 

74 GETTING OLD chap. 

fancies. Sometimes it was his cattle, sometimes his deer, 
sometimes his poultry, and again sometimes his garden that 
was the hobby of the moment, and his guest had to enter into 
the spirit of the thing as best he could. 

Boswell's first visit to Ashbourne took place in 1776, when 
Dr. Taylor sent the roomy post-chaise, which so pleased him, 
over to Lichfield to fetch him and Johnson. They only stayed 
a day or two, but next year Johnson said to Boswell, "I shall 
go to Ashbourne, and I purpose to make Dr. Taylor invite you. 
If you live awhile with me at his house we shall have much 
time to ourselves, and our stay will be no expense to us or to him." 
The invitation duly arrived, and on September 14th — a Sunday 
afternoon — Boswell describes how he drove up to Dr. Taylor's, 
and how his host and Johnson came out to the door before he 
alighted from the chaise and gave him cordial welcome. 
Johnson, we fancy, greeted him with special warmth, for he 
was apt to become a little bored at Dr. Taylor's for want of 
vigorous conversation. Taylor, he confided in Boswell, was "a 
very sensible acute man and had a strong mind. He had 
great activity in some respects, and yet such a sort of indolence 
that if you should put a pebble on his chimney piece, you 
would find it there in the same state a year afterwards." He 
Mas obviously not the man for Johnson to strike sparks out of, 
and so when Dr. Butter, of Derby, asked Johnson and Boswell 
to go over and drink tea with him, the former promptly 
accepted. " I am glad of this," he said, " for," adds Boswell, " he 
seemed weary of the uniformity of life at Dr. Taylor's." 
Moreover, as he wrote a year or two later, " Dr. Taylor is one 
of the people that are growing old. He is not much amiss, 
but he is always complaining." The old pluralist was not so 
brisk as he had been, and as both he and his friend were rapidly 
nearing their seventieth year, that is not surprising. It used 
to worry Johnson to contemplate the flight of time, and the 
thought of death terrified him ; so, instead of celebrating his 
birthdays he strove to conceal them. An amusing instance of 


this took place at Ashbourne. There was a crystal lustre, or 
chandelier, in Doctor Taylor's " large room," and Johnson, 
who had the tastes of a boy in some respects, was very 
anxious to see it lighted up. Taylor said it should be 
lighted on the next evening. "That will do very well," 
said the blundering Eoswell, " for it is Dr. Johnson's birth- 
day." Thereupon, Johnson frowned and declared somewhat 
sternly that "he would not have the lustre lighted the 
next day." 

Those who would follow all the doings of Johnson and his 
fidus Achates at Ashbourne in 1777 must lookup their Boswell 
for themselves, and read how he records their visit to' the 
Grammar School across the way and the narrative of the day 
they spent in Derby, driving over in their host's chaise, and 
finding on their return that Dr. Taylor— wise man — had gone to 
bed without sitting up for them. It was during this drive that 
Johnson made the famous confession, " If I had no duties and 
no reference to futurity, I would spend my life in driving briskly 
in a postchaise with a pretty woman ; but she should be one who 
would understand me and would add something to the conversa- 
tion." What, one wonders, would the Doctor have said to flying 
over a good road, as we moderns understand it, in a powerful motor 
car, either with or without the pretty woman ? It would have 
stirred him to the wildest exhilaration, but we doubt whether he 
could have kept up his stream of talk at such a pace, and we are 
sure that he would have denounced in the roundest fashion the 
modern woman's motor veil and head-gear. If he used to 
bid his hostess, Mrs. Thrale, go and change the ribbons in her 
cap when they did not please his fancy, what would he have 
said to goggles ? It was also on the road back from Derby that 
he solemnly warned Boswell to drink water only. " For," said 
he, in his sagest manner, "you are then sure not to get drunk; 
whereas, if you drink wine, you are never sure." 

Johnson was quite at the top of his form during this fort- 
night. As we have said, the Henmore brook flowed at 




/ -^ '. '' V c, ,/■ 



Ashl/onrne Church, and the Hcnmore Brook. 

the bottom of Dr. Taylor's garden, and a small dyke had been 
built across it to make a tiny waterfall. This had become 


choked up with branches and other refuse, and Johnson one 
morning, in a fit of zeal, seized a pole that lay on the bank and 
began to push the debris over the falls, panting and puffing 
with the exertion. " He worked," says Boswell, " till he was 
quite out of breath ; and having found a large dead cat, so 
heavy that he could not move it after several efforts, ' come,' 
said he, and throwing down the pole, '■you shall take it now ' ; 
which I accordingly did, and being a fresh man, soon made the 
cat tumble over the cascade." It was in Dr. Taylor's garden, 
too, "at a pretty late hour on a serene autumn night," that 
Johnson and Boswell discoursed together on the subject of a 
future state and Johnson said, "Sir, I do not imagine that all 
things will be made clear to us immediately after death, but 
that the ways of Providence will be explained to us very 

When Boswell left Ashbourne on his way north to Scotland, 
he took a chaise at the Green Man — which he describes as a 
very good inn — and was greatly pleased with the manners of the 
landlady, " a mighty civil gentlewoman," who curtseyed very 
low and presented him with an engraving of the sign of her 
house. Below was written, in her own handwriting, the follow- 
ing note : — 

" M. Kilingley's duty waits upon Mr. Boswell, is exceedingly obliged to 
him for this fsTvour ; whenever he comes this way, hopes for the continu- 
ance of the same. Would Mr. Boswell name this house to his extensive 
acquaintance, it would be a singular favour conferred on one who has it not 
in her power to make any other return but her most grateful thanks, and 
sincerest prayers for his happiness in time and in blessed eternity. Tues- 
day morn." 

Did ever a note written by polite landlady achieve such im- 
mortality as this? Was ever so gigantic an advertisement 
bought at a cost so small as the display of " mighty civility " 
and a very low bow ? Of course, Mr. Boswel was pleased to 
name the house to his extensive acquaintance ; but he did 
more, he named it to posterity, and the moral is plain for 

78 LATER VISITS chap. 

those who keep hostelries to read. We will not tolerate the 
suggestion that this politeness on the part of " M. Kilingley " 
— we hope the M stood for Martha — was prompted by her 
knowledge that Mr. Boswell was a friend of Dr. Taylor, the 
local magnate. Her prayers for his welfare in this world and 
the next well became one who kept " a very good inn " in so 
charming a spot- as Ashbourne and within sound of the 
Ashbourne bells. 

We do not hear of Boswell paying another visit to Ash- 
bourne, though Johnson did so more than once before his 
death in 1784. These later journeys had not the blitheness of 
the old ones. Ailments came crowding upon Johnson towards 
the end, and he talked of them much. So did Dr. Taylor, 
and two valetudinarians make poor company for one another. 
" My journey to Ashbourne and Staffordshire was not 
pleasant," Johnson writes to Boswell in 1782, "for what enjoy- 
ment has a sick man visiting the sick? " Yet in 1784 he was 
again in his old quarters from the middle of July to the middle 
of September. Let us hope that the days passed more 
agreeably that time, for three weeks later it was Dr. Taylor's 
mournful duty to read the burial service in Westminster Abbey 
over his illustrious friend. Theirs was a curious friendship, 
and Boswell's comments upon it are worth quoting ; — 

"Johnson and Taylor were so different from each other that I wondered 
at their preserving an intimacy. Their having been at school and college 
together might, in some degree, account for this, but Sir Joshua Reynolds 
has furnished me with a stronger reason ; for Johnson mentioned to him 
that he had been told by Taylor he was to be his heir. I shall not take 
upon me to animadvert upon this ; but certain it is that Johnson paid great 
attention to Taylor. He, now, however, said tome — the date is 1777 — 
' Sir, I love him : but I do not love him more.' As it is said in the Apoc- 
rypha, ' His talk is of bullocks.' I do not suppose he is very fond of my 
company. His habits are by no means sufficiently clerical ; this he knows 
that I see, and no man likes to live under the eye of perpetual disapproba- 

One almost regrets that this conversation was preserved by 
Boswell, though we know Johnson too well to misjudge him. 


If he liked luxury, he liked independence more. Yet, for 
a philosopher, he was, perhaps, too addicted to the pleasures 
of good living to be quite consistent with his principles. But 
all men have their weaknesses and Johnson was not exempt. 
There is a difference between paying " great attention " to a 
man and toadying him, and the long-continued kindnesses 
showered on him by Taylor made this " great attention " no 
more than his due, Taylor may have been too worldly- 
minded, for he had " great possessions," and he was naturally 
slothful and easy-going. Intellectually, he was not Johnson's 
equal : few, indeed, of his contemporaries were, and at times, 
when Johnson was bored and irritated with his host he said 
hard things. But at other times he said kind things which 
were just as sincerely meant, and we may keep pleasant 
remembrance of the well-to-do prebend and justice of the 
peace, who kept a good table, bred fat cattle, and loved an 
easy, placid, and common-place life. 

Dr. Taylor died at Ashbourne and was buried in the church- 
yard close by. Strangely enough, no tablet was set up to 
perpetuate his memory, though for fully half a century he had 
played a leading part in the life, of the town. It is believed, 
however, that the large fiat stone with, an illegible inscription 
outside the south door of the church marks the site of his 
grave. It was my good fortune, when I was in Ashbourne, to 
light upon a new reference to Dr. Taylor. It occurs in a 
short and hitherto unpublished manuscript written by the late 
Lord Denman about 1820, describing a journey from Buxton 
to Ashbourne. He says that the Ashbourne people still spoke 
of Dr. Taylor, and described him as " a very good man, only 
vicious," by which, adds the writer, " it was meant that he 
was whimsical and apt to take likings without much reason." 



Before we go on to Ashbourne Church let us look at the 
Grammar School, a graceful two-storeyed Elizabethan build- 
ing, which remains much as it was when Dr. Taylor and 
Johnson sat talking with the headmaster on the steep bank at 
the back. But it is not to remain so for long. A scheme of 
radical reconstruction has been prepared, which makes 
pretence— it is true — of preserving the character of the 
structure, but one knows too well what the certain upshot 
will be. It means destruction ; and, when too late, unavailing 
regret. The school itself consists of one large school-room, 
panelled in 1885 with oak taken from Ashbourne Church, 
and a solitary class-room on the other side of the entrance. 
This used to be the abode of the usher, while the headmaster's 
house was — and still is — above the main school-room. It is 
said that Johnson himself applied at one time for the post of 
usher, but failed to get the appointment. Boswell, it will be 
remembered, says he entered for a similar post at Market 
Bosworth, and perhaps there has been some confusion between 
the two places. The Rev. William Langley was headmaster in 
Johnson's day and held office for forty-three years, the appoint- 
ment being for life, as the Governors found to their cost when 
they dismissed him, and he appealed to the Court of Chancery 
and won. Langley was for ever quarrelling with his ushers, 
who were granted special keys in order to be able to lock 
themselves in their room against his assaults, and eventually 


only one scholar was left in the Free School, while the usher 
took in boarders of his own across the passage. But the 
old school does not seem to have been fortunate with its head- 
masters, for in 1873 the numbers were again reduced to one. 
A few years later it was reorganised, and what was a Grammar 
School is now a Second Grade School. If Dr. Johnson were 
to revisit it there would be some pretty vigorous criticism on 
his part when he found that the classics had been turned out 
of doors, and that the Humanities had been banished in 
favour of Science. The change, however, has had the effect 
of giving the school a new lease of life, for, after all, the 
Humanities never seem to have been taught efficiently, and 
the school roll of honour is singularly destitute of men of dis- 

Just beyond is the parish church of St. Oswald, whose 
tower is surmounted by a tapering spire — some call it " the 
Pride of the Peak" — 212 feet in height. It stands clear of 
houses with a long avenue of trimly kept trees dividing it from 
the road and the steep bank of the valley. On the other 
three sides is the spreading cemetery where lie many genera- 
tions of the people of Ashbourne. 

" Till the Bell that, not in vain, 

Had summoned them to weekly prayer, 
Called them one by one, again 
To the Church — and left them there." 

Inside, the beautiful building well merits Boswell's descrip- 
tion of it as " one of the largest and most luminous churches 
that I have seen in any town of the same size." George Eliot 
went further and called it " the finest mere parish church in 
the kingdom." The latter claim could hardly be maintained, 
but Ashbourne Church needs no exaggerated praise. One 
may hope that its graceful interior has endured its last " restora- 
tion " for many years to come. The church still contains 
the original brass dedication tablet of Bishop Pateshull of 
1 241, but to me it was of more interest to be shown the 



little seat immediately in front of the lectern where Dr. Johnson 
sate, and to be told of that far off Sunday two centuries and a 
half ago when King Charles came to Ashbourne Church and 
graciously talked with Mr. Peacock, the vicar. The date was 
1645 ; the war was raging ; and the guards would be set to 
watch all the avenues of approach to Ashbourne. 

In the north transept are the tombs for which the church is 
celebrated — the tombs of the two leading families of Cokaynes 
and Boothbys, who for very many centuries were the lords of 
Ashbourne Hall. The Cokaynes date from 1372 to 1592; 
then the Boothbys take up the story and carry it down to the 
middle of the nineteenth century. Ruskin refers to these 
table tombs of the Cokaynes within the chapel by way of 
illustrating his theory that " the English have always been a 
dull nation in decorative art." "I iind," he says, " on looking 
at things here afresh after long work in Italy that our most 
elaborate English sepulchral work, as the Cokayne tombs at 
Ashbourne, and the Dudley tombs at Warwick (not to speak 
of Queen Elizabeth's at Westminster) are yet, compared to 
Italian sculpture of the same date, no less barbarous than 
these goose heads of Kirkby would appear beside an asp head 
of Milan. But the tombs of Ashbourne or Warwick are 
honest, though blundering, efforts to imitate what was really 
felt to be beautiful." This is semi-contemptuous praise, but 
that was Ruskin's way. One of the Cokaynes was slain at 
Shrewsbury : another was knighted on the battlefield of 
Tournay. However, it is not the tombs of the Cokaynes, but 
the recumbent figure of a child, sculptured in white marble, 
which draws most visitors to Ashbourne Church. The child 
is little Penelope Boothby, who lies on a mattress of marble, 
with her head resting on a pillow. This masterpiece of the 
otherwise almost forgotten sculptor, Thomas Banks, bears 
inscriptions in four languages, English, Latin, French and 
Italian, the English one reading : — 

' ' I was not in safety, neither had I rest and the trouble came. " 

G 2 


Then follows the dedication : — 

' ' To Penelope 

Only child of Sir Brooke Boothby and Dame Susannah Boothby. 

Born April nth, 1785, died March 13th, 1791. 

She was in form and intellect most exquisite. 

The unfortunate parents ventured their all in this Frail bark, 

And the wreck was total." 

Of its kind there is no more pathetic inscription on a child's 
monument in England, though, if it were not for the little 
marble figure, it would not arrest the eye as sharply as the 
simple stone in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey, which 
bears no more words than these, "Jane Lister, deare child." 
Penelope was the granddaughter of the Sir Brooke Boothby 
(1710-1789) and Dame Phoebe Boothby (1716-1788) whose 
monument lies close by, and of whom their son, another Sir 
Brooke, wrote : — 

" Long days, long love, indulgent Heaven bestowed, 
And sweet content to gild your calm abode ; 
Friends who through life their faith unaltered kept. 
Children who loved, who honoured and who wept. 
Heroes and Kings, life's little pageant o'er, 
Might wish their trophied marbles told no more." 

The author of these lines composed, some time after his 
little daughter's death, a volume of verses to which he gave 
the curious title. Sorrows sacred to the Memory of Pene- 
lope. It is a rare book, folio in size, with a large frontis- 
piece by Fuseli symbolical of the triumph of Love over Death, 
and the big type stands up boldly from the yellowing pages. 
But the tribute was better meant than executed. Ipso sese 
solatia cruciabat — such is the motto which the author himself 
selected for this unfortunate book, which tells us nothing of 
the pretty child herself, and merely dwells on the father's own 
sorrow. The only picture he draws of Penelope is when he 
pays a ponderous compliment to Banks : — 

" Well has thy classic chisel, Banks, expressed, 
The graceful lineaments of that fine form 


Which late with conscious beauty warm, 
Now here beneath does in dread silence rest. 

" That form, as fair as fancy ever drew, 
The marble cold inanimate retains, 
But of the radiant smile that round her threw 
Joys that beguiled my soul of mortal pains, 
And each divine expression's varying hue 
A little senseless clay alone remains." 

This is the sort of frigid verse which Mr. Dombey might 
have composed with a new pen on the death of little Paul. But 
if Penelope was unfortunate in her father's poetry, she had 
the rare good fortune to be painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds. 
In Sir Joshua's book of sitters the entry of Miss Boothby's 
name appears in July 1788, when she was little more than 
three years old. The picture (in size 28J ins. by 24 ins.) is 
one of the most pleasing of all the master's child portraits. 
It shows us a little girl clad in a white dress, with a dark belt, 
sitting on a stone sill with trees in the background. Hei 
mittened hands are folded in her lap and her eyes are 
demurely cast down. She is wearing a high mob cap, 
which is said to have belonged to Sir Joshua's grandmother, 
and was, therefore, old-fashioned even in his day. The picture, 
which was engraved by Thomas Park, was bought at the 
Windus sale in 1859 for eleven hundred guineas by the Earl 
of Dudley. When it was exhibited at Burlington House in 
1885, it was purchased by Mr. Daniel Thwaites for 
;^2o,ooo. Nor does its interest end here. If there had 
been no " Penelope Boothby " by Sir Joshua Reynolds, there 
would have been no " Cherry Ripe " by Sir John Everett 
Millais. Miss Talmage, the little girl whom Millais painted, 
had been to a fancy-dress ball as " Penelope," and in the 
famous picture, which has given pleasure to thousands, 
Penelope Boothby has enjoyed, what we may call, a second 
blaze of fame. 

Moreover, Thomas Banks's masterpiece gave direct inspira- 
tion to a still more celebrated sculptor. Those who know 


Lichfield Cathedral will remember Sir P'rancis Chantrey's 
exquisite monument to the two children of a Mrs. Robinson 
of that city. The widowed mother, in entrusting Sir Francis 
with the commission, expressed the wish that he should see 
Banks's monument to Penelope Boothby in Ashbourne 
Church. Sir Francis agreed, and it so happened that he made 
the journey from Bakewell to Ashbourne in the company of 
Ebenezer Rhodes, the author of Peak Scenery. They 
arrived late in the evening, and, on the following morning, 
entered the church, where Sir Francis made a slight outline 
drawing in his note-book. In the afternoon they visited 
Dovedale and returned to Ashbourne for a late dinner. The 
London coach from Manchester, by which they intended to 
travel, passed through Ashbourne at one o'clock in the 
morning, and consequently they had a few hours to wait. 
About ten o'clock Sir Francis drew out his note-book, and, 
after spending half an hour in arranging some fronds of fern 
which he had gathered during the day, asked Rhodes not to 
disturb him, as he was going to make a sketch for the Lich- 
field monument. Working rapidly and intently, he was not 
long over the drawing, and Rhodes tells us that practically no 
alteration was made from the original sketch which Chantrey 
thus threw off at the close of a long and tiring day. The 
monument drew enormous crowds when it was exhibited in 
London at the Academy ; it was engraved by Stothard ; and 
on Chantrey's death the legend grew up that the design was 
really Stothard's and not an original one of Chantrey's. 
Another story was that Chantrey, before making his sketch, 
was at his own request locked up in Ashbourne Church for 
two hours. But in face of the explicit statement of 
Rhodes in a Tourists' Guide, which he wrote some 
years later, it is impossible to doubt that the Lichfield 
design was Chantrey's own, and conceived by him while wait- 
ing for the coach in an Ashbourne inn, with a rough sketch of 
the Ashbourne monument before him. 


Ashbourne people, to whom the Boothby memorial had 
become a kind of idol, were intensely jealous of the Robinson 
memorial at Lichfield, which threatened to eclipse its fame. A 
visitor to Ashbourne in 1829 says that when " the venerable 
matron that shows the monument " heard him say to a friend 
that he considered Chantrey's was the finer effort of the two, 
she tossed her head with an air of insulted dignity and said in 
her most acid f^nes, " Humph ! the like of that's what I now 
hear every day. Hang that fellow Chanty or Canty, or what 
you call him ! I wish he had never been born." One more 
story of the Boothby memorial ! It relates to Prince Leopold 
of Saxe-Coburg, brother of the Duchess of Kent, uncle both of 
Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort, and subsequently first 
King of the Belgians. This popular Prince, who had married 
Princess Charlotte, only daughter of the Prince Regent, 
afterwards George IV., and prospective heiress of the British 
Throne, was once passing through Ashbourne and asked if 
there was anything in the town specially worth a visit. They 
told him, of course, of the sculpture in the church. One of 
the suite then asked for further information and received the 
answer, "It is a monument, Sir; no one passes through 
without seeing it, for its like is not to be met with in England 

— it is a monument to an only child, whose mother died ." 

Prince Leopold drew back. " Not now," he said, " not now. 

I too have lost ," and he turned away from the carriage in 

tears. The Princess Charlotte had died in childbirth, a year 
after their marriage, in 181 7. 

They say in Ashbourne that Sir Brooke and Dame Susannah 
Boothby parted at the grave of their child Penelope and never 
spoke to one another again. If so, it adds another touch of 
poignancy to the words of the inscription, "the wreck was 
total." But local tradition usually needs verification. I was 
told — in a whisper — that Dame Susannah was an actress. But 
the actress was another Lady Boothby, wife of Sir William 
Boothby, who married en secondes noces, and when past sixty. 



the fascinating Mrs. Elizabeth Nesbit, nk Cranstoun, known 
to fame on the boards of the Early Victorian stage as Miss 
Mordaunt. Her Rosalind and Lady Teazle, her Lady Gay 
Spanker and Constance, were the delight of Drury Lane. She 
married Sir William to the town's amazement in 1844 : he died 
two years later : and she followed him in 1858. 

Another place of pilgrimage for those who visit Ashbourne 

Tout Moore's Cottage, Mayfield. 

is Tom Moore's cottage at Mayfield. From Ashbourne Church 
go down the road to the bridge over the Dove — the bridge 
which in 18 17 saw one solitary and footsore man limp down 
the hill from Leek, with a stick in one hand and a blanket 
thrown round his shoulders. He was the sole representative 
of the host of starving Blanketeers who had gathered at 
Manchester with the intention of marching to London and 
demanding reform. The police had scattered them at the 
start : their enthusiasm oozed away in the chill of a winter 


morning and only one reached Mayfield Bridge. We go up 
the hill, turn into the fields by the side of the village school, 
and a meandering footpath takes us out into a little lane, on 
the other side of which is a small farm in the adjoining field, 
easily recognisable by its sloping roof and high chimneys. 
This is the Mayfield Cottage where Tom Moore wrote Lalla 
Rookh and lived for nearly four years, from the summer of 
181 3 to March, 181 7. When he first settled there he was 
entranced and delighted with the spot. " I have got a pretty 
little stone-built cottage," he writes to his friend James Corry, 
" in the fields by itself, about a mile and a half from the very 
sweetly situated town of Ashbourne, for which I am to pay 
twenty pounds a year rent, and the taxes come to three or four 
more. But though this sounds so cheap, yet the expenses of 
furnishing and the beautiful capabilities of the place, which 
tempt one into improvements so irresistibly, will make it, I 
fear, rather a dear little spot to me. Once done, however, 
to my mind — if the supplies will enable me to do it so — I 
think I shall not be easily induced to quit it, but shall 
keep it on still as a scribbling retreat, even though I should, 
in a year or two, find it more to my purpose to live in London. 
But certainly until my grande opus is finished I could not 
possibly have a more rural or secluded corner to court the 
Muses in." The cottage stood upon " a kind of elevated 
terrace above- the field." There was no fence round it,, and 
as Moore and his wife were kept in constant alarm lest their 
little children should fall over, they had the terrace " paled " 
along the frontage of sixty yards. " You can't think how our 
cottage is admired," he wrote, and though it was " a little nut- 
shell of a thing," there was a room to spare for a friend, and he 
did not lack company. 

The scenery of Ashbourne does not find its way into 
Lalla Rookh, for in that poem the imaginative Irishman 
gave free rein to his luxuriant fancy, and was more Oriental 
than the Orientals. But while he lived at Mayfield Cottage he 


wrote the verses on the bells of Ashbourne Church which have 
given pleasure to thousands who never heard of Lalla 


" Those evening bells ! Those evening bells, 
How many a tale their music tells 
Of youth and home and that svireet time 
When last I heard their soothing chime. 

" Those joyous hours are passed away, 
And many a heart that then was gay 
Within the tomb now darkly dwells, 
And hears no more those evening bells. 

" And so 'twill be when I am gone : 
That tuneful peal will still ring on ; 
While other bards shall walk these dells, 
And sing your praise, sweet evening bells ! " 

This is not great poetry ; the thought is commonplace ; the 
sentiment is not deep. But the lines cling to the memory, and 
one can hear, as one reads, the cadences of the bells rippling 
over the meadows and the intervening hill from the tall steeple 
at Ashbourne. Herbert Spencer tells us that when he was a 
boy staying with his uncle at Hinton Claverhouse and very 
homesick, this song was " a continual solace " to him. It was, 
he adds, " a homesick song popular at the time." The death 
of an Ashbourne lady of Moore's acquaintance prompted the 
stanzas commencing : — 

" Weep not for those whom the veil of the tomb 
In life's happy morning hath hid from our eyes." 

^Vnd it was into an Ashbourne drawing-room that he rushed one 
day flourishing an open letter in his hand and exclaiming, 
" Don't be surprised if I play all sorts of antics. I am like 
a child with a new rattle. Here is a letter from my friend, 
Lord Byron, telling me he has dedicated to me his poem of 

' The Corsair.' Ah ! Mrs. , it is nothing new for a poor 

poet to dedicate his poem to a great lard, but it is something 
passing strange for a great lord to dedicate his book to a poor 


Moore's life at Mayfield Cottage was not very eventful. He 
worked at his desk ; he paid visits ; a child was born and died 
there. All the amusements of Ashbourne were within reach — 
travelling theatrical companies and such occasional delights as 
the " fantasmagoria and automatons" which he saw in 1814. 
But gradually he tired of the monotony, and craved for a 
change. He wanted to be nearer London, now that his 
fame and reputation were assured, and, after sundry journeys, 
he found a cottage at Hornsey — then quite in the country. 
"We are off to-night for town," he writes on March 11, 
18 1 7. "I have taken the inside of one of the coaches to 
ourselves, and trust in Heaven that I shall carry all my 
little establishment safely to the end of their long journey. 
I have paid all my bills here, and believe that we carry 
with us the respect and good wishes of everyone. Indeed, 
I have never experienced more real kindness than from some 
of our friends in the neighbourhood." Hornsey was reached 
in safety, but the cottage proved to be overrun with rats 
and one of the chimneys smoked, so that by November 
Moore was on the wing again, this time alighting at Sloper- 
ton, near Devizes, whither we need not follow him. 

Thirteen years later Moore paid a flying visit to Mayfield 
Cottage. He was on his way with Hume to stay at Alton 
Towers. Moore saw the old place with changed eyes, and in 
the intervening years the cottage had been allowed to fall 
into disrepair. "Hume," says Moore, "was much interested 
■ as well as surprised to see the small, solitary, and now wretched 
looking cottage where all that fine ' orientalism and sentimental- 
ism ' was engendered. It had for some time fallen into low 
farmers' hands, and was now in a state of dirt and degradation. 
Yet, there, the luxurious Rogers passed a few days with 
me; there poor Stevenson composed one or two of his 
smartest things ; and there (still more extraordinary) I 
remember giving a dinner to Sir Henry Fitzherbert, the 
then High Sheriff of the County and some other provincial 


grandees." Another visitor to Mayfield Cottage about the 
same tinae records that, as he approached, a figure scarcely 
human appeared at one of the windows, and a thin, shrill 
voice called through the lattice, " Come in, gentlemen, come 
in. Don't be afeard ! I am only a tailor at work on the 
premises." The writer continued : " This villainous salutation 
damped sadly the illusion of the scene, and it was some time 
before we rallied sufficiently from the horrible desecration 
to descend to the poet's walk in the shubbery, where, pacing 
up and down the live-long morning, he composed his Lalla 
Rookh. It is a little confined gravel walk, in length about 
twenty paces, so narrow that there is barely room on it for 
two persons to walk abreast ; bounded on one side by a 
straggling row of stunted laurels ; on the other by some old 
decayed wooden palings ; at the end of it was a huge 

"The luxurious Rogers" — as Moore called him— was, of 
course, Samuel Rogers, the banker-poet, author of those still 
remembered but little read poems The Pleasures of Memory 
and Italy, the latter of which owes its place on most book- 
shelves to its fine steel engravings from Turner's pictures. 
Rogers was rich enough to be able to retire from business when 
still young ; and being a man of culture and taste, and devoted 
to literary society, he gathered round him at his breakfast 
parties in St. James's Place all the wits in the world of letters. 
A\'hen Wordsworth died Rogers was offered the Poet Laureate- 
ship, and no act in his long life became him better than his 
passing on the chaplet to Tennyson. Byron summed up 
Rogers best when he said, " If Rogers has not fixed himself in 
the higher fields of Parnassus, he has, at least, cultivated a very 
pretty flower-garden at its base." A charming compliment and 
well deserved ; but here we are only concerned with him as a 
visitor to Derbyshire, and the traces are faint. However, there 
is a charming passage in a letter which he wrote to Moore on 
July 28th, 18 13, acknowledging one in which Moore told him 



that he had settled near Ashbourne. " I cannot tell you," he 
writes, " the pleasure I felt when I received your letter from 
Fairyland. You are now where you ought to be ; and I hope 
you have already initiated Psyche into all the mysteries of 
Dovedale. If you saw the kingfisher I saw there, pray let me 
know ! How far are you from Thorp-cloud, and Ham Churchyard, 
and Oak-over Hall — names consecrated in my memory before 
I was fifteen ? I can assure you I wander with you both very 
often and flatter myself I sometimes hear myself mentioned in 
those regions of enchantment." Psyche was Bessy, Tom 
Moore's pretty young wife, very busy with her babies at this 
time, but quite one of the belles at the Ashbourne assemblies 
and much admired, especially when she wore a wonderful 
oriental turban at her husband's request. One would like to 
know where " the retired green lane " is situated, in which she 
and Tom Moore practised country dances for half-an-hour on 
their way to a dinner party, when they found they had started 
off much too early. 

Mayfield Cottage is now an ordinary well-kept farmhouse, 
with yard and outbuildings. It faces down the valley towards 
Norbury, is surrounded by finely-timbered meadows, and at 
the back of the house is a pasture with steep slopes, and a few 
striking old trees. With one of these is associated, in local 
legend, Moore's poem to the woodpecker, though that was 
written and printed some ten years before. The house is ivied 
over the front door, between the upper windows, and the 
garden has evidently been considerably curtailed since Moore's 
day, when it is said to have contained two arbours, in both of 
which the poet kept writing materials that he might fix his 
lines at once upon paper as he paced up and down. I was 
told that until a few years ago there was a pane of glass in one 
of the upper windows, on which Moore had written a stanza 
with a diamond, but this has been removed and sold to 
a curiosity hunter. 

From Mayfield we retrace our steps to Ashbourne. One 



sees with pleasure that Boswell's inn, The Green Man, still 
survives practically unaltered in the main street, though as the 
sign declares, which projects a long arm towards the opposite 
houses, it has taken to itself the additional name of the 
Black's Head, whose presentment, like that of the bold 
forester in green, is plain to see. The explanation is simple. 
The original Black's Head was an old posting house a little 
higher up the street, and its business was taken over by The 

NL&Y LF H'lLri j. 

The Green Man, Ashbourne. 

Green Man. Ashbourne used to have many other coaching 
houses, each with its arched entrance from the main street into 
the yard : now only one or two survive. One sees their 
gradual disappearance with regret, for they were typical of 
old-fashioned comfort and good living. The Green Man at 
Ashbourne belongs to a genial company of English inns," 
which includes the Bull at Rochester, the Angel at Grantham, 
the Royal at Falmouth, and many more that could be 
mentioned, though the pace at which the old order is changing 


has been rapidly accelerated in recent years. Their like will 
never be built again, for it is obviously inconvenient to have 
the kitchens on one side of the main entrance and dining- 
rooms on the other, with a draughty passage between. The 
rooms, too, are low ceilinged and the bars are small. Yet I 
know nothing in the shape of an inn at home or abroad which 
is so grateful to the eye of a traveller as the entrance to these 
inns which I have mentioned — never without a joint or game 
hanging from the hooks overhead to give pleasant suggestion 
of robust dinner and robust appetite, good cheer, good 
welcome, and good speed. 

At the west end of Ashbourne is Ashbourne Hall, the home 
of the Boothbys, and, in the earlier building which stood on 
the site, of the Cokaynes. It has recently been converted 
into an hotel, but the building itself is of no particular interest, 
save for the fact that Prince Charles Edward slept here when 
he and his Highlanders reached Ashbourne on their march to 
the South in the '45. The oaken door of the room he occupied 
is still preserved. King James on that memorable occasion was 
proclaimed in the Market Place, but we will postpone the story 
of Derbyshire's connection with the '45 till we reach Derby. 

Ashbourne is now a quiet little country town, where the talk 
is greatly of bullocks, as it was in Dr. Taylor's day, and of 
shire horses, for which the district round about is famous. It 
was gay enough, however, at the opening of the nineteenth 
century, when, owing to its central position and its distance 
from the coast, it was chosen by the Government as a place of 
residence for some of their most important prisoners of war. 
In 1804 no fewer than two hundred French officers were living 
in Ashbourne on parole, including three well-known generals, 
Boyer, Pajean, and Roussambeau. They had to give their 
word not to go more than a mile from the town and return by 
nine at night, on the ringing of a bell. If they were late they 
were fined a guinea, which was given to the person who had 
informed against them. General Roussambeau was a very 


conspicuous figure, for he was never seen in anything but the 
dark green uniform of the French Sharpshooters, with Hessian 
boots, and three stars and a plume of feathers in his cap. On 
one occasion Lord Macartney took General Boyer with him 
for a short tour in Derbyshire, and Roussambeau, hearing they 
were at Matlock, rode over without leave to join them. An 
English gentleman staying with the Arkwrights at Cromford 
happened to be of the party, and quizzed Roussambeau about 
his breaking bounds. The testy Frenchman was greatly 
offended, and on returning to Ashbourne sent him a guinea — ■ 
the informer's fee. This time it was the Englishman's turn to 
be insulted, and he wrote up to the Transport Board in 
London telling them the whole story. The result was that 
Roussambeau was removed from Ashbourne, and taken to a 
place in Huntingdonshire, where he was kept in close 
confinement. He was eventually killed at the battle of 
Leipsic. Probably Ashbourne was one of the few places 
which actually made money out of the great war, for we are 
told that the French officers spent in the town not less than 
_;^3o,ooo a year. 



Of the many ways of reaching Dovedale from Ashbourne 
the pleasantest is to take, not the main Buxton road through 
Fenny Bentley, but the Mappleton and Okeover road, which 
climbs steeply out of the market place on the left hand. 
Arrived at the top, it dips down immediately into one of 
Derbyshire's myriad valleys, and crosses the Bentley brook 
hurrying to the Dove, "full of very good trout and grayling," as 
Piscator tells Viator in the second part of The Complete 
Angler, but rather too much encumbered by wood. After 
passing in front of Callow Hall and turning sharply round the 
hill-side to the right, a long mile brings us to the attractive 
hamlet of Mappleton, set in a green valley of its own with 
a pretty Hall in the corner. Here we go down to the bridge 
over the Dove. Okeover Hall is half a mile beyond on the 
Staffordshire side — there has been a Squire Okeover of 
Okeover since the days of the Plantagenets — but we do not 
cross the river. A footpath to the right follows the winding 
course of the Dove through a long succession of fields, all 
pasture, and divided by rough walls of grey stone. No 
approach to lovely scenery could be more charming than this, 
and straight ahead of us, rising high above the crest of a ridge 
between, is the cone of Thorpe Cloud, the outpost of the 
Dovedale hills, with the edge of Bunster in close company. 

98 ILAM CH. vii 

The valley gradually narrows, well wooded on either side, and 
the path sometimes clings to the side of the Dove and some- 
times trails across the meadows. It is a delightful walk, 
though no surpassing beauty can be claimed for it, for scores 
of footpaths in England run by the side of equally gracious 
streams, where the scent of the fields is just as sweet, the 
flowers just as abundant, and the hedgerows just as vocal. 

A mile and a half from Mappleton bridge the Dove flows 
below the tiny Norman church of Thorpe, perched on the top of 
the high bank. Just beyond, the river sweeps round the curve 
of a steep plantation of firs on the opposite bank, and we reach 
Caldwell Bridge. Though no more than a cart track crosses 
it, it is broad and spacious, and a solitary projecting buttress 
seems purposely designed to invite the traveller to linger. 
And linger he will if he be wise, bending over the parapet to 
watch the trout, or admiring the woods on the Staffordshire 
side, or looking up stream at Bunster's bulk and irregular edge. 
Half a mile further on, the Manifold — mysterious river that 
flows underground for part of its course — ^joins the Dove, and 
then we come to the cross road running east and west from 
Thorpe to Ham, over a spur of Thorpe Cloud. Here we are 
at the entrance to the reaches of the Dove which bear the 
name of Dovedale proper. 

Ham is a mile away down the road to the left, a model 
village where prettinesses have run wild, with elaborate modern 
cross and a modern Hall that is a medley of almost every 
known style of architecture. The situation is superb. The 
Manifold here describes a great looping bend, and its banks 
rise steeply and thickly wooded in a magnificent amphitheatre. 
The Hall and church — the latter contains one of Chantrey's 
best-known sculptures — stand deep bowered in gardens in the 
middle of the loop, and look completely cut off" from the out- 
side world. They are said to have suggested to Dr. Johnson — 
who, in his usual masterful way, refused to believe that the 
Manifold disappeared underground — the idea of the Happy 


Valley of Rasselas. Here, too, Congreve wrote his once 
famous comedy. The Old Bachelor. But these things belong 
to Staffordshire. Let us get back to the little bridge over the 
Dove and take the footpath through the fields which leaves the 
weir on our left hand. In a few hundred yards we turn right- 
wards with the stream, quit the open valley, and find ourselves 
in a delightful ravine. Thorpe Cloud rises on the right into a 
shapely cone, and the Dove flows between it and Bunster, 
which here throws down a great spur terminating in what 
is known as the Castle. On either side the hills are high, with 
green slopes breaking here and there into masses of rock, but 
the general character of the ravine is one of peaceful regularity, 
and the impression is deepened by the broad walks on either 
side of the stream. This reach is about three-quarters of 
a mile in length, and the Dove itself flows placidly along with 
no deep pools to retard its course. At the head of the reach, 
Lin Dale branches off to the right around the eastern slopes of 
'J'horpe Cloud — a dry, bare dale running up from the river to 
the village of Thorpe, between the Cloud and Thorpe Pasture. 
Dovedale from Thorpe Cloud to Dove Holes deserves 
leisurely exploration. With time at command one needs no 
persuasion to visit this fairy spot again and again ; and even the 
most hasty visitor should contrive to go through the glen both 
up and down stream, and also to take the walk along the hill 
tops on the Derbyshire side. At the castle rock the Dove 
twists almost at right angles, and the direction of our path up 
stream changes from north-east to north-west. The character 
of the scene is also transformed, for instead of comparatively 
smooth hillside the ravine becomes densely wooded. On the 
Staffordshire bank the woods continue practically without a 
break, rising high and steep from the river's edge and composed 
of lovely trees, a dense mass of foliage of every variety of green. 
On the Derbyshire side — to which the path keeps throughout — 
the bank is more open and more irregular in form ; the trees 
are not so luxuriant, and the ground for the most part does not 


rise so high. . Along the first reach from the Castle is a beauti- 
ful broad strip of greensward ; then the path leaves the river 
side and gradually climbs in a slanting course in order to sur- 
mount a curious knoll which projects out from the main cliff. 
This rises to a little peak, whence we obtain one of the most 
beautiful views in the dale, for the limestone rocks show bare 
and rugged, here in massive cliff, there in fantastic pinnacles, 
and from our elevation we can follow the line of the winding 
cleft. Those who are interested in recognising groups of rocks 
by their names — names which are mostly of late date and not 
particularly apposite— will find occupation in Dovedale, which 
boasts a Lover's Leap, Twelve Apostles, Jacob's Ladder, and 
sundry other proofs of limited imagination. Then on the 
Derbyshire side comes a break in the hills — Sharplow Dale — 
beyond it the cliff rises high and bare, and above the path is 
the curious opening known as Reynard's Cave, approached by 
a rough scramble up a stony moraine. It is a natural arch in a 
great projecting rib of rock, commanding noble views up and 
down the stream, and forms the gateway to two caverns known 
as Reynard's Hill and Reynard's Kitchen. These are not to 
everyone's taste. " If you like that sort of foolishness," as 
Disraeli once said, " that's the sort of foolishness you like." 
Again the path leads down to the stream and a few hundred 
yards higher up on the Staffordshire side is the beautifully 
shaped mass of Dovedale Church, with limestone spires 
springing from among the trees. Then the dale narrows to 
the Straits and, as the river contracts between rocks rising almost 
straight from the water, the path is little more than a rocky 
foothold, which in flood time is covered with water. On the 
further side of the Straits is a little wood, and then again the 
cliff comes down to the river in a beautiful rock which bears a 
close resemblance to a Lion's Head. When we pass it and 
look back, the dignity of the strong lion's face is remarkable. 
Beyond this we approach the handsomest group of rocks in the 
dale, known as the Pickering Tors, a great rounded bastion of 


limestone with five distinct projecting points, the Lion rock on 
the extreme right, and on the left a commanding tor with a 
cavernous hole at its base. These cliffs mount high above the 
river with trees in the foreground and a grassy slope ascending 
to them. Facing them is the Ham Rock — sometimes called 
the Pickering Tor — a tall, detached, needle-shaped rock, stand- 
ing up out of a deep pool in the Dove. Below is a small rapid, 
and beyond a pleasant lawn. 

Here, on the Staffordshire side, the woods give way, first to 
scrub, then to bare rock surmounted by a regiment of pines, 
and then the gaunt hill frowns down on Hall Dale at its side. 
The river now bends sharply to the right and the narrow ravine 
we have been following is transformed. The opposite bank 
becomes a hill covered with thin pasture, while in front of us 
on the Derbyshire side rises a noble hill with fine serrated 
edge, called " The Nabs," clad with stunted trees for three- 
quarters of the way up its slope, and then gradually falling 
away to the left in graceful and smoother outline. A few 
hundred yards bring us to the Dove Holes, two great arched 
recesses in the rocky hillside, the larger having a span of 
fifty-five feet and a height of thirty. The holes are shallow 
and no more than natural curiosities. 

Of the Dove itself we have said nothing, but the Dove 
throughout is the good fairy of the scene. Nowhere is there 
a more lovely stream, just, and only just, big enough to be 
called a river. It is held up by tiny weirs for the fisherman's 
behoof, often only a few hundred yards apart, but the pools 
are not deep and the water is always flowing and babbling, and 
always clear and pure — an ideal home for the trout which throng 
its delightful retreats. The gracious woods, the high hills, the cliffs 
and spires are all a lovely foil to this "Princess of rivers," a stream 

' ' By whose falls 
Melodious birds sing madrigals." 

It must anger anyone with decent feeling to see the littering 
rubbish with which the dale is often choked after the half-day 

io6 HANSON GRANGE chap. 

trippers have walked down it. These are brought by the new 
raihvay from Buxton to Ashbourne, which has " opened " 
Dovedale to thousands who never saw it before. They may 
admire and enjoy, but unhappily they do not always respect. 

From the Dove Holes a steep track climbs up Nabs Dale to 
the Ashbourne and Buxton high road and to Alsop-le-Dale 
station. It winds between stern wild cliffs on either side, 
affording half way up a pretty view across to Alstonefield 
church, and leads to Hanson Grange, a fine old Derbyshire 
homestead, which has a recorded history of nearly six 
centuries. Hanson is a corruption of Huncedona, itself a 
corruption of Han-Syn-Dune, i.e., the Hill of High Sin. Why 
so called we do not know, but the name is probably derived 
from some dark deed committed there in the days when the 
Danes, hard pressed by the Saxons, had fastnesses on The 
Nabs. In 1240 Roger, the son of Robert de Huncedone, 
gave all his property at Huncedone to the Black Monks of 
Burton Abbey, who were also owners of the neighbouring 
Boston Grange. Burton Abbey was dissolved in 1538, and the 
Grange has since passed through several hands, including 
those of Evelyn the Diarist, who inherited it through his 
daughter-in-law and promptly transmuted it into cash. A foul 
murder was committed here in 1467, on the Saturday before 
the Feast of St. John the Baptist, the victim being one John 
Mycock. John de la Pole of Hartington struck him on the 
left side of the head ; Henry Vigurs of Monyash stabbed him 
in the breast ; John Harrison shot him in the back with a bow 
and arrow, and Matthew Bland, of Hartington, hit him on the 
head with a club-staff. Evidently they were determined to 
make sure ! When the trial was due to take place before 
the king in 1469, the accusers failed to appear. No doubt 
they had powerful friends. 

Let no one, however, deem that he knows all the charms of 
this part of Dovedale until he has seen it from above as well 
as followed its sinuous course below — until, in fact, he has kept 



I ri .h —4-' -L: 

T/ie Ilnin Rock, Dovedale. 

along the high ground on the Derbyshire side of the river from 
Thorpe to Dove Holes. No public footpath is marked on the 

io8 A HILL-TOP WALK ch. vii 

map, and no right of way exists, but the Derbyshire farmers are 
most Hberal in their interpretation of trespass, and, as the hills 
afford only the barest pasturage there is no fear of committing 
damage. The least, therefore, the exploring traveller can do, 
in return for their hospitality, is to take some pains in the 
selection of the places where he crosses the stone walls which 
lie athwart his path, that he may not bring a yard or two of 
wall to, the ground behind him as he leaps. All these 
mountain walls are loosely built and mortarless, and little 
able to bear the strain of careless scrambling. Climb up the 
hill at the back of the Peveril Hotel — the hill known as 
Thorpe Pasture — and as you ascend its slope a delightful 
view of Ham Hall and its dense mass of trees two rriiles 
away leaps to the eye. At the top of the ridge are traces 
of old stone walls of unusual breadth, attributed by local 
tradition to the Romans and the monks, generally hopelessly 
confused in the villager's mind. The monks of Burton and 
Combermere had granges in this district, and inasmuch 
as they were Roman Catholics, what more natural than for 
the rustic to confuse them with " the Romans " ? Whatever 
the stone relics may be, the old road certainly ran in the 
depression between the hills on our right hand, and Gag Lane 
— such is the name it bears — is probably the oldest track from 
Ashbourne to Buxton. It joins the present high road near the 
New Inn. As we follow along the ridge a magnificent prospect 
of Thorpe Cloud opens out, and an altogether charming peep 
of the Dove as it comes down the ravine and makes its sharp 
turn towards Ham between Thorpe Cloud and the Castle rock. 
Even the white carriage track by the riverside becomes a 
thing of beauty as a foil to the stream and the dark strip 
of greensward, while the broad, smooth lawn in the reach 
above the bend, and the masses of the woods in the ravine 
beyond, combine to form one of the loveHest views in Derby- 
shire. That is the view of Dovedale which lingers most 
freshly in my memory. 


From this point it is necessary to make a little dttour in 
order to get round the head of a fold in the hill, but the way 
is unmistakable if one aims for the river-side of the wall 
which crowns the opposite ridge. Follow this along the windy 
plateau past another small ravine, and you will see the lone 
homestead of Upper Ilair) perched above the exquisite wood 
that adorns the right bank of the Dove. This wood bears us 
company for a long mile. Just beyond is a sudden dip ; 
then the distant hills of the Peak begin to rise into view, and 
we obtain glorious glimpses down into the dale at our feet, 
where the pinnacles and spires, which look so high from the 
level of the stream, are dwarfed by the high hill behind them, 
over whose shoulder, as it slants sharply down to the Dove, 
are vistas of winding valleys and bare hillsides. An easy 
descent takes us down to the river bank by the Dove Holes. 

" Was you ever in Dovedale ? " So Byron once wrote to 
Tom Moore, and continued : " I assure you there are 
things in Derbyshire as noble as in Greece or Switzerland." 
Who will say Byron nay ? Dovedale also enchanted Tom Moore. 
"It is the very abode of genii," he wrote to his mother in 1812, 
after a tour with his friend Rogers. This tour was evidently 
entirely successful, for Moore, in a letter to Corry, speaks of 
" that most poetical of all spots, Dovedale," while Rogers recalls 
his pleasurable recollections of " Fairyland, those regions of 
enchantment." Or see what Prebendary Gilpin says — the 
arbiter elegantiarum at the close of the eighteenth century in 
all matters relating to the picturesque — a rather heavy and 
pompous divine, but with a genuine enthusiasm for travel and 

" Such scenes enrapture Gilpin's heart 
When charmed he leaves the reahn of art, 
High heaven and earth his thoughts engage, 
And Taste and Virtue crown the sage." 

What Gilpin said was law to thousands until Ruskin arose 
and taught his countrymen to look with other eyes at other 
ideals. " On the whole," says Gilpin, " Dovedale is perhaps 


The Lion's Head Rock, Dimedale, 


one of the most pleasing pieces of scenery of the kind 
we anywhere met with. It has something peculiarly 
characteristic. Its detached perpendicular rocks stamp it 
with an image entirely its own, and for that reason afford the 
greatest pleasure. For it is in scenery as in life : we are most 
struck with the peculiarity of an original character, as long as 
there is nothing offensive in it." This is cold-blooded 
enthusiasm, but Gilpin had exhausted his praise on the Lakes. 
Elsewhere he says : — " From the description given of Dovedale, 
even by men of taste, we had conceived it to be a scene 
rather of curiosity than of beauty. We supposed the rocks here 
formed into the most fantastic shapes and expected to see a 
gigantic display of all the Conic Sections. But we were agreeably 
surprised. The whole composition is chaste and picturesque, 
and beautiful in a high degree." 

About the same time the well-known painter and engraver, 
Dayes, visited Dovedale, and said of it in the published 
account of his tour : — " It is of that high cast of character 
which Pallas holds among the females in poetry. Borrowdale, 
in Cumberland, is sublime from its magnitude : yet being 
destitute of wood it wants the power to please. All there is 
barren and desolate ; here beauty reigns triumphant. 
Delightful Dovedale ! — In thee Nature exhibits one cf the 
truest of her productions ! Beautiful spot ! To be feelingly 
alive to such wonderful works is true piety such as is not 
to be found in the bustle and artifice of society, where all 
pray to be forgiven their sins rather than for that power which 
might enable them to avoid committing any. Great and 
beneficent Creator of the universe, deign to accept this tribute 
of a feeling heart, while my soul overflows with gratitude." 
Poor Dayes ! A few j'ears later, in 1804, he took his own life 
in despair at the world's lack of appreciation. Yet he, we 
fancy, enjoyed Dovedale more than Gilpin, One of the 
earliest detailed descriptions of Dovedale is that which 
Ebenezer Rhodes wrote for his Peak Scenery, a fine quarto 


volume for which the sculptor Chantrey did the drawings and 
"gratuitously presented them to the writer, as a token of his 
friendship and a mark of attachment to his native county." 
This appeared in 1818, and was reproduced in 1824 without 
the illustrations. It was the first good tourist book for Derby- 
shire, though it makes no pretence of covering the whole 
county, and, despite its stilted style in the purely descriptive 
passages, it is well worth reading. 

Strangely enough, Dovedale and the Dove have not fared 
well at the hands of those who have essayed to sing their 
charms in verse. Byron, Moore and Rogers gazed and admired, 
but never turned a stanza in praise of the pretty stream. Words- 
worth, indeed, makes some amends in an exquisite lyric, one of 
the mysterious poems to Lucy which remain a riddle unsolved, 
but the mention of the Dove is, so to speak, accidental. 

" She dwelt among the untrodden ways 
Beside the springs of Dove, 
A maid whom there were none to praise, 
And very few to love. " 

" A violet by a mossy stone 
Half hidden from the eye, 
Fair as a star, when only one . 
Is shining in the sky. 

" She lived unknown, and few could know 
When Lucy ceased to be : 
But she is in her grave and O, 
The difference to me." 

Who was Lucy — this country maid whose memory inspired 
the poet to write, while he was wintering at Goslar, in Hanover, 
in 1798, that short series of poems which are like to nothing 
else in our language ? 

" The stars of midnight shall be dear 
To her ; and she shall lean her ear 

In many a secret place, 
Where rivulets dance their wayward round, 
And beauty, born of murmuring sound. 
Shall pass into her face." 


114 A DOGGEREL BARD chap. 

That Lucy was a real person whom Wordsworth had loved, 
who can doubt as he reads that other poem where the poet 
recalls how, while he rode to her cottage, the bright moon 
suddenly dropped behind the roof, and the chill thought smote 
him, " If Lucy should be dead ! " No abstraction ever 
prompted lines like these. Yet we do not know who Lucy 
was: and it is not even established beyond doubt that Wordsworth 
visited this part of Derbyshire. No record exists, and in all 
probability none will now be found. Wordsworth preferred to 
take with him to the grave the secret of Lucy ; but one likes to 
think, while walking in Dovedale, that Wordsworth, of all 
English poets, was here before us, and that it was the beauty 
born of the murmuring sound of the Dove which passed into 
the face of the girl he had loved in his youth. 

The laureate of the Dove is, of course, Charles Cotton, of 
Beresford Hall, but we will reserve his praises till we reach 
Beresford Dale. In the Polyolbion Drayton makes just a 
passing reference to " Moreland's own darling Dove," and to 
the Muse which 

" To the Staffordian fields doth rove, 
Visits the springs of Trent and Dove." 

The rhyme reminds us that the country folk still pronounce 
the river's name as though it rhymed with rove, not with love. 
Coming down to the eighteenth century we find a poem on 
Dovedale written by a certain Rev. Samuel Bentley in 1768. 
It is the sheerest doggerel. For example : — 

" But who can the wonders disclose, 
Or beauties of Dovedale display ? 
Its grand amphitheatre shows 
The horrid, romantic and gay. 
" How finely contrasted the flocks 

All o'er the high cliffs as they climb, 
The verdure, cascades and rough rocks 
That seem as coeval as Time." 

Bentley sinks to his lowest bathos when he recounts the death 
of the foolhardy Dean of Clogher, who tried to ride up the 


hill near Reynard's Cave with a lady on the saddle behind him. 
The horse fell, and the Dean was mortally injured, while the 
lady was entangled in some bushes and escaped. 

" Ah, why did you ride up .so high. 

From whence all unheard sing the birds ? 
Conduct a fair lady, ah why ? 

Where scarce is a path for the herds." 

We come to a much truer bard in Anna Seward's friend, 
Squire Mundy of Markeaton, whose poem Needwood Forest 
earned the praise of Sir '\^'alter Scott. Needwood was dis- 
afforested by order of the Duchy of Lancaster, to whom the 
land belonged, but the Vernons of Sudbury obtained leave 
that the young timber should be spared. Mundy has some 
pleasant lines on the Dove in this poem : — 

" The British Nile, 
Fair Dove, comes winding many a mile. 
And from his copious urn distils 
The fatness of a thousand hills." 

Or again, describing the breaking of dawn over the valley, he 

says : — 

" Dove laughs and shakes his tresses bright. 
And trails afar a line of light." 

Yet another bard of Needwood and the lower reaches of the 
Dove was the elder Gisborne, author of Walks in a Forest, 
a poem which ran through many editions a hundred years ago. 
Gisborne was vicar of Yoxall before he became Prebendary of 
Durham, and Wilberforce, Hannah More and the Evangelicals 
of the Clapham set frequently visited him there. He says of 
Dovedale, but not in his simplest or happiest manner : — 

" There, 'mid disjointed cliffs and tranquil shades 
Low in his native dale, with stream as pure 
As melts from A Ipine snow. Dove laves his rocks 
Wild as by magic planted, yet with grace 
Of symmetry arranged : now foaming darts 
Along the stony channel, tufted isles 
Now circles, now with glassy surface calm 
Reflects the impending glories of his hills." 

I 2 


This is correct but uninspired, while the long poem entitled 
A Tour of the Dove, written in 1821 by Mr. John Edwards, 
a wine merchant of Derby, shows us a very minor poet struggling 
far out of his depth. Edwards was under Byronic influence, 
but the Childe Harold stanza was immeasurably beyond his 
powers. He conscientiously follows the Dove from where it 
falls into the Trent to its source on Axe Edge, and weaves into 
his poem references to the scenes through which it flows. But 
his lines rarely run smoothly, and he constantly lapses into 
hopeless commonplace. There is hardly a single stanza where 
the poet has not obviously had to rack his brains to find the 
requisite rhymes. Let us quote the one on the Lion Rock. 
It is a fair example of his method : — 

'• Such is the final scene magnificent ! 

These are the closing portals of the dale, 
And lo, within, but placed more eminent, 

A Lion sculptured on colossal scale 

Rears like a Sphinx : his body and his tail 
Are hidden, but his noble head and breast 

Declare the guardianship of this proud vale 
On his stern magnanimity may rest. 
Approach, ye tourists ! he will harm no royal guest." 

Mr. Edwards had no particle of humour, or he would never 
have begun the seventy-seventh stanza thus ; — 

" O Chantrey, thy incomparable skill 

Could I command, I might employ it now : 
For on the apex of that conic hill 

There stands — in listless apathy — a cow." 

As Jeffrey said of Wordsworth on a famous occasion : — " This 
will never do." 

Ann Radcliffe, the lady novelist whose ponderous and creepy 
novels of the imagination brought her thousands of pounds, 
while Fanny Burney and Jane Austen were content with tens, 
must of course needs break into song to the Dove, in flagrant 
imitation of Keats : — 


" Oh stream beloved by those 

With fancy who repose 
And court her dreams 'mid scenes sublimely wild, 

Lulled by the summer breeze 

Among the drowsy trees 
Of thy high steeps and by thy murmurs mild." 

And then she continues in her best Mysteries of Udolpho 
vein 1 — 

" But at the midnight hour 
I woo thy thrilling power, 
While silent moves the glowworm's light along, 
And o'er the dim hill tops 
The gloomy red moon drops, 
And in the grave of darkness leaves thee long " 

This from a lady who v/ould no more have visited Dovedale at 
midnight than she would have ventured alone into one of hei 
ghost-ridden cloisters ! To Ann Radcliffe succeeds Eliza Cook 
with her tinkling guitar : — • 

" Sweet pass of the Dove ! 'mid rock, river, and dingle, 
How great is thy charm for the wanderer's breast ; 
With thy moss-girdled towers and foam-jewelled shingle, 
Thy mountains of might and thy valleys of rest. " 

^Vas ever such sickly sentiment expressed in otiose epithets 
sung to a one-fingered accompaniment? And yet what a 
model Charles Cotton had set them ! 

" O my beloved Nymph, fair Dove ! 
Princess of rivers ! How I love 

Upon thy flowery banks to lie ! " 

Perhaps Byron and Moore and Rogers, and all the many poets 
who have wandered down the banks of Dove, were wise in not 
entering into competition with those delightful lines ! 

,iiiii . . '" n iy.\k,A . I '\!,aJh%IH AKifc'riisaKi ,| 

Viators Brtdze, MiUdalc 



Let us follow the valley of the Dove. After its short, 
sharp twist to the east by the Dove Holes it turns north , 
again for a mile to the hamlet of MiUdale. There is Httle 
wood on the steep sides of the hills, and, despite some fine 
crags, the scenery looks bare and dull after the luxuriant 
beauties through which we have just passed. The obscure 
hamlet, lying in a cup-like hollow, takes its name from the 
mill which ground the corn of the farmers round about 
until half a century ago. By its side is Viator's bridge, tiny 
as ever. " ^Vhat's here ? " he cried in amazement, after com- 
ing down Hanson Toot in great trepidation, " the sign of a 
bridge ? Do you use to travel with wheel-barrows in this 
county ? . . . . This bridge certainly was made for nothing 
else. Why ! a mouse can hardly go over it ; it is but two 
fingers broad." It is a picturesque little structure with quaint 


arches, built, like Alstonefield Church, up the hiU to the left, 
of a stone which is quarried nowhere in the neighbourhood. 

Viator and Piscator had come down the hill on the right 
from near Alsop, quitting the road along which they had 
journeyed from Ashbourne near the New Inn, an ancient road- 
side house which greatly belies its name, though it has recently 
suffered a sea change. Viator had trembled at the prospect of 
riding down the steep incline. " I think," he said, " it is the 
strangest place that ever, sure, men and horses went down, and 
that, if there be any safety at all, the safest way is to alight." 
And alight he did, giving his horse to Piscator's servant to lead 
while he scrambled down on foot. In Cotton's day this hill 
was called Hanson Toot from the neighbouring Hanson 
Grange of which we have already spoken. The word "toot" 
itself means hill, and is, indeed, usually found in conjunction 
with it, as in the place-names and surnames of Tothill and 
Toothill — not uncommon in the north of England. 

From Milldale on to Load Mill — where are a farm and some 
cottages — our footpath by the stream gives place to a road, 
but thenceforward up to Beresford Dale we resume the turfy 
or stony track by the riverside. The valley itself is but 
sparsely wooded, and the Dove flows between closely nibbled 
hill slopes, covered here and there with moraine-like falls of 
small pieces of rock. They were busy dipping sheep as I 
passed through the dale — an amusing enough spectacle to the 
townsman's eyes. Several score sheep were bunched together 
in a flock on the river bank, carefully minded by an alert 
collie which, if any wandered too far away in search of 
pasture, promptly rounded them up again into a compact mass. 
The sheep did not enjoy their dipping, with the loop of a 
chain, attached to a stout pole, placed round their necks, and 
then drawn up and down the stream by the brawny arms of a 
shepherd. Glad were they to quit the water, and, lacking the 
sense of a dog to shake themselves, they looked miserable 
and woe-begone, and uncomfortably surprised at the heaviness 


of their dripping fleeces. An aged patriarch of the dale sate 
placidly in his trap and smoked and watched. This was an 
up-to-date dipping ; lower down the stream by Dove Holes 
I had seen a more Homeric spectacle, where a shepherd 
stood up to his waist in the river and the sheep were thrown in 
to him by his comrade on the bank. The shepherd took them 
in his arms despite their reluctance, clutching frantically at their 
wool if they struggled, and dipping them much as the old 
bathing women used to dip young children in the sea. It 
made one's arms ache to think of wrestling with half-a-dozen of 
these bleating creatures ; yet the shepherd had a fair-sized 
flock to handle ere his day's work was done. 

Nothing calls for re'mark along the two miles from Load 
Mill to Drabber Tor and Dunge Bottom, where a track runs 
up to the high ground on the right through a gorge in the hills. 
The scenery is monotonous from its lack of variety, but it has 
a quiet beauty of its own, and the peace which reigns there is 
profound. No other sound is heard save that of the chattering 
river. For the next mile and a half the dale keeps the same 
character, though with finer crags and some dense masses 
of woods ; then gradually the hills on the Staffordshire side 
begin to recede from the river and we get views of a fine con- 
tinuous range stretching away to the north-west. The path at 
length traverses an open meadow to a delightful little wood of 
young trees. Here a cart track crosses the river, but we keep 
forward and reacli the Bear's Ford, where legend says that the 
last bear was killed in England. Many other places, of course, 
claim the same distinction. Here are stepping stones and a 
footbridge, and near by, in the adjoining plantation, is the 
Warm Well, whose water obligingly grows warmer as the ther- 
mometer falls. Crossing the footbridge, we enter Beresford 
Dale proper by a closely-shaven grassy walk, which is soon 
exchanged for a well-wooded little ravine with a succession 
of tiny weirs set close together. At its further end — it is 
all on a miniature scale — is the famous Pike Pool, a 


delightful spot of rustic seclusion, where for once the Dove 
has dug a deep hole for her waters, beneath a high bank of 

The Pike Pool, Beres/ord Dale. 

luxuriant trees. Standing up out of the pool on the Derby- 
shire side — the path has crossed over for the moment into Staf- 
fordshire — is a tapering spire of limestone, half covered with 
lichens and creepers, like the Ham Rock. Behind it the hill 


rises abruptly, with bold escarpments. This is the pool which 
fishermen see in dreams. Then a foot-bridge takes us across to 
Derbyshire once more, where the path soon quits the river and 
bears away through the open fields on the right. 

But as, in deference to notice boards which point away from 
the river, we find ourselves quitting the banks of the Dove, we 
ask, " Where, then, is the Fishing House, sacred to fishers ? " 
Public access to it is now denied ; the path from the foot-bridge 
has been closed by the present owner. One is almost resigned 
thereto by the thought of how the Fishing House of Walton 
and Cotton would sufifer at the hands of the barbarian half-day 
invaders. Better closed than destroyed 1 Yet I found it 
possible even from the meadows of the Derbyshire side to 
get a good look at this most celebrated and delightful little 
structure, situated so charmingly in an elbow bend of the Dove. 
Let me quote a charming sonnet by Mr. T. Westwood : — 

" What spot more honoured than this peaceful place? 
Twice honoured, truly. Here Charles Cotton sang, 
Hilarious, his whole-hearted songs, that rang 
With a true note, through town and country ways, 
While the Dove trout — in chorus — splashed their [jraise. 
Here Walton sate with Cotton in the shade 
And watched him dubb his flies, and doubtless made 
The time seem short, with gossip of old days. 
Their cyphers are enlaced above the door, 
And in each angler's heart, firm-set and sure. 
While rivers run, shall those twin names endure, 
Walton and Cotton linked for evermore — 
And Piscaloribus sacniiii — where more fit 
A motto for their wisdom, worth, and wit?" 

Even Samuel Bentley, of whose doggerel wo gave a specimen 
in the last chapter, rises to a pleasant fancy when he writes 
of the Fishing House : — 

" Here Cotton his temple has reared, 
Which yonder peninsula shows ; 
By fishermen lo^'ed and revered, 
For sacred to fishers it rose : 


" Close shaded those osiers among 
The father of fishers would He ; 
And while silver Dove was his song, 
Improved for deception the fly." 

The Fishing House, which figures so alluringly in the pages 
of The Complete Angler, is now carefully tended, and looks 
delightfully prim and neat with its pretty lattice windows and 
wooden shutters on all four sides, its steep pyramidal roof of 
stone tiles surmounting the low stone structure, and its chim- 
ney jauntily set at one corner. Walton, so Cotton tells us, 
only saw it a-building before the roof was on, but he saw the 
famous cipher stone which now adorns the centre of the arch 
above the door, beneath the broader stone that bears the 
legend " Fiscatoribus sacrum." Here Piscator (Cotton) and 
Viator sate them down and Cotton smoked the pipe of 
tobacco which, said he, is "always my breakfast," and initiated 
his friend into his fishing secrets before they tried their luck in 
the Pike Pool. " Fine lights, finely wainscoted and all 
exceeding neat with a marble table, and all in the middle " — 
such was the interior in Cotton's day, and it remained in 
tolerably good order down to about 1784, though even then 
Sir John Hawkins, in his edition of The Complete Angler, 
reports, on the authority of a friend, that the paintings and 
wainscoting were much decayed. In 1814 a visitor describes 
the Fishing House as '■ much dilapidated, the windows un- 
glazed, and the wainscot and pavement gone." Since then it 
has been lovingly restored, and there is no likelihood ef 
further neglect. One misses the wainscot, and the marble 
table is round instead of square ; otherwise the Fishing House 
is much as it was in Cotton's day. 

Of Beresford Hall, where Walton used to stay with Cotton, 
only the foundations are left. It stood behind the rising 
ground of the Staffordshire bank of the river, a substantial two- 
storeyed dwelling as one sees it in the old prints, providing 
good comfortable quarters, where there was no waiting for 




The Fisliint; House, Bercs/ord Dak. 

dinner and supper. Cotton's servants " knew his certain 
hours" — a testimony to character which one would not have 
expected of him. But he loved his Derbyshire liome and the 


pretty river which flowed through his grounds, however much 
he liked to have his fling in London — nothing very wild, one 
would imagine, if the staid Isaac Walton permitted him to call 
him father. Cotton got into debt, which is a bad sign ; but 
his debts troubled him, and that is a correspondingly good 
one. And here, as to a sure retreat, he came when his creditors 
were too much for him, and lay snug in a cave till the storm 
blew over, and then took up his rod and angled for a trout to 
charm away his melancholy. It was the fashion in Charles II. 's 
day for men about town to write verses, and Cotton — to be in 
the fashion — wrote much poor stuff. But he also wrote 
because the Dove made him write, and he could not help it, 
and then he wrote like one inspired. 

" Good God ! how sweet are all things here ! 
How beautiful the fields appear ! 

How cleanly do we feed and lie ! 
Lord ! What good hours do we keep ! 
How quietly we sleep ! 

What peace, what unanimity ! 
How innocent from the lewd fashion 
Is all our business, all our recreation ! " 

" Oh, how happy here's our leisure ! 
Oh, how innocent our pleasure ! 
O ye valleys, O ye mountains ! 
O ye groves and crystal fountains ! 

How I love at liberty 

By turns to come and visit ye ! " 

And do you think it possible for a poet in a mood like that 
to forget the Dove and the trout, and the pleasure he took in 
his rod and in his skfll in whipping the stream? Listen to 
him : 

" O my beloved nymph, fair Dove, 
Princess of rivers, how I love 

Upon thy flowery banks to lie, 
And view thy silver stream. 
When gilded by a summer's beam ; 


And in it all that wanton fry 

Playing at liberty, 
And with my angle upon them, 

The all of treachery 
I ever learned, industriously to try ! " 

Or again : 

" Men fall in love 
With thy bright beauties, and thy fairest eyes 
Wound like a Parthian whilst the shooter flies. 
Of all fair Thetis' daughters none so bright. 
So pleasant none to taste, none to the sight. 
None yields the gentle Angler such delight." 

So his Muse runs on, but as no lettered person will visit 
Beresford Dale \vithout reading the first few chapters of the 
second part of The Complete Angler we will not quote further. 
One need not be a fisherman to appreciate and love that book 
— indeed, many of those who love it most, and know it best, 
are not fishermen at all. It is its quaint flavour, its smack of 
old-fashioned piety, the quiet spirit it exhales, the snatches of 
old song, the way it transports you to the meadows till you 
hear the mu^ic of the stream hurrying by and all the country 
sounds — there lies the charm of The Complete Angler for the 
man who does not fish and so contrives to take some little 
interest in other things besides his book of gaudy and drab- 
looking flies, and the length of his coils of catgut. Isaac 
Walton, the pietistic old linen-draper of Fleet Street, would rub 
his spectacles in surprise if he could see and hear many of 
those who call and profess themselves Waltonians ! 

The real ^V'altonian touch is found in a charming poem 
by Henry Glassford Bell, of which we rnay quote a few 
stanzas : — 

Isaac ! still thou anglest near me 

By the' green banks of thy Dove, 
Siill thy gentle ghost may hear me 
Breathe my reverence and love. 


my kindly old piscator, 

See'st thou not these waters clear ? 
Time, thou changeling, Time, thou traitor, 
Give him back, — his home was here. 

Lo ! at yonder bend he standeth, 

Where round rocks the wave bells out. 

See ! with skilful touch he landeth 
Now a grayling, now a trout. 

Stream of beauty ! winding, singing 

Through the world's divinest dale, 
Ever to thy music bringing 

That old spirit calm and pale ! 

Learned in all honest learning. 

Trustful, truthful, pure of heart ; 
Peaceful, blameless honour earning 

By the magic of his art. 

Now a trout and now a grayling 

Luring from the shaded pool, 
God's white clouds high o'er him sailing, 

All around the beautiful ! 

And we may quote, too, a few blithe verses of a later-day 
poet, Mr. Francis Coutts, which would have delighted Cotton. 
They are from his poem, entitled " Angling Days " : — 

1 care not where my steps are bent 
Nor what far lands I spy. 

The happiest days that e'er I spent, 

Or shall spend till I die, 
Were those when I a-iishing went 

By Derwent or by Wye. 

Or when I hastened to assail 

With sympathetic rod 
The darkling Dove, along whose Dale 

Oft Isaac Walton trod ; 
And if but once I might prevail, 

That hour I was a god ! 

I 26b COTTON'S PEW chap. 

Who glad as I, when morn arose 

And I could sally out, 
To where the shadowed ripple flows 

Beloved of timid trout ? 
No kinship had I then with those 

Who have of day a doubt ! 

Then as across the dewy mead 

I hurried to the stream, 
The lark on his delirious reed 

Piped to the morning beam ; 
And straight I felt an unknown need 

And straight began to dream. 

Though Cotton's house has vanished, one can still see the 
pew where he worshipped in Alstonefield Church, and the 
little Staffordshire village and fine old church will well repay 
the walk. The Cotton pew now stands at the east end of 
the north aisle, and is evidently not in situ. It is of oak, like 
the other high pews with incised patterns on the door panels, 
which were set up in the middle of the seventeenth century. 
But a hundred years since some barbarian vicar allowed it to 
be painted a pale duck-egg green, with the Cotton coat-of-arms 
coloured and gilt. 

The path by the foot-bridge from the Pike Pool leads us, as 
we have said, away from the Dove, which one cannot quit 
without repeating the pretty good-bye of Viator, " Well, go thy 
way, little Dove ! thou art the finest river that ever I saw and 
the fullest of fish." Hartington is a mile away through the 
fields, a clean, breezy, upland village or little town — it had 
a market once — which gives the Dukes of Devonshire the 
title of their marquisate. At the Charles Cotton Hotel the 
traveller, fresh from the Fishing House, will find an interesting 
little collection of old prints and portraits of Cotton and 
Walton — some of which are not often met with — and Harting- 
ton church is interesting both within and without. It has a fine, 
well proportioned tower, a curious porch with sloping roof, 
some ancient tombs and quaint pictures. I noticed here 




an epitaph — doubtless a quotation — with a distinct touch of 
originahty, wherein tlie reader was warned : — 

"Wisely from earth thy fix't desires recall, 
And loose betime thy root to ease thy fall." 

Charles Cotton! s Pew, Ahtonejietd Church, 

And who will fail to sympathise with the feelings which 
prompted Mary Flint to leave an endowment of £^ a year for 
the church stove in winter? Like many old churches, this 
one at Hartington looks as though it might well be cold and 
draughty in winter time. The parish used to be of enormous 



extent, divided into four quarters and extending up to tlie very 
confines of Buxton on the one side and to Biggin and Pike- 
hall on the other. The north transept is still called the 
Biggin Chapel. _ Hartington church formed part of the endow- 
ment of the Minories, on Tower Hill, London, given to the 
nunnery on its foundation by Blanche Queen of Navarre, wife 
of Edward Duke of Lancaster, to whom the Hartington 

manor had been granted on the confiscation of the estates of 
Robert de Ferrers, Earl of Derby. 

At Hartington station — a long mile and a half uphill from 
tire village — one may take the train for a few miles back on 
our tracks in order to visit the two neighbouring villages of 
Fenny Bentley and Tissington. The former — a cluster of 
pretty cottages nestling round the ancient church — lies on the 
main Buxton and Ashbourne road at the foot of a hill three 
miles long with a fall of four hundred and fifty feet. The 
Bentley Brook meanders pleasantly near by, under old bridges, 




in a bed of huge burdock leaves. Here an ancient manor 
house of the Beresford family, and traces of a moat and earth- 
works, may still be seen. Thomas Beresford, who fought at 
Agincourt, and Agnes his wife, lie in effigy in the little church, 
tied up in their shrouds ab ove their heads and below their 

Old Manor House, Fenny Bentley. 

ankles, and with their sixteen sons and five daughters similarly 
dealt with in miniature presentment on the sides of their tomb. 
The sculptor had no portraits to guide him as to the features 
of the dead soldier and his lady, and so hid their faces in their 
shrouds. The effect is most bizarre. Tissington is a more impor- 
ant village two miles to the north of Fenny Bentley, lying to the 
east of the main road, with which it is connected by a glorious 
avenue of limes, more than half a mile long. Here, on Holy 
Thursday or Rogation Day, the ^Vell-Flowering custom which 
we saw at Roston had been observed for centuries, and Tissing- 

130 TlSSlNGtON*S WELLS cttAt'. 

ton's five wells are adorned with flowers. These are the Hall 
Well — from its proximity to Tissington Hall gates — Hand 
Well, Goodwin Well or Yew Tree Well, the Town Well, and 
Coffin Well. Hand Well and Goodwin Well took their names 
from the farmers who lived at the adjoining farmsteads ; the name 
of Coffin Well is explained by its shape. Three-quarters of a 
century ago a Frith Well was mentioned instead of Coffin Well, 
doubtless from the name of the occupier of the farm. 

There has been much speculation as to the origin of this 
charming custom. Local tradition naturally ascribes it to a 
local cause, and says that in bygone days, when Derbyshire was 
suffering from a prolonged drought, during which the springs 
dried up and the rivers ceased to flow, the wells of Tissington 
continued, as before, their plentiful supply. Well-dressing, 
however, was not confined to Tissington or to Derbyshire. 
There are traces of it in most English counties, as, for example, 
at St. Edmund's Well near Oxford, at Droitwich in Worcester- 
shire, and at Brewood in Staffordshire. It is, in fact, a relic of 
the graceful side of paganism, the religion of the countryfolk, 
which one meets with in every age as far back as recorded 
history reaches. To crown the head of a well with flowers, or 
to sprinkle flowers upon a running stream, was a natural 
and pleasing way of expressing gratitude to the nymph or wood- 
land deity who dwelt there and haunted the spot with beneficent 
presence. Christianity took over these innocent legends and 
pretty customs, which were part of the country life and to 
which people clung with great tenacity, and was wisely con- 
tent to sanctify them to the service of the Church. Yet we 
need not, perhaps, refuse to Tissington its special reason for 
this observance. It is said that during the Black Death of the 
fourteenth century, which swept over the land with such 
dreadful mortality that whole villages were left derelict, 
Tissington escaped, and the people ascribed their immunity to 
the purity of their water. Such a tradition would be long kept 
ahve and may well have contributed to the continuance of the 


Tissington Well-Flowering when it fell into desuetude else- 

. Tissington Hall, a fine old Elizabethan mansion facing the 
church, has been associated for four centuries with the Fitz- 
herberts, one of whom figured in a very popular eighteenth- 
century romance. The Spiritual Quixote. This was written 
at Tissington about 1 745, when the author, the Rev. Richard 
Graves, stayed for three years at the hall as chaplain to the 
reigning Fitzherbert, who is described in the novel under the 
character of Sir William Forester, " a gentleman of fine sense, 
and, what is not always a consequence, of fine taste, not only in 
the polite arts, music, painting, architecture, and the like, but in 
life and manners. He had the art of making every company 
happy, and the greater art of making himself happy in every 
company." As for Mrs. Fitzherbert, or Lady Forester, " the 
utmost indiscretion which the severest critic could ever 
charge her with was of a romantic kind, the rambling once or 
twice into Hyde Park at a distance from her equipage and 
attendants, and reading under a tree, accompanied only by 
a female friend, with all the security of rural innocence. Her 
ladyship was a little inclined to the mystic or the seraphic 
theology, being a great admirer of Fe'ne'lon's and other works 
of the same kind." Evidently the Fitzherberts were people of 
sentiment, with all that favourite phrase implied. They 
numbered among their friends Dr. Johnson, who, says Boswell, 
had in general a very high opinion of Mrs. Fitzherbert's under- 
standing. Fitzherbert himself sat in the House of Commons 
and, when in London, moved in the best and wittiest society. 
It was at his house that Johnson first met Foote, the comedian, 
who was also a partner in a small-beer brewery, and got his 
friends to buy from him, Fitzherbert among the number. The 
beer was so bad that Fitzherbert's servants vowed they would 
not drink it. Instead of giving notice, as their high and 
mighty descendants of the present day would do, they were, says 
Boswell, " at some loss how to notify their resolution, being 




afraid of offending their master, who they knew liked Foote 
much as a companion. At last they fixed upon a little black 
boy, who was rather a favourite, to be their deputy and deliver 
their remonstrance ; and having invested him with the whole 
authority of the kitchen, he was to inform Mr. Fitzherbert in all 
their names, upon a certain day, that they would drink Foote's 

MER M^t-J 

Thsiitgton Hall, 

small beer no longer. On that day Foote happened to dine at 
Fitzherbert's, and the boy served at table : he was so delighted 
with Foote's stories and merriment and grimace that when he 
went downstairs he told them, ' This is the finest man I have 
ever seen. I will not deliver your message. I will drink his 
small beer.' " Never did an actor receive a finer tribute to his 

As for Fitzherbert himself, Johnson said, " There was no 
sparkle, no brilliancy in Fitzherbert, but I never knew a man 


who was so generally acceptable. He made everybody quite 
easy, overpowered nobody by the superiority of his talents, 
made no man think worse of him by being his rival, seemed 
always to listen, did not oblige you to hear much from him, and 
did not oppose what you said. Everybody liked him, but he 
had no friend, as I understand the word, nobody with whom he 
exchanged intimate thoughts. People were willing to think 
well of everything about him." This is the portrait of a 
pleasant-mannered, courteous gentleman with literary tastes, of 
only second or third rate talent himself, but the acceptable 
companion of genius, fashion, and wit. His end was tragic, for 
in 1772 he committed suicide, owing, it is said, to pecuniary 
embarrassments. The Fitzherbert baronetcy dates from 1783, 
the first baronet, Sir William, having been raised to that 
dignity by George III. in reward for his services as Gentleman 
Usher. But the clever member of the family was his younger 
brother, Alleyne Fitzherbert. He, after a highly successful 
career as a diplomatist, notably at St. Petersburg, at the courts 
of Catherine and Alexander I., was raised to the peerage as 
Baron St. Helens, a title which became extinct at his death. 

We have wandered far away from The Spiritual Quixote, 
which started us off on this digression. Let us return to it for 
a moment. Graves wrote it in imitation of Cervantes' romance, 
and sought to kill two birds with one stone. He wished to 
write an amusing book, and also, as a Church of England 
parson, he wished to pour ridicule on Methodism. So he gave 
his crack-brained hero — who is fired with the notion of con- 
verting his fellow-countrymen — the name of Wildgoose, and, 
with Tugwell for his Sancho Panza, he brought him up from 
the south of England to the hills of Derbyshire. They reach 
Ashbourne, which is described as "a great thoroughfare to 
Buxton Wells, to the High Peak, and many parts of the north, 
and being inhabited by many substantial people concerned in 
the mines, and having three or four of the greatest horse-fairs 
in that part of England every year, is a populous town," 


There Wildgoose is led into a violent altercation with a quack 
•doctor named Stubbs, who, on getting the worst of the 
argument, turns the tables on his antagonist by denouncing 
him as a Jesuit in disguise. A tumult arises and Wildgoose 
is thrown into the local lock-up, where he endures much 
privation before he succeeds in establishing his innocence. 
Then he and Tugwell set out on the Buxton road, and, after 
travelling about an hour and a half, reach what they had 
taken to be the summit of the mountains, only to discover, to 
their dismay, a succession of higher hills beyond. Finally, 
they meet the Foresters picnicking in the valley, and Wild- 
goose is invited to join their party at Tissington, where he 
spends a few days in sight-seeing, visits Ham Hall, " the seat 
of Mr. Porte," and sees the " Wonders of the Peak." 



About six miles from Tissington, where the main road forks, 
is the Newhaven Inn, a big three-storeyed house with a large 
stone-pillared porch. The yard at its side once provided 
stabling for a hundred horses, but most of the stalls have long 
since been converted into cowsheds. The inn stands amid 
trees, in pleasant contrast with the dreary uplands all around it, 
and in the coaching days was perhaps the best-known hostelry 
in all Derbyshire. Such an inn was badly needed, for 
previously there had been only a few mean little houses of 
call between Ashbourne and Buxton, and travellers were grate- 
ful to the Duke of Devonshire for this roadside palace 
which he built for their comfort. It now looks ghostly and 
deserted — save when the horse fairs are in full swing outside — 
but it used to have every bedroom occupied every night, and 
was as gay and fashionable as a London hotel. The Newhaven 
Inn enjoys its licence irrespective of the whims of licensing 
magistrates. For George IV. once spent a night there and was 
so pleased with his entertainment that he granted a free and 
perpetual licence of his own sovereign pleasure. This, of 
course, is vested in the proprietor, the Duke of Devonshire. 

The road to the right leads down to Youlgreave and Bake- 
well, crossing at the far end of the plantation the third road 
which completes the triangle. This runs due east to Winster, 
passing in two miles through Pikehall, where traces are still 

136 A ROMAN ROAD chap 

visible of the old Roman road from Derby to Buxton. It 
came from Minninglow to Pikehall, then on in a straight 
continuing line, crossing the Newhaven and Bakewell road at the 
bend below the brickworks and the High Peak railway, 
and then forward in another undeviating line to the south 
of Arborlow, still marked by a narrow belt of plantation 
for much of the way. From Arborlow it gradually approximated 
to the modern main road, joining it at the Bull-i'-th'-Thorn 
Inn at Hurdlow, five miles from Newhaven, and identical with it 
for the next mile to the Duke of York Inn, a magnificent straight 
stretch of white road with broad green margins. At the Duke 
of York it swerved to the west to pass round the slopes of 
Greatlow to Brierley Bar — beyond Hindlow station — and then 
ran straight to Sherbrook, a mile out of Buxton. 

There is not much of interest from Newhaven onwards. 
Passing the road down to Hartington on the left, we reach the 
little inn which masquerades on the barren moorland under 
the foolish name of the Railway Inn — it had much better have 
kept its ancient sign of the Jug and Glass. Then, right and 
left, we pass a spacious green lane, once a busy channel of 
communication between Hartington and Youlgreave. It is a 
bleak country, with only a few farmsteads in sight, and on 
every side the thin pastures stretch away, rising here and there 
into " lows " — each with its tumulus where some dead chief 
sleeps, and a clump of trees waves over his head like some 
gigantic funeral plume. In a mile we cross the old High Peak 
mineral railway. This was the first railway in the Peak of 
Derbyshire, and ran from AVhatstandwell, near Cromford, to 
Whaley Bridge, near Stockport. It was thirty-two miles and a 
half long, and was built as a private venture, but did not pay. 
It used to be worked in eight sections, some of the inclines having 
gradients of one in eight, up which the trucks were drawn by 
stationary engines. The highest point of the line is at Hurdlow. 
Part of the track is utilised in the North Western line from 
Ashbourne to Buxton and on to Whaley Bridge. In another 



half-mile we approach Parsley Hay station. Just beyond it the 
road forks, the branch on the left leading down in two miles 
to Monyash. This we take, but soon turn leftwards along 
a by-road for half a mile, till we see on our right hand the 
farm in whose pastures lies the wonderful stone circle of 

This is the principal prehistoric monument in Derbyshire, 
the Stonehenge of the Midlands, and almost as impressive. 

Arciorlow, near Monyash. 

It lies on high ground — though not the highest in the neigh- 
bourhood — and commands distant views over a desolate land. 
Arborlow itself is a circular enclosure, 167 ft. in diameter, 
with a ditch 18 ft. broad surrounding it, and a vallum rising 
to a height of about 15 ft., and 820 ft. in circumference. In 
the enclosure are a number of large blocks of limestone, 
varying in size from 12 ft. by 7 ft. by 5 ft. to smaller stones of 
no more than 5 or 6 ft. long. They all lie flat on the ground 
forming a rude circle, and in the middle are the larger stone 


blocks which probably formed the central dolmen. There are 
two entrances to the enclosure, a northern and a southern, and 
on the east side of the latter is a large detached mound. Four 
hundred yards west of the main enclosure is a still larger 
mound, known as Gib Hill, connected with it by a low 
rampart of earth, now nearly worn away. Such is Arborlow. 
But what was it ? A temple or a burial-place ? There is 
nothing to show that it was the former : there is clear evidence 
of the latter. Bateman, the Derbyshire " Barrow Digger," 
found a fine kist in Gib Hill which he took away to his 
museum ; others have been found in the smaller mound and 
in the ditch and vallum. Does then Arborlow mark a battle- 
field ? Tradition speaks of Hartington Moor as the scene of 
a big fight between Romans and Britons ; others, detecting in 
the word Arborlow traces of the word Arthur, think that this, 
like Penrith, was one of the peerless King's battle-grounds. 
But imagination is not evidence, and the word holds its secret 
still. Nor are those guesses more convincing which connect 
"Arbor" with the mysterious place name " Cold Harbour"— 
common in almost every English county — or which tell us that 
Arborlow is "the hoary barrow hill," and quote Celtic deriva- 
tions. They may be right — we do not know. We cannot 
even be sure whether the big stones always lay flat on the 
ground or once stood upright. A century and a half ago an 
old man living at Middleton said that as a boy he remembered 
them upright, but such evidence is of little value. All we can 
say is that the stones in these circles usually did stand erect. 
Nor, again, can we be sure of the date of Arborlow, though the 
balance of probability, judging from what has been found in 
these and neighbouring kists, is that it is considerably later 
than one would suppose at first sight, and not more than two 
thousand years old. This is all very unsatisfactory, but, after 
all, it is wild theorising which has brought prehistoric archae- 
ology into disrepute. It must suffice us, then, to know that 
Arborlow is the burial-ground of chiefs who died long ago, anii 


that brave men have wept here and raised memorials over 
their bravest 

" Reliquias veterumque vides monumenta virorum." 

From Arborlow we may retrace our steps to the first cross- 
road, and then turn down to the right past Benty Grange for a 
long two miles to Monyash. This is not an attractive village. 
It lies low in a deep depression of the uplands, and one feels, 
on entering it, that it has seen better days. The feeble, 
dilapidated cross at the four cross roads is emblematic of the 
present condition of Monyash, though it was a market town 
five centuries and a half ago, and the mining capital of the 
High Peak, as Wirksworth was of the Low Peak. Now the 
wide, straggling streets look forlorn. Even the church bears 
witness to the general decay, for the south porch is in ruins, 
the interior is bare and cheerless, and the churchyard is 
unkempt. A huge oak chest in the church tower, ten feet 
long and white with age, is the most interesting thing in 

Nevertheless, we may linger here profitably a little while, for 
Monyash was for forty years the home of one who well 
deserves to be remembered among the worthies of Derbyshire. 
" He lived well, and so he died. And after all the toils, 
exercises, and buffetings he met with here in this life, in a good 
old age he was gathered home unto a quiet habitation." Who 
would not wish to know something of him of whom these 
simple words were written ? Happily for us, John Gratton, 
the Quaker, kept a journal, wherein he told the story of his 
religious experiences and missionary work among the hills and 
dales of Derbyshire. He was born in 1640, probably near 
Chesterfield, and was the son of a small farmer. In boyhood 
and youth he loved worldly pleasures and recreations ; for he 
played cards and rejoiced in " the shooting of bulls and the 
ringing of bells " — amusements . which seemed to him after 
his conversion to be lacking sadly in grace. But while still 
young he began to be anxious about his spiritual condition. 


First of all he joined the Presbyterians. After a lengthy trial, 
he came to the conclusion that these were not the real elect. 
He found their method of singing the Psalms a serious 
stumbling-block. Then he attended the parish church, but 
the formalism of the services and the set prayers offended him. 
Afterwards he attached himself to the Anabaptists for some 
years ; and at last found the Truth among the Quakers. But, 
long before he cast in his lot with the Quakers, he had 
been vouchsafed a vision of "the Lord's people." Bunyan 
himself could not have described it more effectively : — 

" It pleased the Lord to shew me his people who served Him. For, as 
I walked along through a dark wood and was so exercised that I scarce 
knew where I was, yet I kept walking on all alone, and as I came out of 
the wood to go up a hill out of a deep valley, I had a vision, and I saw a 
people laid close one by another in a very low place, lower than the other 
parts of the earth ; where they lay still and quiet. And 1 looked upon 
them, for it arose in my heart that they were the Lord's people. This 
made me to look earnestly to see who they were, that I might know them 
to my comfort, whom the Lord owned for his people, and I saw plainly 
that they were the people called Quakers, a poor, despised, low sort of 
people : which when I perceived, I was as one amazed, and in great 
trouble ; for these were a people above all others that endured the greatest 
sufferings and were by all the rest hated, reviled, and scorned. 

" As I walked on the vision ended, but I was in a strange frame, and, 
considering the matter, I felt a change was upon me, and I knew that my 
countenance was altered. So I drew near a little village, my way lying 
through it, but I had a mind to escape being seen as much as I could, 
because I concluded that they would take notice that my countenance was 
much altered. But it fell out that when I got almost through the town 
there was a woman saw me and called to me, though I went as far from 
her as I well could to keep in the road. And she asked me how I did and 
what ailed me to look so — was I well ? I gave her little answer, but said 
(as I remember), 'Not very well,' so passed on; and coming to a stile 
that was on the top of a high hill I sate down upon it : and there it was 
shewed me that, if I would be a true follower of the Lamb, I must forsake 
the world, its corrupt ways, passions, customs, worships, and all the vain- 
glory, love, and friendship of it." 

Unfortunately, Gratton does not say where this extraordi- 
nary vision took place, but the year was 1664. One would 


expect so rapt an enthusiast to lose no time in joining the 
Quakers while the impression of the vision was still fresh 
upon his mind. But he did not do so, for he was evidently 
reluctant to believe that to none but the despised Quakers 
had the Truth, of which he was in search, been revealed. 
In those days of strenuous faith and intolerable fanaticism, 
no sympathetic bond of union existed between those who 
now call themselves Free Churchmen ; the Anabaptist was 
as hostile to the Quaker as to the Anglican, to the 
Presbyterian as to the Catholic. Gratton was still an Ana- 
baptist when the Conventicle Act of 1670 was passed, which 
forbade more than five people assembling for purposes of 
worship, under penalty of fines of J[^2o on the owner of 
the house, ;^20 on the preacher, and five shillings on 
every listener. When this Act was passed there was much 
searching of heart among the Derbyshire Noncoriformists. 
Some were for meeting in the open air to save the fine on 
the house; some advocated meeting at an early hour that 
the service might be over when " the priest and people 
came from the steeple-house to dinner " ; the bolder spirits 
— and Gratton was one of their number — were for meeting 
just when and where they had done before and braving the 

But in 167 1, at the time of the corn-harvest, as Gratton 
was riding on the road to Sheldon all alone, in deep 
exercise, " it pleased the Lord, on a sudden, unexpectedly 
and unlooked for, that the Daystar arose in my heart and 
the Sun of Righteousness with healing under his wings." 
His full conversion came soon afterwards in the house of 
Widow Farnay, at Exton, near Matlock. Gratton was a 
total stranger to the Quakers assembled there for worship, 
and they eyed hirti with suspicion as a possible spy, but at 
the close of the meeting he publicly declared his conversion 
and his desire to be one of their number. " I felt," he says, 
" such a love in my heart to them as I had never felt to 

142 A SCENE AT BRADOW chap. 

any people. Oh ! it was true love, such a love as none 
know but they that have it. And I also felt the same love 
in them to me, and some of them got me in their arms and 
were glad of me, though I knew but few of them, or they 
me." When he returned home, his "poor wife was sore 
grieved " to learn that he had joined the Quakers — though 
she too subsequently became converted — while the neigh- 
bours resented it as an insult to themselves and to public 
opinion. But the more they reviled him, the more he 
rejoiced that he had been found worthy to suffer and to be 
reproached for Christ's sake, and thenceforth, down to the 
day of his death, he made the preaching of the Truth, as 
he understood it, the serious occupation of his life, and his 
zeal was rewarded with many notable " convincements." 
He often met with bitter opposition, as the following 
experience will show : — 

" And there was a convincement at Bradow and thereabouts in the Peak, 
and Mr. Jonathan Fisher and his wife with divers others were convinced. 
We appointed meetings there, but such a multitude came that tlie house 
could not contain them. Wherefore I went into the street under a great 
tree in the market place, that was walled about, and I got upon the top of 
the wall and spoke to the people, but a company of rude fellows set on 
to stone us, and the stones flew about my head and rattled in the tree, yet 
hit me not. But a woman that happened to sit near me, a great stone hit 
her and wounded her, and the people came and carried her into an house, 
but she recovered after some time. At last a man came blaming them that 
threw stones at us and got into the crowd, but after he had stood a while 
he stooped to take up a stone to fling at me, as was supposed, and one of 
his neighbours standing by, who had been for some time very attentive, 
seeing the man that had blamed others going to throw a stone, he up with 
his fists and struck him on the ear, that he let the stone fall and did not 
fling it at me. This man who struck the other was convinced that day 
and became an honest man, and so continued till his death for aught I 

" At last Henry Jackson and Henry Roebuck came to the meeting and 
got on the top of the wall also, and, as Henry Jackson was declaring, a 
parcel of young lusty men came and cast off their upper coats and thrust 
the Friends violently off the wall. Henry Jackson was heavy, and they 
were very hard set to get him down, but they did. I went down and 


spake to one of them, asking him why he was so uncivil. He answered, 
if they let us alone, the town would be Quakers. " 

How vividly the simple words conjure up the riotous scene ! 
Let us take yet another instance. Gratton used to attend 
Wirksworth market. One day he was greatly distressed at the 
profane swearing of the market people, who " swore so dread- 
fully that it was to me as if sparks of fire had flown about," 
and he was bidden by the voice of the Lord to go to the 
market cross and declare against the wickedness of the people. 
Gratton was loth to obey, for, as he frankly confessed in his 
Journal, he knew the people of AVirksworth to be " a rude, 
wicked, swearing, drunken people," and he feared they might 
pull him to pieces. So he took horse and rode home to 
Monyash instead. But his conscience smote him sorely, and 
the very next time he was in Wirksworth he went boldly to the 
market cross and preached so powerfully that " the people 
were much reached and wept aloud and no man had power to 
hurt me, though I stopt twice and sate down and waited still 
for the fresh motion of Life." One sees the earnest-faced 
enthusiast pausing to get his breath and the startled crowd 
cowering under his fiery rebukes. Then, when he had 
finished his discourse, he went to the inn with joy in his heart. 
Nevertheless, a vague sense of impending danger weighed 
upon his mind and he speedily had his horse saddled and 
departed. No sooner was he safely on the road than Justice 
Loe came riding into Wirksworth and sent to the inn to 
summon Gratton before him, meaning to cast him into prison. 
The bird had flown. 

This Justice Loe was "a great persecutor of Friends," but 
it is tolerably evident that the general feeling of the 
Derbyshire magistrates was to ignore, as far as possible, the 
contumacy of those who defied the Acts against Dissenters, 
provided there was no open scandal. Even when preachers 
were fined on conviction, payment was by no means always en- 
forced. John Gratton was well known throughout Derbyshire 


as an honest, if misguided, enthusiast, and so when, in 1680, 
he was condemned to imprisonment in Derby gaol under 
a writ of excommunication, his treatment was extraordinarily 
lenient. A prisoner who was allowed to go home for weeks 
together and was not even denied opportunities to hold Quaker 
meetings, was clearly not called upon to suffer a very grievous 
martyrdom, and in the end, a'fter six years' imprisonment, the 
prison doors were opened for him and he was asked to go. 
Leaving Monyash in 1707, Gratton went to live with his 
daughter at Farnsfield, in Nottinghamshire, where he died in 
17 1 1. "He was a man beloved of God and of His people; 
sound in his testimony ; courteous in behaviour. He loved 
the Truth for the Truth's sake ; was patient in his suffering for 
it ; faithful to God in discharging his duty to Him ; helpful to 
His people wherein he could be serviceable to them, either in 
their private or public concerns." Dr. Johnson once said that 
in writing lapidary inscriptions a man is not to be considered 
on oath, but this eulogy of John Gratton, written by some of 
his Stockport friends, rings unmistakably true. 

Monyash became a Quaker centre and only in recent years 
has the Society of Friends ceased to count adherents in the 
neighbourhood. Among the last were the Bowmans of One 
Ash Grange, two miles to the south-east of the village, a farm- 
house which had once been a penitentiary for refractory monks 
from Roche Abbey in Yorkshire. It also has associations with 
John Bright, who bestowed the name upon his house at 
Rochdale, which for many years of last century was one of 
the best known private addresses in England, John Bright's 
grandmother was a great granddaughter of John Gratton. 
There was, indeed, good reason for Dissent to be strong 
in Monyash and the lamentable condition of the parish 
church is best explained by such an incident as the following, 
which took place in 1742, when one of the earliest Methodists, 
John Benet, was preaching there. He thus relates his 
experience : — 


" I went into the Peak to preach at Monyash, when a clergyman with a 
great company of men that worked in the lead mines, all being in liquor, 
came in just as I was about to give out the hymn. As soon as we began 
to sing he began to halloo and shout as if he were hunting with a pack of 
hounds, and so continued all the time we sang. When I began to pray, 
he attempted to overturn the chair I stood on, but he could not, although 
he struck it so violently with hi.s feet that he broke one of the arms of the 
chair quite off. When I began to preach he called one of his companions 
to pull me down, but they replied, ' No, sir, the man says nothing but the 
truth ; pray hold your peace and let us hear what he has to say.' He then 
came to me himself, and took me by the collar of the shirt and pulled me 
down, then he tore my coat cuffs, and attempted to tear it down the back, 
then took me by the collar and shook me. I said, ' Sir, you and I must 
shortly appear before the bar of (jOD to give an account of this night's 
work.' He replied, ' What ? must you and I appear before GOD 
together?' I said, ' As sure as we look each other in the face now.' He 
let go my throat, took my Bible out of my hand, and turning it over and 
over said, 'It is a right Bible, and if you preach by the spirit of God, let 
me hear you from this text,' which was, ' Wisdom strengtheneth the wise, 
more than ten mighty men in a city.' I got up and began to preach from 
the text, and when any offered to make a noise, the miners said, ' Hold 
your peace or we will make you, and let us hear what he will make of 
the parson's text.' As I went on the parson said, ' That is right ; that is 
true.' After a while he looked round and saw many in tears; he then 
looked at me and went away, leaving me to finish my discourse in peace." 

Is it strange that the church languished with such a vicar ? 
But note the very remarkable sequel ! One of the Monyash 
Methodists was so incensed at the vicar's conduct that he 
prophesied, " If that man die the common death of man I am 
much mistaken." And, true enough, some years later, the 
parson fell over a precipice one night, while under the 
influence of liquor, and broke his neck. So says the Rev. 
John Benet, and the vicar can surely be none other than the 
Rev. Robert Lomas, whose tragic death is commemorated by 
the name of Parson's Tor, given to the rock over which he 
fell, at the Monyash entrance to Lathkill Dale. The tuft of 
grass, which was found clenched in the dead iman's hand, was 
preserved for many years in a bottle. He died in 1776, 
thirty-four years after the prophecy. 

146 DEEP DALE chap. 

We need not linger over the road between Monyash and 
Buxton. I had intended to take the cross-country track to 
Flagg Hall and thence to Chelmorton, but a careless turning 
on the desolate common brought me out on the Ashbourne 
road again by the Bull-i'-th'-Thorn Inn. I did not regret my 
error. The straight mile along the Roman road to Street 
House — the name proclaims aloud that it stands on a Roman 
way — and the Duke of York Inn was exhilarating walking, 
and a little beyond the inn I turned by footpath and cartroad 
over the slope of Nether Low to the cross roads below 
Chelmorton. As I topped the hill I left the dreary uplands 
behind me and welcomed the indications of richer land. 
Chelmorton is an ancient village pleasantly perched on the 
slope of a green hill, with a church which boasts itself to be 
the highest in England and to have been built in 11 11. The 
first claim is untenable : the second has no other evidence 
than four casual strokes on a beam. 

From the cross roads we may turn leftwards for a mile till 
we reach on the right hand the entrance to a curious dry ravine 
in the limestone. This is Horseshoe Dale, and the footpath 
which runs down it is the Priest's Way, an ancient bridle path 
belonging to the days when the road we have just left was still 
uncut. Half a mile down this broad grassy ravine, which in 
places looks like a deep railway cutting, a second ravine. 
Back Dale, enters on the left, and the two go forward to 
the valley of the Wye under the name of Deep Dale — an 
imposing and dignified dale, with rugged limestone rocks on 
either side. Deep Dale, from where we stand to Topley Pike, 
is two miles in length, and its exploration invoh-es some rather 
rough walking at the further end. Its chief distinction is the 
cavern which used to be called Thirst House, or Hob's Thirst 
House. Hob, of course, is the old name for a mischievous elf 
or pixie, and Thirst is said to be a corruption of The Hurst, 
meaning a wood or forest. The Dale was, until recently, 
believed to be a favourite haunt of " the little people," nor is it 


long since a villager gravely assured a Buxton antiquary that, 
while passing through it, he had caught one of these fairies 
and put it into his bag, until it " skriked so " that he let it 
go. Thanks to the well-directed labours of Mr. Micah Salt, 
the antiquary in question, the Deep Dale Cavern, as it is now 
generally called, was carefully explored a few years ago, and the 
cave earth yielded very rich finds. The most important of 
these were relics of the Roman occupation in the shape of 
coins, fibulse, and other silver articles for the toilet, and frag- 
ments of pottery which tended to show that these were relics 
not of the closing but of the early years of the Roman 
occupation ; relics, that is to say, not of the fourth but of the 
first or second century. 

The Priest's Way leaves the ravine at the entrance to Deep 
Dale, and climbing up the left bank passes out through the 
fields into a by-road before we reach the church. Then a path 
leads off on the left hand through a pleasantly wooded estate, 
and enters the main road from Buxton to Bakewell just 
opposite Pig Tor. Buxton lies two miles to the left down 
Ashwood Dale, a fine gorge of the infant Wye, with noble 
crags and glorious trees, but irreparably spoilt by industrialism. 
The railway embankment is hideously present all the way; 
there are odious limekilns on a gigantic scale, and even the 
poor little stream is made in places to run — like a sewer — in 
a narrow concrete channel. Ashwood Dale can never be 
anything but beautiful, but the old charm has gone. A mile 
from Buxton is the Lover's Leap, a pretty dell on the left hand 
down over the face of whose rock a little brook comes 
cascading after rain. It is a pretty bit entirely after the heart 
of the Early Victorian young lady with a sketch book. Just 
beyond, the Duke's Drive enters the main road and forms a 
fitting introduction to the fashionable watering place of 

L 2 

riie Cresce7tt buxton 



Buxton's fame as a watering place is known throughout the 
land. Only to Bath has it ever yielded precedence — Harrogate 
and Tunbridge Wells and Cheltenham are of recent growth 
compared with it. As Drayton sang, 

" That most delicious fount, 
Which men the second Bath of England do account." 

For Buxton, like Bath, claims to have been a watering place in 
the days of the Roman occupation. Its pretensions, it is true, 
are often stated in extravagant terms, and the suggestion that 
Buxton was ever a populous place of resort with the wealthy ' 
Romans of Britain has no evidence to support it. It lay either 
on or near the line of the Roman Road, which we saw on the 
high ground above Hartington and Hurdlow, and in the level 
ground of the Silverlands, on the east side of the town, 
local antiquaries have found indisputable traces of Roman 
road and Roman residences. Among them is a fragment of a 


milestone, which records the fact that Anavio or Brough was 
ten miles distant, along the Bathamgate. Buxton, beyond 
reasonable doubt, is the Aquis of the Ravennas geographer, 
who placed a Roman station of that name somewhere in the 
middle of England next to Nanione — that being clearly a 
mis-spelling of Anavio. It would have been strange, indeed, 
if, with the bath-loving Romans in the neighbourhood, the 
warm springs of Buxton had remained undiscovered, and one 
is not surprised, therefore, to hear that fragments of an ancient 
Roman brick wall, cemented with red plaster, were found 
near St. Anne's Well at the beginning of the eighteenth century, 
while workmen were digging the foundations for an orna- 
mental arch which a Cheshire knight, Sir Thomas Delves, 
set up in thanks for his recovery. Some years before portions 
of what was reputed to be a Roman lead cistern had also 
been brought to hght. These are conclusive evidences that 
the Romans knew the curative properties of St. Anne's Well : 
they do not prove that Buxton was in any sense " a place of 
resort." Indeed, beyond the soldiers of the road stations, there 
can hardly have been any Romans in Derbyshire — a country 
which would have absolutely no charms to the Roman eye. 
The official who had the ill fortune to be stationed on the 
borders of the High Peak was, we may be certain, very sorry 
for himself as having to endure hateful exile amid barbarian 
surroundings. Buxton cannot have been in any sense of the 
term a counterpart of the Aquae Solis of the West of England. 

For a dozen centuries Buxton scarcely finds mention in 
English history. It figures as Bawkestanes in the Doomsday 
survey, but we refuse to be led into dogmatic utterance on the 
derivation of the word. Any one may choose for himself, and 
the choice is wide. Some see in Buxton merely Buck-stone ; 
others Buck's-ton, the enclosure of the buck. Others invent a 
bastard Latin word Bucostenum ; others talk of Bockstein ; 
others, in sublimer faith, fall back on " bucking- stones," the 
place where women took their clothes to wash. Some of these 
derivations are merely fantastic — but which, we will not say. 


However, when we reach Tudor times we find that the Well of 
Saint Anne was a kind of Lourdes where people went to be 
cured, with greater faith in the healing power of the Saint than 
in the curative powers of the waters, and where those who 
obtained relief hung up their crutches and sticks as witnesses to 
the virtues of the place. A harmless enough custom, surely, 
handed down from immemorial Pagan times, but, therefore, most 
offensive to the inconoclast agents whom my Lord Cromwell 
sent up and down the land to work the will of King Henry 
the Eighth. Sir William Bassett came to Buxton, defaced the 
tabernacles, tore down the votive crutches, and " locked up 
and sealed the baths and wells of Buckston that none shall enter 
to wash there till your Lordship's pleasure be further known." 

Nevertheless, by Queen Elizabeth's time the baths and wells 
were unsealed again and the reputation of the water stood high. 
So Dr. Jones, writing the first of countless treaties upon the 
benefit of the Buxton waters, tells us in 1572 that "joining to 
the chief spring, between the river and the bath, is a very 
goodly house, four-square, four stories high, so well compact 
with houses and offices underneath and above and round about, 
with a great chamber and other goodly lodgings to the number 
of thirty, that it is and will be a beauty to behold and very 
notable for the right honourable and worshipful that shall need 
to repair thither, as also for others, yea, and the poor shall have 
lodgings and beds hard by for their uses only. The baths also 
are beautified with seats round about, and defended from the 
ambient air, and chimneys for fire to air your garments in the 
bath side, and other necessaries most decent." This "very 
goodly house " was, of course, the residence of the Earl and 
Countess of Shrewsbury, and it was here that their charge, 
Mary Queen of Scots, spent five weeks on her first visit to 
Buxton in 1573. She was there again in 1574, 1576, 1579, 
1580 and 1583, and possibly in other years when she spent 
part of the summer at Chatsworth. The Queen went to 
Buxton to obtain relief from her ailments, and wrote, after her 
first visit, " I have not been at all disappointed, thank God." 


When Elizabeth heard that her captive liked Buxton and was 
anxious to go again, she promptly suspected that there must 
be some ulterior motive. Hence Queen Mary's vehement 
protests to M. de la Mothe, " I protest before God that I have 
in this no other object than my health." Elizabeth accepted 
these assurances, but did not relax her precautions. In fact, 
she redoubled them. Buxton was an exposed place ; she was 
afraid some wild plan of escape over the hills and moors might 
present itself to Queen Mary, and Lord Burghley seems to 
have gone down to Buxton in 1577, in order to satisfy himself 
that it was a safe residence for a prisoner. In 1580, when 
there was another scare in Queen Elizabeth's circle, Shrewsbury 
wrote to assure them all that whenever Queen Mary was in 
Buxton no strangers were allowed to come near the place. 
Even the beggars were driven off, and not one of the Queen's 
retinue — always much reduced at Buxton — was .permitted to 
leave the house without a guard. " I have not suffered the 
simplest of them," wrote the Earl, "for these seven years to 
walk abroad or stir out of doors without a guard." Doubtless 
they slipped out occasionally, and, despite all Shrewsbury's 
precautions, Queen Mary always contrived to conduct a variety 
of intrigues and keep up a regular correspondence with her 
friends outside. She was at Buxton for the last time in the 
July of 1584, and tradition says that she wrote with a diamond 
on a pane of glass the following couplet of farewell : — 

" Buxiona, qua calidcB celebmbere-nomine lyinpha:. 
Forte mihi posthac Hon cuieunda vale." 

Nor are you allowed even now to get far out of sound or 
sight of these lines all the time you are in Buxton. Lord 
Burghley we may note, did not make a long stay, but he gave 
the waters a thorough trial. " I came hither," he writes, 
" on Sunday last at night, and took a small solutive on Monday. 
Yesterday I drank of the water to the quantity of three pints 
at six draughts. This day I have added two draughts and I 
drank four pints, and to-morrow am I determined to drink five 



pints. Mixt with sugar I find it potable with pleasure, even 
as whey." That is qualified praise — save to a Scot. 

Hobbes, the philosopher, was in Buxton in the first quarter 
of the seventeenth century, and has left on record in his jeu 
d'esprit in Latin hexameters, De Mirabilibus Peed, a curious 
account of the few hours which he spent there. It was twilight 
when he and his companion rode into the town after a long 
tiring day of sight-seeing. But let Hobbes speak for himself 
in our translation of his verses : — 

"Buxton we reach renowned for her tepid waves, where is the famous 
fountain sacred to St. Anne. The ministering earth mingles there her 
waters, both hot and cold, and pours forth healing virtues from sulphurous 
veins. These strengthen the weakened limbs of tottering age, and refresh 
the stiffened joints of those who bathe within the stream. Hither come the 
lame, guiding with a staff their trembling steps, and depart with stafil 
thrown thanklessly aside. Hither comes the unfruitful dame, whose long- 
ing is to be a mother, and leaves fruitful, methinks, even though her 
husband stay at home. 

" As it rises, the sparkling wave is caught in its square fountain, and, five 
feet in depth, supports the swimmer. A wall screens it from the eyes of 
the curious : a roof protects it from the rain. A joint wall with open doors 
connects this delightful bath with our inn, and so, while dinner is being 
cooked at a fire of turf, we are minded to refresh our tired limbs in the 
tepid waters. Stripped to the skin, we glide along the gleaming waves and 
veil our naked bodies in the transparent stream. Now face downwards we 
swim ; now on our back we snuff the waters and drink them too — for we 
cannot all do all things. Then, having spent a full hour in disporting our- 
selves thus, we etnerge dripping and wrap dry towels round us ; nor is it 
long before each is clad in his own clothes again and dinner awaits us on a 
well-laden board. 

" Meanwhile black night flies out from all her caves at once and enfolds 
the whole scene in dark, irresistible shadows. Lamps are lit and the meal 
is brought in. Now there is set before us, according to our order, not whole 
baths, but just a small portion of mutton broth, with the meat itself with- 
drawn and set apart. Then coines a loin of the self-same sheep smoking 
from the spit, a chicken that had but lately burst its shell, and many a good 
spoonful of buttered peas. After vainly calling for rich cups of wine, we 
drain black flagons of smiling beei;, and then, our meal completed, woo 
sleep with draughts of tobacco smoke. And, ere yet Aurora, heralding 
the triumph of Phoebus, has driven from the sky the common herd of stars, 
we rouse ourselves from slumber, plunge yet again into the waves, and let the 
healing waters permeate us through and through. Then, twice-dipped, we 


bear back to our couches our dripping bodies and rise from sleep at nine 

We have given the passage at length because of its details. 
Probably the rising from sleep in the middle of the night, in 
order to have a second bath, was merely a fad of Hobbes, for 
he had odd theories about the best means of preserving health, 
and we need not suppose that this formed part of the Buxton 
treatment in the seventeenth century. The passage is important 
also as showing that the bath was roofed in Hobbes's day and 
formed part of the inn where he lodged. Nor did the philosopher 
fare so badly with a dinner of mutton broth, loin of mutton, 
and chicken with buttered peas, and this, we fancy, is a truer 
picture of the Buxton fare of the period than that given by 
Macaulay in his chapter on "The State of England in 1685," 
where he uttered the famous libel, which has wrung the withers 
of every good Buxtonian. " The gentry of Derbysliire," he 
wrote, " and of the neighbouring counties repaired to Buxton, 
where they were lodged in low rooms under bare rafters, and 
regaled with oatcake and with a viand which the hosts called 
mutton, but which the guests suspected to be dog. A single 
good house stood near the spring." " The single good house " 
was, of course, that of the Earl of Devonshire, where Queen 
Mary had been a prisoner ; the authority for Macaulay's 
libel on the Buxton dietary is a curious passage in a short but 
sprightly account of a tour in Derbyshire, written in 1662 by 
Thomas Browne, son of Sir Thomas Browne of Norwich, the 
author of Religio Medici. He says of Buxton — where he notes 
that " the better sort of people wore shoes on Sundays and 
some of them bands " — that he and his brother were lodged in 
"a low rafty room " and that their "entertainment was oat 
cakes and mutton, which we fancied to taste like dog." Perhaps 
their host did not greatly put himself out — it was during the 
slack season — to provide dainty dishes for two wandering 
schoolboys. But they have had a lively revenge. 

In 1670 the Earl of Devonshire pulled down the ancient 
hall where Queen Mary had stayed and built the present Old 


Hall. Charles Cotton, in his Wonders of the Peak, writes 
enthusiastically of it : — 

' ' Buxton's in beauty famous, but in this 
Much more, the pilgrim never frustrate is 
That comes to bright St. Anne, when he can get 
Nought but his pains from yellow Somerset. 
Nor is our Saint, though sweetly humble, shut 
Within coarse walls of an indecent hut, 
But in the centre of a Palace springs, 
A mansion proud enough for Saxon Kings, 
But by a lady built, who rich and wise 
Not only houses raised but families." 

Then he goes on to say that Bess of Hardwick's old mansion 
had been lately repaired. It had, indeed, been doubled in 
size, for it could now accommodate sixty ladies and gentlemen 
instead of thirty, with rooms also for their servants. The 
grounds were famous. A bowling green lay in front of the hall, 
groves of trees on the north side, and the gardens proper were 
at the back. 

Cotton, of course, had a good deal to say of St. Anne's Well, 
and said it with wholesome exaggeration in very mediocre verse. 
A few lines will suffice, those in which he describes the twin 
springs of St. Anne, the hot and the cold : — 

" This tepid fountain a twin sister has 
Of the same beauty and complexiop, 
That bubbling six feet off joins both in one, 
But yet so cold withal that who will stride. 
When bathing, cross the bath but half so wide, 
Shall in one body, which is strange, endure 
At once an ague and a calenture." 

This would have been strange indeed had it been true, which 
it certainly was not. Cotton's cousin. Sir Aston Cokayne — a 
tedious versifier — had not drawn such a long bow : — 

"At Buxton in the Peak nine springs break out 
Within a little compass, wondrous thought. 
Because that eight of them are warm and one 
As if it were under the frigid zone. " 

At the end of the seventeenth century we get a glimpse of 


Buxton in the diary of William Fiennes— published in recent 
years under the title of Through England on a Side Saddle 
— where the writer complains of the accommodation at the Old 
Hall. The charges were described as unreasonable and the 
lodgings bad, two, three and four beds being crowded into a 
room and the visitors often compelled to lie three in a bed. 
More interesting still is the account of A Journey to Eden- 
borough made in 1705 by a certain Mr. Joseph Taylor, who 
was accompanied by two friends, named Harrison and Sloman. 
Their route lay through Loughborough, Derby, Brassington, 
Buxton, Castleton, Chatsworth and Chesterfield, and so north. 
They had a dreadful ride from Brassington to Buxton — 
evidently over Minning Low and Pikehall into the Ashbourne 
Road near Newhaven — and they describe Buxton as "a poor, 
stony little town." However, they thoroughly enjoyed them- 
selves, as the following extract will show ; — 

" Here we met with a young lady, in company with her father and 
mother, whose conversation made the place very agreeable. She justly 
merited from us the name of the fair Gloriana, which we found accident- 
ally engraven on the wall of the Bath, whilst we were disputing what 
Angelicall title we should give her. 'T is impossible to describe how merry 
we were and with what pleasure we bathed, which was so much the greater 
because we never expected such heavenly enjoyments in so desolate a 
country. This sufficiently convinced me that good company makes all 
places diverting." 

Evidently they made a very jolly party, bent on having a 
good time, and succeeding in getting it. Unfortunately, the 
diarist does not describe the Bath — he is too busy thinking of 
his Gloriana — but he transcribes a copy of Latin verses which 
he found written on the wall, " imperfect," he says, " through 
some mistakes in the original." They are not only imperfect, 
but hopelessly corrupt. 

Even in the middle of the eighteenth century the bathing 
arrangements at Buxton remained decidedly primitive. In 
173s the bath is described as being situated in an arched 
room, ten yards long and five and a half yards wide and high, 
and there was no more than a stone bench at which the bather 


might dress and undress. A few steps led down into the bath, 
which was paved with smooth flag stones, and its temperature 
was estimated as " a quart of boiled water mixed with a gallon 
of cold." Visitors, however, were not exacting in their demands 
in those days, for one of them speaks of the bath as " hand- 
some, convenient, and delightful," and admires its capacity to 
" receive twenty people at a time to walk or swim in its tepid 
waters." In 1765, when Dr. Alexander Hunter wrote a pamphlet 
on the Buxton Waters, the drinking well was still exposed to the 
open air, and thus, as the author says, " every time the well- 
woman fills her glass the waters are inevitabfy agitated and the 
volatile spirit, instead of being carefully retained, is in some 
degree dissipated." A pump, he added, would be an easy 
remedy for this inconvenience. The best time for bathing 
was then considered to be about an hour before breakfast ; 
for drinking, three pints were deemed an average daily allow- 
ance, and it was thought advisable to drink the water for a 
few days before bathing. The first effects are described as 
" a sort of inebriating giddiness attended with a sense of 
universal fulness and drowsiness, but these wore off with use 
and were seldom perceived afterwards." 

Modern Buxton dates from 1780, when its famous Crescent 
was built at the expense of the fifth Duke of Devonshire out 
of his revenues from the Ecton copper mines near Alstonefield. 
It was evidently the Duke's ambition that Buxton — his Buxton 
— should rival Bath, and hence the Crescent, designed by Carr 
of York, on the model of James Wood's Crescent at Bath. 
This was two hundred feet in length, or, if the later wings are 
reckoned, more than a hundred yards, and was built of stone 
quarried on the spot and faced with freestone from another 
quarry, a mile and a half out on the Disley Road. A con- 
temporary account describes the Crescent as consisting of 
" three stories, the lowest rustic, forming a beautiful arcade 
or piazza as a shelter from the sun and heat, within which are 
shops. Ionic pilasters form the divisions between the windows 
above and support an elegant balustrade that surmounts the 


front." At the rear were the Duke's stables, with stalls for a 
hundred and ten riding horses and a large exercising ground 
in the centre, where, in wet weather, visitors could ride under 
cover. The Crescent became the hub of Buxton's life and 
gaiety, and the _;^i 20,000 which the Duke is said to have laid 
out, must have proved a very remunerative investment. The 
Crescent lies in a hollow which rather detracts from its 
appearance, this being due to the obstinacy of a local land- 
owner who refused to sell to the Duke a certain strip of land 
which was required to place the Crescent on a more 
advantageous site. 

The baths were also greatly improved about the same time, 
and when Dr. Joseph Denman described them in 1801, several 
new ones had been opened. The principal bath (27 ft. by 
12 ft. Sins.) was enclosed in a handsome arched room (30ft. 
by 17 ft.). Lined and paved with polished grit-stone, it was 
4 ft. 10 ins. in depth, but its size was afterwards diminished by 
a reservoir (7 ft. 6 ins. by 4 ft. 6 ins.) being taken out of it in 
order to supply the other baths of the establishment, viz. two 
small ladies' baths and a private gentlemen's bath, 10 ft. 6 ins. 
by 6 ft., oval in shape and lined with grey marble. Ther£ 
was a fifth bath called the Matlock, also supplied from the 
reservoir, and a sixth where the water was cold. The Poor 
Man's Bath, eight feet square, was filled from the large bath, 
and one or two private baths in other parts of the town were 
kept by doctors for the use of their patients. At this time the 
charge for a public bath was a shilling, and for a private bath 
three shillings. Those who stayed at " the Duke's Inns," i.e. 
the three principal hotels in the Crescent, had the special 
privilege of being allowed to bathe before nine o'clock, and 
considering the small — to our way of thinking — size of the 
baths, that must have been a very desirable privilege. The 
waters were drunk at the baths and also at St. Anne's Well, 
just opposite the Crescent, , where the Pump Room now 
stands. The rising ground in front of the Crescent was laid out 


in terraces and walks by Sir Jeffrey Wyatville, the architect of 
the sixth Duke of Devonshire. 

Buxton was well equipped with hotels. According to 
Hutchinson, writing in 1809, the Crescent itself contained the 
Grand Hotel, the Centre, and the St. Anne's ; at the south end 
of the Crescent was the Old Hall, and elsewhere in the town 
were the George, the Grove, the Angel, the Shakespeare, the 
Eagle, and the White Hart, besides many boarding houses, 
providing accommodation for about seven hundred visitors in 
all. Prices were cheap, judging from a tariff which the 
Rev. R. Warner drew up in 1802. During the season, which 
ran from May to October, the cost of a single bedroom was 
was only half-a-guinea a week, a double bedroom was fourteen 
shillings, and a sitting room from fourteen to sixteen shillings. 
Breakfast cost eighteenpence, dinner at the ordinary half-a- 
crown, tea a shilling, and supper eighteenpence. These 
charges seem reasonable enough, though a visitor named 
MacRitchie, who was in Buxton in 1795, declares that 
"provisions were very high and living expensive." But then 
MacRitchie was a Scotch minister from Aberdeenshire ! It was 
in the middle of July when he stayed in the town, and he 
notes that more visitors were expected when Parliament rose, 
though " this watering-place has not been so much frequented 
since the war as formerly." 

Lord Denman's description of Buxton, as he found it in 
1820, from the fragment of an unpublished diary to which we 
have already referred, is worth quoting in full. He joined 
the Sheffield coach to Buxton at Stony Middleton one day in 
August, and says : — 

"The morning was not clear, but it seemed to promise well and I rode 
on the coach-box. I had forgotten that Buxton is seated, in the language 
of Macpherson, among ' hills of storms,' and that rain is severely felt there 
if it be but threatened in other places. Indeed, the shower became heavier 
as we advanced, and I was glad to put myself within the coach with four 
gentlemen who, being strangers to Derbyshire, expressed their astonishment 
at the boldness of its hills, their censure of its uncultivated fields, and their 
disgust at its perpetual rain. One said that in this country there are nine 


months of winter and three of cold weather ; another observing the lead 
mines, thought that there was a better livelihood in the bowels of the earth 
than on its surface. However anxious to defend it, I had little to say in 
favour of the country through which we were doomed to pass. It rained 
incessantly, and on quitting Middleton Dale we saw nothing but the 
common lately inclosed by stone hedges, in general much neglected, but 
covered in some places by scanty crops of hay, unworthy of the trouble of 
being mown, and where mown, rotting in the wet. None of the peculiar 
character of the country was to be seen, neither the savage grandeur of 
the mountain nor the diversified fertility of the sheltered vale. 

"Yet the hills were so steep and frequent that we were three hours in 
performing a journey of twelve miles. At my arrival and during my stay 
the rain fell continually, for Buxton stands at the bottom of very high hills, 
on which the clouds repose or below which they move slowly along. The 
town has very few houses, except those built for the accommodation of the 
company. The Crescent is a very splendid building of freestone, the two 
extremities of which are large and excellent hotels, and the intermediate 
houses are held by shopkeepers, w^ho deal in such goods as are most in 
request at watering-places — novels, laces, drugs, &c. — and who let lodgings 
to the company. At the bottom there is a sort of cloister or covered walk, 
than which no contrivance can be more proper and which is continued as 
far as the baths. For the gentlemen there are two baths, one of consider- 
able extent and very warm, but filling the room with a vapour much 
warmer than the water. The gentlemen have no objection to bathing all 
at once, and if the light were not in a great measure excluded the re- 
semblance of the water to a rich broth might be seen as well as perceived 
by the olfactory nerves. The other is called a private bath because there 
is a room belonging to it, and perhaps still more because the use of it 
costs three shillings. It is, I think, about nine feet long and five broad, 
and perhaps five and a half deep. It is rather less warm than the other ; 
this may be owing to the smaller number of bathers. The ladies, I should 
suppose, have equal advantages. But it ought to be mentioned that as 
soon as I left the water a little boy came in, with a dirty towel, offering to 
wipe my back. All the other buildings at Buxton are neat and kept in 
good order ; their appearance is very good, for they are all built of stone. 
But none among them is, in my opinion, so elegant as the stables standing 
behind the Crescent, on a higher spot of ground. On Friday there was a 
ball which began about half-past seven and ended at nine ; the room is 
very handsome. On Saturday a play was performed, but I did not even 
see the theatre. On Sunday, prayers and a sermon were read, as usual, at 
the Assembly Room. 

During the daytime Buxton visitors used to indulge in 
the gentle exercise of promenading or the more violent 

i6o ASSEMBLY ROOM chap. 

exercise of riding, and they formed what Hutchinson calls 
" pleasant parties " and went out to view the country round. 
The same authority tells us that there was generally a 
tolerable company of comedians to be found at the theatre 
— " the facetious and eccentric Mr. Ryley " was the manager in 
1808 — with performances on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Satur- 
days. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays the company 
used to gather at the Grand Assembly Room in the Crescent, a 
spacious apartment— 75 ft. long by 30 ft. wide and 36 ft. high 
— ^lighted by small semicircular windows which could not be 
seen from the floor of the room, as they were hidden by the 
projecting cornices. The subscription to the Assembly Room 
was six shillings for a single night, or a guinea for the season, 
with . reduction for members of the same family. The dress 
balls took place on Wednesdays, the undress balls on Wednes- 
days and Fridays, and dancing ceased at the salutary hour of 
eleven p.m. There were also " billiard-rooms innumerable," 
a newsroom at the Great Hotel — for which the subscription 
for the season was six shillings — Moore's newsroom, and two 
circulating libraries, where plenty of indifferent novels were 
always to be obtained. 

Nor should we omit the never-failing amusement of watch- 
ing the arrival and departure of the coaches. Buxton was well 
served in this respect. In 1790, long before the coaching 
system and the highroads reached the zenith of their glory, 
Buxton was connected with Manchester and London by a 
coach which ran south every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, 
and returned on Mondays, AVednesdays, and Fridays. It did 
not cover the entire distance, for it went no further than 
Leicester, where passengers were transferred to another coach- 
ing system. Nor, curiously enough, did the" coach pull up 
at the same inn at Buxton on its coming and going. Passen- 
gers going south breakfasted at the White Hart at ten ; 
those going north dined at the Eagle and Child (now 
the Devonshire) at two in the afternoon, and were in 
Manchester the same night. The fare by this coach from Man- 


Chester to London was two guineas inside and one guinea out- 
side. Daily communication between Manchester and Buxton 
was secured by means of a second coach, which made the 
journeys on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, returning the 
same evening ; and there was also an alternate day service 
between Buxton and Sheffield. By 1809 the Sheffield service 
had become a daily one. Those who desired cheaper travel 
went by the waggon-service which served as the general 
carriers. Pickford's London waggon passed through Buxton 
on Wednesdays and Fridays, and Basses' on Wednesdays and 
Saturdays ; this connected with another service at Ashbourne, 
and returned on Mondays and Thursdays. Shallcross' waggon 
ran to Derby on Saturdays, and returned through Buxton, on 
Wednesdays ; Knowles' from Manchester to Nottingham went 
through Buxton on a Saturday, and was back again on the 
following Friday ; Wild and Fidler's cart went to Macclesfield 
on Mondays and Fridays, and returned the same evenings ; and 
Swindel's cart went to Sheffield every Tuesday. As for the 
post, the north mail came in every morning at 10 a.m. and 
left at 2 p.m. It met the mail coach at Macclesfield and 
Congleton, and arrived in Liverpool and Manchester the same 
night. The south mail came in every night at 10 p.m. and 
left at midnight, passing through Tideswell, Bakewell, Matlock, 
and Wirksworth, meeting the mail coach at Derby, and arriving 
in London the same night. 

Buxton indeed had to depend on coaches until little more 
than: half a century ago, when the Midland railway was extended 
from Ambergate to Buxton through Miller's Dale. In 1845, 
for example, heavy goods were sent by the High Peak Mineral 
Railway, but passengers used the coach between Manchester 
and Derby which passed through each way about one o'clock. 
That carried the mails ; another coach, the Peak Guide, started 
at Buxton at eight in the morning and ran to Ambergate — on the 
North Midland system — through Bakewell and Matlock. There 
were also daily coaches to Sheffield through Bakewell, and a 
coach, called the Champion, ran through Bakewell, Matlock, 


Ambergate, Ripley and Eastwood to Nottingham, Newark and 
Lincoln — a delightful cross-country drive. The general post 
reached Buxton daily from Chesterfield through Bakewell ; the 
mail coach only carried the letters from Derby and Manchester 
and places on the line of route. 

We have spoken above of the Poor Man's Bath at Buxton, 
which was filled from the large public bath. The claims of 
the poor were not forgotten at this Derbyshire spa, and the 
Buxton Bath Charity was a regular and flourishing institution. 
At all the hotels and boarding-houses each visitor used to 
contribute a shilling on sitting down to his first dinner in the 
town. Moreover, two sermons a year were preached on its 
behalf in the parish church and in many other places in 
Derbyshire, and we are expressly told that " on these occasions 
his Grace of Devonshire more than once manifested his regard 
for the institution by condescending to hold the plate to receive 
the collections." In 1837, every subscriber was privileged to 
send one poor patient to Buxton, who received medical 
attention and medicine gratis, with a free use of the bath and 
an allowance of five shillings a week towards his board and 
lodgings for three weeks. In that year the receipts of the 
charity were 645/. ; eight hundred and nine patients were 
admitted, and seven hundred and thirteen were entered as 
cured or much relieved. Twenty years later this excellent 
charity was reorganised on modern lines, and the Devonshire 
Hospital was built on the site of the Duke's stables. and 
exercising ring at the back of the Crescent. It contains three 
hundred beds and treats about two thousand five hundred 
patients every year. The dome, which is 118 ft. in height, 
has a span of 154 ft. — the widest in Europe. Evidence of the 
antiquity of this charity, of the reputation of the Buxton 
waters, and of the eagerness of people to resort thereto for the 
cure, is to be found in two Acts of Parliament of the reign of 
Elizabeth prohibiting " pore and dyseased people " from resort- 
ing to the city of Bath and the town of Buxton " for some 
ease and relief of their diseases at the Bathes there," unless 


they were licensed to do so by two justices of their own town 
and were provided with funds for the purpose. The reason of 
this enactment was that the people of Bath and Buxton had 
been " greatly overchardged with these same poore people to 
their intolerable chardge." The Buxton Baths were rebuilt 
again in 1876, and the new Pump Room facing the Crescent 
dates from 1894. Only last year was an agreement arrived at 
between the Duke of Devonshire and the Buxton Corporation 
whereby, at a great price, to be paid in instalments over a 
period of sixty years, the ownership of the Buxton Waters 
passed into the hands of the town. 

While the health-giving properties of Buxton have been the 
theme of praise through the centuries, many hard and bitter 
things have been said about its situation and its lack of 
beauty. Alone of the eighteenth-century writers, the later 
editor of Defoe's Tour Through Great Britain seems to 
take what we may call the modern view and says, " Here 
is an open healthy country, a variety of fine views to entertain 
the curious, and a beautiful Down for the ladies to take the 
air in, much more agreeable than the close city of Bath." 
It may be amusing to recall some of the verdicts passed upon 
it by the " Picturesque Tour " writers. Bray, for example, in 
1777, says that " the situation of Buxton is the very reverse of 
Matlock, whose beautiful scenery is sought in vain. Here 
dreary hills seem to vie in sterility, and the Wye is too much 
in its infancy to be either large or picturesque." Skrinc, in 
1 78 1, says of Buxton, "A more dismal situation can hardly be 
imagined, liable to incessant rains from the height of the 
surrounding hills, which are yet deficient in grandeur and 
exposed to all the inclemency of its climate with hardly a leaf 
to shelter it." Warner, who in 1802 travelled to Buxton from 
Tideswell by the old road across Monk's Dale, before the new 
to shelter it." A French geologist, M. de Saint Fond, who visited 
it in 1784, wrote : " Buxton est k pays k plus triste, kplussombre 
que je connoisse. L'air qu'ony respire est impregm de deuil et 
de milancolier Warner, who in 1802 travelled to Buxton from 
Tideswell by the old road across Monk's Dale, before the new 

M 2 


one through Miller's Dale was made, says, "All before us 
appeared the most forlorn nakedness, and, had we not ob- 
served some marks of human industry in the stone divisions 
of the fields, we should have conceived that the country 
round was one wide expanse of hopeless sterility. But land 
lets here for ten shillings an acre, and might be made more 
valuable if the system of husbandry, which is that of paring 
and burning, had not a direct tendency to make the miserable 
soil still more wretched and unproductive." Most scathing of 
all is the denunciation from the pen of Prebendary Gilpin, who 
says that Buxton "Ues in a bottom in this uncomfortable 
country, surrounded with dreary barren hills and steaming on 
every side with offensive limekilns. Nothing but absolute 
want of health could make a man endure a scene so wholly 
disgusting." One fancies the Prebend must have been a little 
out of temper when he wrote that sentence, though, as we 
pointed out in an earlier chapter, opinion in the matter of the 
picturesque has undergone a complete change, and Gilpin's 
verdict, we fancy, was that of the average man of taste of his 
time. Even the Sheffield poet Montgomery thought it incum- 
bent upon him to preface his poem The Peak Mountains, which 
he wrote in 1812, with the following remarks on the scenery 
of Buxton : — " When surveyed," he says, " from any of the 
surrounding eminences, it consists chiefly of numerous and 
naked hills, of which many are yet unenclosed and the rest 
poorly cultivated, the whole district, except in the immediate 
precincts of the baths and the village of Fairfield, being 
miserably bare of both trees and houses." The poem reflects 
the sense of barren desolation which the prospect impressed 
upon the mind of the author : — 

" Above, beneath, immensely spread, 
Valleys and hoary rocks I view ; 
Heights over heights exalt their head 
Of many a sombre hue ; 
No vfaving woods their flanks adorn, 
No hedgerows gay with trees 


Encircle fields, where floods of corn 
Roll to the breeze. 

" My soul this vast horizon fills, 
Within whose undulated line 
Thick stand the multitude of hills 
And clear the waters shine : 
Grey mossy walls the slopes ascend. 
While roads that tire the eye 
Upward their winding course extend 
And touch the sky. 

" With rude diversity of form 
The insulated mountains tower ; 
Oft o'er these cliffs the transient storm 
And partial darkness lower ; 
While yonder summits far away 
Shine sweetly through the gloom, 
Like glimpses of eternal day 
Beyond the tomb." 

This cannot be called a cheerful poem. It suggests an 
author shivering on the hillside in a cold wind, and conjuring 
up reluctant rhymes. But James Montgomery made a better 
Radical editor than poet. Erasmus Darwin, however, 
has some sprightly lines on Buxton in his quaintly-named 
Botanic Garden : Economy of Vegetation, which are well 
worth quoting. They start off with the inevitable simile — 
Wordsworth used to call Darwin's poetry the " So-So Poetry " 
because his similes usually began with " So " : 

" So in green vales amid her mountains bleak 
Buxtonia smiles, the Goddess Nymph of Peak ; 
Deep in warm waves and pebbly baths she dwells, 
And calls Hygeia to her sainted wells. " 

Then follows an amusing and idyllic picture of the way in 
which lady visitors to Buxton pay their court to Buxtonia and 
Hygeia by roaming about the hills and taking the baths : — 

" Hither in sportive bands bright Devon leads 
Graces and Loves from Chatsworth's flowery meads ; 
Charmed, round the Nymph, they climb the rifted rock^ 
And steep in mountain mist their golden locks. 


On venturous step her sparry caves explore 
And light with radiant eyes her realm of ore. 
Oft by her bubbling founts and shadowy domes, 
In gay undress the fairy legion roams, 
Their dripping palms in playful malice fill 
Or taste with ruby lips the sparkling rill ; 
Crowd round her baths, and, bending o'er the side, 
Unclasped their sandals and their zones imtied. 
Dip with gay fear the shuddering foot undressed. 
And quick retract it to the fringed vest ; 
Or cleave with brandished arms the lucid stream. 
And sob, their blue eyes twinkling in the steam. 
High o'er the chequered vault with transient glow 
Bright lustres dart as dash the waves below ; 
And Echo's sweet responsive voice prolongs 
The dulcet tumult of their silver tongues — 
O'er their flushed cheeks uncurling tresses flow, 
And dewdrops glitter on their necks of snow ; 
Round each fair Nymph her drooping mantle clings. 
And Loves emerging shake their showery wings." 

Yet a fevf couplets more— those in which Darwin pays his 
tribute to the Duke of Devonshire who had so ducally lavished 
a hundred and twenty thousand pounds upon " elegant " 
Buxton improvements : — ■ 

" Here oft her Lord surveys the rude domain, 
Fair arts of Greece triumphant in his train ; 
Lo ! as he steps, the columned pile ascends. 
The blue roof closes, or the crescent bends ; 
New woods aspiring clothe their hill with green. 
Smooth slope the lawns, the grey rock peeps between ; 
Relenting Nature gives her hand to Taste, 
And Health and Beauty crown the laughing waste." 

There speaks the true eighteenth-century poet, profoundly 
convinced of the " rudeness " of Nature, of her lack of elegance, 
of her sad want of taste, and of her waiting patiently until a 
great Whig Peer, the Duke of Devonshire, " steps " upon the 
scene and puts things right as daintily as though he were 
dancing a minuet ! 



Modern Buxton need not detain us. It is a pleasant, well- 
built town, both in its upper and lower parts, tastefully laid out 
with good streets, walks, drives, and gardens, and possesses all 
the attractions which belong to a modern, fashionable watering 
place. We shall be satiated with caverns in the Castleton 
region, so — although it is one of the genuine Wonders of the 
Peak — we will say nothing of Poole's Hole. It lies at the foot 
of the hill Grinlow, capped by the modern tower which took 
the place of the old Solomon's Temple, so called from a local 
publican. Buxton is not very happily situated as a centre for 
visiting the most famous places in Derbyshire, unless one uses 
the railway freely, for it lies near the Staffordshire boundary, in 
a hollow of the hills which only afford a single level outlet, the 
road through Ashwood Dale to Miller's Dale. Yet the good 
walker, who is not repelled by the desolate grandeur of bleak 
uplands, will find much to reward him in the high ground around 
Buxton, whether he takes the Stockport road over Corbar Hill, 
or the Macclesfield road over the edge of Goyt's Moss to the 
Cat and Fiddle, or toils up the dreary Leek road to Axe Edge 
— dreary, that is to say, for the first three miles, and then 
changing, as if by magic, to a noble moorland prospect, com- 
manding distant hills and a broad valley. 
Near the fourth milestone he will reach a little farm on the 


right hand. A gate in the opposite wall opens on to a flagged 
way leading to a spring in the field, banked up and covered with 
a large flat stone. This is the Dove Head— though there are 
those who deny its title, in spite of the intertwined monogram 
of the initials of Walton and Cotton. The stone was cracked 
by a severe frost in 1903, but the damage is not serious, for 
the carving is not more than half a century old. The story 
that the two famed fishers tracked the Dove to its birthplace 
and then chiselled out their initials is only a pleasing fiction. 
They were much too busy fishing to come so far afield. The 
water from the spring sinks into the sloping hillside, reappears 
at its foot as a tiny stream, and we can follow with our eyes the 
course of the rivulet as it winds down the valley. Such is the 
unsheltered cradle of the pretty Dove on the side of Axe 

From Dove Head Farm let us go on to the Traveller's Rest, 
the inn at the cross-roads where the Leek road swerves to the 
right. We take the one on the left which makes for Longnor, 
and turn leftwards again at the second by-road. Far ahead of 
us the twin roads to Longnor are plainly discernible, the prin- 
cipal one — which we have just quitted — keeping along the 
edge which scowls down upon a bleak Staffordshire moorland of 
heather and pasture. The other clings to the opposite side of 
the plateau and is seen emerging from a hidden valley below us. 
Down into this valley we go by a rough road which we soon 
exchange for a footpath on the right, a footpath that casually 
calls at the door of every cottage on the way, crossing a cart 
track here and a lane there, but always falling. Then, passing 
through the scattered hamlet, we get between hedges again and 
begin to mount the hill over a loose surfaced road which must 
scare away anything on wheels more fragile than a cart. But 
at the top of the rise we are rewarded with a prospect of 
extreme beauty. The Dove winds along at the foot of the 
slope on our left. Its waters are not seen, but its path is 
clearly marked by the line of green bushes through the 


meadows. Opposite is smooth rising ground with trees on its 
lower slopes and a road slanting lengthwise down its side. 
This rising ground is HoUins Hill, lying in the middle of a 
wide valley across which we look to its further side — a magnifi- 
cent mass of hills sloping to the south-east from the line of 
Axe Edge. Just to the right of Hollins Hill, the edge rises 
into Chrome Hill, almost precipitous for half its height, and 
with sharp, jagged sky-line. Beyond it to our right, and in 
clear continuation of the same chain of hills, is Parkhouse 
Hill, a perfect pyramid in form, with green, swelling base. 
Beyond this are Hitter Hill and Aldery Cliff, and the chain 
terminates in High Wheeldon, whose cone rises to nearly 
1400 feet. These form the protecting hills above the left 
bank of the Dove ; at the back of them stretches the wild 
expanse crossed by the Buxton and Ashbourne road. No finer 
serrated edge is to be found in Derbyshire than that of Chrome 
Hill, and no more delightful contrast than is afforded by those 
two neighbours. Chrome and Parkhouse. Up among the 
rugged boulders of Chrome is the Devil's House and Parlour, 
where once the Prince of Darkness tried to hang himself, but 
bungled it and came to life again, for he is said to haunt the 
hill from midnight to daybreak — hours when you had much 
better be safe under roof. 

The little hamlet of Hollinsclough is at our feet — its modern 
church the baldest structure wherein dull sermon was ever 
preached. But, like so many other places in Derbyshire,' the 
Church of England was lax and careless here while it had no 
rival and only awakened when much of its flock had strayed 
into other sheepfolds. This district on the Staffordshire 
border was one of the early strongholds of Methodism, which 
slowly spread from hamlet to hamlet. The pious founder, 
here in little Holhnsclough, was one John Lomas, who lies 
buried in a vault under the Wesleyan Chapel which he helped 
to build in 1801 at a cost of ^355. Lomas was a bit of a 
celebrity in his way. He had made his money as a packman, 

170 A PIOUS FOUNDER chap. 

hawking Manchester and Macclesfield goods round the 
countryside and then employing other travellers to do the like 
for him. A number of these people had their headquarters a 
few miles away at Flash — where Lomas himself was living 
when he was "soundly converted" in 1783. He had been 
a zealous Churchman and strongly prejudiced against the 
Methodists, but conviction came to him one winter night. It 
happened in this way, as described in a curious little book on 
Leek Methodism. Mr. and Mrs. Lomas were sitting together 
at home one evening when the lady expressed her intention to 
go to service at the chapel and listen to " the venerable 
Mr. Costerdine." Mr. Lomas was "highly displeased and 
insisted that she should not, alleging among other reasons that 
it was dark and she would fall. But Mrs. Lomas knew that 
his objection rose not so much from solicitude on her behalf 
as from enmity to the Methodists and this " caused her to sit 
down and weep." Oh, easy welling woman's tears ! Mr. Lomas 
was greatly disturbed. One can see him fidgetting and 
fretting and fuming. " Presently he started up, ordered the 
servant to bring his great coat and exclaimed ' I find we shall 
have no quietness until your missis goes to the chapel, so I 
shall be obliged to go with her.' " So off they set, and as they 
went " he murmured very much and found great fault with the 
community." You can almost hear, him chuntering as he 
stumbled up the dark road with Mrs. Lomas quiet and 
triumphant on his arm. There was the usual sequel. The 
" venerable Mr. Costerdine " preached that night with power ; 
Mr. Lomas was made uneasy, and when his wife asked him 
what he thought of the sermon he merely said, " Either the 
old man or I must be very wrong." That was the first step ; 
the rest was simple ; and now he Hes under the communion 
rails of the chapel which he built a century ago. 

Returning to Buxton again, let us leave the town by the 
road which climbs steeply up to Fairfield and then turns 
leftwards across the windy common, shared by golfers and 
quarrymen, No satisfactory view of Buxton itself is obtainable 


from this side, though there are good retrospects towards the 
high ridges about Axe Edge. The road keeps along the top 
of a lofty plateau and, in a long mile, brings us to the outlet of 
the Batham Gate, which runs straight over the rise to Peak 
Forest station, and continues over dreary uplands till it drops 
down to the Roman camp at Brough. On our left is the 
railway from Buxton to Chapel, and beyond it the ground 
rises in tiers from Brown Edge to Black Edge and from Black 
Edge to Combs Edge lying at the back of all. In the triangle 
formed by Buxton, Chapel, and Whaley Bridge, it is always 
Combs Edge and Combs Moss which occupy the highest 
ground in the middle. Ahead of us is an enormous white 
tailing of limestone waste, and here, nearly twelve hundred feet 
above sea level, Doveholes lies beneath us — a forlorn village, 
with an ugly new church and a " bull ring" (so called) behind 
the churchyard. This " bull ring " is really a circle like that of 
Arborlow, with a detached square, mound lying a little to the 
south-west. Its megaliths are gone. 

The road improves in the next mile as we approach Barmoor 
Clough. We have now on our left hand the old Peak Forest 
tramway from Doveholes to the head of the Peak Forest canal 
at Bugsworth. Benjamin Outram, the pioneer of tramways, 
was the engineer of this undertaking in 1794, the double line 
being laid down in 1803. The quarries which it was built to 
serve lie a mile to the right of the Buxton Road. At Barmoor 
Clough our road enters another at right angles. Chapel is a 
long two miles to the left through pleasant country, but we 
turn rightwards and soon approach a modern house. Nearly 
opposite its principal entrance — not the first gates — is the 
famous Ebbing and Flowing AVell. At least it was famous 
once ; but fashion has changed, now that the cause of its 
vagaries is no longer a scientific mystery. We will reserve 
until we get to Tideswell consideration of the question whether 
this or the Tideswell well is the old A\'onder of the Peak, though 
to me the claims of this one seem unchallengeable, It lies in 


the field a few feet below the level of the road, shaped like a 
horse-shoe, and built up in the middle with blocks of stone to 
the height of about 5 feet, following the rise of the ground. A 
stone trough about 18 inches wide lies round the inside of 
the horse-shoe, so shallow that the water overflows, forms a 
pool in the centre, and runs off to an outlet beneath the road. 
The pool is but a few inches deep, for the most part covered 
with scum, and, as the cattle come here to drink, the adjoining 
ground is often a muddy quagmire and the well altogether is 
most uninspiring. It was not my fortune to see it " working " : 
nor did I wait in the hope of being specially favoured. Those 
who have seen it justify its name say that it is very capricious 
in its behaviour, that sometimes it ebbs and flows twice in an 
hour, while at other times it sulks for days together. Enthusiast 
as I am for most ancient marvels, I can raise no enthusiasm 
for the Barmoor Well. 

A mile further on we climb to the little hamlet of Sparrowpit 
at the cross roads. The old road lay straight up the steep 
incline which we see on our left hand, as the position of 
the cottages on its front would tell us even if We did not 
know. That way runs direct to Chapel, dropping down three 
hundred feet in the last mile, and is little more than half 
as long as its modern supplanter, which was cut when men 
began to be more merciful to their beasts. Here, at the 
Sparrowpit, the big main road to Tideswell and Stony 
Middleton turns down to the right and the road to Castleton 
through the Winnats lies straight ahead. Was it not here, 
indeed, that the horses of Henry and Clara — the victims of 
the famous Winnats murder — were found, after galloping in 
fright from the scene of the tragedy ? So the landlord of the 
little inn will tell you, with what other gossip he has picked up 
during thirty years in this outlying spot. These remote inns 
are not like those of cities, which put out placards when they 
change hands as though to show that such change had been 
urgently needed. People settle down in them and become 
fi)?tures, the commori friends of all who use the roads. And 


they have exciting times in hard winters at the Sparrowpit, 
when the snow falls fast and the wind is in a mood for piling 
up great drifts. In 1888 the dwellers in the inn woke one 
morning to find that their top storey windows were darkened, 
and they had two days of hard digging before a vehicle could 
get through. The Castleton road was blocked at Perry Foot 
and not a cart could reach Peak Forest for a week. 

We have started on a roundabout road to Chapel, let us 
make still another detour to Stonyford and Slackhall. Go up 
the old Chapel road for three hundred yards or so to a by-way 
on the right hand, known locally as the Roman Road, though 
I doubt its title to the name. It rises to about a hundred and 
fifty feet above Sparrowpit and discloses a fine view of Rushup 
Edge on the left hand side of the road to Castleton with Mam 
Tor at its far extremity. A few yards further along the ridge 
an entirely new prospect opens out, for Chapel-en-le-Frith lies 
stretched below us on the opposite slope of the broad valley, 
with its giant viaducts below Eccles Pike and the water of the 
Combs Reservoir shining blue under the hills. The road 
tumbles down to Stonyford — just a stray cottage or two — and, 
after being joined by another by-road from the left, ascends 
steeply. Where it forks, keep to the left and descend sharply 
into Slackhall. A tumulus on the rising ground to your left 
was the scene of one of Bendigo's famous fights. He and his 
antagonist — Luny, I think, was the name — came out here to be 
undisturbed by the police, and Chapel never saw a motlier crowd 
than that which poured through it in every kind of vehicle to see 
the Nottingham bruiser fight at Slackhall. Of course Bendigo 
won, for was not his mother wrestling in prayer at home for her 
boy's success all through the time fixed for the encounter ? 

Slackhall is a pretty spot. A toll-gate stood here among the 
fine trees by the grassy triangle, whose noble chestnut was 
planted at Queen Victoria's Coronation in 1837. Now the 
few trim cottages are a sort of dependency of Ford Hall, 
whose lodge-gates are close by, near some outbuildings. Cross 


and look at these, for though the byre looks as though it had 
stood there for generations, the attendant manure-heap marks 
the site of a little Quaker chapel. And only a few yards away 
is the quaintest burial ground, some sixteen yards square, not 
so pretty as the one at Jordans, near Chalfont St. Giles, yet 
with a certain fascination of its own. It hes just inside the 
lodge-gates, behind the cottages fronting the road, and one or 
two old gravestones may be seen against the wall. " I. R. 
Sonne T. R. buried 17th day, 8th month, 1671 " — so runs the 
legend on one, with the curious secretiveness which used to 
mark the Quakers in the days of their sore persecution. For 
a century prior to 1880 no burial took place here ; since then 
the Society of Friends has tended the little place — there is 
still a small meeting-house in Chapel. But people might pass 
along the high road for a life-time and never guess the presence 
of this tiny cemetery. 

Ford Hall lies bowered in woods in a valley of its own, deep 
down below the Castleton Road. For three centuries the 
manor has been in the continuous possession of the Bagshawes. 
A hamlet of that name lies along the lane which entered our 
road near Stonyford, and an old farm-house there — relic of a 
larger building — still bears the name of Bagshawe Hall. The 
first Bagshawe of Ford dates from about 1600, when William 
Bagshawe of Hucklow Hall, Abney, and Litton, and Lord ot 
the Manor of Great Hucklow, bought the Ford estate from his 
relatives, the Cresswells. His eldest son, also a William, 
became known to fame as the Apostle of the Peak. He was 
born at Litton, near Tideswell, in 1627 — 8, and, against the 
wishes of his father, entered the Church. His first curacy was 
at Attercliffe, near Sheffield, and in 1651 he was ordained at 
Chesterfield, " by the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery." 
Then, in the following year, he became Vicar of Glossop, and 
so remained till the Act of Uniformity in 1662, when he was 
one of the two thousand Ministers driven from their benefices. 
Finding an asylum at Ford Hall, he succeeded to the property 


in his own right on his father's death in 1669, and dwelt there 
till his death in 1702. Ford Hall thus became the centre from 
which he carried on his missionary work, quietly and cautiously 
if the times were adverse and the Government were in per- 
secuting mood, boldly and openly whenever the penal laws 
against Nonconformists were relaxed somewhat. The first 
chapel which Bagshawe opened was at Malcoff — variant 
spellings are Malcroft and Malcalf — a mile to the north of 
Ford, but he travelled perpetually around the district, preaching 
his evangelical gospel with earnestness and power. His diary 
shows him to have been often at Hucklow, Middleton, Chel- 
morton, Hope, Chinley, Charlesworth, and Bradwell, and his 
usual practice was to preach on Sunday mornings at Hucklow 
and in the evenings at Malcoff. 

Bagshawe does not seem to have suffered much molestation, 
for though warrants were once or twice issued against him, 
they were never executed. Such an entry in his diary as, " I 
dined with and was honoured by the justices, and did after- 
wards stay a little," shows sufficiently well that he and the 
authorities agreed to tolerate one another. Moreover, the 
Apostle frequently " conformed " by attending service in the 
parish church at Chapel-en-le-Frith. His diary, unfortunately, 
is not of much interest, for it is mainly a bald recital of facts, 
and only occasionally do we get such personal entries as the 
following, " My dear, dear wife, who eateth very little, whilst 
she was eating something, was near being choked, having 
much ado to get her wind, as the phrase is, or to breathe for 
a considerable time, but blessed be the Lord, help was sent 
from Heaven." Bagshawe composed a number of theological 
treatises and the title of one of them, De Spiritualibus Pecci, 
is interesting as being suggested by the poem of- Hobbes. 
But its interest goes no further. I am confident that no one ' 
who essays to read the Apostle's theology and his expositions 
of Antichrist will get beyond a page or two. How very dead 
is the dead theologian ! Bagshawe's best memorial is the 


tradition of his work, which still survives in the district. He 
trimmed anew the lamp of religion in the Peak when it had 
nearly flickered out. 

As we have said, Bagshawe inherited the Ford estate on his 
father's death, but the most valuable share of the property, 
Hucklow and Litton, went to his brother John, while Worm- 
hill passed to a third brother. The Elizabethan house was 
partially rebuilt in the Italian style, with terrace gardens, in 
about 1730. Most of the Bagshawes seem to have been 
worthy descendants of the Apostle and to have carried on the 
Evangelical tradition. The black sheep of the family was 
Samuel Bagshawe, who died without issue in 1804. He was 
one of the spendthrift dandies of the third quarter of the 
eighteenth century, and was, for a time, an associate of " Poor 
Fred," Prince of Wales. As a result, Ford Hall was stripped 
of everything to pay his debts, the estate was denuded of 
timber, and the whole country-side called shame on him. 
Not until 179s, when the Hall was almost in ruins, did 
Samuel return and live there. By that time he was a 
thoroughly reformed character, and when he died his wife, 
a preaching lady of the most severe type, erected to his 
memory in Chapel-en-le-Frith Churchyard a marble monument 
which cost a thousand pounds — eight hundred of which she 
borrowed ! But the wintry winds of Chapel soon ravaged the 
delicate marbles, and the monument fell into such a melancholy 
state that it had to be taken down. The south front of Ford 
Hall — which ill consorts with the Italian part of the building 
— was built by the Rev. William Bagshawe about sixty years 
ago from bastard Gothic designs of his own. 

As we turn from Slackhall to go down the hill towards 
Chapel, we pass the old building from which the hamlet 
takes its. name, a fine two-gabled house, where the Slacks lived 
till the new road from Chapel to Castleton was driven through 
their garden, and then they migrated further down the road 


and built themselves a new house among the trees. Lying 
back on the right is Bowden Hall, rebuilt when it passed into 
the hands of the Slacks, and then we soon drop down into 
Chapel and begin to climb its long steep street, whose chief 
feature, perhaps, is the abundance of its inns — a sure sign of 
its lying on a once frequented pack-horse track. Chapel's 
full name of Chapel-en-le-Frith denotes a clearing in the High 
Peak, where the foresters built a church. The forest in 
Norman times spread over the whole of the north-west corner 
of the county, comprising the entire vast parishes of Glossop, 
Chapel, and Castleton, and part of the parishes of Bakewell, 
Tideswell, Hathersage, and Hope. All this was knowin as the 
King's Forest of the High Peak, or De Campana, and was 
divided into three parts, Longendale to the north and north- 
east, Edale to the east, and the Champaign to the south 
and south-west. The whole tract was bestowed by William 
the Conqueror in his usual open-handed way upon William 
Peveril, whose son was banished and had his estates forfeited 
to the crown. Henry II. gave them to his son John, after- 
wards King ; Edward II. gave them first to his favourite, 
Gaveston, and then to Earl Warren for life only; while 
Edward III. bestowed them upon his wife, Queen Philippa, 
at his marriage, and, when she died, upon John of Gaunt. 
Since that time they have continued part of the Duchy of 
Lancaster. The forest was under the jurisdiction of a Justice 
of the Forest, who held two great courts at Tideswell every 
year and three lesser courts three times a year, for the settle- 
ment of disputes and the punishment of such offences as 
poaching, unlawful grazing, and cutting down of timber. The 
chief officer was called a High Steward, and had under him an 
army of privileged subordinates. But by 1670 the district was 
almost- completely disafforested, the land being shared among 
the freeholders. One Thomas Eyre, of Gray's Inn, was istute 
enough to secure for himself no less than eight thousand acfes. 


The church at Chapel stands well on high ground off the 
main street — " in a windie and tempestuous countrie," to quote 
the words of the local inhabitants three centuries ago — but 
the fabric has been rebuilt and restored at bad periods. 
Nothing is left of the original church founded by the foresters 
in honour of St. Thomas k Becket, and of the fourteenth 
century rebuilding little survives. The tower is of the 
eighteenth century, with a good peal of bells, and curfew is 
still sounded at eight o'clock in the evening, except on 
Saturdays and Sundays, when the bell rings at seven. The 
monuments are poor, especially when we consider the number 
of old manors in the neighbourhood. Chapel Church, 
however, has one interesting association with the time of the 
Civil Wars. In 1648, about a month after the battle of 
Ribbleton Moor, near Preston, where Cromwell, with less than 
ten thousand men, defeated twenty odd thousand Scots under 
the Duke of Hamilton and Sir Marmaduke Langdale, some 
fifteen hundred Scotch prisoners arrived in Chapel and were 
herded into the church. There they remained from 
September 14th until September 30th, when they were 
marched away. But not all. Forty-four died in the church 
itself; others — an unspecified number — remained behind, 
unable to march, and were buried on October 2nd. Of those 
who set out " ten and more " died before they reached 
Chester. This was bad even for Cromwell's time, but, 
apparently, there was no protest or inquiry. An old sun-dial 
with a shaft of red gritstone stands in the churchyard, and in 
the church itself is an ancient stone cofifin brought in from the 
outside where, in 1760, it served as coping for part of the 
wall. At that date another stone cofifin stood under a pump 
and served as a watering trough at one of the inns. 

The freeholders of Chapel-en-le-Frith enjoy the privilege of 
electing their own vicar, and to this privilege the people have 
always clung most tenaciously. Early in the seventeenth 
century one Thomas Barney foisted himself into the vicarage 


— as his immediate predecessor was a Francis Barney it looks 
as though it were a case of a son claiming to succeed his 
father — and a Chancery suit was the result. Depositions were 
taken at Chapel, and a number of the oldest inhabitants all 
told the same story that the right of election lay with the 
freeholders, that the chosen nominee was then presented to the 
Dean and Chapter of Lichfield for confirmation, and that the 
expenses of keeping the church in proper repair fell not upon 
the parishioners but upon the diocesan authorities. There 
had been occasions when the Dean and Chapter had tried to 
secure the right of nomination for themselves, and once the 
Countess of Shrewsbury — Bess of Hardwick, that is to say — • 
had intrigued with the Dean to put in a parson of her own. 
But this interference on the part of that meddlesome lady had 
been successfully resisted. All the witnesses were agreed that 
the church was in a ruinous condition, so bad indeed that " it 
was fearfull and terrible for any to be in it or passe through," 
and one of the deponents " was moved to have set a prop in 
it but durst not, lest it should have fallen upon his or their 
heads whilst it should be in doinge." Yet rather than 
contribute a penny to the cost of restoration, one and all were 
willing to let the place go to decay. Little, therefore, in the 
church is anterior to the seventeenth century, for after being 
patched up subsequent to this Chancery suit it was entirely 
restored a few years ago. 

N 2 




A LONG mile out from Chapel, midway between the two 
roads to Whaley Bridge and pleasantly situated on the lower 
slopes of Eccles Pike, a smooth hill which just succeeds in 
rising to a tip, lies what remains of Bradshaw Hall. A beauti- 
ful Jacobean gateway bearing the date 1620 and the name and 
arms of Francis Bradshaw, attests its importance in days gone 
by. This Francis Bradshaw, was a second cousin of the 
regicide, John Bradshaw, whose grandfather, a younger son of 
the Chapel family, had settled at Marple, near Stockport, a 
few miles away. The regicide died without issue in 1659, 
after suffering— according to Royalist traditions of doubtful 
authenticity —agonies of remorse in the Deanery of Westminster, 
where he had taken up his quarters. This old Hall is said to 
have been built originally in the shape of a cross ; it was trans- 
formed into two dwellings half a century ago in order to 
accommodate the families of two brothers. Some relics of 
ancient grandeur still survive, a fine oak panelled room in one 
house, and in the other a handsomely moulded ceiling at the 
top of the staircase, with the legend in plaster, 

" A man without mercy of mercy shall miss, 
But he shall have mercy who merciful is. 
Love GOD but not gold." 

Troja fuit : fuimus Troes. The Bradshaws have gone the 



way of most of those who built these charming old Derbyshire 

From Bradshaw Hall let us take the cart track down into the 

Bradshaw Hall, near Chapel-en-le-Frith. 

main road from Chapel to Manchester, joining it at Cockyard. 
Cocking and bull and bear baiting used to be popular sports 
in this district. There was generally a bull-baiting after 
Sunday morning service outside the church at Chapel, and one 
old man I spoke with told me that when he was a boy at 

i82 DICK O' TUNSTEAD chap. 

Little Hucklow the iron bull ring, fixed in a big stone, was still 
to be seen in the middle of the village. At Bagshawe traces 
of a bear pit are yet to be found, and for many years bears were 
kept by a local family of the name of Shotwell or Shotter. At 
holiday times Shotter and his bear went to the village feast 
just as the rifle-gallery proprietor goes there now. Nor was it 
a small distinction to own a bear. Consider the pride of the 
junior Shotters ! A mile's walk from Cockyard brings us to the 
hamlet of Tunstead Milton or Milltown, the home of the skull 
familiarly spoken of as Dick o' Tunstead. Dick refuses to be 
buried. He will not rest in any grave, and so worries those 
who bury him that they are glad to dig him up again. Accord- 
ing to local legend, a certain Ned Dickson of Tunstead went 
to fight in the old French Wars. Believing him to be dead a 
cousin entered into his property, and when Dickson returned 
to claim his own, this cousin and his wife murdered him in his 
sleep. Since that day the skull has never rested quietly in the 
earth. It used to be nailed to a rafter ; now it reposes in a 
window seat and is still an object of reverence to the folk of 
the countryside. When the North- Western railway people took 
their line past Dick's house, a bridge which they built near by 
was thrown down by a quicksand and they were obliged to 
modify very considerably their original plans. And this was 
naturally attributed to Dick o' Tunstead ! 

From here a pleasant by-road on the right takes us up to 
Ollerenshaw Hall, where we turn leftwards to Horwich House, 
at the side of which lies the Roosdyche. This is a spot well 
worth visiting for its own beauty as well as for the mystery 
attaching to it. It is a valley on the hilltop, a deep cleft 
about three-quarters of a mile long, banked up on either side 
and open at each end. Its average width is about forty yards 
and its banks are some ten to thirty feet high, set with lines of 
elms and other trees, while in the centre is a broad grassy 
stretch of sward, tolerably level, though in places rather 
hummocky. No observant pterson could enter this glade 


without looking round in surprise and wondering whither he 
had strayed. The first impression is that it is certainly 
artificial and made with hands. Yet this is the very crux of 
the difficulties attaching to the Roosdyche, and I am told that 
more than one distinguished scientist has recently pronounced 
it to be of natural, though unusual, formation. There are 
parallels for most eccentricities in Nature — even the most out- 
rageous. The old theory that the Roosdyche was a Roman 
race-course by no means commends itself to my judgment, 
though it is tempting enough as one looks down the glade 
and remembers the magnet-shaped Hippodrome at Con- 
stantinople. But, after all, the Romans did not plant their 
race-courses on the tops of remote hillsides. Roman roads 
ran near by, it is true, but no great military station lay 
close at hand, and save for the soldiers of the camps on 
the line of communications there can have been no resi- 
dent Roman population in this part of Derbyshire, as 
there was, for example, in the south of England. A Roman 
race-course was not a regimental recreation ground for the 
amusement of the legates, centurions and soldiers of the 
legion ; it was rather a town amusement, a gambling machine, 
a spectacle, implying crowds of spectators and huge training 
establishments. And it is ludicrous to think of these things 
in connection with this glade high above the valley of the 
Goyt ! Whatever the Roosdyche was it was not a Roman 
Rhedagna or chariot-course, and the easy identification of the 
goal a.nd the spina in the middle, and the branch recesses which 
served as carceres or stables, is all pure fancy. I can find no 
record of anything Roman having been found on the Roos- 
dyche. Even that negative evidence is almost sufficient, for if 
the Roosdyche were artificial the Roman Governor who built it 
would certainly have provided stone seats and stone buildings. 
No, we must resign the race-course theory and give Nature 
credit for a curious freak. 
The further end of the Roosdyche commands a fine outlook 

i84 HAYFIELD chap. 

over the valley of the Goyt, now abandoned to industrialism 
and lost to beauty. We can either drop down to Whaley 
Bridge on the North-Western railway, or to Bugsworth — for 
years it has been contemplating a change of name — which is 
on the Midland system close to Chinley. I had intended to 
walk from Chinley over Chinley Churn — a corruption, they 
say, of cairn — to Hay field. The Churn is i,ooo feet above 
the valley, itself 500 feet above sea level, and affords noble 
views across to Eccles Pike and to Combs Moss. But it was 
growing late and, as rain threatened, I turned to New Mills 
and then took train to Hayfield, three miles away, up the 
valley of the Sett. 

Hayfield's present importance — whatever that may be — is 
derived from its mills ; its ancient consequence was due to its 
position midway between Glossop and Chapel, and very 
welcome must the first glimpse of its ugly church tower have 
been to the packman and his string of horses as they descended 
into shelter from the tempestuous moors. Ugly, that is to say, 
if the old building was anything like the present one which, 
as Dr. Cox justly says, was " cheaply run up " in 18 18. As at 
Chapel, the freeholders of Hayfield elect their own vicars. 
John Wesley preached in Hayfield Church in 1755, when a 
clergyman named Badley was the incumbent, a man so popular 
with the freeholders that they built him a parsonage and made 
out the deed of gift not to the vicar of Hayfield but to Badley 
himself So, when the vicar died, his daughters at once sold 
the vicarage, which for forty years, from 1764 to 1805, was 
known as the Shoulder of Mutton Inn. Then the property 
became merged in the Park Hall estate of Captain Jack White, 
who took down the sign of the Shoulder of Mutton and again 
turned it into a parsonage. But soon after the Squire quarrelled 
with the parson and turned him out, and once more the study 
became transformed into a bar and remains so to this day. 
Such is the odd story of the Royal Hotel. 

This Captain Jack White, of whose mansion. Park Hall, we 


shall catch a glimpse as we climb up to the moors, was one of 
the best known sporting celebrities in the English shires during 
the first half of the nineteenth century. The son of a 
Manchester doctor who had made his fortune, Jack White knew 
no profession but that of sport, from his birth in 1791 to his 
death in 1866, at the age of seventy-five. His success as a 
gentleman rider was extraordinary. In 1823, when riding for 
Mr. Lambton, he rode nine out of twelve winners at Stapleford 
Park and eight out of twelve at Lambton. The Croxton Park 
and Hinton Park meetings also witnessed his many triumphs, 
and, even when he was forty-three years of age, he trained 
down ten pounds between a Wednesday night and the following 
Friday morning. But his greatest feat was one of endurance. 
He began a certain winter day with two good runs with the hounds, 
of forty minutes and seventy minutes respectively, the second 
kill taking place thirty-four miles from Melton. White returned, 
changed, had a chop and a cup of tea, and then rode home 
from Melton to Hayfield, a distance of seventy-five miles, 
crossing the Derbyshire moors in a blinding snow-storm. He 
arrived at Park Hall at seven o'clock at night, having ridden 
one hundred and sixty miles since breakfast. Captain White 
left Melton in 1842 and was Master of the Cheshire Hunt for 
twelve years. His falls were innumerable, but nothing broke 
his nerve, not even when his horse fell on him in a drain, 
crushed his chest and three ribs, and smashed his collar-bone 
and his ankle. His last bad accident was to alight in a green 
pond and have another horse and rider jump in on the top of 
him. Captain White was also an enthusiastic cocker. He 
always fought a main every year with the Earl of Sefton and 
the Earl of Derby, and in the great match at Melton between 
Smith Barry and Johnnie Blunt for fifteen hundred guineas, 
the latter was cocked by White, who won by a single battle. 
Such a man was naturally the hero of the countryside — at least 
of the unregenerate countryside— but by a strange irony of fate 
his mansion. Park Hall, is now the headquarters of the 


Co-operative Holiday Association in connection with the 
Home Reading Union ! Was ever contrast more complete ? 
Probably hundreds of sporting men in England would consider 
that their apotheosis was assured if there had been said of 
them what " Nimrod " once wrote of White : — 

" Captain White may be safely placed among the hardest and best riders 
of England, and taken in the double capacity of a rider of races and a 
rider to hounds, is decidedly the very best. I consider him indeed the 
exemplar of horsemen, for he has every attribute. In addition to an 
elegant seat he has fine hands, a quick eye, good temper and undaunted 
nerve despite the awful falls he has had. With hounds it has been said 
that he has never been out in his life, whether he liked his horse or not, that 
he did not try to get to them. And it will be remembered he once played a 
duet with Mr. Assheton Smith when every other man was beaten, vjz. on 
that memorable Belvoir day, when hounds ran nineteen miles point blank, 
as the song said : — 

" White on the right, sir, 'midst the first flight, sir. 
Is quite out of sight of those in the rear. " 

Hayfield Fair, once the pride of the neighbourhood, has 
fallen from its high estate, but the jigging lilt of the song 
to which it gave rise still sets one's foot a tapping : 

" Come, lasses and lads, take leave of your dads, 

And away to the Fair let's hie ; 
For every lad has gotten his lass 

And a fiddler standing by. 
For Jenny has gotten her Jack, 

And Nancy has gotten her Joe, 
With Dolly and Tommy, good lack. 

How they jig it to and fro ! " 

Those who are learned in Hayfield lore will tell you that 
the Polly Simpson of a later verse was a real character and no 
mere figment of the ballad maker's imagination. 

Hayfield is one of the most convenient places from which 
to approach the wildest districts of the High Peak. That 
title — often taken in vain further to the south — belongs to a 
wider tract of Derbyshire than is generally supposed by those 


who have not looked closely at the map. If arbitrary 
boundaries must be named, we should say that it was bounded 
on the north by the line of the Great Central Railway from 
Glossop to Penistone, on the east by the series of moors and 
edges between Penistone and Ashopton, on the south by 
the Dore and Chinley railway, and on the west by the roads 
between Chinley and Glossop. In the middle of this area, 
some twenty miles by ten, rises a sprawling mountain mass 
with broad moors stretching down on every side and disjointed 
hills and ridges set irregularly upon them. The mountain 
mass is Kinderscout Moss or simply Kinderscout, the name of 
one particular locality being often applied to the whole. 
There is no High Peak proper, in the sense that Mt. Everest, 
or even Snowdon, is a peak ; Kinderscout Moss is a lofty 
plateau, in shape an irregular parallelogram with fantastic 
deviations, but presenting to the eye as you approach it from 
any one side the usual Derbyshire edge. When distance softens 
the lines of these edges and gives a smooth rounded look 
to what in truth is pointed and ragged, the higher eminences 
of the Moss stand up like peaks, but the name itself is a 
curious misnomer. Or, if the learned philologists are right and 
the word Peak in this connection does not signify a pointed 
hill, the name of High Peak is unfortunate, because it in- 
evitably gives rise to false impressions. This great plateau 
is some five miles in length, and in width varies from one 
mile to two at its western extremity. It is covered with peaty 
moss and heather, intersected by little ravines and patches of 
bog, a desolate tract where it is well to know the way without 
possibility of going wrong, and well to be sure of your sky 
before you venture. Even on the moors of its lower slopes 
are certain fearsome patches. No place gets the name of 
Featherbed Moss or Black Moss for nothing. Such words 
on the map should act like a danger signal to the wary. 

The Moss, and indeed most of the High Peak — which is not 
crossed by a single high road except diagonally from Glossop 


to Ashopton — is private, save for a few footpaths. They seem 
extraordinarily few, considering the extent of the area in 
question, until we remember that until quite recent times 
these moors were almost untrodden by the foot of man. Our 
ancestors looked at them and shivered even in midsummer. 
To them the wild stretches were uncanny and repellent : 
and the sporting owner, in the modern sense of the term, had 
not come into being. Consequently, rights of way are 
scarce, and this stretch of Derbyshire reminds one more of the 
Highlands of Scotland, where the peasants have been hunted 
out of certain glens by the landlords to make room first for 
sheep and then for deer. The High Peak is similarly 
sacred to grouse, and, if you deviate, you do so at your peril. 
Indeed, that we may walk at all from Hayfield to the Snake 
Inn on the Glossop Road without molestation by keepers is 
due to the efforts of the Peak District and Northern Counties 
Footpaths Preservation Society. This was founded in its 
present form some ten years ago, though there had been an 
earlier local society at Hayfield which had gallantly fought the 
battle of public rights since 1876. Such societies deserve the 
liberal support of everyone who loves walking, and, indeed, of 
every tourist, for a landowner can usually bring a great deal of 
direct and indirect pressure to bear upon the local people who 
oppose his attempts to close down footpaths. The society in 
question actually raised a guarantee fund of a thousand pounds 
to maintain in the courts the right of the public to cross the 
moor to the Snake Inn, but the landowners consented to an 
interview and, after long negotiation, agreed that a path 
should be staked off with white posts. They conceded as a 
reluctant favour what they bluntly denied as a right, and the 
upshot of much heated controversy may be seen on the notice 
boards which decorate the moors at intervals. For 
example : — 

" F. J. Sumner, Esq., and others have conceded permission and right 
for the public in perpetuity to traverse on foot this moorland by the route 

igo THE REAL MOORS chap. 

indicated by posts, on the understanding that this is the only route to be 
followed and that there be nu divergence therefrom or trespass upon any 
parts of the moor." 

A treaty is a treaty, and it is the manifest duty of the pubHc 
to respect the terms on which they enjoy unchallenged access 
to the moor. 

The first of these notice boards faces you as you mount the 
steps on the left hand side of Jumble Lane and ascend the 
hill. From here we look down into the little town of Hayfield 
where the mill-dams gleam like blue lakes and reconcile one 
to the chimneys at their side. Chinley Head stands up big 
and grand, with the main road to Chinley at its base on the 
left hand ; on its right is the valley where river and railway 
run down to New Mills around the bend. To our tight is the 
wider valley, facing north, where Hayfield stretches out to 
Little Hayfield, and Captain White's old mansion lies in the 
trees by the mill. There is high ground well back on the 
opposite side of the Glossop Road — Lantern Head they call it 
— and, as your eye travels on, it lights on the expanse of 
Matley Moor and Far Cown Edge and Coombes Tor, near 
which, on the Ludworth Intakes, by the side of the old Monks 
Road, you may find Robin Hood's Picking Rods — t;wo upright 
stones set in stone sockets— and the Abbot's Chair in the wall, 
where you may rest and conjure up what imaginations you will. 
On our side of the Glossop Road we can see above the woods 
of Park Hall to the Knot and Burnt Hill, far beyond the 
Leygate Head Moor which we enter through a gate. 

The real moors at last, and it was my fortune to see them, 
not in the purple glory of autumn, but on a sunny day in early 
June. The valley was lost to sight, and one's view ranged over 
an uninterrupted and glorious expanse of yellow and green and 
dark brownish patches, a gorgeous patchwork quilt which 
Nature had flung over the undulating bosom of the hills. 
Touches of white flecked the sombre heather, but at this 
season of the year the whortleberry bushes were the chief 


ornament of the moor, and their russet tips burnt like a fore- 
cast of autumn on the vivid yellow and green of their stems. 
Patches of paler and tenderer yellow showed the new bracken, 
whose fronds were curled tightly up like so many sleeping 
caterpillars, and where the moor rose to a peak it gleamed in 
black and purple. As we follow the path our horizon on the 
right is bounded by a pleasant wood and a wooden shooting 
box soon comes into view straight in front, with a few butts 
close at hand — a veritable memento mori to the birds, if birds 
could reason. An old bridle road now joins us from the left ; 
it has come under the slope of the Knot from Car Meadow, 
nearly three miles out from Hayfield on the Glossop Road, 
and looks as though it were a continuation of the old Monks 
Road to Kinder and Edale. Here we turn to the right and 
descend a little until an entirely new prospect opens out to us. 
With our backs to the moor we gaze down upon a deep broad 
valley of cultivated land whose exit lies to the right along the' 
course of the river Kinder, while it runs up on the left towards 
a big amphitheatre of hills — the western side of lofty Kinder- 
scout. Out of the valley itself there rises a great mound — if 
we were below we should think it a hill — so rounded that were 
it not for the stone walls, which trace their zig-zag patterns on 
its sides, one might think it had been patted smooth by some 
giant in play. 

This valley has its place in literature ; it is the Derbyshire 
home of David and Louie Grieve. Their thin-lipped, shrew- 
ish, grasping Aunt Hannah and her shambling husband, 
Reuben, lived in one of the little farms which we see below 
us. Needham's Farm is its name in the novel, and the 
novelist herself, Mrs. Humphry Ward, stayed, while she 
wrote the book, at Marriott's Farm or Upper House, which, as 
its name suggests, is the highest inhabited house on this side ot 
Kinderscout. Opinions may differ very much as to the 
merits of David Grieve as a whole, but there is no question as 
to the power of the opening chapters, and the skill with which 



the indefinable atmosphere of the moors is transferred to 
the pages of her book. In this respect Mrs. Ward has 
done for Kinderscout what the Brontes did for the Haworth 
and Keighley moors, and those who have time to spare will 
find reward in exploring for themselves the course of the 
Kinder, the little Red Brook where David set his miniature 
water-wheels, the ruined smithy where he sailed his boats in an 
iron pan, the shed at Clough End where he listened to the 

Kinderscout, from White Brow, Hayfield. 

preacher, the mountain torrent of the Downfall where Kinder 
comes roaring down in flood time through a steep, stony 
ravine, and the Mermaid's Pool where Jenny Crum was 
drowned, and to which the two children paid their midnight 
visit on Easter Eve. The tradition of the Mermaid visiting 
the pool on Easter Eve, and of the sure immortality awaiting 
him who sees her bathing, is now counted as foolishness by 
the people of Hayfield, but there was at least one stalwart old 
man who fully believed therein a century ago. This was 
Aaron Ashton — one of Hayfield's minor celebrities — who died 


in 1835 at the good old age of a hundred and four. He 
recollected being taken to Manchester as a child to see the 
rebels of the '45 ; he served for nearly thirty years in the 
army, and was wounded at Bunker's Hill in America by the 
same shot which killed Major Shuttleworth of Hathersage. 
When he came back home to Hayfield he never missed going 
up to the Mermaid's Pool on Easter Eve in the hope of seeing 
the Mermaid. It is not said whether he claimed to have been 
successful, but he must have wondered, as the years passed 
over his head and found him still living, whether he had not 
caught at least a fleeting glimpse of her unknown to himself. 

If there has been heavy rain and the Kinder is in flood, 
then you should not fail to make your way down into the 
valley by the bridle path through the gate just below, and 
follow the stream up to the black cliffs rising precipitously to 
the summit of Kinderscout proper. Continue to where a 
great triangular wedge has been gashed out of the mountain, 
not clearly cut but rudely hacked away, leaving rugged preci- 
pices on either side, frowning and cruel. Down the centre 
comes the Downfall. But let Mrs. Ward describe it : — 

" Before the boy's ranging eye spread the whole western rampart of the 
Peak — to the right the highest point of Kinder Low, to the left edge 
behind edge, till the central rocky mass sank and faded towards the north 
into milder forms of green and undulating hills. In the very centre of the 
great curve a white and surging mass of water cleft the mountain from top 
to bottom, falling straight over the edge, here some two thousand feet 
above the sea, and roaring downward along an almost precipitous bed into 
the stream — the Kinder — which swept round the hill on which the boy was 
standing, and through the valley behind him. In ordinary times the 
' Downfall,' as the natives call it, only makes itself visible on the mountain 
side as a black ravine of tossed and tumbled rocks. But there had been a 
late snowfall on the high plateau beyond, followed by heavy rain, and the 
swollen stream was to-day worthy of its grand setting of cliff and moor. 
On such occasions it becomes a landmark for all the country round, for the 
cotton-spinning centres of New Mills and Stockport as well as for (he 
grey and scattered farms which climb the long backs of moorland lying 
between the Peak and the Cheshire border. 



I was not fortunate enough to see it in this mood, though I 
checked my regret when I reflected that a swollen Downfall 
would also involve sodden moors and heavy walking. But 
let us keep the path along the middle slope of the hill — White 
Brow — with the glorious western face of Kinderscout in full 
panorama on the other side of the valley. Its ridge retains its 
higher level to the north, then drops suddenly and pursues a 
lower line, and then rises and falls in irregular outline till it 
terminates in the Three Knolls, where the cliffs turn suddenly 
to the east and open out upon the upper part of the Edale 
Valley. It is a gracious prospect, looking over the vivid green 
of the dwarf oaks which line the lower slopes of White Brow, 
and, as we go further along and glance back, we can see down 
the valley towards Hayfield, and, through the cleft beyond, to 
the valley of the Sett. 

Suddenly the unexpected but unmistakable sound of a 
locomotive broke upon my ear, and as I wondered whence this 
should come, a turn of the path, or a more sudden drop in the 
hillside, enabled me to see what was going on in the valley 
below. It was- a reservoir in the making, the steam navvies 
were busy digging, and the whole place was in horrible con- 
fusion. One of the little farms in the valley had already been 
swept away : it had been in the possession of the same family 
for I forget how many generations, and the last tenant was an 
aged man who had been loth to leave. Order will come out 
of chaos, no doubt, and the sunlight will flash upon smooth 
waters, but one is sorry for the necessity. Our path descends, 
turns a corner to the left around the hillside and drops down 
to the side of a little brook. We are in a new world here. 
The valley and the big sweep of Kinderscout are gone ; we 
are in a little fold of the moors and hills, a quiet corner, an 
intimate recess. Our brook is the William, and the ravine 
ahead of us is known as AVilliam Clough. Before we drop 
down to the bottom we can look right up to the head of the 
clough, to where a great purple and yellow claw of the hill 


seems to project and block all egress. On either side the hills 
make close approach, boulder-strewn and covered with bracken 
and heather, hiding their inequalities and showing smooth 
moorland surface. We lose the general view of the AVilliam 
Clough as we descend into it. Where we join the brook 
a square enclosure of stones, black with age, is seen, divided 
into two parts by a wall. Two forlorn firs stand within it ; a 
third, quite dead, is still erect ; two more have fallen, carrying 
with them a portion of the wall. The place has evidently 
served its day. Once it was a sheep-dipping station ; now the 
sheep are gone from the moors. The sacred birds must be 
indulged with an undisturbed chickenhood. 

The little brook, whose course we follow, adds an unspeak- 
able charm to this delicious corner of the moors. The babble 
of its living water is almost the only sound that is heard. 
The hum of the fields in a June noonday is wanting here. 
There seems to be no insect life, or none that is audible to the 
untrained ear. Only one or two bees booming along, grumbling 
perhaps at the absence of sweet flowers, or just droning in lazy 
pleasure of their leisurely flight through the still air, and away 
in the distance the monotonous call of the cuckoo, who out- 
lives his welcome every summer and grows hoarse with calling 
until he can call no more. But we want here no sounds that 
will clash with the music of this pretty brook, which we cross 
and recross a score of times, striding over it here, jumping it 
there, sometimes with a small boulder for stepping stone, and, 
just once or twice, a toy bridge. The brook has its shallows 
and its pools — inches deep — its reaches and cascades. Its 
cataracts even, where it comes tumbling down with all its force 
from boulders whole feet in height. It flows with a rattle ; its 
course is so steep that there is no time for it to linger, and 
every few yards it is joined by some tiny tributary from some 
tiny ravine to right or left. What becomes of the water I 
could not guess, for ever as we mount the brook seems to keep 
a uniform size. Until, indeed, we near the top, and then the 

o 2 

196 MILL HILL chap. 

path grows steeper and we reach the great claw which looked 
so round and smooth far away back where we first caught sight 
of it. Here we see that it is a huge rock projecting from the 
hillside and facing down the ravine which it splits in two, and 
here we lose the company of our pleasant stream and follow 
the white posts to the right of the rock, where only a little 
runnel flows, whose tinkle is lost ere we emerge at last upon the 
open top. The cool breeze which begins to play upon the 
cheek tells us that we have gained the summit, not unwelcome 
after the last few minutes of steep ascent. 

It is the open moorland again that we are standing on, and, 
when we turn our backs on the dehghtful William Clough, the 
prospect is as waste and dreary as prospect can be. We are 
not on Kinderscout Moss proper, but on the col leading to it. 
The north-eastern tip of the Moss itself is just above us. Mill 
Hill is its name ; a big blunt head of cliff with the thin herbage 
lying on the solid rock in scaly patches, and bare where most 
exposed to the storms. A quarter of an hour would take us 
easily to the summit, but let us respect the minatory notice 
boards which here shout at us in chorus. Three of these 
" Thou shalt not " warnings are set within fifty yards of one 
another, and there is no withstanding a triple commination. 
The bell we might risk, or the book, but not bell, book and 
candle combined. And, moreover, those who have climbed to 
the top say it is hardly worth while ! 

The view over the moorland gives us the grandeur of 
desolation — grand but monotonously grand, almost featureless, 
and, save for the sunlight, sullen and lowering. It remains 
much the same on our left hand as we turn sharply to the 
right from the col and begin to face due east. The first half 
mile is dreary going as the path winds amid black quaking bog- 
land and marsh, covered with the vivid green which always be- 
tokens water. We have enough to do to pick our path ; in some 
places the white direction posts have been torn up and laid flat 
to serve as causeways. Soon we find ourselves by the side of a 

xn WILD MOORS 197 

brook, flowing in a channel torn out of the moor when the 
Ashop — for this is its name — was in flood. On the left the 
formation is such that we can see nothing, but on the right we 
get a magnificent view of Mill Hill and the whole northern edge 
of Kinderscout Moss. Mill Hill is scarcely eighteen hundred 
feet high and the edge rises to two thousand feet on the highest 
point of Fairbrook Naze some two miles further on in a straight 
line, where the cliffs recede and are lost to sight. Here and 
there great boulders stand up on the summit, jagging the sky 
line, and at intervals along the steep precipitous sides there 
are clefts from top to bottom, some so deep as to resemble 
chasms w'.th bare sides and courses for torrents in their stony 
beds. The whole vast ridge, whose wonderful beauty of out- 
line and form and mass contrasts delightfully with the moody 
moors, was ablaze with yellows and greens, harmoniously 
blended to make the loveliest carpet for the hillside and a 
broad mirror over whose surface the sailing clouds flung their 
majestic shadows as they moved through the heavens. We 
have to pass more stretches of boggy ground before we approach 
the end of the ridge, and by this time the Ashop, continually 
reinforced by brooks on either side, has gathei'ed dignity and 
flows in a more noble channel. Our path trends away from 
the hills, and in the intervening space a new eminence rises to 
form the right bank of the river, while the left bank — where- 
on our path runs — also grows in stature. Suddenly we find 
that we have entered a new moorland valley, along which we 
wind until at length we obtain a prospect of its outlet blocked 
by a great hill which rises across its mouth. On the lower 
slope of this hill a straight line of stone wall is discernible, and 
we begin to wonder whether this is not the goal towards which 
we have been making. A few hundred yards more, and just as 
we commence a steep and stony descent, we catch sight of a 
house standing amid trees. It is the Snake Inn. Ten minutes 
more and the Ashop, flowing over a boulder-strewn reach, joins 
its waters with those of the Lady Clough Brook, while we, 


passing over a plank bridge that is moored to its place by chains 
which hint at winter violence, scramble up the opposite path 
and stand once more upon a turnpike road. 

It is a notable road, this road from Glossop to Sheffield 
through Ashopton, the last of the great turnpikes built in the 
beginning of the nineteenth century, just before people began 
to see that the steam engine would inevitably supersede the 
coach. The old road from Manchester to Sheffield was through 
Stockport, Disley and Whaley Bridge to Chapel-en-le-Frith— a 
distance of nineteen miles — and then on through Sparrowpit, 
Castleton and Hathersage, another twenty-one and a quarter, 
making a total of forty miles and a quarter. The new road 
saved two miles and the odd quarter, but it also saved time 
owing to the excellence of its surface and its better gradients. 
In an old road book pubhshed in 1824, the places mentioned 
en route between Glossop and Sheffield are Lady Clough 
House, Cocks Bridge, Surry Arms, Rivelin Mill, and Lidgate. 
Lady Clough House is none other than the Snake Inn, and 
Cocks Bridge is the old name of Ashopton which still survives 
in the name of Cockbridge Farm. The Surry Arms, five miles 
further on, lay across the Yorkshire border. One notes the 
date 182 1 over the door of the Snake Inn, whose name was 
not derived, as some have supposed, from the road, nor did 
the road itself owe its name to its windings. As a matter of 
fact, only visitors speak of the Snake Road ; the whole district 
between the Inn and the junction of the Ashop and the Alport 
is more correctly known as the Woodlands, and the snake is 
derived from Cavendish armorial bearings. A family of 
Longdens were tenants here until 1879, then the house 
changed hands and the present proprietor, Isaac Rowarth, 
built the new wing. The palmiest days of the Snake were 
during the three years that the tunnel at Old Dinting— outside 
Glossop — was a-building, and before railway connection between 
Manchester and Sheffield was complete. Then followed a long 
period of decay, until in recent years the tourist traffic and 


sport on the neighbouring moors have helped to restore the 
balance. But it is a lonesome place. I doubt if in England 
there is a grander stretch of road than that between Glossop 
and Ashopton, or one where houses are so rare and the sight 
of an inn rouses such pleasurable anticipations. And they who 
have walked, as we have done, from Hayfield over the high 
moors will be thankful when they first discern the white out- 
buildings of the Snake. As we look back up the valley through 
which we have threaded our way, with the moors coming down 
in swelling outline one behind the other, all desolate and bare, 
and the great hills rising all around, no matter how genial the 
sun may be, one can hardly help thinking of what misery it 
would be to be lost out there in winter. " Kinderscout ! the 
cowdest place areawt," the local people used to say, and 
one can well believe it. Compared with the niooi;. there is 
a security, as of streets, even in this lonely road. 



Our way lies down the road past the milestone — twenty-one 
miles to Manchester and seventeen to Sheffield — with a noble 
view across to Fairbrook Naze, a mile and a half away, whence 
comes the Fairbrook to join the Asho.p, now a river and flowing 
fast in its rocky bed. A new edge — Seal Edge — of Kinderscout 
Moss bears us company, running almost parallel with the road, 
but gradually approximating to it, with lesser hills between, all 
moorland, all devoted to the birds. On our left the ground 
rises at once from the roadside and offers little prospect. A 
few farmsteads lie in the Woodlands on this side, and they 
have an old Roman road for communication, called the Doctor's 
Gate higher up towards Glossop. Descending for two miles 
through a wild and picturesque region, we reach a massive 
stone bridge of single arch where the Alport flows into the 
Ashop. This is a delightful spot, which one is loth to leave, 
at the junction of two valleys. There is the Ashop valley, 
down which we have come, with moor and hill piled up in 
intricate confusion one above the other, and on our left is the 
exquisite dale of the Alport, whose glorious ridge terminates in 
a cluster of rocky eminences two miles away. In the fork of 
the two rivers the ground rises up in irregular terraces from 
eight hundred feet to a thousand, from a thousand to thirteen 
hundred, and from thirteen hundred to over sixteen hundred. 
We feel that we are at the inner gate of the mountains, and 


that all manner of high romance lies up that smooth road and 
along that gracious dale. 

By the side of the bridge, up the stone front of which the 
creepers are climbing, stands a tottering sign-post with the 
names of Hope, Castleton and Bradwell. It slopes down to 
the Ashop, which it crosses by a ford and a footbridge, and 
then toils laboriously up the lower slope of the hill. It is the 
Roman Road, the road to Brough, which to the Roman was 
the centre of all things in North Derbyshire. As we look and 
remember that this was the main highway along which people 
had to travel, whether on urgent business or at leisure, on foot, 
on horseback, or in springless vehicle, we realise the better, I 
think, why our ancestors of only a few generations back were 
not enthusiastic lovers of the mountains, and drew their cloaks 
about them at the name of moors. There is a noble view 
from the opposite summit back up the Alport Dale, and down 
the Woodlands Dale towards Ashopton, before the Cross is 
reached high on the ridge where you get your first glimpse of 
the Vale of Hope. But we keep to the main road along 
Woodlands Dale, sensibly approaching, every step we take, 
tilled fields and the haunts of men, a long reach of two miles 
through a broad valley, with clearly defined edges high above 
it, but edges which have lost their wildness. At the end of 
the dale the road makes a broad sweep to the right, affording, 
as we look back, a noble view of green meadows, graceful 
trees, and gentle hills, with the Ashop, now a river in real 
earnest, bent like a bow in its course. Henceforward to 
Ashopton the route presents no special features till we pass 
beneath the slopes of Crookhill and reach the pleasant village 
where the Ashop mingles with the Derwent. We have seen it 
swell to a delightful river from a tiny moorland brook, born 
among the bogs of the Black Moor — a happy joyous life and a 
painless euthanasia. 

Ashopton itself consists of an inn and a few scattered 
houses — the inn, which was built for the convenience of 


passengers on the coach road by a considerate Duke of 
Devonshire, now being a favourite terminus ad quern for 
driving parties from Sheffield and the little towns of the Peak. 
As we shall see when we get up on to higher ground, the 
situation of Ashopton and its immediate neighbourhood is 
most lovely, lying where four valleys meet and delightful ridges 
converge. But its amenities have been most rudely disturbed 
by the reservoirs which certain Midland towns are constructing 
in the Derwent valley a few miles away. A light railway from 
Bamford station now crosses the river and road at Ashopton 
by an ugly viaduct, and its embankment scars the hillside. 
It is said, but with what truth I do not know, that this railway 
is but a temporary affair and will be removed when the 
reservoir is finished. Such an assurance, one fears, is too 
good to be true. 

One short excursion from Ashopton should in no wise be 
missed. Near where the main road crosses the Derwent a 
road turns off to the left, which at once takes us into an 
exquisite sylvan dale, with a characteristic Derbyshire edge on 
our right hand. The Derwent flows swiftly on our left, not 
held up like the Dove by miniature weirs, but permitted to 
hurry down from the hills at its own pace, and swirling along 
with such power that in places stone walls have been built to 
prevent him from destroying his banks. A path leads to the 
side of the stream a little further on, bordering rich meadows, 
and the trees grow as luxuriantly along this pretty road as they 
do in the most sheltered park. It is a short two miles up to 
the village of Derwent, where a beautiful two-arched bridge 
spans the river, flagged with stones like a pavement and much 
too narrow to admit the passage of any vehicle. This is an 
ancient pack-horse bridge, on the old track which came over 
Derwent Edge and, crossing the Derwent here, climbed up 
the hill and down into Woodlands Dale by the side of Rowlee 
Farm. Nor is it an ordinary bridge clumsily put together : its 
design, with triangular recesses to enable the foot-passenger to 



Step aside and avoid the packs, is charming, and at the first 
glance suggests ecclesiastical influence. So it proves. The 
White Canons of We) beck had great estates in Derwent Dale, 
and we may be sure that this dainty structure was designed 
by some cowled architect. In the centre of the parapet on 
the south side is still to be seen the base of the cross which 
used to adorn the bridge. Near by stands Derwent Hall, one 
of the country seats of the Duke of Norfolk, an exquisite old 

Pack-Iwrse Bridge, near Derwent Hall, 

house of many gables, surrounded by lovely gardens and set 
in the richest corner of this secluded valley. The estate has 
not been long in the possession of the Howards, and it has no 
historical associations with that family. The Duke of Norfolk 
purchased it from the Newdigates : the original building seems 
to have been put up by one of the Balguys — a Derbyshire 
family of note, though not of eminence, at the end of the 
seventeenth century. 

We will not pursue the Derwerit up to the reservoirs, though 

204 CLIMBING chap. 

great walks are to be had in its upper reaches and one 
superlatively fine view down into Derbyshire from the hills at 
the back. There is good walking too on Derwent Edge across 
to the Moscar district on the road to Sheffield, and from the 
hill side across the bridge one can command a splendid 
prospect of its striking outline. At its northern extremity is 
the Lost Lad, a mound which stands up like a pillar, and to 
the right is the curious collection of rocks on the sky line 
which look like an old woman baking bread in an oven. 
The Ukeness is most ludicrous if seen from the proper angle. 

Descending the valley again to Ashopton and, turning to 
the viaduct, we take the road which leads to Cockbridge Farm. 
This crosses the Ashop a few yards above its junction with the 
Derwent, and the more insistent flow of the larger stream 
repels the Ashop for a moment back upon itself and has 
scooped out deep pools contrasting with the boulder-strewn 
shallows below. On~ past the farm and up the hill side by a 
trickling rivulet and, as we rise, the hamlet of Ashopton 
discloses itself and the lower valley of the Derwent, with Lady 
Bower Tor in the background as the southern extremity of 
Derwent Edge. Around its base the Lady Bower opens, up 
which runs to the eastward the road to Sheffield, while the 
Derwent flows due south with the straight line of Bamford 
Edge high above its left bank. Mounting still by a clear 
track and making our way towards a slate-roofed cattle shelter, 
we find our outlook changing. We lose the Derwent, but the 
view of Bamford Edge grows in precision, and the Lady 
Bower Tor begins to be dwarfed as the rest of Derwent Edge 
comes into sight, and soon looks no more than a mere 
rounded hillock on the lower slope of the Edge. The two 
little peaks on Crookhill in the fork of the Ashop and Derwent 
dwindle to tiny knobs, while away to the left we distinguish 
the road winding up the Woodlands and insinuating itself 
among the hills of the High Peak that loom on the far 
horizon. When we quit the upmost pastures and, emerging on 



the open moor, make for the corner of the thin plantation of 
Scotch firs just above us, this change of prospect is intensified. 
There is the charming Lady Bower Dale with the big white 
road partly hidden from sight by a spur of the hill and then 
spreading itself across the high moor. There is the fork at 
Moscar, where the left hand branch conducts you to the 
reservoirs of Strines and Dale Dike. But the crest of 
Bamford Edge, which rose with so much stately dignity a 
quarter of a mile below, protecting the road and river on 
their way to the Vale of Hope, is lowered, for at its back rises 
the far-famed Stanage Edge, spreading away from Moscar Flat 
to behind Hathersage and the Longshawe moors, and mounting 
at High Neb midway to the height of fifteen hundred feet. 
The eye travels down from the sky line of Stanage over 
Bamford Moor, terminating in a wood on the right hand, at 
the edge of which a by-road steals up out of the valley and 
climbs upwards and ever upwards until it too is lost to sight. 

But we linger too long, for we are bound for the yellow- 
green summit just above us, the summit of Win Hill. The 
last few hundred yards are steep, but no Derbyshire hill is 
better worth the climb. It is a veritable Spion Kop, though 
our pyramid, which has lost its apex, be no more than fifteen 
hundred and twenty feet high. Let us look back for the last 
time at the familiar scene before we turn to the new. There 
flows the Ashop with the white road bearing it company — 
good-bye to it at the bend beyond the Rowlee Farm. 
Straight up Derwent Dale we can now see, for, though the 
river be hidden, the road is plain and lo ! a far glimpse of the 
upper reaches where navvies are digging reservoirs for thirsty 
towns. Just a corner — no more — of the ugly viaduct, but clear 
view of the pretty Lady Bower and the road to Bamford and 
the spire of Bamford church among the trees. And here too 
we behold, for the first time, the main highway from Chapel-en- 
le-Frith and Castleton to Hathersage and Sheffield, which 
flows like a white river down the Vale of Hope. 

2o6 A GLORIOUS VIEW ch. xiii 

Win Hill overlooks this lovely valley, which we shall 
command from several view points, but from none more 
advantageously than from this. The Vale of Hope extends 
from Castleton to beyond Hathersage, some eight miles in 
length and not more than a mile wide at its broadest. It is a 
rich agricultural valley, with smaller valleys radiating from it 
and hill sides in some places richly wooded, in others 
cultivated with pastures, in others again resigned to Nature's 
will. Castleton lies at its head, surrounded by a cincture of 
hills crowned superbly by Mam Tor. From Mam Tor a high 
ridge, two miles in length, runs towards us in a north-easterly 
direction, terminating in Lose Hill, and then drops to the 
valley of the River Noe, flowing round from Edale where the 
gap gives us a glimpse of the hills on the southern side of 
Kinderscout Moss. Round this corner too comes the Dore and 
Chinley railway, entering the valley near the village of Hope 
and then running straight to Hathersage and the Grindleford 
Tunnel. Below Bamford the Derwent flows in and receives 
the Noe, and Hathersage is two miles beyond on the slope of 
one of the many hills which mount up to Stanage. Opposite 
to Hathersage at the south-eastern corner of the Vale lie the 
exquisite woods and recesses of Highlow, Eyam Woodlands, 
and Leam, which we shall visit later on ; then come the barer 
stretches of Shatton Edge and Moor ; Brough hes at our feet 
at the mouth of the broadish vale of Bradwell ; then Hope 
and the low hills on the south side of Castleton. The railway 
has done the Vale little injury. Save where the stations 
disclose themselves the line has to be sought for, and the 
sight of a train speeding along the level — the one thing in a 
hurry here unless we count the breeze which stirs the heather 
— is but a pleasant reminder that we at least are careless of 
time. Suave mari magno — as Lucretius said long ago with 
quite unnecessary brutality. There is no more restful scene 
on which the eye of man can rest than the Vale of Hope as 
seen from the summit of Win Hill. 


Win Hill has had its poet in Ebenexer Elliott, the Corn 
Law Rhymer of Sheffield, who loved a country walk as sincerely 
as he hated the Corn Laws and the Tories. 

" To bathe with married waves their monarch's feet 
See where the Ashop and the Derwent haste, 
And how he rears him from the vale, complete 
In all his time-touched majesty, embraced 
By the blue, bright blue heavens ; his proud brow graced 
With that stone diadem which Nature made 
Ages before her practised hand had graced 
With living gems the bluebell haunted shade 
Or, high in lucid air, her wind-swift wings displayed." 

And then, oddly enough, Elliott breaks out into praise of 
" old ale," which he recommends as the best and only 
stimulant on which to chmb : — 

" Now having drunk of jolly ale enough 
To climb Win Hill is worth ambition — yea, 
Ambition, e'en if made of jolly .stuff. 
Should drink strong ale, or never will he say 
To rival climbers, ' Follow on my way ! ' 
Old ale and jolly, be it dark or pale. 
Drink like a toper, be thou green or gray ! 
Drink oft and long, or try to climb and fail ! 
If thou would'st climb Win Hill, drink old and jolly ale ! " 

This is quite an unlooked-for trait in the dour old Corn Law 
Rhymer, though it makes us suspect that he was not much 
of a mountain cUmber, if he had thus to drink himself to the 
starting point. And the suspicion is confirmed by another 
passage in a poem called Noon on Great Kinder where 
he says : — 

" Mountains ! ye awe and tire me. Fare ye well ! 
And let the tempests love ye ! " 

That is scarcely the language of one who really loves the hills ! 
Yet no man, we are assured, was ever happier than this Sheffield 
iron-master in a green lane. Elliott, however, never quite 
recovered from the " savaging " which Jeffrey administered to 
his early poems. " The disappointment of my premature 


poetical hopes," he once sadly confessed, " brought a blight 
with it, from which my mind never recovered. For many 
years I was as mute as a moulting bird, and when the power of 
song returned it was without the energy, self-confidence and 
freedom which happier minstrels among my contemporaries 

It is an easy and obvious descent to the httle hamlet of 
Brough, passing by the side of Aston Hall — now a farm house 
— once the residence of the restless Balguys, who subsequently 
migrated to Hope Hall, to Rowlee in the Woodlands, and to 
Derwent Hall. Brough itself, standing at the junction of the 
Bradwell and the Noe, is a place of but few houses. A corn 
mill has stood here by the bridge since the days of Edward III., 
when the Strelleys held it on condition that they attended the 
king on horseback, carrying a heron falcon, whenever he came 
to Derbyshire. Happily the mill wheel still goes round. But 
Brough's chief point of interest lies in the fork of the two 
streams behind the mill, where the old Roman camp of Anavio 
stood, the focus of all the Roman roads in north Derbyshire. 
The field was partially uncovered in the summer of 1903, and 
the searchers were enabled to trace the outer walls of a camp 
about 285 ft. by 340 ft., in shape a rectangular oblong with 
rounded corners. The walls were six feet thick, with 
gritstone facings to an interior mass of rubble. The gateways 
were in the middle of the four sides, and in the western corner 
was a tower. The usual Praetorium, 60 ft. by 85 ft., lay 
in the centre of the camp, and contained a sunken cellar, built 
into the wall of which was a fragment of an inscribed slab, 
dated about a.d. 158. There were also found a number of 
chiselled stones and altars, parts of pillars, and an in- 
scription recording the presence here of the First Cohort 
of the Aquitani in the reign of Antoninus Pius and the 
governorship of Julius Verus. The cellar has been left 
exposed. Standing by its side, one sees what an admirable 
station Anavio must have made, from the Roman point of view, 
in days when nothing was to be feared from artillery. It 



rested on slightly rising ground commanding views over the 
Vale of Hope and up Bradwell Dale, and no enemy could 
conceal his approach from a vigilant garrison. The two 
streams afforded additional protection, and the bank of the 
Noe on the north side of the camp forms a sheer cliff some 
twenty feet in height. 

From Brough it is only a mile to Hope, a pleasantly situated 
village, whose old Hall is now an inn. The church, whose 
dumpy spire is a conspicuous landmark, has been despitefully 
used, but it has several interesting features — its huge grotesque 
gargoyles on the south side, the fine oak pew-heads, which 
have been, set up against the chancel walls as though it were 
a museum, the chamber, or parvise, over the south porch, the 
schoolmaster's chair, with its motto. Ex torto ligno non fit 
Mercurius, the grim paintings of grim patriarchs, and a gorgeous 
oak hymn-board with gold knobs, which used to hang in the 
chancel sixty years ago. This has, on one side, a picture of 
David playing the harp; on the other are partitions for 
displaying the numbers of the hymns. In the chancel is a 
pleasing little brass to Henry Balguy, of Hope Hall, with the 
date 1685 and the inscription : — 

" A mundo ablactans oculos tamen ipse reflecto 
Sperno,flens vitiis, lene sopore cado." 

A quaint translation of this still quainter Latin is also given : — 

' ' Wained from the world upon it yet I peepe, 
Disdaine it, weepe for sinne and sweetly sleepe. " 

Henry Balguy himself is shown in knee-breeches and doublet. 
He wears a conical hat, and holds a pen in one hand and a 
book in the other. 

In Hope church it used. to be the custom at the publication 
of banns and at marriages for the clerk to call out, " GOD 
speed the couple well." In the churchyard lie the victims of 
a moorland tragedy. During the winter of 1674 a grazier, 
named Barber, and his maid-servant were lost in the snow on 
the moors while on their way to Ireland. The bodies 


remained undiscovered from January to May ; then the 
Coroner ordered that they should be buried on the spot. 
Thirty years afterwards they were uncovered and " exposed for 
a sight " for twenty more years, well preserved by the peaty 
soil. They were seen and described in 1 716 by a Chesterfield 
doctor, but at last, when public opinion tardily awoke to the 
scandal of the thing, the remains were brought down to the 
valley and buried in Hope churchyard. Even then curiosity 
does not seem to have been satisfied, for some years later the 

Mam Tor. 

grave was opened again. But by that time the bodies were 
entirely consumed. 

From Hope it is a long circuitous walk of five miles to 
Edale, and the train is temptingly convenient. The road 
quits the Vale of Hope, follows the course of the little river 
Noe through the gap between Lose Hill and Win Hill, and 
then enters the valley of Edale, with the fine ridge from 
Lose Hill to Mam Tor high above on the left hand. Edale 
itself is an inconsequential litde village, containing nothing of 
importance. The font of its old church may be seen in the 

p 2 


burial ground, serving the decorative purpose of a flower vase. 
At the cross-roads below the village a square sign-post is worth 
noting, set on a stone shaft about four feet high. The 
directions are to Hope, Grindsbrook, Tidswell and Chapel. 
Grindsbrook is the name of the stream which here flows down 
into the Noe, and seems also to have been the name of the 
hamlet itself before it grew into the village of Edale. Our way 
lies up to the summit of Mam Tor, and the pleasantest path 
thereto is to quit the main road just beyond the sign-post and 
turn to the left through a gate. Passing a farm-house, we 
leave the smooth track and take a rough path through the 
fields, following this up to a wooden shanty, which has long 
been conspicuous on the hill side, and then up to a well- 
cropped passage between two great projecting mounds. This 
runs out into a zig-zag road, and a footpath thence on the left, 
when the col is reached, leads steeply up to the top of Mam 
Tor. The prospect is magnificent, and at first it is hard to 
say whether this or the view from Win Hill is the grander. 
The entire vale of Edale is spread out before us, a large valley 
swelling up on every side to the mountains, and containing 
within itself a number of smaller valleys, each with its brook 
and its steep hill sides, but all running down in a southerly 
direction from the southern face of the great Kinderscout 
Moss. On the entire northern and western sides of Edale 
there is no exit save by cart tracks, and even these do not 
cross the big mountains, but stop when they reach the highest 
farmsteads, themselves few and scattered. The best known 
foot track is that which follows the course of the Noe to 
Jacob's Ladder, and climbs up to Edale Cross and Stony Ford 
below Kinderlow End, thence branching down through Oaken 
Clough to Hayfield, or continuing ahead to White Brow and 
the Leygate Moor. The main road by which we entered 
Edale and the zig-zag that runs up out of the dale into the 
Caslleton and Chapel road are the only road outlets. There 
is a sense of remoteness, therefore, as one looks down upon 


Edale, inconsistent with its cultivated fields, though the railway 
has taken away its original aspect of complete seclusion. 
When I saw it the level fields near the village were dotted 
with the white tents of a military camp, where two or three 
militia battalions were undergoing their annual training. The 
trimness of the white lines pleased the eye and the note of the 
bugle came soaring up — one of the few sounds which penetrated 
from the valley. 

Changing our view-point on the little plateau which forms 
the summit of Mam Tor, we look westward to Rushup Edge, 
really a continuation of the Mam Tor and Lose Hill ridge on 
which we are standing, but shorn of their dignity and height. 
It protects the flank of the new road from Castleton to Chapel 
— the one which passes Ford Hall and Slack Hall — while a 
mile to the south we see the older road that leads through 
Sparrowpit. The country between them is mainly barren 
pasture, stretching away for miles towards Peak Forest and 
Buxton, where the smoke from the distant lime-kilns dims the 
far horizon. This older road quitted Castleton by the Winnats, 
seen at our feet in the shape of a huge yawning gap in the 
limestone — true Wind-gates where Boreas might dwell and 
crack his lips with blowing. Another change of view-point 
and we look down upon Castleton itself, with its shell of a 
castle perched on the rock by its side and the Vale of Hope 
gloriously spread before us. Nor must we forget the sharp 
razor-like ridge that runs north-east from where we stand to 
Black Tor and Lose Hill, and on to Win Hill, with a broad 
gap between. Nevertheless, all things considered, the prospect 
from Mam Tor falls short of that from Win Hill, whose outlook 
over the Vale of Hope is more complete, while Edale cannot 
compare in beauty with the dales of the Ashop, Derwent, and 
Lady Bower. Its one point of superiority, perhaps, is the view 
over Castleton and the ridge towards Lose Hill. But happy is 
the country side which has two such prospects within the easy 
compass of the most moderate walker ! 


As a Wonder of the Peak, Mam Tor has long ceased to 
count, for the phenomenon of falling stones on a mountain side 
is common enough. One never hears it called now the 
" Shivering Mountain," nor is the name explained as Maimed 
Tor. That was Hobbes' derivation. 

" Quemque vacant alii corrupt o nomine Mam Tor 
Kectius hunc clivum videor mihi dicere JSIaimed Tor 
Quod sonat Angligenis clivus mutilatus, et ipse 
MonSy nomen magna mutilatus parte fatettw." 

To such barbarities of diction is one reduced when one 
tries to turn etymology into hexameters. The old cause of 
wonder was that the mountain continually shivered its sides 
away and yet it's shadow never grew less. 



Before we make our way to Castleton let us visit that most 
neglected of all the Wonders of the Peak, Eldon Hole. 
Descending from the summit of Mam Tor into the main road, 
which has come winding up out of Castleton round Little 
Mam Tor, we cross to the older road and turn rightwards 
along the uninteresting uplands which stretch away from the 
foot of Rushup Edge. In a mile and a half a by-lane on the 
left hand enters the road at an acute angle, and the high 
ground just beyond it is the lower slope of Eldon Hill. 
Eldon Hole, however, lies on the southern side of the hill, 
and to reach it one must either go up the by-road for a little 
way, and then keep round for a long mile to the right, or 
continue along the main road and take a footpath on the left 
round the other side of the slope. I took the former way, 
disturbing a great company of rooks which had settled near 
one of the round cattle ponds in the pastures, and when, a 
quarter of an hour later, I reached the Hole, I found them 
holding their evening Parliament on the stone wall which has 
been built around it. This was evidently one of their favourite 
gathering places, and they flew off in dudgeon, settling again a 
hundred yards away and stationing vedettes to watch me, when 
I showed no inclination to move. The Hole has no terror for 
the rooks. Yet it is a fearsome place — a great chasrn in the 
hill side, thirty-four yards long and varying in width from a few 


feet to some half-a-dozen yards. At the upper and wider end 
the face of the Hole is jagged and uneven ; longitudinally, its 
sides descend sheer and precipitous, though its outline is 
nowhere sharply defined. Nettles and lichens, a few ferns and 
much ivy cling to the upper surface of this yawning abyss, and 
even one or two small trees maintain a shivering existence in 
crevices near the top. I flung down — who can resist the 
temptation ?— a big stone from the wall, which struck from 
side to side in its descent, reverberating loudly and stampeding 
the few horses which were grazing close by. Nor was that the 
only result. For the din brought up in wild alarm a score or 
more of jackdaws who make the Hole their home, and their 
terrified nestlings below raised such an agitated cheeping as I 
have never heard before. None but black-plumaged birds 
flew up into the light. 

Eldon Hole gave our ancestors the creeps. See, for 
example, what Charles Cotton says of it, though no one would 
associate jumpy nerves with the owner of Beresford Hall : — 

" A formidable scissure gapes so wide, 

Steep, black and full of horrors that who dare 

Look down into the chasm, and keep his hair 

From lifting off his hat, either has none 

Or, for more modish curls, cashiers his own. 

It were injurious, I must confess. 

By mine to measure braver courages. 

But, when I peep into it, I must declare 

My heart still beats and eyes with horror stare ; 

And he that standing on the brink of Hell, 

Can carry it so unconcerned and well 

As to betray no fear, is certainly 

A better Christian or a worse than I." 

No doubt Cotton had been reading his Hobbes, who gives 
an admirable mock-heroic account of his visit to Eldon Hole, 
and describes how he too rolled down stones, and how they 
fell down and down to the lowest depths of Hell, and made 
poor Sisyphus grumble at the extra trouble to which he was 

o o s, 

< J," " 

2i8 OLD TERRORS chap. 

being put. These stones he had evidently to pick up for 
himself, for then there was no convenient wall to pillage, 

" At lapides toto sparsos conquiritnus agro." 

Hobbes tells the story of how the Earl of Leicester — 
Elizabeth's Earl — when visiting the Hole, had an unfortunate 
native lowered to the full extent of the available rope, two 
hundred ells, and the poor wretch was drawn up stark, staring 
mad, and died eight days later. As to its depth Cotton 
says : — 

" How deep this gulph does travel under ground, 
Though there have been attempts, was never found ; 
But I myself with half the Peak surrounded 
Eight hundred, fourscore and four yards have sounded. " 

But no proper investigation was made, nor is there record of 
any until so late as 1770, when bottom was found at the depth 
of sixty-two yards. A century later the Hole was carefully 
examined and a passage discovered, leading downwards for 
sixty-four feet into a great cavern, seventy feet high and a 
hundred feet wide. This, according to the report of the most 
recent investigators, is shaped like a bee-hive and is finely 
encrusted with stalactites and stalagmites. Out of this inner 
cavern there is no exit of any kind, and thus the delightful 
story of the goose which was seen to fly down Eldon 
Hole and emerge from the Peak Cavern at Castleton without 
a single feather on its back, must reluctantly be dismissed as a 
fable. When one thinks of the superstitious awe with which 
Eldon Hole was regarded for long centuries one cannot but 
admire the courage of the old British chieftain, whose bones 
lie buried in the tumulus up above on the top of Eldon Hill. 
Possibly the Tartarus of his mythology did not gape under- 
ground. Now that Eldon Hole has proved to be fathomable, 
the countryside has recovered its spirits. 

Rejoining the high road again, we retrace our steps towards 
Castleton, and where the road forks — just beyond where we 
entered it on descending from Mam Tor — we turn to the right 



down the 'Winnats, a natural defile in the limestone cliffs which 
deservedly ranks high among the most picturesque spots of 
Derbyshire. In ancient days this was the high road; now 
wheeled traffic has practically ceased, and the surface is grass- 
grown. On either hand the cliffs tower up in fantastic outline, 
rising in one or two places to the height of three hundred feet, 
wholly precipitous in parts, in others sheer for half their fall 
and then sloping down to the roadway in grassy stretches. 


The H-'m/tais, Castleton. 

The beauty of the Winnats is greatly enhanced by the sharp 
descent of the road and its graceful bend midway, and it is the 
beauty of the scene, not its terrors, which strikes the modern 
eye. Hutchinson's description — in 1809 — of the pass as 
"awful and terrific," and of the "towering cliffs which seem 
almost to touch the clouds and put the traveller in alarm, 
fearful that some loosened fragment may crash him to atoms," 
only raises a smile. We have greater confidence in the 
stability of Nature's rocks than had our grandfathers, and the 

220 HENRY AND CLARA chap. 

confidence is not misplaced. Warner, writing in 1802, was 

nearer the modern point of view when he said, " Happy was 

the imagination which first suggested its name, the gates or 

portals of the winds, since wild as these sons of the Tempest 

are, the massive rocks which Nature here presents seem to 

promise a barrier sufficiently strong to control their maddest 

fury." Surely the cave on Windy Knoll Quarry at the top of 

the Winnats would have made a splendid home for Aeolus : — 

' ' Hie vasto rex Aeolus antra 

Ltutantes vcntos tempestatesqite sonoras 

Imperio premit ac vinclis etc care ere frenat." 

Yes, and if the day be chill you can hear the winds, as Virgil 
said, chafe and fret round their prison house in sullen 
indignation, and make the mountain murmur. 

There was a murder in the Winnats long ago. In 1768 a 
runaway pair, to whom tradition has given the names of Henry 
and Clara, were married at the extra-parochial chapel of Peak 
Forest, a sort of minor Gretna Green. While on their way to 
Castleton they were seized by five miners in the Winnats, 
dragged to a barn and murdered. Juliet was killed by a 
pickaxe ; Romeo had his throat cut ; and the bodies were 
hidden in a cave. Their horses were found at Sparrowpit 
and taken to Chatsworth, but were never claimed, and the 
saddles were long preserved there. The murderers were 
punished not by human justice but by divine. One is said to 
have broken his neck at the Winnats ; a second was crushed 
by a fall of stone ; a third committed suicide ; a fourth died 
mad, and the fifth made a death bed confession. The bodies 
of the victims were not found for ten years. Such is the story, 
but I confess I am sceptical. It inspired a clergyman, the 
Rev. A. G. Jewitt, to compose in 181 5 an amazingly doggerel 
ballad which concludes as follows : 

" Christians, I have told my ditty, 

If you shudder not with fear, 
If your breasts can glow with pity, 

Can you now withhold a tear ? " 


At the foot of the Winnats is the Speedwell or Navigation 
Mine, partly natural, partly artificial, for it was opened by the 
lead miners, and some unfortunate speculators spent ^14,000 
in the vain hope of finding rich veins. It is a weird spot, for one 
begins by descending more than a hundred steps and embarks 
on a boat to be ferried nearly half a mile along a subterranean 
stream into the heart of the mountain. This leads into an 
imposing cavern, where the stream plunges down with a roar 
into the " Bottomless Pit " and the roof is far out of sight. 
The " Bottomless Pit " is, as a matter of fact, about ninety feet 
deep, while the roof is estimated to be about four hundred 
feet high. Not far from the Speedwell is the Blue John 
Cavern, from which the famous Blue John spar is obtained, 
known to mineralogists as amethystine or topazine fluor. This, 
too, has its spacious chambers and marvellous fissures — and 
not long since a roped party climbed a hundred and thirty feet 
up one of these vertical clefts, and human eyes, probably for 
the first time, gazed upon its stalagmite walls. Close by is the 
Odin Mine, reputed to be the oldest lead mine in Derbyshire, 
and still worked as lately as 1830. But let us get down to 
Castleton and have a look at the famous Peak or Devil's 
Cavern. The entrance is magnificent, for it is approached by 
a pathway between two tall converging cliffs. One of these 
forms the precipitous side of the hill on which is perched the 
castle, whence the town takes its name. It rises sheer to the 
height of two hundred and sixty-one feet, the home of a colony 
of jackdaws — wise birds which nest in inaccessible places. 
The chff is well wooded with dwarf trees clinging to its face, 
and the cavern itself is a vast natural archway at the foot of 
the massive cliff that confronts us as we turn the corner. A 
brook flows out of the cavern mouth, whose width, depth and 
height are such that there is ample room within it for an 
ancient twine manufactory or rope-walk, which Gilpin mentions 
when he visited the place in 1772. The cavern extends 
2,250 feet into the heart of the mountain, and was quite too 


much for the nerves of the Prebendary. " A combination of 
more horrid ideas," he wrote, " is rarely found than this place 
affords, and, at last, the idea growing too infernal, we were glad 
to return." I suspect it was not alone the infernality of the 
idea which caused Gilpin to turn back, for in 1772, at the 
further end of the rope-walk, the roof of the cavern almost 
touched the floor. James Ferguson, who visited the cavern in 
the same year, describes his experience thus in one long, 
breathless, excited sentence : — 

" Toward the further end from the entrance, the roof comes down with a 
gradual slope to about two feet from the surface of a water fourteen yards 
across the rock, in that place, forming a kind of arch, under which I was 
pushed by my guide across the water in a long oval tub, as I lay on my 
back in the straw with a candle in my hand and was for the greater part of 
the way on the river so near the arched roof that it touched my hat, if I 
raised my head but two inches from the straw on which I lay in the tub 
(called the boat) which I believe was not above a foot in depth." 

That, we fancy, is why the Prebend turned back ; that is the 
secret of the " idea growing too infernal." He was afraid for 
his dignity and his clothes. Yet Hobbes had crawled in on all 
fours : — 

" Erecto rursum, riirsum mox corpore frono 
Pergimus, alterna pecudes hominesque figura." 

Byron too placed on record his recollections of the visit he 
made to the Peak Cavern with Mary Chaworth, describing how 
they had to cower in the boat while " the ferryman, a sort of 
Charon," waded at the stern and pushed it along. " The com- 
panion of my transit," he wrote, " was M. A. C, with whom I 
had been long in love and never told it, though she had 
discovered it without. I recollect my sensations, but cannot 
describe them, and it is as well." Visitors, half a century ago, 
might make arrangements with the Parish Clerk and the 
Castleton choir to sing for them in the cavern from a high 
ledge near the roof; nowadays there is no demand on their 

But my interest in caves is soon exhausted, and one 


stalagmite is to me as another stalagmite. The glory of the 
Peak Cavern is its approach — the great cliffs, the chattering 
jackdaws, the rounded arch with its little river and the ghostly 
looking rope-walk. It would serve very well for an entrance to 
the underworld if we could imagine so innocent looking a 
brook was the " irremeable wave " of Styx. 

Castleton should be given a wide berth on a Saturday or 
Sunday in the summer months. On those days it overflows 
with the tripper, for whom it lays itself out to provide, and its 
streets are apt to be uproarious until the last brakes have gone 
singing down the vale. Its main thoroughfares are common- 
place, but the cottages on the higher level are picturesque and 
unspoilt. Castleton retains one interesting local custom, for 
May 29th, or Oakapple Day, is still honoured in a curious way. 
A great garland of wild flowers is made, shaped like a bell on 
a frame, and is carried round the town by a man on horseback, 
who wears it upon his head, covering his face. He plays 
Charles II. ; the part of the Queen who rides beside him is 
taken by a youth, dressed in a lady's riding habit and veil. 
Twenty girls dance the Morris dance before them as they ride 
through the town to the accompaniment of " plenty of brass 
bands." One can conceive the din ! Then the garland is 
taken to the church and slung up by a pulley to a parapet of 
the tower, where it is left to wither. It is accounted a great 
honour to bear the garland, and the privilege has been exercised 
by the same man for the last twenty years. 

In the church, which is of no particular interest, is the 
monument of the Rev. Edward Bagshawe, who from 1723 to 
1769 was vicar of Castleton. It tells us that he was " a man 
whose chief delight was in the service of his Master, a sound 
scholar, a tender and affectionate husband, a kind and indulgent 
parent, a lover of peace and quietness, who is gone to that 
place where he now enjoys the due reward of all his labours." 
Castleton was not a rich living in early Georgian days. It was 
valued at ;£'4o, but the lead tithes varied very much. Every 

224 A WORTHY VIEW chap. 

twentieth dish of lead ore was supposed to be set aside for the 
parson, but he really only got one in sixty, the remaining two- 
thirds going into the pocket of the Bishop of Chester. 
Bagshawe kept a journal which shows that he never received 
more than ^^40, and some years had practically no income at all, 
if the mines were not working. He had begun life with a good 
private fortune, but a friend in London had induced him to 
invest it all in the South Sea Bubble, and every penny of it 
was lost. The journal is full of curious and interesting details 
respecting Castleton prices. In 1748, for example, Bohea tea 
was eight shillings a pound ; chickens were threepence each, 
tobacco a penny an ounce. A shoulder of mutton could be 
bought for fifteenpence, a forequarter of lamb for eighteen, 
and a codshead from Sheffield — none too fresh, probably — cost 
the same. The journal chronicles the humdrum round of the 
vicar's daily life ; it tells us of his eldest son Harry, apprenticed 
to a tradesman in Leeds, and of his wife making up a parcel of 
four tongues and four pots of potted beef as a small present for 
Hal's master. It tells also of another parcel arriving at Castleton 
from Leeds, which on being opened was found to contain " a 
blue China cotton gown." This was Hal's present to "his 

But if the church be dull, Castleton is more than compensated 
by its romantic castle, perched on the top of the Castle Hill. 
Compared with the heights around it, by which, indeed, it is 
entirely dominated and dwarfed when one stands upon its 
summit, the Castle Hill-is of little distinction. Its steepest and 
most precipitous face, the western, is only two hundred and 
sixty feet high, and its crest, an irregular sloping plateau, is of 
insignificant size. Yet it manages to look impressive from 
almost every view point below, and the old grey ruin on the top 
never fails to fascinate the eye. The hill was well chosen as a 
place of strength. On the west side — the cliff which faced us 
at the entrance to Peak Cavern — it is absolutely inaccessible ; 
on the east and south sides it looks down upon a narrow 



ravine called Cave Dale, a sort of miniature Winnats, quite 
unscalable for purposes of attack. The only possible approach 
was on the north, where a handful of defenders could repel the 
assault of hundreds. Even now the ruin is reached by a zig- 
zag path on account of the steepness of the northern face. The 
bailey or castle yard is about an acre and a quarter in extent 
and is surrounded by a massive wall. The entrance was at the 
north-east corner ; two square towers stood at the east and west 

The Peak Castle and Cazern Castleton 

angles of the north wall, and the keep occupied the north-west 
corner. All are in ruins, yet sufficient is left to enable one to 
form a good idea of the old Castle of the Peak. The keep 
was a quadrangular building, almost square, some twenty-one 
by nineteen feet, with walls eight feet in thickness and sixty 
feet in height. Now a mere shell, it is supposed to have consisted 
of two rooms, the lower of which was entered from the upper 
by a staircase, while access to the upper was gained by an outside 
flight of steps. No other remains of buildings have been found 


220 "PEVERIL OF THE PEAK" chap. 

in the castle yard, and it is tolerably certain that this keep was 
never intended as a regular place of residence. Nor was it the 
original keep of William Peveril, who built a castle here in 1068, 
but the handiwork of Henry II. in 11 76-7. That King had 
been in Castleton twenty years before, for in 1157 he here 
received the submission of Malcolm, King of Scotland, and 
celebrated the occasion by broaching wine to the value of 
seventy-two Plantagenet shillings. What Peveril's castle was 
like, no one knows, but the probabilities are that it was only 
a place of defence and refuge, and a convenient centre for 
hunting in the Forest of the Peak. Peveril was a natural son 
of William the Conqueror, who bestowed upon him a large 
number of Derbyshire manors. These estates, however, re- 
mained in his family less than a century, his grandson being 
deprived of them by Henry II. for poisoning the Earl of 
Chester, whose wife was his paramour. 

Naturally enough, the Castleton people make great play with 
Sir Walter Scott's romance of Peveril of the Peak. One 
sees it everywhere until the endless iteration tires. That is all 
in the way of business, no doubt, and to be mentioned by 
Scott is secure immortality. Yet, if the truth be told, Castleton 
plays a very unimportant part in Peveril of the Peak. Sir 
Walter was attracted by the romantic name and the romantic 
situation in which the Norman lord had built his lair, " choos- 
ing his nest on the principle in which an eagle selects her eyrie 
and building it in such a fashion as if he had intended it, as 
an Irishman said of the Martello towers, for the sole purpose 
of puzzling posterity." And that is all the reference ! The 
Wizard of the North, I fancy, did not stay long in Derby- 
shire, and I can find no reasonable identification either 
of Martindale Castle, where his Peveril lived, or of Moultrassie 
Hall, two miles away, the home of the Bridgenorths, or of the 
village of Martindale-Moultrassie, whose position is described as 
" considerably to the eastward of both Castle and Hall, at about 
an equal distance from both, so that supposing a line drawn 


from the one manor-house to the other to be the base of a tri- 
angle, the village would have occupied the salient angle." Such 
minuteness of direction certainly looks as if Scott had two 
specific Derbyshire houses in his mind, but which can they 
be ? Martindale Castle was almost a ruin in the story, with 
only one wing standing, the rest having been battered down 
by Cromwell in person during the Civil Wars. That suggests 
Wingfield — the only place of importance in Derbyshire which 
stood a regular siege, though Cromwell himself was never near 
it. But if so, where was Moultrassie Hall and where the 
village ? Haddon Hall has no claim to be identified with 
Martindale Castle — for Haddon was not a castle, never stood a 
siege, and has never been in ruins. The only mention of 
Haddon in Peveril of the Peak occurs in a very misleading ana 
entirely inaccurate note, where Scott says that the mistress of the 
house could sit in her pew in the chapel, open "a scuttle" in 
the wall, and see that the cooks were not idling in the 
kitchen. As a matter of fact, there were several walls and 
a whole great quadrangle between chapel and kitchen. We 
come to the conclusion, therefore, that Martindale Castle is a 
sort of blend of Wingfield and Haddon, and that Sir Walter's 
topography is entirely of his own imagining. What is really 
much more interesting is the story which Lockhart tells of 
Scott himself being nicknamed " Peveril of the Peak " by an 
Edinburgh lawyer wit, who was of ample girth. " Here comes 
Peveril of the Peak," he said one day as Scott approached. 
This raised a general laugh, for the reference to Scott's " tall, 
conical, white head " was obvious. " Better be Peveril of the 
Peak," retorted Scott with good humour, " than Peter of the 
Paunch." But the nickname pleased him, and in writing to 
Lockhart and his friends he often signed himself Peveril of the 

Q 2 



From Castleton to Tideswell the shortest route Hes up the 
hill to the left of the Castle and then over the uplands by a 
little frequented road. A pleasanter but considerably longer 
way is to go down the valley by the high road to Hope with 
the tiny brook, the Peakshole Water, on our right hand, until, 
just beyond Hope, it falls into the Noe from Edale. Then by 
the mill at Brough we turn up Bradwell Dale, which looked so 
pleasant from the top of Win Hill, with a good line of hills on 
the left hand. Just before we reach Bradwell a road branches 
off to the right towards the hamlet of Small Dale. This is the 
Batham Gate, whose further extremity we saw between Dove 
Holes and Buxton. Locally, it is known as Gore Lane, from 
the dead men's bones which have been found there, telling no 
tales, but suggesting murder and sudden death. Tradition 
speaks of a Saxon chief, named Edwin, slain in battle, and 
there is an " Edan Tree" — a possible corruption of Edwin — 
close at hand. 

Bradwell itself is not an attractive village ; its stone houses 
have been flung together in haphazard and untidy clusters. 
It once was a lead mining centre, and lead works are still in 
operation, but the ore comes not from the veins of the native 
hills which have been looking down upon us, since we left the 
Vale of Hope, but from Spain. The church dates no further 
back than 1868, and is remarkable only for its plainness. 


Bradwell has its cavern, which would be as famous as those at 
Castleton if it did not lie so far off the beaten track, for its 
crystallisations and stalactites are reputed to be finer than finy 
in the county. This is Bagshawe's Cavern, so called because 
the land, in which it was discovered by some lead-miners a 
century ago, belonged to Sir William Bagshawe of Wormhill, 
and the grottoes and chambers received their fantastic and 
often ridiculous titles from Lady Bagshawe. To me, however, 
by far the most interesting thing near Bradwell is Hazelbadge 
Hall, a farmhouse a mile out of the town at the further end of 
Bradwell Dale — where the road is carried through a not very 
picturesque limestone defile. Hazelbadge Hall was one of the 
many manor houses belonging to the great family of Vernon, 
whose arms, surmounted by a visored helmet, with the date 
1549, are to be seen sculptured in stone in the white- 
washed gable which faces the road. Below are two fine 
windows with handsome stone mullions, one above the other. 
The hall is now a well-tended farmhouse. 

We are still on rising ground, with the ridge of Black 
Knoll on the left. This soon yields to the curve of Hucklow 
Edge, a continuation of Eyam Edge, which bends at right 
angles above the cross-roads a mile further on. Little 
Hucklow lies a quarter of a mile off on our right, and Great 
Hucklow is a mile distant below the hill on the left, neither 
village now possessing importance. Then at length we emerge 
upon the broad plateau of the High Peak and, leaving the road 
to Eyam on our left, go on for a long mile to Lane Head, 
a glorious position for cross-roads. Away to left and right 
stretches the big highway from Sparrowpit and Peak Forest to 
Wardlow Mires, Stony Middleton, and Calver. It comes 
sweeping down from Peak Forest, dead straight for the mile 
we have it in view and with an easy descent which offers a 
temptation that no cyclist or motorist could resist but for the 
cross-roads which counsel prudence. Hucklow Edge rises up 
nobly behind us ; a by-path to Litton climbs the little brow to 

230 TIDESWELL chap. 

the left of our road to Tideswell ; and at the side of the inn 
another by-road gives you the direct line for Castleton. 

The pinnacles of Tideswell church — two-thirds of a mile 
away — are in view as we turn towards this pleasant and ancient 
town. Markets have been held here since 1250, and when the 
neighbouring Forest was in its glory the Kings of England 
used to visit Tideswell for the hunting. They often came on 
hither from Clipston in Sherwood Forest, travelling by way of 
Dronfield. At least that was the route which Edward I. once 
took, and from Tideswell went on to Chapel and Macclesfield, 
and then back to Clipston by way of Ashford, Chesterfield, and 
Langwith. There was a " King's larder " at Tideswell, and 
sundry famiUes of note had houses in the district. At Wheston 
Hall, where is a fine fourteenth-century roadside cross, the 
Charltons dwelt ; at Litton were the Lyttons and the Fords ; 
and in Tideswell church are memorials of the Foljambes, the 
Meverills, and the De Bowers. A number of offices and 
dignities attached to the Forest ; when it was disafforested 
the families which held these dignities removed elsewhither. 

The books do not speak very kindly of Tideswell. Hutchin- 
son (1809) declares that "no attraction whatever could be 
found " there, and says, " the town is principally composed of 
poor mean houses." Rhodes (1818), usually the most in- 
dulgent of critics, says, "the houses are low, irregularly 
situated and ill-built, and there is altogether an air of poverty 
and meanness about it, with a want of cleanliness and comfort 
in its general appearance." Certainly the little town has no 
romantic prettiness — it is perched in a shallow fold of the 
bleak uplands — but its streets are spacious and, whatever they 
were three-quarters of a century ago, their cleanliness is now 
beyond cavil. And Tideswell church is glorious. The 
Cathedral of the Peak it is called, and well deserves the name. 
The present building dates mainly from about the middle of 
the fourteenth century, and is cruciform in shape, the south 
transept containing tombs of the Lyttons and the De Bowers, 



and the north being the old chantry of the Guild of St. Mary 
of Tideswell. But it is the chancel which draws all eyes, and 
has been well described as " one gallery of light and beauty." 
Norbury alone among the Derbyshire churches equals it : 
Norbury alone surpasses it in charm. The square-headed 
decorated windows are fine examples of their kind ; there is 
a curious narrow sacristy behind the stone reredos ; and the 


^^///Z f//^'' 

, " ,/// <^ t'17'fr iril' W ^n g 

Tideswell Church. 

noble east window was given by the Foljambes of the nine- 
teenth century in memory of their ancestor of the fourteenth, 
who founded the chancel and now lies within the altar rails. 
The fine brass of Bishop Pursglove, the somewhat compliant 
Prior of Gisburn Priory who surrendered his house to King 
Henry in 1 540, but refused to take the Oath of Supremacy in 
1559, is worth notice. He was Tideswell-born and the 
founder of the local Grammar School. But far more interest- 
ing than Robert Pursglove is the old fighting knight, whose 
stone effigy you may see through the openings in the sides 


of his table tomb in the chancel. The brasses inlet in the 
smooth and glossy marble and the inscribed brass riband tell 
you that this was Sampson Meverill, Knight Constable of 
England, who fought with John Montague Earl of Salisbury, 
as " a captain of diverse worshipful places in France," and 
had served under John Duke of Bedford in the Hundred 
Years' War. He was present at eleven great battles in two 
years, and won knighthood from the Duke's hands at St. Luce. 
"Devoutly of your charity," he begs you, " sayth a Pater 
Noster with an Ave for all Xtian soules and especially for 
the soule of hira whose bones resten under this stone." It 
were surely churlish to refuse. 

In the churchyard are -the tombs of William Newton, " the 
Minstrel of the Peak," of whom we shall have more to say 
later, and of Tideswell's chief eccentric celebrity, one Samuel 
Slack, who in the last quarter of the eighteenth century was 
the most popular bass singer in England. AVhen a young 
man, he competed for a post in a college choir at Cambridge, 
and sang Purcell's famous air, " They that go down to the sea 
in ships." The precentor immediately rose and said to the 
other candidates, " Gentlemen, I now leave it with you whether 
anyone will sing after what you have just heard." They took 
the hint and withdrew. Not long afterwards, Georgiana Duchess 
of Devonshire interested herself in Slack and placed him 
under the tuition of Spofiforth, the chief singing-master of the 
day. He improved so much that he took London by storm, 
and for many years sang principal bass at all the great musical 
festivals. So powerful was his voice that on one occasion, 
when pursued by a bull, he uttered a loud bellow which 
terrified the animal and put him to flight ! Slack does not 
seem to have acquired much polish from his association with 
educated people. For when, after singing before George III. 
at Windsor Castle, he was told that his Majesty had been 
pleased with his voice, Slack replied in his native dialect, " Oh, 
he were pleased, were he ? I thowt I could do 't." In fact, 


to quote a contemporary writer, Slack " liked low society," and 
made no effort towards self-improvement. When he retired 
into private life, he returned to his native village of Tideswell 
and became the ruling spirit of the local Catch and Glee Club. 
We get a glimpse of him in 1809, when Hutchinson says that 
on the evening he happened to be in Tideswell it was the 
monthly meeting of the club at the George Inn. " Mr. Slack," 
he says, " and other performers greatly amused the amateurs 
who had numerously attended from the adjacent country," and 
Hutchinson himself was " agreeably entertained." No doubt. 
Slack sang his favourite, " Life's a bumper, filled by Fate," as 
he does in the lithograph by Thomas from a painting by Potts, 
which is often met with in Derbyshire. It depicts six singers 
in Hogarthian attitudes, with glasses, jugs, and pipes, and 
shows Slack and Chadwick of Hayfield singing lustily from the 
same book. Slack died in 1822 at the age of sixty-five, but 
no stone was raised over his grave until 1831, when a memorial 
was put up at the expense of the amateur members of the 
Barlow Choir, assisted by some outside contributions. Sixty 
years later, this memorial had fallen into disrepair, and was 
restored from a fund subscribed for the purpose by the rea(^ers 
of the Sheffield Weekly Independent. 

Whether the Tideswell Catch and Glee Club long survived 
the extinction of its bright particular star, we do not know. 
But there was clearly a marked taste for music in the town, 
for in 1826 a Tideswell Music Band was in existence, consisting 
of six clarinets, two flutes, three bassoons, one serpent, two 
trumpets, two trombones, two French horns, one bugle, and 
one double-drum — twenty performers in all. Some of the 
rules of this band are rather interesting. There were three 
practices a week ; any member who came half-an-hour late 
was fined a penny, and if he did not come at all, twopence. 
A player who did not "attend immediately " to the waving 
baton of the leader paid a penny; the owner of a dirty 
instrument paid threepence ; and the heaviest fine of all was 


sixpence — of which sum any member was to be mulcted if he 
was " in an intoxicated state during the time of meeting." 
Excellent rules ! They who framed them took their music 
seriously, and were determined the band should be a credit to 
the town. And until the last few years the Tideswell Band 
was in great request all over North Derbyshire whenever 
festivities were afoot. 

Tideswell has had its poet — a certain Mr. Beebe Eyre, who, 
in 1854, was awarded ^50 out of the Queen's Royal Bounty. 
This was upon the recommendation of the easy-going Lord 
Palmerston, who never liked to refuse a friend a favour. Eyre 
wrote verse which for sheer bathos could hardly be matched 
from the works of the Poet Close. Take, for example, his 
invocation to Tideswell : — 

" Tideswell ! thou art my natal spot, 
And hence I love thee well ; 
May prosperous days now be the lot 
Of all that in thee dwell ! " 

But his poems, as he explains in his preface, were " written in 
deep adversity." 

Until recently it was confidently assumed that Tideswell 
derived its name from a well which ebbed and flowed like the 
tide of the sea. But the sceptic has arisen in the guise of the 
philologist, who tells us that the first syllable has certainly 
nothing to do with the tide, and that the second need not 
necessarily refer to a spring of water at all. Tideswell is 
really " Tidi's well " ; Tidi being the name of a local chieftain, 
and " well " meaning either a spring or a paddock. There is 
a Tidslow near the town which beyond question means Tidi's 
burying place, while the name of Tidi occurs in the Liber Vitae 
of Durham and in Beda, and is also to be seen in the names 
Tiddeman and Tydeman. So say the philologists. Professor 
Skeat among the number. Those who are interested in the 
subject will find it fully discussed in Notes and Queries, Jan. to 
March, 1904. On the other hand, the old interpretation is 


backed by a long list of references to Tideswell, from the 
seventeenth century downwards, where in each case the author 
derives the name of the village from an ebbing and flowing 
well. The evidence certainly looks strong, beginning with 
Tristram Risdon (1580— 1640) who, in his Scenery of Devon 
describes as follows a sub-manor, named Tidwell, in the parish 
of East Budleigh. " Here is a pond or pool maintained by 
springs, which continually welm and boil up, not unlike that 
wonderful well in Derbyshire which ebbeth and floweth by just 
tides and hath given name to Tideswell, a market town of no 
mean account." The well was choked up at the end of the 
eighteenth century, and Pilkington, writing in 1789, says, 
" upon enquiry I find that it is now very imperfectly remem- 
bered by any person ; but I was informed that the well, which 
is now closed up, might be easily restored to its former state." 
Similarly, Rhodes says that " the spot where the well once was 
is still pointed out to the traveller who inquires for it, but it is 
now choked up and its ebbings and flowings have long since 
terminated." Nevertheless, the well can now be seen in the 
small garden of Craven House, by the roadside, near Town 
Head. A shallow brickwork basin has been made for it, 
banked up by a grotto of stone and with a leaden pipe, five 
or six feet long, thrust down into the ground. The water 
varies in depth about six inches in summer and winter, and 
is said to flow fairly regularly. Forty years ago, before the 
house was built, the well was in the open field. But that this 
was ever a Wonder of the Peak I do not believe, and pin my 
faith to the well at Barmoor Clough. 

Sundry roads lead from Tideswell to Buxton. The one in 
common use leaves Tideswell by the Town End, runs almost due 
south by the side of Tideswell Dale towards Miller's Dale, and 
then turns westward till it drops to the level of the Wye. 
That is the most recent main road. What we may call the 
penultimate road follows much the same course half a mile 
to the west, on the other side of the intervening ridge, and- 


descends to the Wye by means of a terrific hill, joining the 
new road on the lower slope. But the ancient main road took 
a totally different course. It ran due west from the middle of 
the town to above Wormhill and, still keeping west, entered 
Buxton through Fairfield, never falling to the Wye till it 
reached Buxton itself Buxton, Fairfield, Hargate Wall Hill, 
Tideswell — such is the route you find in the old road books. 
We will take this road for part of the way, and very dull it is 
for the first mile and a half, with no view save of stone walls 
and pastures. 

Anna Seward thus describes it : — 

The long, lone tracks of Tideswell's naked moor, 
Stretched on vast hills that far and near prevail, 
Bleak, stony, bare, monotonous and pale. 

Or again, in lines which show how completely devoid she was 
of humour : — 

But from the moor the rude stone walls disjoin, 
With angle sharp and long unvaried line, 
The cheerless field — where slowly wandering feed 
The lonely cow and melancholy steed. 

Then suddenly the road makes a surprising and extraordinary 
swoop, a breakneck fall into a ravine which must have caused 
the " outsides " on the coaches to hold their breath as they 
slithered down. Everything was done to ease the descent, but 
little was possible, for here is a sinuous cleft in the limestone, 
running up out of Miller's Dale to Peak Forest for a long five 
miles. At its widest, near Miller's Dale, it bears the name of 
Monk's Dale, which ends here where we cross it ; then Peter 
Dale takes up the tale for a mile or more and eventually 
becomes Hay Dale and Dam Dale, scarcely worth distinguish- 
ing names. Here, between Monk's Dale and Peter Dale, is a 
curious gap with a great curving stretch of level meadow at the 
foot of the steep descent, and a charming vista down the 
wooded sides of Monk's Dale and round the bend of the more 
bpen dale on our right. Do not climb the opposite hill, but 


take a footpath on the left which issues in an ancient bridle 
way, older, one can hardly doubt, than the high road itself. 
This, if you follow its meanderings, leads out through fields to 
a farm, with Wormhill Church on the left hand. Rhodes tells 
us that this district was but newly enclosed in his day and 
formerly had been some of the wildest forest country in 
England, where rent was paid not in money but wolves' heads. 
AVormhill itself, a tiny village, finds but scanty mention in the 
books, yet few spots better deserve to be called a " haunt of 
ancient peace " than its miniature church and churchyard. 
The rectory garden and the churchyard blend ; we can hardly 
tell where the one begins and the other ceases. The smooth 
rectory lawn bounds the path to the church porch with no 
intervening hedge, and on the other side are the tall trees 
surrounding Wormhill Hall, resonant with a colony of rooks. 
The church, bowered amid exquisite trees, has evidently been 
the care of pious hands. It is a modern fabric ; only the base 
of the quaint tower is old ; but the windows are full of fine 
glass, and the stencil decoration is rich and good. Rarely 
does a modern village church possess that air of repose which 
often broods over an ancient sanctuary, but Wormhill possesses 
it, and the lines which Stephen Hawker carved in stone over 
his rectory at Morwenstow would not be inapt here : — 

" A house, a glebe, a pound a day, 
A pleasant place to watch and pray, 
Be true to Church, be kind to poor, 
O Minister, for evermore ! " 

I count among my happiest discoveries in Derbyshire the 
exquisite retreat of Wormhill Church. 

Just outside, in the middle of a curiously wasted space, be- 
tween the high road and a tract on a lower level, is a canopied 
drinking fountain set in a small plantation of holly and yew. 
Steps lead down to it from the high road and stone seats are 
fixed round its blank walls. At the lower side is a drinking 
trough with triple partition. It is an ugly affair, hopelessly 


inartistic and crude, but it has its human interest, for this 
drinking fountain was put up in 1875, in memory of James 
Brindley, the famous civil engineer, who was born in Worm- 
hill parish in 1716. His actual birth-place was rather more 
than a mile away, between Great Rocks and Tunstead, in a cot- 
tage which has long since vanished. The site, however, is 
marked by an ash tree which, as a seedling, forced its way up 
through the flags in the cottage floor. When the flags were 
removed it grew to be a fine tree and is known to this day as 
Brindley's Tree. Brindley was entirely uneducated and to the 
end of his days wrote and spelt with difficulty. His pocket 
book contains such entries as " loog o' daal ", for " log of deal ", 
while " ocular survey " becomes " ochilor servey." Yet edu- 
cated or not, " The Schemer," as he was nicknamed in his early 
days, was the leading engineer of his generation and the right 
hand man of the great Duke of Bridgewater. It was Brindley 
who planned the construction of the Duke's first canal from 
Worsley to Manchester, the immediate result of which was 
to reduce the price of coal in Manchester from sevenpence a 
cwt. to threepence halfpenny. His scheme to carry the canal 
over the Irwell at Barton met with merciless ridicule ; when it 
was completed, it was the wonder of the year. A writer in the 
Annual Register ior 1763 describes how, while he was "sur- 
veying it with a mixture of wonder and delight, four barges 
passed in the space of three minutes, two of them being chained 
together and dragged by two horses, who went on the terras of 
the canal, wheron I must own I hardly dare venture to walk, as 
I almost trembled to behold the large river Irwell underneath 
me." This illiterate engineer, who used to go to bed to think 
Out his plans without paper or pencil, devised in all about three 
hundred and sixty miles'of canal, of which his greatest triumphs 
were the Manchester and Liverpool and the Grand Trunk or 
Trent and Mersey. He deserved a better monument than this 
drinking trough. 

Both Wormhill Church and Wormhill Hall are closely 


associated with the Bagshawes of Ford, and until recent 
years, the Hving was usually held by a Bagshawe. This fact, 
doubtless, accounts for the charm and comfort of the rectory. 
The Rev. William Bagshawe, who built the bastard Gothic 
additions to Ford Hall, was vicar here in his earlier years. 
What manner of man he was may best be guessed from an 
illuminating extract from his diary. The date is February 3, 

" Sunday : — Preached at Wormhill on the vanity of human pursuits and 
human pleasures — to a polite audience an affecting sermon. Rode in the 
evening to Castleton, where I read three discourses by Seeker. In the 
Forest I was sorry to observe a party of boys playing at football. I spoke 
to them but was laughed at, and on my departure one of the boys gave the 
ball a wonderful kick — a proof this of the degeneracy of human nature." 

Enough ! enough ! One can see the Rev. William to the 
life and one does not like the look of him. No wonder the 
boy on Peak Forest kicked as he never kicked before ! For a 
year or two Bagshawe was at Buxton, and it is said that Anna 
Seward liked his preaching. That is another black mark 
against his name. Wilberforce, on the contrary, said he 
preferred sermons which " made people uneasy." In other 
words, the great evangelical clearly doubted the soundness 
of the Rev. William Bagshawe's conversion. 

Passing Wormhill Hall we rejoin our bridle path by the 
side of a game-keeper's cottage on the right and then suddenly 
there breaks into view all the leafy loveliness of Chee Dale, as 
the limestone ravine of the Wye is here called. We quit the 
main path at this point, for it turns eastward along the high 
ground and then dips down to a ford and foot-bridge over the 
river. Our track descends precipitously into a little wooded 
glen which runs up northward from the main ravine — a glen 
whose tiny stream flows underground until it bubbles out 
with wonderful clearness and surprising volume among the 
stones a few yards below us and quickly loses itself in the 
Wye. We cross this brook and follow up the left bank of the 



Chee Tor, Miller's Dale. 

river along a stony path which demands an irritating amount 
of attention. The banks rise up on both sides to a goodly 


height, wooded to the very top, and the reach is charming as 
it begins to bend. Then, across the stream, Chee Tor comes 
into view, superbly sohd and big, the home of chattering 
jackdaws who find secure refuge in the crevices of its rounded 
sides. The Wye flows briskly along at its foot, in a broad 
channel, choked with burdock and other river weeds in mid- 
stream. Chee Tor is three hundred feet in height, and the 
measure of the clifPs majesty, therefore, is the measure of 
three hundred feet. Appraising it coolly, we should say that it 
is not so fine as, the High Tor at Matlock, but more striking 
than, though not so lofty as. Fin Cop in Monsal Dale. The 
woods, on the other hand, are superior to those of Matlock, 
but inferior to the magnificent amphitheatre at Monsal Dale. 
It is the shape of Chee Tor which charms the eye so much, 
its rounded massive outline, its air of solidity, and the contrast 
of the bare rock with the luxuriant foliage which casts its 
shade on every side of it. Beyond the Tor the glen widens, 
and we see a bridge ahead and the black opening in the 
cliff where it is pierced by the railway. This is the point 
where travellers by train suddenly catch a glimpse of an 
exquisite bit of river scenery. It is a surprise view for which 
the eye is the less prepared as the train rushes out of one 
tunnel into another, and when one starts to look again, the 
view is gone; The general character of the gorge remains 
much the same beyond the bridge up to the ruined Blackwell 
Mill, but loses some of its wooded loveliness as we approach 
the main road from Bakewell near the foot of Topley Pike. 

Buxton is only three miles distant through Ashwood Dale, 
but my route was planned to take me back to Tideswell. I 
retraced my way to Wormhill Dale and then kept forward 
along the level stretch by the side of the Wye, to where the 
bridle path comes down and crosses the river. Here is a 
delightful retrospect back to the fork where the little glen 
breaks up to Wormhill in a glorious expanse of green woods. 
And so on to the railway bridge — where the line emerges from 



its long tunnel and crosses to the left bank of the stream — a 
pretty sylvan scene whose gentle and reposeful beauties form 
the entrance to the more prosaic Miller's Dale. Here, half a 
century ago, a terrible poaching affray took place, and the 
young owner of Wormhill Hall, W. H. Bagshawe, died of 
wounds received in a midnight melee in the river bed. Five 
men were tried on the charge of murder before Mr. Justice 
Maule, but they were all acquitted — a verdict which was 
received with general amazement, for the evidence seemed 
overwhelming. The accused, however, escaped on the plea 
that the young squire was the attacking party and began the 
fight, not in order to arrest them, but to punish them himself 
for poaching his fish. We soon pass the mill from which 
Miller's Dale takes its name, and see how once upon a time, 
before the railway came and scarred the smooth face of the 
hills and before men began to quarry for limestone and burn 
it and build their appalling waste heaps, Miller's Dale had a 
beauty of its own. Passing under the viaduct — they were busy 
doubling it when I was there — we approach three white roads 
trending to the point of union. The lowest runs down the 
valley to Litton Mills, and the other two are the roads to 
Tideswell. Nor do you wonder, when you see them, why 
drivers who had regard for their horses wished to avoid the 
road which leads straight up over the hill side. Take it, 
nevertheless, and very soon you shall find on the left a 
footpath for recompense, which slants through a long 
succession of fields out into the road again over the crest of a 
rise, from which you can see the roofs of Tideswell and the 
pinnacles of its church tower. 



Leaving Tideswell we take the narrow path opposite the 
George Inn, enter the high road and keep along its dull, 
uninteresting course to Litton, a short mile away. The 
village lies beneath a little ridge of no importance," and consists 
of a long, straggling street of considerable breadth. Its chief 
distinction is that it was the birthplace of the Apostle of the 
Peak and the original home of the gifted family of the 
Lyttons. But the latter quitted Litton in 1597, and left no 
memorial behind them save the bones and brasses of their 
ancestors in Tideswell Church. Passing through the village to 
its eastern extremity, we take a by-road on the right, which 
soon runs into a cross road. From there a footpath leads 
through a long series of fields to Cressbrook Dale, a broad and 
deep valley, which winds up to Wardlow Mires, its sides bare 
of Etught but scanty herbage. Wardlow Mires — or Mears, as 
it used sometimes to be spelt — was the scene of the last 
Derbyshire gibbet. A toll-bar stood here and Hannah Oliver, 
the old widow who kept it, was murdered one day by a 
ruffian named Lingard. The murderer was fool as well as 
coward, for he took the shoes off his victim's feet and gave 
them to another woman. This led to his immediate arrest. 
He was hanged at Derby, and then the dead body was carried 
to the scene of the murder and set up in chains. The bill 
amounted to £\2(> ^s. ^d. — the gibbeting alone cost ^85 4^. 
—rather a heavy expenditure for a problematical benefit. 

R 2 


As we enter Cressbrook Dale from Litton it begins to be 
pleasantly wooded on either side. The path keeps along the 
upper level for a few hundred yards and then plunges steeply 
down through the trees, till it joins a cart track, which in 
turn runs into the main road at a sharp bend, and then 
gently descends to the outlet of the dale. This is the road 
from Tideswell to Miller's Dale, which has been forced to quit 
the side of the Wye and take a circuitous journey over the 
hills. Cressbrook Dale is very pleasant, as a dale must needs 
be which sends scores of pounds' worth of lilies of the 
valley to the Manchester market, but when I saw it the 
foliage was too dense to permit of extensive views. Ebenezer 
Rhodes gives a rapturous description of it, but in a note to 
his edition of 1824 he says that "the dale has been 
despoiled of its finest features ; many of the trees have dis- 
appeared from it ; it has been robbed of its most picturesque 
accompaniments, and it is now comparatively a tame and 
insipid scene." The woods which he praised so highly are 
closed to the public. The road leads us down to the Cress- 
brook Mills, which are associated with the name of one of 
Derbyshire's minor worthies. This is William Newton, to 
whom Anna Seward gave the resounding title of " Minstrel 
of the Peak," No volume of his poems ever seems to have 
been published, and beyond a few fugitive pieces, contributed 
to Sheffield newspapers, and a longish poem in the 
Gentleman' s Magazine, his work has apparently perished. His 
name first became known outside his own local circle through 
Anna Seward sending to the Gentleman' s Magazme an account 
of her protege, together with a specimen of his verse. This 
was a poem dedicated to herself in the most flattering 
language : — 

" I boast no aid from Phoebus or the Nine, 
No sister Graces decorate my line, 
The Spring Pierian never flowed for me, 
Those dulcet waters were reserved for thee." 


There are other couplets just as effusive, which the fair Anna 
accepted with the utmost complacence as being no more than 
her due, and read, depend upon it, without a blush, though 
they occupied a whole page of the Gentleman's Magazine. 
Her account of Newton himself is written in a tone of ex- 
asperating patronage which Lord Chesterfield might have 
envied. She describes him with as little regard for a poet's 
sensitive feelings — if he had any — as though he were a fossil 
in a museum. 

William Newton, she tells us, was born at Wardlow. This 
is a mistake, for he was born in 1750 at Cockett, or Cockey 
Farm, a small holding on the Abney estate which still finds a 
place on the ordnance map. " His father was a carpenter," 
continues Miss Seward, " too ignorant to give his son any 
literary advantages and too indigent to procure them for him. 
A dame's school and a writing master formed the boundaries 
of our minstrel's education. He worked at his father's trade, 
and very early became so skilful and ingenious as to be em- 
ployed by some few genteel families in the neighbourhood. 
On these occasions, I have been told, he used to examine 
books which accidentally lay about in the apartments where he 
was at work. They awakened into sensibility and expansion 
the internal fires of his spirit. Every species of fine writing 
engaged his attention, but poetry enchanted him." Newton, 
she says, married early in life " a young woman of his own 
rank," named Helen Cooke. She was three years his junior, 
and died, according to the inscription on their tomb in Tides- 
well churchyard, just a week after her husband, when he was 
eighty and she was seventy-seven. 

Newton's gift for verse-making was first discovered about 
1780 by the Rev. Peter Cunningham, the curate in charge of 
Eyam, himself a weaver of rhymes. At that time Newton was 
still working as a carpenter, finding his chief employment in 
constructing machines for the cotton mills of the district and 
also acting as head carpenter for the Duke of Devonshire's 


building operations at Buxton. " Till Mr. Cunningham kindly 
distinguished him," says Miss Seward, " he had associated only 
with the unlettered and inelegant vulgar," and she calmly 
continues, " This self-taught bard is rather handsome, but 
aims at nothing in his appearance but the clean and decent." 
She praises " the ease and elegance of his epistolary style," 
and quotes a specimen from a letter which Newton had sent 
to her, in acknowledgment of a copy of her poems. Newton 
wrote as follows : — " Indeed, since I received this testimony of 
your amity, young Hope and Joy have aided the hands of the 
Mechanic. Every sublime and beautiful object which I used 
to view with a melancholy languor has now acquired a most 
animating sight in my eyes. As a warm sunbeam dispels the 
heavy dew and raises the head of a drooping field-flower, 
so has your kind attention dispersed the clouds which have 
been cast about me by adverse and wayward Fortune." This 
is poor stuff. We may find excuse for Newton writing it, 
slavishly imitating the elegancies of the period, but none for 
Anna Seward sending it to the printer as a specimen of " easy 
and elegant " style. But she sent it, of course, to flatter her 
own consuming vanity. We will quote the one passage from 
Newton's poem which has a biographical interest : — 

" Unknown to fame, to Cunningham unknown, 
My reed has sounded to the groves alone ; 
My youth unblest, without a friend to cheer, 
My hopes to chasten or my verse to rear, 
I artless tried the Sylvan song to frame : 
Spontaneous numbers at my bidding came. 
But rugged still, unmusical they ran, 
And Reason blamed what Vanity began." 

Those are quite respectable heroic couplets for one who 
never had a polite education. Not long afterwards, about 
1786, Newton obtained an engagement at ;^5o a year as 
" machinery carpenter " at a cotton-mill in Monsal Dale, but 
in 1788 the mill and the cottages adjoining were burnt to the 
ground, and Newton lost everything he possessed, narrowly 


escaping with his Hfe. Anna Seward then showed the true 
value of her friendship by raising a few guineas for him among 
her friends, and got him the offer of a third partnership in a 
cotton-mill, for which he was to build the machines and keep 
them in order. The condition was that he found ;^2oo 
capital. An old woman who lived with him and his wife sold 
her little bit of property to the value of ;^iSo and lent it to 
Newton, and Anna Seward herself advanced the remaining 
;^So. From that day he began to rise in the world, and in 
1793 was worth a thousand pounds. Two years later, when 
Anna Seward was in Buxton, Newton paid her a visit, at her 
invitation. She was a little nervous as to what the fine folk at 
the wells would say if the " Swan of Lichfield " were seen with 
a person of little breeding, and so " to preclude wonder and 
comment upon my paying attention to such an apparent rustic 
at the public table," she paved the way beforehand by showing 
her friends some specimens of Newton's verse which greatly 
surprised them. How the visit passed we do not know. 

Newton never forgot his debt of gratitude to Miss Seward, 
and to his last day wrote and spoke of her in terms of the most 
unqualified admiration. Ebenezer Rhodes, who had access to 
Newton's papers, quotes from a manuscript in which Newton, 
after an ecstatic enumeration of her accomplishments, says : 
" The grace and elegance of her form were equal to the 
energies of her mind and the brilliancy of her imagination. 
Born and nurtured in the bosom of those mountains which gave 
her birth, I knew her very early in life, and, when she was in 
her twentieth year, to her might have been applied the language 

of one of our most eminent writers . . . . ' I saw her at , 

and surely never lighted upon this earth, which she scarcely 
seemed to touch, a more delightful vision.' " The reference, of 
course, is to Burke's eulogy of Marie Antoinette. If one did 
not know the facts one would certainly imagine that Newton 
had cherished for Miss Seward an ardent passion. But 
if he worshipped, it was as one might worship a goddess. 


On no other terms would Anna Seward have permitted his 

By the beginning of the eighteenth century Newton was 
evidently a fairly well-to-do man, and the cotton-mill at Cress- 
brook Dale flourished. But books and the arts continued to 
be his ruHng passion. Sir Francis Chantrey, the sculptor, used 
to tell the story of how one day, as he was walking down 
Monsal Dale, he happened to overtake a man dressed in coarse 
homespun, to all appearances an ordinary peasant or workman. 
Sir Francis got into conversation with him, and began to praise 
the beauty of the sceneiry through which they were passing. To 
his amazement he discovered that his companion was fully as 
sensitive as himself to the charm of the landscape and expressed 
his admiration in language which showed the culture of his 
mind. " I found myself," he says, " in glowing contact with a 
mind awakened to all the touching beauties of the scenery, to 
poetic expression, and to such an appreciation of the fine arts as 
astonished and delighted me." More interesting still is the 
narrative of a Mrs. Sterndale, who visited the mill in 1824 and 
described the conditions under which the pauper children lived 
and worked. They were in marked and happy contrast with 
the conditions prevailing throughout Lancashire and Yorkshire, 
where the so-called apprentices were no better than little slaves 
working for the scantiest wages under the whips of brutal over- 
seers for twelve, fourteen, and even sixteen hours a day. This 
infamous system, gradually abolished by successive Factory 
Acts, was a scandal to English civilisation, for in the majority 
of cases the pauper children, who were let out on contract by 
Boards of Guardians, suffered misery and torture. There were 
exceptions, however, and Cressbrook Mill under Newton's 
management was one of them. Mrs. Sterndale says that she 
found there was no unnatural labour. " The children's hours 
of work and their necessary relaxation are kindly and judiciously 
arranged ; the former never exceeding that which ought to be 
exacted from those in their station of Hfe and of their tender 


age. Their food is of the best quality and amply dispensed : 
they have eight hours' uninterrupted sleep in comfortable beds 
and airy rooms." Relatives were allowed to visit the children 
and were "hospitably entertained and permitted to remain a 
suitable time, according to their own behaviour and the distance 
from which they came." Personal cleanliness was scrupulously 
enforced. In fine weather the children used to walk the three 
miles to Tideswell and attend service on Sundays at the 
church ; in winter, Sunday-school was held in one of the larger 
rooms at the mill. They had also, we are told, little flower- 
gardens of their own — twelve feet by eight — and boys with an 
ear for music were taught to sing and play. This musical 
privilege, however, was denied to the girls, in order that the 
girls and boys might be kept separate as much as possible, an 
arrangement which Mrs. Sterndale approved as being " credit- 
able to the judgment and decorum that accompany the whole 
system." But she hastens to add that as the girls' rooms were 
immediately above the boys', the " sweet sounds would ascend 
and the girls participate in the harmony." Let us hope they 
appreciated this vicarious enjoyment. 

There are still one or two old people in Cressbrook who 
worked in the mills under the apprentice system, and lived in 
the little row of cottages facing down the road. This used to 
be called Apprentices Row. Then, when there were no more 
apprentices, it was renamed Pancake Row ; but now the 
superior taste of the times and the keener sensitiveness to 
ridicule on the part of those who dwell there have led to its 
being christened Dale View ! The cottages terminate on the 
river-side in a most extraordinary specimen of bastard 
architecture, now fast falling into ruins. It seems to have 
been used as a place of worship for the apprentices, possibly 
before they grew so numerous that service was held, as Mrs. 
Sterndale says, in one of the larger rooms at the mill. When 
in 1835 the mills were bought by Messrs. McConnel, a 
hundred and sixty-seven girl apprentices were transferred for 

250 THE MILLS chap. 

the residue of their respective terms of apprenticeship. In the 
inventory of articles taken over at a valuation were 135 new 
bonnets, at ;£i4 14^-. 4d., or two shillings and threepence 
each, and 167 partly worn outfits, each consisting of a bonnet, 
a stuff dress, a stuff petticoat, and a blue and white slip. 
These were valued at j^S"] ly. 6d., or half-a-guinea an outfit. 
As an example of the sleeping accommodation, one of the 
bedrooms contained four double bedsteads valued at ten 
guineas, and two single ones valued at two guineas, and to each 
flock bed were assigned three blankets and one sheet and cover. 

The mills themselves are known as Little Mill, Old Mill, 
and Big Mill, the two latter being built of yellow stucco. The 
Big Mill is a handsome building, shaped like some Georgian 
Palace with a high-pitched roof The mill clock bears the 
date 1837, and in a fine cupola swings the bell that calls to 
work. The original Cressbrook Mill stood on the site of the 
Old or centre Mill, and was at one time used as a peppermint 
distillery, the wild mint growing on the hillside. This was 
burnt down about 1790. When it was rebuilt, it came into 
possession of the Arkwrights of Cromford, by whom it was 
sold in 1793 as "the building lately erected for spinning 
cotton wool." Evidently, therefore, Newton's connection with 
Cressbrook Mills did not begin until after 1793. The Little 
Mill and the Big Mill were built between then and 1835, when 
they passed into the possession of the McConnels. 

Just past the Cressbrook Mills we enter Upper Dale ; 
Monsal Dale proper does not begin until we reach the bend of 
the river. No one, approaching the dale as we have done, 
will understand at first the eulogies which have been lavished 
upon it. For, as the road falls to the level of the Wye, we 
see the railway tunnel half-way up the opposite bank, and a 
long embankment on the hillside stretching a mile down the 
valley. Midway is the station, beyond which the road rises 
with painful steepness. Yet having climbed to the top of 
Headstones Head, as the summit is called, we immediately see 


why Monsal Dale is famous. The undistinguished valley be- 
comes, when viewed from above, a thing of beauty. We see 
the narrow river as it really is, with green strips of meadow 
fringing it on either side and clean-cut banks. The mills are 
hidden from sight by a wooded knoll descending to the road 
from the upper heights, and continuing towards us in a 
towering hill which seems to gain in stature because it is bare 
of trees. The only dwellings visible in the vale are a large 
farmhouse midway, and a smaller one at our feet with a tiny 
wooden bridge at its side set on stone piers. On the right 
bank of the Wye the hill rises steeply, and here is the railway, 
crossing the river, where it bends sharply to the right, by a tall 
viaduct of five arches, and plunging at once into the hill below 
us. On our left hand is the first short reach of Monsal Dale 
proper, where the Wye, faced by a giant barrier, twists sharply, 
flows straight for a few hundred yards, and then begins to 
wind around the graceful curve of Fin Cop. Looking down 
from Headstones Head on a sunny day the. Wye looks a fairy 
river, so placid are its reaches, and set in such exquisite 
setting of green. Putty Hill — the unromantic name of the 
corner hill around which the Wye makes its sharp turn— slopes 
gently down to a terrace of pasture land. The hill on which 
we stand falls smoothly to the river-side. The charm of the 
scene lies in the exquisite combination of hill and river and 

Has Monsal Dale been spoilt by the railway ? Not for me, 
though the bridge over the Wye and the long line of embank- 
ment are blots upon what would otherwise be a perfect scene. 
The railway in this particular place is famous, for it was chosen 
by Ruskin to point the moral of one of his fiercest outbursts 
against the utilitarian spirit of the age. Let us quote the 
passage at length : — 

" You think it a great triumph to make the sun draw brown landscapes 
for you. That was also a discovery, and some day may be needful. But 
the sun had drawn landscapes before for you, not in brown but in green and 


blue and all imaginable colours, here in England. Not one of you ever 
looked at them then, not one of you cares for the loss of them now when 
you have shut the sun out with smolie,iso that he can draw nothing more, 
except brown blots through a hole in a box. There was a rocky valley be- 
tween Buxton and Bakewell, once upon a time divine as the Vale of Tempe ; 
you might have seen the Gods there morning and evening — Apollo and all the 
sweet Muses of the light — walking in fair procession on the lawns of it, and 
to and fro among the pinnacles of its crags. You cared neither for Gods nor 
grass, but for cash (which you did not know the way to get) : you thought 
you could get it by what the Times calls ' Railroad Enterprise.' You 
enterprised a railroad through the valley — you blasted its rocks away, heaped 
thousands of tons of shale into its lovely stream. The valley is gone and 
the Gods with it, and now every fool in Buxton can be at Bakewell in half 
an hour and every fool in Bakewell at Buxton ; which you think a lucrative 
process of exchange — you Fools everywhere." 

This is sheer extravagance, though the crimes against 
picturesque beauty which railway companies have committed — 
and are committing even now — are so many that they deserve 
an occasional bludgeoning. Apollo and all the sweet Muses of 
the light have not wholly deserted Monsal Dale, or Ashwood 
Dale, to which Ruskin's outburst would equally well apply. They 
too, we fancy, like other shy beings, have gradually grown used 
to the roar of the expresses, and have not wholly withdrawn 
their gracious presence. After all, railways are not logically 
more unnatural than a macadamised road, and they may have 
their charm. The well-kept permanent way, with its steel 
rails shining bright, need not necessarily be an eyesore, and a 
country railway station, however prosaic in detail, may be made 
a bower even for Flora herself. Much nonsense is talked and 
written about the unsightliness of railways. One would not 
choose them in a fair landscape ; but if the choice is between 
a railway, on the one hand, and a mill chimney or a colliery 
or a limekiln on the other, then I would vote for the railway 
with both hands, always provided that its engineers try to 
reduce its necessarily offensive qualities to a minimum. 
Ruskin had his pet foibles, and inability to appreciate the 


beauty and strength and speed of a train gliding along its 
course at fifty miles an hour was one of them. To others 
it is a delight to the eye and a stimulus to mental and bodily 
activity. There are people who rave about the beauty of a 
yacht under sail and deny that there is beauty in the lines of a 
great ocean liner. It is all a matter of what Lamb called 
"imperfect sympathies." 

Remembering what Ruskin had written of this railway, I 
purposely waited, high above the tunnel mouth, till a train 
should pass. Soon I heard the shrill of a far-off whistle and 
the rushing sound of a distant train. Then silence again. 
The train had entered the tunnel on the Ashford side of the 
hill. A little while and a rumbling began, growing in intensity 
every second until, with an exultant roar, the express came out 
from the hill below me, crossed the bridge, and swung round 
the bend of the embankment towards Monsal Dale station. 
The engine was straining up the incline, working hard, putting 
forth obvious effort, and addressing itself to its task. In a few 
moments another train came gliding down in the opposite 
direction, not conscious of her load. She flew down the 
embankment like a skater with the wind behind him, holding 
her breath in enjoyment of the pace. The sight might have 
startled Ruskin's goddesses " walking in fair procession on the 
lawns " ; but do they always " walk in fair procession " ? I 
will be bound that the thousand Oreades who formed Diana's 
troop of nymphs on the banks of the Eurotas or the crags of 
Cynthus would clap their hands with glee if they could see an 
express flying down Monsal Dale, and would halloo to the 
scared driver in his cab and bid him go faster still. 

However, there the railway is and there it will remain, and 
if it troubles you it is easy to get away from it. We take the 
footpath from the litter of refreshment-rooms at the summit 
and continue along the hillside, keeping well up until we have 
left the viaduct behind us, and then dipping pleasantly down 
through the wood to the river-side at the end of the first reach. 


Here a weir has been built, semicircular in form and with 
deep steps, over which the Wye tumbles in white foam, 
cascading from the fourth step on to some broken rocks a few 
feet below, and then falling in rapids into the blackness of a 
deep pool. It is all in miniature, but all exceedingly charming. 
The path then crosses the river by a foot-bridge, and the grand 
receding sweep of the high woods on the further side contrasts 
finely with the absolute bareness of Fin Cop at this point, as 
the Wye turns to flow round its foot. The Cop is a curious 
hill continually presenting new faces to us, and nowhere rising . 
perpendicularly from the river-bed. As we proceed, the lime- 
stone shows in patches through the grass, and the slopes of the 
Cop begin to be dotted with hawthorn trees of stunted growth, 
until at the end of the dale it falls rapidly away, parallel to the 
river's course, and the trees become a wood. Monsal Dale, 
like most other charming places in Derbyshire, has been the 
subject of much indiscriminate and jingling eulogy, Eliza 
Cook's oft-quoted stanza being the most irritating of all : — 

" And Monsal, thou mine of Arcadian treasure, 
Need we seek for Greek islands and spice-laden gales, 
While a temple like thine of enchantment and pleasure 
May be found in our own native Derbyshire dales ? " 

Monsal Dale is charming, but just a little disappointing. 
One expects much after the exquisite view from Headstones 
Head and the glorious amphitheatre of woods from the 
foot-bridge, but the expectation is not quite realised. Fin Cop 
itself does not fulfil its promise. The turf on either side of 
the river in the broad expanse between the hill and the 
woods is littered with weeds, and the channel of the Wye is 
ragged and unkempt. The dale ends abruptly, though not 
before it affords us a third magivficent view — that of the noble 
Great Shacklow Wood, rising up almost sheer with precipitous 
green drives. It seems to block all exit from the valley, 


though the Wye manages to squeeze a way, and there is also 
room, as we shall find, for a good high road. 

As we turn reluctantly from the river-side, we pass a 
broad sheet of water, called the Quaker Fish Ponds, and issue 
into the main road between Buxton and Bakewell. A cast- 
iron mile-post tells us that we are four miles from Bakewell and 
eight from Buxton, thirty from Derby, and thirty-two from 
Manchester ; while in letters not merely painted, but raised in 
relief from the very fabric of the mile-post itself, is the legend 
"London, 156." Even here, in the heart of the country, 
London refuses to be forgotten. "We turn leftwards towards 
Bakewell and the pleasant little town of Ashford that lies mid- 
way. Soon we pass round the foot of Great Shacklow Wood. 
From Monsal Dale we only saw a single side of it ; here at the 
bend where we cross the Wye we see with what a noble sweep 
it lies back from the road and how dense is its mass of shade. 
Li another mile we reach the Ashford Marble ^Vorks, which 
date back to 1748 and were the first of their kind in England. 
The sawing and polishing machinery was the invention of 
Henry Watson of Bakewell, a son of the Samuel Watson of 
Heanor who did much of the ornamental stonework at 
Chatsworth, and uncle of White Watson, the Bakewell 
geologist and sculptor. The business, it is said, did not 
bring him much profit, but the works have been in continuous 
activity for a century and a half. 

A leafy stretch of road now takes us on to Ashford — or 
Ashford-in-the- Water, to give it its full name. Its streets are 
commonplace, though a few interesting old buildings survive 
near the church, which was rebuilt rather more than thirty 
years ago. Its Jacobean pulpit is plentifully adorned with 
rusty nails driven into it in the name of church decoration at 
festival times. Wise vicars lay a stern embargo on iron nails, 
however saintly the fingers which delicately ply the hammer. 
Five paper funeral garlands hang from the beams of the north 


aisle. One was set up in the year 1747, another in 1798. 
The latter was inscribed with the lines : — 

" Be always ready, no time delay ; 
I in my youth was called away. 
Great grief to those I leave behind, 
But I hope I've great joy to find." 
The custom was once general throughout Derbyshire and in 
many other districts of England, that whenever a girl died 
unmarried her companions made a paper garland which was 
carried before the coffin into the church and then hung up 
above where the deceased used to sit. The garland was made 
of two hoops, bound with strips of thin wood like a hollow- 
bell or birdcage. These were then covered with paper rosettes 
and long paper streamers, and paper gloves, bearing the dead 
girl's name, were hung froin the inside of the hoop, which was 
often decorated with such symbols of death as a paper hour- 
glass or a painted egg-shell. The girl mourners wore white 
hoods of calico and muslin tied with black ribbons, and 
carried long wands. Then, as the coffin was borne into the 
church, they formed into two lines and stood with crossed 
wands, and the funeral procession passed beneath. The last 
girl to be buried in Ashford with a garland was named Black- 
well. She had fallen into a whirlpool or " twirl-hole " of the 
Wye near the marble works and was drowned. 

Anna Seward mentions the paper garlands which hung in 
Eyam church, and Ebenezer Rhodes saw others at Hathersage. 
Those at Ashford, with others at Matlock and South Wingfield, 
are the sole survivors in Derbyshire. Two stanzas from an old 
ballad will better explain the sentiment attaching to this pretty 
custom of " virgin crants " than any rationalistic explanation 
would do : — 

"But since I'm resolved to die for my dear 
I'll choose six young virgins my coffin to bear, 
And all those young virgins I now do choose 
Instead of green ribbands, green ribbands, green ribbands, 
Instead of green ribbands, a garland shall bear. 


" And when in the church in the grave I lie deep, 

Let all those fine garlands, fine garlands, fine garlands, 

Let all those fine garlands hang over my feet. 

And when any of my sex behold the sight 

They may see I've been constant, been constant. 

They may see I've been constant to my heart's delight." 

In a field at the back of Ashford Church are traces of a small 
moat, novjr dry. The books declare that this was the site of a 
castle, where lived Edmund Plantagenet, Earl of Kent, and 
brother of the unfortunate but inept Edward II. His heiress 
carried the property into the Holland family, from which it 
passed to the Nevilles, who were Earls of Westmoreland. Curious 
— and absurd — legends are current in the village of hidden 
treasure lying under the mounds within the moat and of dark 
mysterious reasons why permission to dig is always refused. 

On Ashford bridge is an inlet stone with the name and date 
"M. Hyde 1664." This is said to refer, not to the builder or 
repairer of the structure, but to an unfortunate person whose 
horse shied while crossing the bridge and threw its rider over 
the parapet into the river, where he was drowned. When clear 
of the village we approach Ashford Hall on the left hand, for 
many years the home of Lord George Cavendish, an uncle of 
the present Duke, and long Member of Parliament for the 
county of Derby. Close by a private footpath leading to a little 
bridge over the Wye, is a' public path through the meadows. 
This crosses two or three fields and then comes out by the 
riverside, where the Wye has been artificially broadened in 
order to form a wide lagoon, for the beautification of the view 
from the windows of Ashford Hall. Further on are a second 
sheet of water and a weir, and, ere the path rejoins the main 
road, we have charming glimpses of alluring woods on either 
side. In front of us is an old cotton mill of the Arkwrights, 
which has recently been translated into electric storage works, 
and a turn of the road soon brings us to the outskirts of 



Bakewell is a pleasant market town of great antiquity, 
beautifully situated on the lower slope of the hill above the 
right bank of the Wye, as the valley broadens down towards 
Haddon. On the left bank are woods which continue to 
Rowsley with pretty interludes of meadow and retiring dales. 
Facing the town is the Castle Hill, on which the railway station 
is set, for the line is carried along on the hillside, as travellers 
will remember who have seen the brief but attractive glimpse 
of Bakewell and its church that is vouchsafed from the trains. 
A Saxon town stood here in remote days — the famous Cross in 
the churchyard is the one surviving relic — and those who like 
variant spellings may rejoice in Baecanwyllan, Baddecanwell or 
Badequelle. But Bakewell seems simpler and better. As for 
the long-vanished castle, it was built, so the Chronicles say, by 
Edward the Elder as a menace to unruly Mercians. 

It looks a pretty town, as one turns the corner from the 
station and sees the winding river with its level lawn-like edges 
of green, and then passes over the characteristic Derbyshire 
bridge and enters the principal street. Of ancient buildings it 
can make little boast. There is a fine Tudor house. Holme 
Hall, near the bridge on the way to the Gas Works, and the 
old Market Hall is of some interest, though its lower storey is 
hopelessly disfigured by recent alterations. The new Town 
Hall suggests the dullest spirit of municipaldom. But a 


pretty strip of trim garden is seen as one continues along the 
main street. This is the Bath Garden, and at the further end 
is the Bath House, a curious place with a narrow oak staircase, 
all turns and twists. In the cellars below is a large bath. 
Once much admired, its arched vault is as bare and cheerless 
as : whitewash can make it. The bath has a stone floor, 
through holes in which the chalybeate water (of a temperature 
of 60 degrees Fahrenheit) bubbles up. A tolerably constant 
flow is maintained in winter, but in summer it has a trick of 
failing, and, when I saw it, the water was not more than two 
or three inches deep. The property of the Duke of Rutland, 
this bath was built by one of his ancestors in 1697, and was 
restored about a century ago. Use it has none, for the water 
flows in and out at its own will. Moreover, taste has changed 
and it is no longer thought agreeable to bathe in a sort of 
prison vault with a reverberating echo which sends even a 
whisper rumbling round the arch. The Bath House above, 
now a club, was the residence in the early years of the 
nineteenth century of the well-known Derbyshire geologist. 
White Watson, who acted as superintendent of the baths and 
kept here a collection of fossils and specimens and also a Town 
News Room. He died in 1835 at the age of seventy-four, and 
lies buried in the churchyard up the hill, where his epitaph tells 
us that "he was well-known in the county as a sculptor, antiquary, 
and mineralogist, and as the author of Derbyshire Strata, a 
geological work of rare value at the time." Watson was not a 
sculptor, in the ordinary sense of the term ; he was rather a 
"statuary" or "a monumental mason," as some of that calling 
delight to honour themselves, and his handiwork is to be seen 
in many of the neighbouring churches. He had been born to 
the profession, for he was the grandson of Samuel Watson, of 
Heanor, and nephew of the Henry A\'atson whose work we 
shall find at Chatsworth. 

Bakewell's second chalybeate well, known as the Peat Well 
— the name is thought by some to be a corruption of St. Peter's 

s 2 


Well — is situated in the Recreation Ground on the Haddon 
Road. There has been some talk of building baths here, and 
transforming Bakewell into a Spa like Buxton, but little has 
come of it. The Urban Council played with the idea for a 
few months and went to some expense in rnaking experiments 
and tests to find where the water came from, but one fine day, 
when their officials arrived on the scene, they found that the 
Duke of Rutland's agent had taken possession. Perhaps as 
well ! As a Spa Bakewell has not the remotest chance of 
rivalling Buxton without incurring expenditure which would 
cripple it with a mighty debt. 

Bakewell has an ancient free school founded by Grace Lady 
Manners in 1636, some attractive alms-houses known as Sir 
John Manners' Hospital, a workhouse — honoured by Royal 
visitors from Chatsworth — on the Baslow Road, whose latticed 
windows, flower gardens and smooth lawns suggest a private 
mansion rather than the Union, and inns innumerable, though 
none of any particular note. The cruciform church, however, 
makes up for many deficiencies, standing in a perfect situation 
high up on the fringe of the town, nearly five hundred feet 
above sea level. Its spire is a familiar landmark for miles 
around, but the present one is of recent date. The old one 
was taken down in 1826 and for nearly twenty years the church 
was spireless. The interior is rather disappointing, for it is 
somewhat gloomy and bare. But the Vernon Chapel is full of 
interest. Here lie the Vernons and the Manners, the long 
line of the owners of Haddon. The earliest monument, a 
small alabaster table tomb of the date 1477, is that of John 
Vernon, and close by is Sir George Vernon, the last male of 
his line, who died in 1567. The King of the Peak, as his 
contemporaries called him, lies here with his two wives. Dame 
Margaret and Dame Mawde, in great magnificence, though 
the rich colours of the effigies are now dull and worn. His 
daughter Dorothy, who carried the Vernon estates into the 
Manners family, is to be seen on the very elaborate murai 


monument to the right. There is the much fabled lady with her 
husband, Sir John Manners, a black bearded knight in armour, 
and her three sons and one daughter, all stiffly kneeling on 
uncomfortable cushions. Dame Dorothy's face betrays no 
sign of beauty, and it is difficult to associate romance either 
with her or her melancholy-looking spouse. Her face is 
peaked, shrewish even ; one would say, to look at her, that 
she ruled her household with a sharp tongue. This, does not, 
of course, preclude an earlier springtime of romance. Even 
lovers who make runaway weddings must travel onward to the 
prosaic period of middle age when they marvel at their past 
temerity. However winsome Dorothy Vernon may have been 
in her hey-day, she had lost her good looks most effectually by 
1584, and the kneeling effigy strikes one with a sense of chill. 
It deals the coup de grace to a pretty legend, unless, indeed, as 
is probable enough, it was a botching artist who moulded her 
face and form. This presentment of Dorothy Vernon is as 
disappointing as are the features of Cleopatra on contemporary 
coins, where one expects a glowing Queen of the Orient and 
finds a scowling virago. No, if that be Dorothy, that thin- 
cheeked, hard-visaged, Calvinistic-looking woman praying with 
tight lips, I withdraw my homage from the lady and settle it 
more firmly than ever on the stones of Haddon itself. 

Sir John Manners, Dorothy's husband, died in 161 1 ; his 
eldest son, Sir George, in 1623, at the age of fifty-four. His 
monument, even more elaborate than his father's, stands on 
the opposite wall of the chapel. It was put up by his widow, 
a Pierrepont, who records in a Latin inscription that she did 
so at her own expense, placing an effigy of herself by the side 
of that of her husband, in fulfilment of her vow that their 
ashes and dust should rest together — quia cineres et ossa socianda 
vovit. Poor lady ! She left blank the date of her death to be 
filled in by her children ; it remains empty to this day. This 
monument, however, is a never failing source of delight. One 
admires, for example, the supreme indifference to the needs of 


posterity in the matter of wall-space, and the immodesty of 
building up this gorgeous creation, with its columns, and 
canopies, and effigies and scrolls, to the memory of a person 
of absolutely no distinction. And at the top of it all is the 
splendid equivocation, which no man in good health has ever 
honestly repeated — at least with reference to himself — "The 
day of a man's death is better than the day of his birth." 
Below the kneeling knight and his lady are nine canopied 
recesses, containing their three sons, five daughters and the 
baby. The text round the baby's canopy is " Mine age is 
nothing in respect of Thee," and the curious little almond-eyed 
figure, tied round the neck and feet like a mummy, draws the 
gaze of all who enter the chapel. " By the Grace of God I 
am what I am" is the text over the canopy of the son who 
was weak-minded. That fact is whispered with bated breath. 
"The poor young gentleman, if I may say so, was not quite 
right in his head." So spake one of the caretakers to some 
visitors not long ago, with a furtive glance around as though 
she were uttering treason to the House of Rutland. This 
respect for even the remote ancestors of the great family of 
the neighbourhood lingers still in English country districts. I 
was once in a church on the Berkshire Downs where the 
effigies of half-a-dozen old Crusaders lie in every stage of 
helpless mutilation. The castle where they lived had been 
demohshed for six centuries ; the name, a French one, had 
been utterly forgotten. Yet to the sexton these ancient effigies 
were still the great folk. Speaking of one of them he gravely 
said : — " He was the eldest son of the poor gentleman over 
yonder in the wall." I looked to where his finger pointed and 
saw that "the poor gentleman over yonder" was a headless, 
legless torso, with one arm surviving down to the elbow and 
all the res°^t of his limbs gone. For centuries the more irre- 
verent rustics had carved their names on him, scratched him 
with nails, and despitefully used him — but to the sexton he 
was still " the poor gentleman over yonder." 

264 A FRIEND OF BYRON chap. 

The octagon font, with its eight rudely-carved figures, is of 
some interest, and so is the collection of fragments from the 
earlier churches which stood upon this site. The best of these — 
long-considered valueless rubbish — were looted by the Derby- 
shire antiquarian, Mr. Batenian, and taken off to his museum 
at Lomberdale House, a few miles away. The remainder 
were suffered to lie in the porch. On Mr. Bateman's death 
the Bakewell stones were sent to the Sheffield Museum, but 
in 1899 the Sheffield authorities generously gave them back, 
recognising that they had no moral claim to their possession. 
They now stand at the west end of the nave. But to me of 
greater interest than these stones is a name which appears 
on the list of Bakewell's vicars, that of a certain Hamlet 
Charlton, who was vicar from 1609 to 16 14. Charlton, who 
would almost certainly be thirty years of age before being 
made vicar of Bakewell, would thus be christened not later 
than 1580. Shakespeare's Hamlet, as we know it, was not 
published until 1604, though there was an earlier tragedy 
of the same title, whether his or another's, extant in 1584. 
Consequently, even before the play popularised the name, it 
was in use as a Christian name in England. 

Another name on the list is that of Francis Hodgson. 
Himself a writer of verse and translator of Juvenal, he was 
one of Byron's most intimate friends in his early days, and 
visited at Newstead in 1808. Byron was exceedingly attached 
to him, and in his first will, made in i8ii, left his friend one- 
third of his personal property. Two years later he gave him a 
thousand pounds in cash, to enable him to marry comfortably 
and restore to an equilibrium his finances, which he had upset 
by paying his father's debts. In 1816, when Hodgson had 
just been appointed Vicar of Bakewell, Byron wrote to Tom 
Moore at Mayfield in the following terms : ^- 

" I hear that Hodgson is your neighbour, having a living in Derbyshire. 
You will find him an excellent-hearted fellow, as well as one of the 
cleverest ; a little, perhaps, too much japanned by preferment in the Church 

xvii AN EPITAPH 265 

and the tuition of youth, as well as inoculated with the disease of domestic 
felicity, besides being overrun with fine feelings about woman and constancy 
— that small change of Love, which people exact so rigidly, receive in such 
counterfeit c®in, and repay in baser metal — but otherwise a very worthy 

Hodgson, later on, wrote a warm, but ineffectual, letter of 
appeal to Lady Byron, begging her not to leave her husband. 
In 1836 he was appointed Archdeacon of Derby ; in 1838 he 
was given the living of Edensor in addition, and in 1840 
became Headmaster of Eton. He died in 1852, at the age of 

Outside in the churchyard is the famous Saxon cross, one of 
the most beautiful of its kind. It has suffered the loss of its 
head and the arms are damaged, but the shaft is almost 
uninjured. The sides are ornamented with the usual scroll 
design : the front and the reverse with sculptures illustrating 
scenes from the life of Christ. Bakewell churchyard also 
contains a number of curious epitaphs, of which by far the 
best is that which laments the death, in 181 5, of Philip Roe, 
the parish clerk. 

" The vocal powers here let us mark 
Of Philip, our late parish clerk. 
In church none ever heard a lajman 
With a clearer voice say, ' Amen.' 
Who now with Hallelujah's sound 
Like him can make the roofs rebound ? 
The choir laments his choral tones. 
The town— so soon here lie his bones. 
Sleep undisturbed within thy peaceful shrine 
Till angels wake thee with such notes as thine ! " 

Philip's father, so the neighbouring stone tells us, had also 
been clerk for thirty-five years, and died in 1792. 

We get an interesting peep into the social life of Bakewell, 
as it was a century and a quarter ago, from the rough notes which 
Mr. White Watson — not the statuary, but his father — jotted 
down in his diary for 1774. The ciirrent of existence flowed 


very smoothly, for we are expressly told that " on Sundays all 
went to church, and there was not a dissenting voice in 
Bakewell. All prayed to one God and Lord Jesus Christ and 
drank in social parties ' Success to Church and King.' " Every- 
one, in short, was content to say his prayers in the church on 
the hill-side. The Duke of Rutland's agent was " John Baker, 
Esq." ; the over-looker of the river was plain Mr. Smith, and 
if any of the principal inhabitants desired " a dish of fish for 
any particular occasion," he had only to say so, and Mr. 
Smith would send round a very fine basket of trout at the rate 
of sixpence a pound. Mr. and Mrs. Pidcock kept the Post 
Office ; George Stainforth rode post, and went to Chesterfield 
three times a week to meet the London mails. His charge 
was fourpence a letter, but Hannah Handcock, who delivered 
the letters in Bakewell itself, claimed another halfpenny each 
for her pains. 

There were several social clubs, the principal one being a 
card club for the elite of the town, who paid sixpence a night 
for liquor and threepence for a Welsh rarebit. The club 
season opened on the first Thursday in September and closed 
on the first Thursday in May, and the Vicar of Bakewell, the 
Rev. Peter Walthall, used to grace the company and preside 
over breaking-up nights. The members, we are told, "met 
joyously, smoked their pipes, conversed freely, and left a card 
table for those that chose to play." But as it was expressly 
stipulated that " there must be no interruption of conversation 
by the card party," convivial talk was evidently the primary 
object of the gathering. Twenty years later, when Dr. 
William Mayor visited Bakewell in 1798, and stayed at the 
White Horse — " an indifferent inn," he says, " in a town still 
more ordinary" — he amused himself, while his supper was 
being made ready, by reading the printed regulations of a club 
that met weekly at the inn. The last rule exhorted the 
members " not to get drunk or talk politics — for the glory of 
God and the honour of the town of Bakewell." Doubtless 


this was the same club of which ^Vhite Watson wrote. There 
were also in 1774 three " Oister Clubs " — oysters must have 
been a considerable delicacy in an inland town during the 
eighteenth century — and a Bachelors' Club, which met 
privately at the house of a Mr. Samuel Rose, who used to 
preside at their " very jolly meetings." But of the bumpers 
which these very jolly bachelors of Bakewell drained, of the 
toasts they honoured and of the songs they sang — no word has 
survived. The White Horse itself, which stood a few doors 
down on the road to Ashford, has vanished and left no trace. 

But even in happy Bakewell troubles arose now and then 
which broke the smooth surface into ripples. One such 
occasion was in 1796. In those days the Militia Ballot Act 
was in operation,' and the villagers round Bakewell had got it 
into their heads that Derbyshire was required to raise more 
men or pay a larger quota than other counties. And so they 
marched into Bakewell and made what we should call a 
demonstration. One market day, therefore, while the farmers' 
ordinary was in full swing at the AVhite Horse, the waitress, 
Sally Stevenson, came running into the room in great excite- 
ment, exclaiming, " The mob is coming — the mob ! " But the 
farmers stolidly went on eating their dinner as though nothing 
unusual were taking place, for it was " thought proper that no 
one should notice the mob." And, after all, it was a very 
small mob, not more than forty strong, armed, not with 
muskets, but with clubs and spades, and they passed 
the White Horse and went on to the Town Hall, where 
speeches were delivered. The worst threat uttered was that 
they would return on the day the magistrates met to hold the 
ballot, and not a pennyworth of damage was done. Then 
they returned to ' the White Horse, asked the landlady, Mrs. 
Smith, to lend them a frying-pan — which she did — and called 
for a pint of ale each, for which they paid. Bakewell was not 
the least bit terrified or impressed, but looked on and enjoyed 
the joke. 

268 MILD RIOTING chap. 

Matters, however, took a more serious turn when the 
magistrates met, for then a much larger mob poured into the 
town, with contingents from Castleton, Eyam, and other places 
several miles off. This time they forced their way into the 
room where the officers and magistrates were sitting, and 
searched the pockets of some of them. Gathering up all the 
papers and lists of men liable to serve in the Militia, they 
burnt them in a pile before the windows of the White Horse. 
Bakewell was scandalised and offended at the outrage, and the 
gentlemen of the town waited on the magistrates and offered 
to be sworn in as special constables. The magistrates, how- 
ever, preferred to apply for the protection of a squadron of 
cavalry at their next meeting. So when the mob put in a third 
appearance it was promptly dispersed by the mounted troops, 
who took six prisoners and marched them off the next day to 
Chesterfield gaol. Afterwards the cavalry were withdrawn and 
a company of the Roxburgh Fencibles was sent instead. Their 
Quarter-Master arrived, curiously enough, while a public 
banquet was being held at the White Horse to celebrate the 
opening of a new ring of eight bells for the Parish Church — a 
banquet at which, according to ^^'hite Watson, the gentleman 
had a " joyous day." The Fencibles were quartered in the town 
and neighbourhood for some months, " behaved themselves 
exceedingly well," and the threat implied by their presence was 
effective, for we hear of no more rioting. The incident, how- 
ever, had one important result for Bakewell. The Epiphany 
Quarter Sessions were removed to Derby, and remained there 
in spite of constantly renewed protests from the people of 

The eight new bells, which the gentry of the town celebrated 
with joyousness at the White Horse, were cast by T. Mears 
and weighed 79 cwt. 2 qrs. 17 lbs. Each bell has its rhyme of 
two or four lines, but for the eighth, a local poet, Mr. Michael 
Williams, wrote the following excellent inscription ; — 

xvn THE-' BELFRY KING 269 

' ' Possessed of deep sonorous tone 
This Belfiy King sits on his throne ; 
And when the merry bells go round, 
Adds to and mellows every sound. 
So in a just and well poised state 
Where all degrees possess due weight, 
One greater power, one greater tone 
Is ceded to improve their own." 

Tradition — wrong as usual — says that the first peal rung on 
these bells was to celebrate the battle of the Nile in 1798. 
They had been hanging nearly two years when Nelson beat the 
French in Aboukir Bay. 


Tie Terrace, HadSm Hall. 



Two miles to the south-east of Bakewell on the road to 
Derby Hes Haddon Hall, the most picturesque survival to be 
found — though you search all England through — of the home 
of an English nobleman in the centuries gone by. Everyone 
knows what face Haddon wears. Its garden front, its terrace, 
its broad flight of steps are familiar the world over, thanks 
to the photographers who carried them into the shop windows 
and so started the cult of Haddon Hall. It lies on the left 
bank of the sinuous Wye, securely built on escarpments of the 
limestone, which here juts out from a hillside thickly covered 
with delightful trees. And the house itself is built on the 
slope, one quadrangle above the other, adding enormously 
to the picturesqueness of the whole. 

We are so accustomed to hear Haddon praised that it is 
difficult to understand how anyone at any time could see it 

CH. xvin HADDON HALL 271 

without pleasure or speak of it without enthusiasm. Yet when 
Horace Walpole was at Chatsworth in 1760 and visited Haddon 
as one of the sights of the neighbourhood, he dismissed it in 
the most cursory manner as " an abandoned old castle of the 
Rutlands in a romantic situation, but which could never have 
composed a tolerable dwelling." Walpole was a virtuoso of 
the most fastidious taste — though his passion for Gothic 
carried him into strange extravagances — but he was by no 
means chary of praise when he liked a thing, and if he thought 
thus contemptuously of Haddon, we may be sure that others 
thought the same. Let us quote one other adverse verdict, 
from a man who very fairly represented the ideas of his age. 
This is what the artist Dayes says of Haddon : — " Not any- 
thing can show in so strong a point of view the improved con- 
dition of Society as this Hall, the poorest person at present 
possessing apartments not only more convenient, but at the 
same time better secured against the severity of the weather. 
Excepting the Gallery, all the rooms are dark and uncomfort- 
able. They convey but a low idea of the taste of our ancestors 
or of their domestic pleasures, yet was this place for ages con- 
sidered as the very seat of magnificence." It would occur to 
no one to write in that strain now, and yet if Dayes were 
challenged to maintain the literal truth of his statements, 
would his task be so very difficult ? The Rutlands abandoned 
Haddon for Belvoir in 1702. At least, that was the last year 
in which the family were in residence, though the hall was not 
actually dismantled of its furniture until 1730. The reason of 
their departure was the prosaic one given by Dayes and 
A\'alpole, that Haddon was an uncomfortable place to live in. 
It would drive the best of modern housekeepers to distraction. 
Yet what do we not owe to the family pride of the Dukes of 
Rutland in their wonderful old home, which has led them to 
keep it in constant repair against the ravages of Time, instead 
of allowing it to go to rack and ruin ? Haddon Hall is good 
for many centuries yet, for no other abandoned house in the 



British Isles is so carefully and so lovingly tended. Jealous 
watch is kept for any sign of decay, and when any repairs are 
made in wood-work or glass-work, it is always with old material, 
carefully sought for and skilfully applied. 

Let us glance very briefly at its story. The lucky Peverils 
owned the estate in early Norman days. From them it passed 
to the Avenels, then by marriage to the Vernons and the 

The Eagli Tower, Haddon Hall. 

Bassetts, and finally to the Vernons alone. Haddon Hall, as 
we know it, is practically the handiwork of the Vernons, who 
dwelt here for four hundred years. You may see their arms 
over the north-west entrance ; their crest was the boar's head, 
their motto, " Let Vernon flourish." These Vernons were 
great people in their own district ; but they played a compara- 
tively small part on the broader stage of national history, 
though one was Speaker of the Commons, Captain of Rouen, 
and Treasurer of Calais ; another was Knight Constable of 
England ; and another shrewdly consulted his safety by joining 




neither side in the Wars of the Roses. Tradition says that 
young Prince Arthur, the elder brother of Henry VIII., spent 
much of his time at Haddon, but the associations of the 
place are surprisingly few. Not being castellated or fortified, 
Haddon escaped the perilous vicissitudes of siege and storm, 
and probably owes its survival to this very circumstance. The 
last of the Vernons was Sir George (1508-1567), known to his 

rhe Great Court, Haddon Hall, 

contemporaries on account of his magnificence as the King of 
the Peak, and still more famed as the father of the Dorothy 
Vernon whose marriage with John Manners carried Haddon 
Hall into the Rutland family. It was a grandson of theirs 
who suQceeded his cousin, the 7th Earl of Rutland, in the 
earldom in 164 1. He was on the Parliament side during the 
Civil War and spent most of his time at Haddon during its 
continuance, for Belvoir lay in the full path of the tempest, 
and more than once changed hands. This was the Earl who 
built the road-bridge over the Wye below the Hall. The 



ninth Earl and first Duke (cr. 1703) constructed the hand- 
some bowling green on the hillside ; the third Duke started 
the famous Belvoir pack of hounds and was the father of the 
dashing Marquis of Granby who led the cavalry charge at 
Minden ; the fourth Duke was the friend of Pitt and Lord 
Lieutenant of Ireland. He was a hard rider, a deep drinker, 
and a big eater — it is recorded that he often ate seven or 
eight turkey eggs for breakfast — what wonder that he died at 
thirty-four? The fifth Duke won the Derby with Cadland 
after a dead-heat with The Colonel : the sixth never married 
and was content with a foxhunter's renown. The present 
Duke — the Lord John Manners of several Tory Administra- 
tions — succeeded in 1888, and no one in the peerage bears a 
more stainless or more honoured name. 

We have said that Haddon is disappointing in its associa- 
tions. It is sorry work, therefore, destroying a pretty legend, 
which those who know how the spirit of romance broods over 
these ancient walls are naturally anxious to believe. This 
is the story which relates how Dorothy, the second daughter 
of Sir George Vernon, the King of the Peak, was betrothed 
against her will to Edward Stanley, a younger son of the third 
Earl of Derby, and the brother of Sir Thomas Stanley who 
married her elder sister, Margaret. But Dorothy was in love 
with young John Manners^ a younger son of the Earl of 
Rutland, who disguised himself as a forester and haunted the 
Haddon woods to see his lady. There was to have been a 
double wedding of the two brothers and two sisters, but, on 
the marriage eve, Dorothy slipped away from the ballroom, 
stole out of the side door and down the little flight of steps, 
and eloped with her waiting lover. So runs the story. Un- 
fortunately, no reference to it in print occurs until about 1820, 
and the earlier writers who visited and described Haddon 
knew nothing of it. It seems to have grown up out of the fact 
that Dorothy Vernon was married not at Bakewell, as her 
sister was, but, according to an ancient tradition in the family. 


at Aylestone, near Leicester, one of the Rutland manors. 
The reason is not known, though it is tempting to suppose 
that it was due to the Vernons being Catholics and the 
Manners Protestants. That might possibly account for Sir 
George Vernon not wishing the wedding to take place at 
Bakewell, even supposing that he gave it his sanction. In 
birth and rank a Manners was no whit the inferior of a 
Vernon, and, religion apart, there seems no cause for Sir 
George to have opposed the match. But whether Dorothy 
eloped or not, she certainly was not disinherited by her father. 
The vogue of the Dorothy Vernon legend was popularised 
by a lady named Eliza Meteyard, who affected for literary 
purposes the more euphonious name of " Silverpen," and 
wrote a short tale called Dorothy Vernon of more than glucose 
stickiness and sweetness. Let me give a very short specimen 
of her style, selecting for that purpose the concluding sentences 
wherein she introduces into English fiction for the first time 
the Dorothy Vernon door and steps. 

"And now withdrawing bolt and bar, she kissed the weeping beldam, 
and like a frightened bird upon the wing, made eleven small prints upon 
the eleven stone steps, light as snow upon a flower, as dew upon a rose, and 
the prize was caught as a leaflet by the wintry wind and borne away. So 
then, as yet for aye, those little tiny steps were graven and set down like 
iron in a rock, like a mountain on the land, like an ocean on the earth, for 
Time can be no victor over Human Love. And so the shadows and the 
sunlight fall, the winter winds roar around, the sere leaves drop, the damp 
and mould linger, and the lichens grow, but yet the sweet tradition hallows 
Haddon Hall." 

In 1822 there had appeared in the Lotidon Magazine a 
short story called The King of the Peak, written by Allan 
Cunningham, and in 1823 a long novel with the same title by 
Mr. Lee Gibbons. A more unutterably tedious effusion in 
three volumes never saw the light ; not a single character is 
alive and the whole production is wooden to the last degree. 
Here is a fair example of the dialogue between Dorothy at 
her window and John Manners below : — 

T 2 


" Be at rest, sweet Dorothy," returned her lover ; " suffer not the image 
of this evil genius to disturb thee. If Sir George be warm and peremptory, 
he is yet a father and will not force thy inclination. But why wilt thou not 
set me at rest, and danger at defiance, by giving thyself up to my entreaty ? 
Thou hast but to leap into my arms and all doubts and fears and apprehen- 
sions are over. Believe me, my love, it must come to this at last." 

" Hush, my beloved ! " replied Dorothy, in a calm tone : "do my ears 
no violence ! Let other lovers place their felicity in the gratification of 
sense, but let our enjoyments be pure, unalloyed by mixing with baser pas- 
sions. That I love thee beyond all that I can express, beyond all that hath 
a signification in language, I do not blush to confess, for thou art worthy, 
oh, most worthy to be beloved. But though thou art thus knit to my soul 
and I breathe not a jot of life which does not include some portion oi 
thee, though to live without seeing thee daily and to forbear our sweet com- 
munion, would nigh go to weary me of life, yet I durst not, I could not, I 
will not so stain my honour — the honour of a noble house — as to quit the 
mansion of my fathers clandestinely. No, dear love, I should fear to 
encounter the armed shades of my stern ancestors, and that they would 
repel with scorn the flight of their unworthy descendant. Time covereth the 
shorn lamb. Time healeth the anguish of the heart. We must have patience. " 

Three volumes of this trash and yet the pretty legend 
survived it ! What a marvellous tribute to the imperishability 
of romance ! Several English novelists in the intervening 
years have made use of the story, but without much success, 
and even Sir Arthur Sullivan's opera on this familiar theme 
was an undeniable failure. It is Haddon itself which has 
immortalised Dorothy Vernon. 

We will not attempt to describe in detail the interior of 
Haddon. The Chapel is of all manner of styles, from 
Norman to Jacobean — but this is the charm of every nook 
and corner that its owners of one century added to the fabric 
of the century preceding without ruthless destruction. The 
banqueting hall and the great cavernous kitchens and larders 
suggest rude plenty, draughty meals, and lukewarm dishes ; the 
dais for the high table — worm-eaten witness of many a joyous 
feast — is raised only a few inches above the level of the floor ; 
the side gallery is of late construction, designed to give 
passage from the living rooms above to the sleeping apart- 
ments without descending into the hall. One can understand 


why Sir George Vernon, the magnificent, began the great 
structural changes which his daughter and her husband 
carried to completion. By the middle of the sixteenth 
century the standard of domestic comfort had profoundly 
changed, and families began to prefer dining in the privacy of 
their own rooms without the clatter and noise of a busthng 
household. Sir George Vernon built the beautifully panelled 
private dining-room at the back of the dais ; above it, 
approached by a staircase out of the hall, is his tapestry 
covered drawing-room, and leading out of this are the so-called 
Earl's Apartments overlooking the gardens. 

But the glory of Haddon is the Long Gallery planned by 
Sir George Vernon and completed by John Manners, whose 
crest, the peacock, is seen on the frieze by the side of the 
boar's head of the Vernons. The gallery is no feet long 
by 17 feet wide, most elaborately wainscotted throughout, 
with a wonderful plaster ceiling adorned with squares, lozenges, 
and quatrefoils with highly decorated and foliated points. The 
oak is of a beautiful silver-grey colour, and the gallery itself, 
unlike the other apartments of Haddon, is flooded with light. 
On the garden side are three bay windows and recesses, the 
centre one being 15 feet by 11 feet 6 inches; a window, with 
diamond panes stretches full across the further end of the 
gallery ; and there are windows again on the north wall, on 
either side of the solitary fireplace. Other galleries of the 
Elizabethan or early Jacobean period are considerably longer 
than the Haddon gallery — those, for example, at Hardwick, 
Montacute, and Parham, to liiention only three — but none has 
greater charm. 

The State bedchambers and the mouldering finery of the 
bed in which George IV., when Prince Regent, was the last 
sleeper do not stir me. The coverlet was worked by Katherine, 
wife of the last Earl and first Duke of Rutland, but the bed 
belongs rather to Belvoir than to Haddon, and was not brought 
to Haddon until after the disastrous fire at Belvoir in 18 16. 
The Eagle or Peveril Tower, however, is worth the climb for 




T'/ze Garden Front, Hade 

the view it yields over the leads of the whole mansion. Then 
one passes out into the gardens through the door and down 


the staircase which are the reputed scene of Dorothy Vernon's 
flight. One at least can be sure of this— that if Dorothy did 
elope while the viols and rebecks were sounding in the Long 
Gallery, and if this door and these steps were in existence at 
the time, then this is the door and these are the steps by 
which she probably fled. But he must be very unimaginative 
who requires a legend to add any extraneous charm to so 
lovely a spot as the gardens of Haddon Hall. They have been 
cleverly laid out in terraces on the hillside. The topmost one 
consists of a broad avenue of sycamores ; below it is the 
Winter Garden, 180 feet by 80 feet, divided into grass plots 
with ancient yew trees at the corners of the walks. A broad 
walk runs along the side at right angles to the house, with the 
famous stone balustrade, 3 feet high, dividing it from the 
garden below, which is called — oddly enough — the Upper 
Garden. Midway is the picturesque flight of twenty-six steps, 
and at the further end of the terrace is a stone summer house, 
recently restored, from which in old days there was an exit 
into the fields. The Upper Garden, 120 feet square and 
extending along the greater part of the south front, was the 
chief one, and it is from here that the favourite and most 
familiar views of Haddon are taken. The Lower Garden is 
reached by short flights of steps and is also steeply terraced 
down the hill side. 

If from Haddon our way lies towards Rowsley we turn left- 
wards round the foot of the rocky bluff on which the Hall is 
built. The grey towers are soon lost to sight and the trees of 
the meadows deny a satisfactory backward view. We do not 
cross the ancient narrow foot-bridge — centuries older than the 
road-bridge and the road by the river side — but continue by the 
side of the winding river, which here curls and twists into 
repeated " esses " — to borrow a delightful word which ought 
never to have been allowed to drop into disuse— as it flows 
through these pleasant meads. The path runs out all too soon 
into the dusty high road, along which we needs must tramp a 


longish mile before we reach the outskirts of Rowsley. It is a 
road which the pedestrian avoids in summer, unless he can 
bear with stoicism suffocating clouds of dust. 

But if your way happen to lie towards Edensor and Chats- 
worth, you will be wise to forsake the Wye and cross the hill with 
me. We leave Haddon by mounting the hillside at the back of 
the old stables and the rose-bowered cottage, to the fine 
avenue of trees which forms the approach to the Bowling 
Green. This spacious green has little place in the ancient 
history of Haddon Hall, for it was only laid out just before the 
family quitted Haddon for Belvoir. In the last quarter of the 
eighteenth century, it was maintained by the Duke of Rutland 
of that day for the pleasure of " the gentleman of Bake- 
well and the neighbourhood," most of whom were his tenants. 
It is enclosed by a handsome wall of solid construction, with 
iron gates at the head of a broad, stone staircase. On the 
further side is a substantial stone house built for a pavilion. 
But it is long since a Jack was thrown, or a bowl was sent 
spinning over the close-cropped turf. Rhodes, writing in 1816, 
says : " the place was totally neglected and the rank grass every- 
where prevailed," though only a few years before it had been 
occasionally well attended in the summer months. Now the 
pavilion is a farmhouse and the bowling green is a tidy 
orchard and vegetable garden. 

Leaving the bowling green on our right hand, we keep to a 
steadily ascending lane, which, in the old days, before the road 
in the valley was built, was the main approach to Haddon 
both from Rowsley and Bakewell. As we reach the open 
ground a fine backward view may be had across to Youlgreave, 
Stanton-in-the-Peak, and the dip of the Rowsley valley. A 
green lane branches off on our right, as we enter upon a 
narrow ridge. To the left is a deep valley looking towards 
Bakewell and the hills beyond ; on the Rowsley side the 
prospect is not so open. At the further side of the ridge an 
old road — from Rowsley to Bakewell — winds down the valley. 

Km ery Walker sc. 


and this we cross to a gate at the edge of the Manners Wood 
facing us. As we mount through this by a steep cart-track, 
the view towards Bakewell grows in magnificence and we 
begin to overlook the wooded ridge above Haddon. Beyond 
Bakewell we get the ridges of Buxton and High Peak : beyond 
Haddon the clumps which mark the eminences of the Harting- 
ton and Newhaven districts ; and beyond Stanton the heights of 
Winster. When our path nears the summit and reaches a 
group of tall ash trees, the track turns sharply up by the side of 
a young plantation and we are at the top. Here is a stone wall, 
by the side of which we continue along the ridge for about two 
hundred yards till we come to a gate, and turning through 
this, slant across the field diagonally to a clump of beech 
trees. The field is part of an unexpected strip of rich 
meadow-land, the whole plateau being known as the Calton 
Pastures, spreading out into Lees Moor and ending in the 
Lindup Wood. A number of kists have been found close by, 
and the name of Calton, or Caerlton, suggests remote 

This beech plantation, through which we now pass, is one of 
my favourite Derbyshire clumps. The trees are stately and 
tall ; set wide apart so that they do not interfere one with 
another ; and their dark and glossy columns rise up smoothly 
for many feet before they begin to throw off branches. The 
clump, like every other spacious wood, is seen at its best when 
there is strong sunshine beating down upon it, sunshine which 
finds it hard to penetrate through the dark leaves and creates 
a kind of luminous shade which is cool alike to the eye and to 
the cheek. But at any time and at any season this little wood 
makes its strong appeal and helps one to realise what 
prompted the men of an earlier time to set up their gods in 
groves and worship their deities among trees on the hill tops. 
The wood creates a sense of awe ; suggesting a latent presence, 
lying closely hidden, though we seem ever to be just on the 
point of alighting upon it and recognising it. It is in such 


a wood as this that one has a revelation of the real meaning 
of the words which the rustic Evander spoke to Aeneas : — 

" Hoc nemtis, hunc, inquit,fro)idoso "uertice clivum, 
Quis detis, incertiim est — habitat deus. Arcades ipsum 
Credunt se vidisse Jovein, cum saepe nigrantein 
Aegida concuteret dextra nimhosque cieret." 

When you quit the beeches you find you are looking down 
on a long valley which broadens towards the Derwent, with 
the village of Beeley at the far extremity. Below, but hidden 
from sight, is a group of buildings known as Calton Houses. 
Opposite, across the valley, a belt of trees fringes the upper 
side of Chatsworth Park with a keeper's picturesque house on 
the right — the Russian Cottage, a favourite luncheon place for 
the Chatsworth shooting parties. The path here is practically 
undecipherable. You can either aim at a point a quarter of a 
mile from the Russian Cottage and trust to chance to keep 
your direction, or — better still — descend the hill among the 
thorn trees making straight for the cottage. This soon is lost 
to view, but you speedily strike the angle of a wall, and farm 
buildings come into sight. Turn leftwards to a little wood 
and you will see a stone stile in a wall, just below a water 
trough in the open. Cross the stile, and pass by the side of a 
small dam and through some rhododendron bushes out to the 
farm entrance. Then turn leftwards through the gate, and 
then to the right for some distance by the wall-side. The 
path reaches the open, passes over a green drive, and runs up 
to a gate in the wall, with the Russian Cottage a few hundred 
yards on the right. This gate — where used to be a wooden 
step-stile — leads through a narrow belt of trees to another gate, 
and lo, we are on the edge of Chatsworth Park with a superb 
— perhaps the very best obtainable — view of the House itself, 
of the bridge and the Hunting Tower on the further slope. 
The gate is by the side of a young plantation, and those who 
take the walk in the reverse direction should be careful not to 
confuse it with another gate a hundred yards or so more to the 

284 EDENSOR CH. xviii 

left of the plantation as they approach it from Chatsworth or 
Edensor. From here our way is obvious. 

Edensor itself, lying just below, does not call for many 
words. It is a model village — each house more like a villa 
than a cottage, carefully tended, scrupulously clean, — a monu- 
ment of what a good landlord can do who has a pride in 
his property, and an interest in his tenants which does not 
confine itself to their strict payment of rent. One homestead, 
the only one on the Chatsworth side of the road through the 
Park, is different in character from all the rest. This for 
many generations belonged to a family of sturdy yeomen who 
refused to sell to their great neighbour. One can imagine the 
pride they would take in saying " No," and — we will be bound 
— in voting Tory. But the Dukes waited and waited, and 
their chance came at last. Edensor church is a modern 
building on the site of an old one, Its spire is renowned ; the 
interior is rather disappointing and dark, the monuments few. 
A brass to John Beton, a nephew of the Cardinal and a 
confidential servant of Mary Queen of Scots, is of some 
interest, and so is an elaborate monument of the first Earl of 
Devonshire, who died in 1616. This grandiose memorial is in 
the sharpest contrast with the simple tombs of his successors, 
outside at the top of the churchyard, surrounded by a bank of 
rhododendrons, and with a few graceful cypresses among the 
graves. After death the lords of Chatsworth make no 
boast of their dignities. Here in this quiet spot lies Lord 
Frederick Cavendish, the victim of the most outrageous 
political assassination in the British Isles during the last 
century, with nothing more than the date of the tragedy, 
May 6th, 1882, on the simplest of headstones. It is a noble 
reticence, worthy of his house. 

Ckatsworth House from the Italian Garden. 



Chatsworth — both House and Park — is usually de- 
scribed in superlatives, and for once the language of seem- 
ing exaggeration is not ill employed. For, all things con- 
sidered, Chatsworth is perhaps the most beautiful as well as 
the most imposing of the great houses and great parks of 
England. The situation is perfection. The wide rolling 
moors spread away high above it and behind it to the east. 
They break into woods at their edge — beautiful woods where 
every tree seems to find just the soil and sustenance it needs — 
and then they dip in sharp, yet not steep, declivity to the rich 
parkland in which Chatsworth stands, with the Derwent flowing 
pleasantly through the mid-valley. Along the left bank of the 
river, from the Baslow entrance to the Park to the bridge 
near Beeley, this exquisite range of woods continues, while 
on the right bank the ground is less regular in outline, and 


rises more gradually up to the plateau dividing Chatsworth 
from Haddon. Yet here too, as one looks down from such a 
vantage spot as the Wellington Monument above Baslow, the 
main impression is of woods, and the whole valley looks a 
green vista of delight. Cotton, as we saw in an earlier chapter, 
compared it to a diamond set in the "ignoble jet" of the 


" To view from hence tlie glittering pile above 
(Which must at once wonder create and love) 
Environed round with Nature's shames and ills, 
Black heaths, wild rocks, bleak crags and naked hills, 
And the whole prospect so informe and rude, 
Who is it but must presently conclude 
That this is Paradise, which seated stands 
In midst of desarts and of barren sands. 
So a bright diamond would look, if set 
In a vile socket of ignoble jet, 
And such a face the new-born Nature took 
When out of Chaos by the Fiat strook. " 

It was this remarkable contrast between the rich luxuriance 
of the Derwent valley and the barren moors between it and 
Chesterfield — the usual road of approach — that impressed 
most visitors to Chatsworth in the old days. The sudden 
descent into the smiling valley was as astonishing to them as 
the towers of Venice rising from the waste of waters. 

" As to th' astonished seaman's startled sight 
The city Venice midst the waves appears, 
Unlooked for thus, midst many a mountain height. 
The Devoninian Hall its towers uprears." 

So sang CoUey Cibber in his most Cibberian vein ; but pre- 
cisely the same sense of contrast struck Wordsworth too : 

" Cnatsworth ! thy stately mansion and the pride 
Of thy domain, strange contrast do present 
To house and home in many a craggy rent 
Of the wild Peak : where new-born waters glide 
Through fields whose thrifty occupants abide 
As in a dear and chosen banishment 
With every semblance of entire content. 


And we must also quote Hobbes' tribute to the beauty of the 
spot where he spent so many years as the honoured recipient 
of Cavendish hospitality : 

" Stat Chatsworth praeclara domus, turn mole superha 
Turn Domino, magnis : celerem Deroentis ad undam 
Miranti similis port am praeterfltnt amnis, 
Hie tacitits, saxis infra supragjie sonoriis. 
At mons terga domus rapidis defendit ab Euris, 
Ostendens longe exertis jtiga consita saxis, 
Praesecfoqiie die, producens tenipora somni 
Snmmovet a tergo rnpes gratissinius hortiis, 
Pinguis odoratis itbi tellus florihtis halat : 
Arbor ubi in mediis silvis, sibi libera visa, 
Dat fruclus injussa suos ; ubi frondea tecta 
Arboreis praebent invito frigora sole 
Porlicibus, potiora time, Maro, tegmine fagi." 

It is not, of course, the present Chatsworth House which 
Hobbes describes as the pleasantest lodging ever offered to the 
Muses. The Chatsworth he knew was the Chatsworth which 
Bess of Hardwick built and where Mary Queen of Scots 
dwelt as a prisoner. Of that mansion practically nothing 
remains, for the new one was built on the old site. However, 
Queen Mail's Bower has happily been spared. It stands 
below the House, close to the bridge over the Derwent, a grey 
stone building, to which access is obtained by a flight of thirty 
steps rising over a moat of varying width. Two old yew trees 
growing within the bower throw their shade over the entrance 
gate, a third flourishes in a corner, and in the centre stands a 
fine sycamore with spreading branches. Over the gate and 
fixed to a stone shield is an iron plate displaying the arms of 
the Scottish Queen, the quarterings showing the lilies of 
France and the lions of Scotland and England. No spot could 
be more romantic, built up from the placid moat three or 
four feet at its deepest, surmounted with its crown of foliage 
and haunted with memories of the Queen of Scots. It is said 
that the bower was built specially for her, and tradition speaks 


of an underground passage connecting it with the House. But 
this subterranean way is merely a drain, and as the Queen was 
allowed more liberty at Chatsworth than elsewhere, it is hard to 
see why she should have been shut up in this bower. The moat 
was originally one of the fish-ponds of the old mansion, and, a 
few yards away, a relic of an ancient orchard may be seen in an 
aged apple tree, a hollow trunk with one decrepit arm, yet still 
struggling to put forth fruit in its season. 

The Queen of Scots was frequently at Chatsworth, for her 
keeper, the Earl of Shrewsbury, had been very anxious to be 
permitted to take her thither. The mansion was only just com- 
pleted, and therefore likely to be far more comfortable than 
the draughty Tutbury, and, besides, he was less apprehensive 
of danger there owing to the remoteness of its situation. 
There was, he wrote to Burghley in 1577, "no town of 
resorte " in the neighbourhood " where any ambusher might 
lye." Mary was first taken to Chatsworth in 1570, and she 
went in high hopes, for Elizabeth was speaking her fair, and 
her prospects of regaining her liberty were at the moment 
very good. During the summer the Queen sent down from 
London her trusty counsellor, Sir William Cecil, and Sir 
Walter Mildmay, her Chancellor of Exchequer, and they 
with their trains of servants were hospitably entertained by the 
Earl and Countess of Shrewsbury at Chatsworth House. 
Mary's advisers were also there, and, after lengthy negotia- 
tions, the draft of a treaty was drawn up and the 
captive hoped that she would soon be setting out for the 
North. But the weeks and months passed, and the treaty was 
never ratified. New circumstances arose on the field of 
foreign politics, new developments took place in Scotland, 
which led Queen Elizabeth to modify her plans. It no longer 
suited her interests that Mary should be set at liberty, and Mary, 
therefore, remained under watch and guard. At the close of 
November she was removed to Sheffield, and Sheffield Castle 
and Sheffield Manor — both the property of the broad-acred 

290 DURING THE WARS chap. 

Shrewsbury — became for the next fourteen years her chief 
places of residence. She was at Chatsworth again in 1573, 
1577) 1578, 1579, and 1581, arriving each time with diminish- 
ing hope of liberty, but committing herself just as eagerly and 
recklessly as ever to any wild fantastic project for her escape. 
Poor Queen Mary ! History condemns her ; Poetry idealises 
her beauty, her suffering and her weakness. One thinks of her 
at Chatsworth in her Bowery as Ronsard saw her : — 

Je vy des Escossois la royiie sage et belle ^ 

Qui de corps et d 'esprit ressemble une immortelle ; 
J'appi'ochay de ses yenx^ inais hi^n de detix soleils, 

Deux soleils de beatiie qtii noii point lews pareils, 
Je les vy larmoyer d 'itjie claire ros^e, 
Je vy d'un beau crystal sa paupiere arrosie 

Se souvenant de France et du sceptre laissie 

Et de son premier feu coinme un songe passi. 

During the Civil Wars Chatsworth was garrisoned first for 
the Parliament by Sir John Gell, then for the King by Colonel 
Eyre. In 1645 Colonel Shalcross held it with a detachment 
of three hundred Royalist horse from Welbeck Abbey and 
successfully withstood a short siege conducted by the Dutch- 
man, MoUanus. Shalcross vacated it when the King's standard 
went down. The mansion was rebuilt by the fourth Earl of 
Devonshire, who was raised to the dignity of a Dukedom in 
1694. The work was begun in 1687 and completed in 1706, 
a year before his death. The Earl was banished from the Court 
of James II. in 1685 for brawling with an old enemy of his, 
Colonel Colepeper, in the Palace at Whitehall. High words 
passed and Colepeper struck the Earl, who promptly knocked 
him down. For this he was fined the outrageous sum of 
;!r3o,ooo byjames' subservient judges. His mother, the Dowager 
Countess, offered for "her son Billy" bonds for ^60,000 which 
Charles I. had borrowed during the Civil Wars. This was 
refused, and the Earl fled to Derbyshire, where he took prisoners 
the officers of the law sent to arrest him. Ne\ertheless, he 


had to give a bond pledging himself to pay his fine, and the 
paper was found and destroyed after James II. 's flight. No 
wonder the Earl favoured the Prince of Orange. 

To solace his banishment he sought occupation in building. 
He seems to have been in residence at Chatsworth during 
most of these years, despite the inevitable discomforts 
which such extended operations necessarily entailed, and was 
driven from room to room as the workmen proceeded with 
their task. His architect was William Talman, but in 1698 
Sir Christopher Wren inspected the plans and surveyed the 
works. The new house became for a second time a Wonder 
of the Peak. " Though the situation," said Bishop Kennet, 
" seems to be somewhat horrid, this really adds to the beauty 
of it ; the glorious house seems to be Art insulting Nature." 
But Nature in those days lay under a cloud ! 

Talman's handiwork has had its adverse critics, but his 
imposing classical design falls graciously enough on the eyes 
of most observers, especially when seen from the path along 
the Derwent by the weirs, or from the belt of wood on the 
high ground above Edensor. The front entrance used to be 
on the riverside — before Paxton laid out the Italian gardens — 
up the curious flight of steps, which rise over a grotto and 
artificial stalactites, little to the modern taste. This, of course, 
was long before the new wing with the Italian Belvedere was 
added. Talman had the not uncommon failing of building 
for show rather than for comfort, and his great inner quad- 
rangular court with open-pillared porticoes meant cold and 
draughty journeys for the Duke's guests as they sought their 
rooms. Twenty-two pillars stood in the porticoes, each 
surmounted by a stone bust of some forgotten celebrity of 
the days of Queen Anne, and these, when the alterations 
were made by the sixth Duke, were set up outside in 
the French garden, where they now look strangely lost. Many 
of the outside stone statues which adorn the grounds were 
the work of Cibber, the father of the playwright poet- 

u 3 


laureate. He was engaged for many years at Chatsworth on 
the stone carving, and the statues — none too successful, though 
Time has not dealt very kindly with them — on the bridge are 
said to be his. Another artist in stone was Samuel Watson, of 
Heanor, who worked for twenty years on the festoons, urns, 
mask heads, and the arms in the pediment. He settled in 
Bakewell, and his son Henry in 1763 carved the arms on the 
front of the Chatsworth stables. 

The first Duke laid out large sums of money upon the 
gardens of Chatsworth and especially upon the fountains, 
cascades, and waterworks, which are among the curiosities of 
the place. An interesting passage relating to the gardens 
occurs in a letter written by' Sir Godfrey Copley in 1703. 
We will quote it in full : — 

"I lay at Chesterfield on Monday and went over the Moors to Chats- 
worth. I spent near two hours in the gardens, v/here my Lord, I find, hath 
laid out a good deal since you and I were there. He hath pulled up the 
cascade with design to make it much larger. If he would bring it down in 
broken water and firoth fi-om the top of the hill among these stones and 
then let it into a smooth sheet when it comes into his garden, it would be 
very fine and outdo Marli. He hath made on the back of the house a fine 
green house, and square pond before it, with a sort of island and fountain 
in the middle. But his chief work hath been levelling a hill which faced 
the old front, by which he hath opened a distant prospect to the blue hills 
and made on the same level with his house and garden a canal, something 
broader than my new river, but not quite so long. One side of this canal, 
which goes from the bowling-green, is supported by a tarrass-walk on the 
right hand ; and the ground under that side being very low and marsh-like, 
is intended to be cut into water and islands for ducks. But one of my 
Lord's chief designs, as I am told, will be a great one. It is to take the 
current of the river Derwent half a mile above, and turn it into his great 
canal, which is below the house and hath a bridge over it, and then let it 
fall in a great cascade, and go again into its own course below the house." 

Sir Godfrey adds that he rode from Chatsworth over the moors 
to Nottingham — " with much ado and the assistance of my 
needle." One cannot insist too often on the difficulty of 
travelling in Derbyshire in the old days. 


It was, as we have said, the sixth Duke (1790 — 1858) who 
left Chatsworth as we know it to-day by building the new wing 
and new entrance, and by remodelling, to a very large extent, 
the grounds. The seventh Duke caused to be cut in marble 
over the fireplace of the Great Hall an inscription setting forth 
that this well-beloved ancestral home of the Cavendishes — 
xdes has pa/ernas diledissivias — was begun in the year of 
English freedom, t688, inherited by the sixth Duke in 181 1, 
and completed in 1840, "the year of Sorrow." The last 
reference was to the death of his own wife, the Countess of 
Burlington, before his succession in 1858 to the Dukedom — 
he being the cousin of the sixth Duke, who had never married. 
The reference to "the year of Enghsh liberty," 1688, bears 
witness to the inveterate Whig traditions of the Dukes of 
Devonshire. But a much more amusing witness to the Whigg- 
ism of the Cavendishes is to be found outside in the grounds. 
There you may see four drums of an ancient Greek column 
surmounted, not, as one would suppose, by a statue of Liberty 
or Victory, but by a bronze bust of the sixth Duke of Devon- 
shire. An appropriate set of verses has been carved around 
the base. 

" These fragments stood on Sunium's aery steep, 
They reared aloft Minerva's guardian shrine, 
Beneath them rolled the blue Aegean deep, 
And the Greek pilot hailed them as divine. 

" Such was e'en then their look of calm repose 

As wafted round them came the sounds of fight, 
When the glad shout of conquering Athens rose 
O'er the long track of Persia's broken flight. 

" Though clasped by prostrate worshippers no more, 
They yet shall breathe a thrilling lesson here, 
Though distant from their own immortal shore, 
The spot they grace is still to Freedom dear." 

Ah, those Whigs ! To think of lines in praise of Freedom be- 
ing written by Lord Morpeth to, a Duke of Devonshire in the 
Palace of the Peak ! The marbles were brought to England by 


Sir Augustus Clifford, when in command of the warship 

The sixth Duke was the patron of Paxton — Sir Joseph Paxton, 
M.P., as he afterwards became — whose memorial tablet in 
Edensor Church makes the large claim for him that " through 
the influence of his work and writing he has added to the charm 
of gardens in all countries." Paxton was born of poor parents 
in 1803 at Milton Bryant, in Bedfordshire. As a boy he ran 
away from an uncongenial apprenticeship and was found on the 
road by a Quaker named Hooker, who kept the nursery gardens 
at Chiswick. One of Hooker's patrons was the Duke of 
Devonshire, who took a fancy to the young gardener and told 
him casually that, if he wished it, he might have a place at 
Chatsworth. A few hours later Paxton set off from London in 
the Yorkshire coach, and arrived at Chesterfield at three in the 
morning. He walked the nine miles from Chesterfield to 
Chatsworth, climbed over the wall, reconnoitred the grounds 
before anyone was stirring, and then presented himself at the 
housekeeper's room for breakfast. And before the meal was 
over — so legend saith — he had made up his mind to accept the 
Duke's offer, to remodel the gardens, and to marry the house- 
keeper's niece. And so he did. Joseph Paxton was a very 
clever man, clever himself and clever in making use of other 
people's cleverness, which is, perhaps, the greatest proof of 
brains a man can give. He has monopolised all the glory of 
designing the Crystal Palace — in the Chatsworth district there 
is a clearly marked feeling that others possessed at least as 
good a title as he to a share in the kudos of its construction. 
Pvcport speaks of a certain John Marples, who was one of the 
Duke's agents, an uncultivated genius, after James Brindley's 
fashion, who knew nothing of science and rules, but could 
conquer any engineering difficulty by sheer native ability and 
the application of common sense and experience. 

The Great Conservatory at Chatsworth is usually spoken of 
as the building which suggested the Crystal Palace. That is an 



error. The real prototype is the small Lily House, which 
stands before the head-gardener's villa, by the kitchen garden 
in the park. Paxton was one day talking with Marples and, 
pointing to this Lily House, said, " Could you build it from here 
to Chats worth?" " Certainly," answered Marples. "Then it's 
done,"- said Paxton, and slapped his leg. And so the idea of 
the Crystal Palace was born. Paxton had the inspiration, 
but Marples translated it into glass and iron ; and when diffi- 
culties in the actual construction arose Marples solved them. 
Nor is it any detraction from Paxton's fame that he should 
share it with another. 

Paxton laid out the Italian gardens fronting the river, and 
his name is indelibly associated with the whole hundred and 
.twenty-six acres of pleasure grounds, with the Victoria Regia 
House, and the Great Conservatory. There is, to my mind, a 
touch of megalomania in this colossal glasshouse, and it only 
bores me to be told of its miles of piping and its acreage — or 
is it mileage ? — of glass. The sixth duke used to drive a little 
carriage with four ponies and outriders through this conserva- 
tory, and he had milestones — think of it !— in his garden 
walks to tell him how far he was from home. This from the 
Whig noble, whose bust graces a real antique pillar from 
Sunium ! Well, we all have our foibles, and, after all, the 
sixth duke was devoted to books and art, and, like all the 
Cavendishes, was a great nobleman and a great gentleman. 
He made large additions to the library, which dates back in 
part to the time of Hobbes, and is specially rich in MSS. 
and in Shakespearian quartos and folios. As for the house 
itself, which is most generously shown to the curious and 
thronging public, I have no room to describe its con- 
tends, and are they not described in all the books, both 
great and small? Moreover, I always find that going over 
these lordly houses — as one of " a party " — is a most chastening 
experience. You wish to linger, but must not; the guide 
shepherds you from room to room, and the tired finger 


indicates, and the uninterested voice describes, the things in 
which you take not the least concern. A canoe given by the 
Sultan ! A malachite clock presented by the Emperor 
Nicholas ! A magnificent set of ivory chessmen ! Ohe I' Jam 
satis est 1 These things move me not. I always think of the 
hours I might spend there with the right cicerone— &X leisure 
and in quiet. 

A winding carriage-drive leads up the hill at the back of the 
house towards the Hunting Tower, through banks of rhodo- 
dendrons, fully thirty feet high in places, a gorgeous blaze of 
colour when they are in bloom. Soon the drive is crossed by a 
footpath, which takes one to the side of a little runnel, and then 
leads steeply up long flights of steps, which the less agile had 
better decline in favour of the drive. The path runs out at 
the foot of the Hunting Tower, one of the best examples of its 
kind in the country, an Elizabethan structure, massive and 
square, with rounded projecting corners, each surmounted by 
a lead-covered cupola. Approach to the door is given by a 
flight of ten steps, and above the upper of the two central 
windows is the pattern of a rose in the stonework, twice 
repeated. On the strip of sward at its foot is a battery of old 
eight-pounders, some on iron, some on wooden carriages, which 
are fired on great occasions. The view from the Tower is 
delightful. It shows the whole extent of the noble park, the 
mansion below, Edensor in the fold of the opposite hill, 
Pilsley to the right and the high ground over towards Buxton, 
the valley of the Derwent towards Stony Middleton and 
Grindleford, Baslow and its woods, and the fine outline of 
Baslow and Curbar Edge. 

In days gone by the ladies of the great house used to watch 
the chase from the upper windows of the Hunting Tower ; 
now the top of the hill is given up to woods and game pre- 
serves. Here, too, lie the lakes, the largest of which works the 
great Emperor Fountain below, a perfect Paradise for wild fowl, 
and ringed with fine trees. Green drives branch off on either 


side, with long avenues of choice firs. Among them you may 
wander at will, so you but keep to the paths and drives, and 
there is no shadow of excuse to quit them, for they conduct 
you to the very arcana of the woodlands. Here by a gate-side 
on a fir-tree's bough, which has suffered from the fury of a 
storm, some keeper had made his gibbet, displaying the 
mouldering, mummied carcases of five weasels, hanged ignomin- 
iously by the neck till they were dead. By their side dangled a 
hawk and other birds of prey which I was not naturalist enough 
to distinguish. On the ground were the fallen feathers of other 
malefactors, an unsightly wing or two, and a few bleaching 
bones. One wonders if these gibbets are efificacious. Are the 
live weasels frightened to repentance as they look on their dead 
fellows? Do the timid victims of these ferocious little beasts 
come here in the gloaming and rejoice at the power which has 
beaten down the proud and tyrannous ? Are these warning 
examples spoken of in the talk of the bird world and the forest 
people? Are there wise creatures, Nestors and Mentors of 
their kind, who draw morals for the behoof of inexperienced 
youth ? Who shall say ? But they who think on these things 
cannot do better than linger in the retired woods above Chats- 
worth House, where one can roam for miles by taking the 
various walks which present themselves at every turn and side. 
Specially worth while is it to keep high up and follow along 
the edge of the woods above the valley, till, beyond a small 
forest of ancient and decaying oaks, you quit the park through 
a gate by the Parkgate Farm, and then find yourself on the 
moorland, with Harland Edge on your left hand. There you 
reap reward in superb views down into the valley of the Derwent, 
and across the desolate expanse of Beeley Moor, which itself 
drops down over Fallinge Edge into a broad terrace of green 
pastures, and then descends in handsome woods to the level 
of the stream. 

Cliatsworth from the Bridge. 



One of the most distinguished residents at Chatsworth in 
the seventeenth century, more distinguished, perhaps, than the 
noble owner himself, was Thomas Hobbes, of Malmesbury, 
author of The Leviathan and other treatises of political 
philosophy, which exercised an extraordinary influence upon 
the thought of his time. Hobbes had early associations with 
the Cavendish family, and was for many years the tutor of 
the young heir who subsequently became the first Duke of 
Devonshire. When he returned from his long self-imposed 
exile in France he resumed his curious position in the Cavendish 
household, which was partly that of guest, partly of dependant ; 
and in his old age — he lived to be ninety-two — hardly stirred 
out of Derbyshire. His manner of life at Chatsworth is 


described in a very curious passage by Bishop Kennet in his 
Memorials of the Cavendish Family. 

" His professed rule of health was to dedicate the morning to his health 
and the afternoon to his studies. And, therefore, at his rising he walked out 
and climbed any hill within his reach, and if the weather was not dry he 
fatigued himself within doors by some exercise or other to be in a sweat, 
recommending that practice ujjon this opinion: that an old man had more 
moisture than heat, and, therefore, by such motion heat was to be acquired 
and moisture expelled. After, he took a comfortable breakfast and then 
went round the lodgings to wait upon the Earl, the Countess, and the 
children, and any considerable strangers, paying some short addresses to all 
of them. He kept these rounds till about twelve o'clock, when he had a 
little dinner provided for him, which he ate always by himself without cere- 
mony. Soon after dinner he retired to his study and had his candle, with 
ten or twelve pipes of tobacco, laid by him, then shutting his door he fell to 
smoking and thinking and writing for several hours. . . . Towards the end 
of his life he had very few books, and those he read but very little, thinking 
he was now only to digest what he had formerly fed upon. If company 
came to visit him he would be free to discourse until he was pressed or con- 
tradicted, and then he had the infirmities of being short and peevish and 
referring to his writings for better satisfaction. His friends, who had the 
liberty of introducing strangers to him, made these terms with them before 
their admission, that they should not dispute with the old man nor contra- 
dict him." 

Another curious reference to Hobbes' capacity for smoking 
interminable pipes of tobacco is found in a letter written by St. 
Evremond to the poet Waller. The Frenchman, when visiting 
England, had travelled down to Chatsworth in order to see 
Hobbes, just as, a century later, every lettered Englishman visiting 
France used to seek an interview with Voltaire. St. Evremond 
begins his letter as follows ; — " I now write to you from the Earl 
of Devonshire's, where I have been this fortnight past, paying my 
devotions to the Genius of Nature. Nothing can be more 
romantic than this country except the region about Valois, and 
nothing can equal this place in beauty but the borders of the 
lake." Then he goes on to say that what had drawn him to 
Derbyshire was the desire of seeing, not natural curiosities, but 
that " moral curiosity, Mr. Hobbes." 


" I arrived a little before dinner, notwithstanding which the Earl told me 
he believed I was too late to see Mr. Hobbes that day. ' As he does not 
think like other men,' said his lordship, ' it is his opinion that he should 
not live like other men. I suppose he dined about two hours ago, and he 
is now shut up for the rest of the day. Your only time to see him is in the 
morning, but then he walks so fast up those hills that unless you are 
mounted on one of my ablest hunters you will not keep pace with him.' It 
was not long before I obtained an audience extraordinary of this literary 
potentate, whom I found like Jupiter, involved in clouds of his own raising. 
He was entrenched behind a battery of ten or twelve guns, charged with a 
stinking combustible called tobacco. Two or three of these he had fired off 
and replaced them in the same order. A fourth he levelled so mathematic- 
ally against me that I was hardly able to maintain my post, though I 
assumed the character and dignity of Ambassador from the Republic of 
Letters. " 

The old man was in rather a mordant humour that day, for 
he began railing against books. 

" ' My lord Devonshire,' he said, 'has more than ten thousand volumes 
in his house. I entreated his lordship to lodge me as far as possible from 
that pestilential corner. I have but one book, and that is Euclid, but I 
begin to be tired of him. I believe he has done more harm than good. 
He has set fools a reasoning. ' 

" ' There is one thing in Mr. Hobbes' conduct,' said Lord Devonshire, 
' that I am unable to account for : he is always railing at books, yet always 
adding to their number.' 

"'I write, my lord,' answered Hobbes, 'to show the folly of writing. 
Were all the books in the world on board one vessel I should feel a greater 
pleasure than that Lucretius speaks of in seeing the wreck.' 

" ' But should you feel no tenderness for your own productions ? ' 

" ' I care for nothing,' added he, 'but The Leviathan, and that might 
possibly escape by swimming. ' " 

Like most philosophers who have growled at mankind and 
affected to play the misanthrope, Hobbes' practice by no means 
conformed with his theory. He could not bear to be left in an 
empty house. Wherever the Cavendishes went he begged to 
be taken also. A few days before he died, in December, 1679, 
his patron had arranged to move from Chatsworth across the 
moors to Hardwick. As Hobbes was dearly not fit to travel 
it was proposed to leave him behind, but he protested so 


Strongly that they took him with them lying on a feather-bed in 
a coach. When Hardwick was reached he was in a state of 
utter collapse and never rallied. 

A vivid and interesting sketch of the philosopher and his 
principles will be found in Shorthouse's famous novel, John 
Ingksant, by those who desire to know more of him without 
wading knee-deep in the interminable morasses of his writings. 
Here we may quit the philosopher, but Derbyshire is very 
considerably in his debt, on the score of the poem, Z>e 
Mirabilibus Pecci, or " Concerning the Wonders of the Peak," 
which he wrote during an early stay at Chatsworth. This may 
fairly be called the first little book of travel devoted to Derby- 
shire. It is a jeu d'esprit, in the shape of a poem in Latin 
hexameters, which would give little trouble to so accomplished 
a Latinist as Hobbes, and it afforded him a pleasant opportunity 
of paying a most graceful tribute to his patron and to the 
Cavendish family. The book seems to have enjoyed some 
success, though it did not run to many editions. In it Hobbes 
describes how he rode out from Chatsworth one morning, 
crossed the Derwent to Pilsley, and passing through Hassop 
struck over the moorland and hilly country towards Hope and 
Castleton, and reached Buxton the same evening. The next 
day he returned to Chatsworth by another route through 
Chelmorton, Sheldon, and Ashford, having easily seen the 
whole of the Seven Wonders. 

Aedes, Mons, Barathrum, binus Fans, Antraque hina, 
or, in plain English, a house, a mountain, a chasm, two 
fountains, and two caves. The house, of course, was Chats- 
worth — that is to say, Bess of Hard wick's Chatsworth— the 
mountain was Mam Tor, the chasm Elden Hole, the fountains 
St. Anne's Well at Buxton and the Ebbing Well at Barmoor 
Clough, and the caves were Poole's Cave near Buxton and the 
Peak Cavern at Castleton. Apparently there has beerl no 
edition of this curious little work since towards the close of the 
seventeenth century, when some anonymous person translated 


Hobbes' poem into English verse without his knowledge and 
published the Latin and English side by side. AVe have al- 
ready quoted some of the more interesting passages when 
dealing with the " Wonders " themselves. 

Horace Walpole was at Chatsworth in 1 760. It did not wholly 
please him. " I never," he writes, " was more disappointed 
than at Chatsworth, which, ever since I was born, I have 
condemned. It is a glorious situation, vast woods hang down 
the hills, which are green to the top, and the immense rocks 
only serve to dignify the prospect. The river runs before the 
door and serpentises more than you can conceive of" He did 
not approve the suggested plan of a " fine bridge with statues " 
— which is the bridge we know. If they must have a bridge, 
he said, let it be of " rude fragments, such as the giant of the 
Peak w'ould step on that he might not be wet-shod." He 
thought the stables cumbrous, said " the principal front of the 
house was executed with the neatness of wrought plate," and 
was disappointed with the interior — save the chapel. " The 
heathen gods, goddesses. Christian virtues and allegoric gentle- 
folks are crowded into every room, as if Mrs. Holman had 
been in heaven and invited everyone she saw." He liked the 
great jet d'eau, but pooh-poohed the cascade — " that absurdity 
of a cascade," he calls it, truly enough, " which reduces the steps 
to be of no use at all." Nor did Hardwick better please this 
fastidious critic. " Never was I less charmed in my life,", he 
wrote. "This house is not Gothic, but of that betweenity 
that intervened when Gothic declined and Palladian was 
creeping in — rather this is totally naked of either. It has vast 
chambers, aye, vast, such as the nobility of that time delighted 
in and did not know how to furnish. There is a fine bank of 
old oaks in the park over a lake ; nothing else pleased me 

Dr. Johnson visited Chatsworth on at least two occasions. 
Once was in the November of 1772, and, writing to Mrs. 
Thrale, he briefly described the Palace of the Peak as "a very 


fine house." In his honour the fountain was played and the 
cascade opened, but Johnson was not very greatly impressed. 
" I am of my friend's opinion," he said, " that when one has 
seen the ocean, cascades are little things." Twelve years later 
he was at Chatsworth again. This time the Duke and Duchess 
were in residence. " Young Mr. Burke " was staying there as 
their guest, and he "led me," says Johnson in a letter to Sir 
Joshua Reynolds, " very commodiously into a conversation 
with the Duke and Duchess. We had a very good morning. 
The dinner was publick." Johnson was much pleased with 
the attention that was shown him, and says that he was honestly 
pressed to stay. That was at the beginning of September ; on 
December 13th he died. 

Garrick was another welcome visitor at Chatsworth in the 
time of the fourth Duke, who affected the society of actors and 
artistic people. " Remember to come by Derby and Matlock," 
wrote his Grace in 1762. "If you lie at Derby, you may, with 
great ease, be with me by dinner — it is all good road. Re- 
member to come over Rowesley Bridge, so up my grounds, 
which shall be open." When Garrick arrived he found that 
old Quin, the gay bon-vivant veteran of the stage, was one of 
the party, and they had an excellent week, which Garrick 
epitomised as " all mirth, bagatelle, liberty, and a little drinking 
at times." Garrick found the Derbyshire squires of the 
neighbourhood very dull and heavy, and one morning he said 
to the Duke, " Please, your Grace, are the natives to be down on 
us to-day ? " It was a mal-a-propos remark, for there happened 
to be in the room the Rev. Thomas Grove, Vicar of Bakewell, 
who had ridden over to pay his respects to the Duke. The 
parson rose in high dudgeon, left the house, and called no more. 
Some time later the Duke met him and asked why he did not 
call. " Well, well, my Lord Duke," was the reply, " I don't 
like coming while these mountebanks and playfolks are with 

The Duke, who was so very polite to Johnson in 1784, was. 


of course, the fifth Duke, also a William — in fact, the present 
Duke, the eighth, is the first in the line to bear any other 
name. His Duchess was the famous Georgiana, one of the 
greatest of the many great ladies of the eighteenth century. 
Everyone knows how she canvassed for her favourite Fox in 
the Westminster election of 1784, and gave kisses to the free 
and independent electors of Drury Lane in return for promises 
of votes. " If I were God Almighty," cried one of them, " I'd 
make thee Queen of Heaven." Everyone knows too the charm 
of her portrait by Reynolds, where she is dandling her infant 
son on her knees, and the romance attaching to the theft and 
recovery of her portrait by Gainsborough. But Gainsborough's 
despair, as he painted this picture, is not so well known. He 
was satisfied with all but the mouth. Again and again he 
painted it in, and then erased it, until he flung down his 
palette and brushes with the words, " Your Grace is too hard 
for me." We have no space here to give a sketch of her 
fascinating career, but room may be found for a few of the less 
familiar anecdotes connected with her name. One relates to 
Chats worth itself. When, in 1790, an heir to the dukedom 
was born, the Duke gave the Duchess carte blanche to prepare 
Chatsworth for the christening ceremony. She sent to London 
for several artists, and under their direction gave orders for ^ 
the conversion of one suite of rooms into "a complete 
panorama." But while the work was going on Countess 
Spencer, the mother of the Duchess, happened to visit her 
daughter, and, on her return to London, told her son-in-law 
of the enormous expense he was incurring in decorating 
Chatsworth in so fantastic a style. The story goes that 
the Duke immediately posted down to Derbyshire and 
discharged all the panoramic artists on the spot, much to the 
displeasure of the Duchess. The truth is that her Grace found 
Chatsworth rather dull. She moped there if she stayed long. 
"I do not know," wrote Horace Walpole in 1777, "that the 
Duchess of Devonshire has been positively ill. She thought 



her nerves were much affected, but it proved to be only a 
disorder in her spirits, occasioned by her being tired of Chats- 
worth. She is much better since her removal." 

The Duke and Duchess were not a very well- matched pair. 
General Fitzpatrick, one of the gossips of the day, used to say 
that the Duke's love for her grew quite cool a month after 
marriage, and that she had many sighing swains at her feet, 
among them being " poor Fred," the Prince of Wales, who 
chose to believe that she smiled on Lord Grey. But the 
scandal-mongers of the eighteenth century made free with ladies' 
reputations with or without the slightest provocation, and we 
need not pay them much attention. Wraxall, who knew every- 
body and kept a diary, said that " constitutional apathy formed 
the distinguishing characteristic " of the Duke, and the witty 
Mrs. Delany wrote in her most mischievous vein, " Had he 
fallen under the tuition of the late Lord Chesterfield, he might 
have possessed les Graces, but at present only that of the 
dukedom belongs to him." Another pair of very observant 
eyes watched him and the Duchess as they walked arm in arm 
in St. James's Park one Sunday morning in 1776, and what the 
eyes saw a very sprightly hand set down on paper. The Duke, 
according to Fanny Burney, was " ugly, tidy, and grave," and 
looked like " a very mean shopkeeper's journeyman." But 
what of the Duchess Georgiana ? The account is so remarkable 
that we must quote Fanny's own words : — 

" We saw the young and handsome Duchess of Devonshire walking in an 
undressed and slatternly manner. Two of her curls came quite unpinned 
and fell lank on one of her shoulders. One shoe was down at heel ; the 
trimmings of her jacket and coat were in some places unsewn. Her cap was 
awry, and her cloak, which was rusty and powdered, was flung half off and 
half on. Had she not had a servant in a superb livery behind her she 
would certainly have been affronted. Every creature turned back to stare 
at her. Indeed, I think her very handsome, and she has a look of inno- 
cence and artlessness that made me quite sorry she should be so foolishly 
negligent of her person." 

It is an extraordinary picture, 30 utterly unlike the imposing 



Duchess which Gainsborough hmned for the delight of posterity, 
that one finds it difficult to believe that it can have been 
Georgiana at all. But she was an eccentric in her way, and, 
moreover, no one contradicts Fanny Burney. In the following 
year the sprightly Lady Sarah Lennox, writing to Lady Susan 
O'Brien, speaks of " the pretty Duchess of Devonshire, who by 
all accounts has no fault but delicate health in my mind. She 
dines at 7, summer as well as winter, goes to bed at 3 and lies 
in bed till 4. She has hysteric fits in the morning and dances in 
the evening, she bathes, rides, dances for ten days and lies in 
bed the next ten. Indeed, I can't forgive her or rather her 
husband, the fault of ruining her health, though I think she 
may wear ten thousand figaries in her dress without the smallest 

But was she beautiful ? Fanny Burney calls her " very hand- 
some " ; the fashionable critics of the day were inclined to deny 
it. Horace AValpole refused to worship : Wraxall declared 
that her hair was " not without a touch of red." Probably, the 
general verdict was that she was rather fascinating than beauti- 
ful, and her charm lay not so much in the regularity of her 
features as in the vivacity of her expression. The Duchess was 
also a bit of a poetess and a novelist, though her poem on 
Mount Saint Gothard and her novel. The Sylph, have long 
been forgotten. And to all these accomplishments she added 
that of being a gambler. She loved to play faro at Martindale's, 
and her Grace and Martindale used to agree that whatever they 
won from each other should be double or even treble the sum 
that it was called. Sheridan told his friends that he had 
frequently handed the Duchess to her coach when she was 
literally sobbing at her losses, she, perhaps, having lost ;£' 1,500 
when it was only supposed to be ^500. 

One of the quaintest stories about her is to be found in 
Lady Charlotte Campbell's Diary. The Duchess for some 
reason or other wished to change her town house. She looked 
at several but none pleased her. Then she suddenly thought 


that Lord Fife's would suit. So on the spur of the moment 
she drove round to see him. The servants said " not at 
home," but she entered in spite of them— no flunkey dared 
stop the Duchess Georgiana — and found his lordship at late 
breakfast. She began as follows : — " My lord, you were in love 
with me twenty-five years ago, and now I am come to ask a 
favour of you." " Ma'am," was the cool reply, " I admit the 
fact, but a-s I cannot boast of any favour your Grace bestowed 
on me, I don't see what claim you derive from that circum- 
stance." Nevertheless, five minutes afterwards, the Duchess 
carried her point and Lord t'ife turned out within the week. 
The Duchess' popularity was extraordinary ; even Pigott, the 
author of The Female Jockey Club — a highly libellous collection 
of character-sketches of the leading ladies of English society — 
had no fault to find in her. " Li a word," he says, " were the 
constitution of society in this country to have been reformed 
by the example of one individual, this lovely woman was born 
to accomplish it." When she died in 1806, the Prince of 
Wales said to Fox, " We have lost the best bred woman in 
England." Fox's reply vvfas superb. " ^Ve have lost," he said, 
" the kindest heart." The Duke, according to Lady Charlotte 
Campbell, " cried bitterly and incessantly for a week before her 
death," and the diarist added, " Poor thing, with all her faults 
she was very ardently loved by her friends, who severely felt 
her loss." 

Three years later, in 1809, the widowed Duke married Lady 
Elizabeth Foster, who had been the intimate friend and 
inseparable companion of the Duchess Georgiana. It was a 
curious friendship, much commented on by the gossips of the 
day, for Lady Elizabeth's reputation — she was a daughter of 
Lord Hervey, Bishop of Bristol, and had been married when 
very young to a disreputable Irish M.P. — was far from good. 
It was, indeed, openly stated that she was the mistress of the 
Duke of Devonshire himself, and there were extraordinary 
rumours afloat to the effect that the Duchess Georgiana's infant 

X 2 

3o8 AN OLD SCANDAL chap. 

son was not her child at all but the child of the Duke and 
Lady Elizabeth Foster. All the more remarkable, therefore, that 
the two ladies should maintain their friendship unbroken to 
the end. Lady Elizabeth was a most beautiful woman with 
classical features ; she had also great mental accomplishments 
and exquisite artistic taste. When the Duke died in 18 ii the 
Duchess went to Hve in Rome, where she held a court of her 
own, was the patroness of the sculptors Thorwaldsen and 
Canova, published a magnificent folio edition of the Aeneid, 
and had the old Cardinal de Bernis in constant attendance. 
But she lived to become a hollow ruin and a painted mask, 
and died unlamented in 1824. This was the Lady EHzabeth 
to whom Gibbon, the historian, once made a grotesque 
avowal of love. He had been reading to her, one summer 
morning, the concluding chapters of his Decline and Fall, in a 
clematis-covered arbour, and when she expressed her admira- 
tion at the close, he slid down before her on his knees, clasped 
her hands and declared his passion. The lady was so 
surprised and then so diverted at the spectacle of the fat 
historian of The Decline and Fall on his knees, that she went 
off into peals of laughter. Gibbon tried to rise, but failed. 
His huge bulk was too unwieldy, and in the end her ladyship 
had to ring for a footman to come to his assistance. Mr. 
Gibbon, she said, had slipped from his chair. 

The sixth Duke William, who never married, died in 1858. 
He has many titles to remembrance — his love of building, his 
love of books, his love of magnificence. It was he who in 
1 81 5 invited Tom Moore to spend a week at Chatsworth. 
Moore was naturally very much pleased at the invitation but 
was rather doubtful about accepting it. " I do not think I 
shall go," he wrote to his friend Rogers. " I have no servant 
to take with me, and my hat is shabby, and the seams of my 
best coat are beginning to look white and — in short, if a man 
cannot step on equal ground with these people he had much 
better keep out of their way. I can meet them on pretty fair 


terms at a dinner or ball, but a whole week in the same house 
with them detects the poverty of a man's ammunition 
deplorably .... At the same time I think the Duke one of 
the civillest persons in the whole peerage." However, it is 
clear that Moore really wanted to go, and so he sent off post 
haste to his London tailor an order for a new coat. One can 
imagine the wrath that shook his little cottage when the coat 
came and did not fit. " I have been obliged," he writes to his 
mother, " to have an Ashbourne bungler at me " ; that is to say, 
the local tailor. Arrived at Chatsworth, he found there the 
Morpeths — the Duke's eldest sister, Georgiana, had married 
Lord Morpeth — the Boringdons, the Jerseys, the Harrowbys, 
and a host of other lords and ladies, himself being almost the 
only " common rascal " among them. He enjoyed himself 
exceedingly, " snatched a moment from the whirl of lords and 
ladies to write a scrambling line to his mother," and says, " I 
could have wished Bessy were here, but that I know that she 
would not have been comfortable." Bessy, perhaps, was better 
at Mayfield. 

Eleven years later, in 1829, Charles Greville, the diarist, 
described a Chatsworth house-party, of which he formed one, 
when forty guests sate down to dinner every day and about 
a hundred and fifty servants in the steward's room and the 
servants' hall. There were the Lievens, the Cowpers, the 
Granvilles, the Wharncliffes, the Granthams, the Wiltons, the 
Stanleys, the Belfasts, the Newboroughs, the Dawsons, the 
Clanwilliams, the Ansons, and others. " Nothing," says 
Greville, himself a distant connection of the Duke, " could 
be more agreeable from the gaiety of numbers and the entire 
liberty which prevails. All the resources of the house, horses, 
carriages, keepers, etc., are placed at the disposal of the guests 
and everybody does what they like best. In the evening they 
acted charades or danced, and there was plenty of eairtc and 
whist, high and low." One of the charades of this particular 
house-party was a good deal talked about. News had come 


of the opening of peace negotiations between Russia and 
Turkey, then at war, and to celebrate the event — which re- 
sulted in the Peace of Adrianople — the word Constantinople 
was chosen to be acted as a charade. A tableau representing 
Penelope and her suitors stood for " Constant," a tavern scene 
for " inn," and a scene from Anne of Geierstein for " opal." 
The final tableau represented a Russian victory over the 
Turks, with Lord Morpeth as Diebitsch laying a cross of 
laurels at the foot of the fascinating Madame de Lieven. 

Greville was again at Chatsworth in 1843, after the Duke 
had added the new wing to the house. The diarist was not 
altogether satisfied with the transformation which had taken 
place. " Chatsworth," he writes, "is very magnificent, but I 
look back with regret to the house in its unfinished state, when 
we lived in three spacious, cheerful rooms looking to the 
south, which are now quite useless, being gorgeously fur- 
nished with velvet and silk and marble tables, but unoccupied, 
and the windows closed lest the sun should spoil the finery 
with which the apartments are decorated. The comfort we 
had there has been ill exchanged for the magnificence which 
has replaced it, and the Duke has made the house so large 
that he cannot afford to Hve in it, and never remains there for 
more than two or three months in the year." The rebuilding 
of Chatsworth was not the only example of the sixth Duke's 
magnificence, for when he was the special envoy of the King 
of England at the coronation of the Tsar Nicholas I. at 
Moscow, his gorgeous entertainments were the talk of Europe. 
It was this Duke, too, who bought for Chatsworth most of the 
literary treasures, which its Hbrary now possesses, and much 
of the sculpture which adorns its galleries. Of the guests 
who, during the last fifty years, have enjoyed the far-famed 
Cavendish hospitality we will not speak. There must be many 
an amusing and interesting anecdote awaiting publication in 
memoirs and diaries which have not yet seen the light. 
Probably no visitors' book in any country house in Europe 


contains a list of names so varied and distinguished as that at 

Chatsworth figures in what, by general consent of the best 
critics, is the masterpiece of one of the best of English 
authoresses. It is the Pemberley of Jane Austen's Pride and 
Prejudice. The novel was written in 1796-97, but the 
description is close and the identification is still easy. The 
heroine, the charming Elizabeth Bennett, was taken by her 
uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, on a tour in Derby- 
shire. They saw Matlock and Dovedale — unfortunately no 
detail is given — and then, while on their way to Lambton, 
Mrs. Gardiner expressed a desire to revisit Pemberley, which 
is described as being about two miles off the direct route. 
Lambton is obviously Bakewell — indeed, in one place the 
novelist makes what looks like a slip, and lets out the real 
name. The party entered Chatsworth from the Beeley side. 
There is mention of the sudden turn in the road near Edensor, 
the drop down to the bridge, the high woods behind the house 
and the stables at the rear, the river, partly natural, partly 
artificial, and the ten miles circuit of the park. Another touch 
of local colour is Mr. Darcy's invitation to Mr. Gardiner to 
fish in his waters. How Elizabeth was shown over the house 
— trembling, as Miss Austen's heroines always tremble, lest 
she should meet the owner — and was suddenly confronted by 
Darcy, who was not expected till the morrow, how she went for 
a walk with her uncle and aunt in the woods, and then saw 
Darcy following, and how she was happy and timorous at the 
same time, and all in the prettiest way — these things readers 
must find out for themselves in Pride and Prejudice. If they 
have read and forgotten, let them read it again. Disraeli 
owned to having read it from cover to cover no fewer than 
seventeen times ! 

Baslow Bridge. 



Om the border of Chatsworth Park stands Baslow, a pretty 
village of some importance. Despite its distance from the 
railway, it is one of the best touring centres for this side of the 
county, for it lies within easy walking distance of Rowsley, 
Bakewell, Ashford, Eyam, Grindleford Bridge, Hathersage, 
and the noble moors, whose fine edges overhang the Der- 
went Valley from Baslow to the Vale of Hope. Moreover, 
its situation is delightful on a pretty reach of the Derwent and 
the lower slopes of the hill which mounts up to the moor, . 
while the whole demesne of Chatsworth is its immediate 
neighbour. The village is curiously divided in twain. At 
the Bridge End the Derwent is spanned by a humped 
bridge, still steep and placed at an awkward angle to the 
road, yet much steeper in the old days, as one can see 
from the curious stone toll shelter on the left bank, the floor 


of which is evidently higher than it used to be. The church 
stands by the side of the stony bed of the river, here 
pleasantly overhung with trees, a typical Derbyshire church, 
with not ungraceful spire. It was restored some half century 
ago by ruthless hands, which swept away nearly everything that 
was old, save a few ancient sepulchral stones and a heavy 
whip, which the dog-whipper plied on stray curs if they 
ventured within the precincts. Near the church is the 
principal part of the village ; many of the houses still preserve 
their picturesque thatch, and the little place wears an air of 
prosperity. The other half of the village lies on the Bar 
Brook, near the entrance gates to Chatsworth, with one or two 
picturesque old inns and a variety of other hostelries, which 
are the goal of the Sheffield and Chesterfield brakes that daily 
cross the moors to Baslow in the summer time. They did the 
same fifty years ago, as a Sheffield poet, Mr. John Hall, bore 
witness in tolerable rhyme : — 

" Here, when the bees begin to hum 

And orchards are all white with bloom, 

And blackbirds, piping through the air, 

The genial time of Spring declare ; 

Reminded then of thy dear charms 

The town lets loose its busy swarms, 

Who long confined in noisome smoke 

Through dreary Winter's tedious yoke, 

Like captive birds escaped, take wing 

To sound the first glad notes of Spring. 

A motley group, of every age, 

From laughing youth to manhood sage, 

Merchants, mechanics, men of trade,' 

Professionals of every grade, 

With clerks and shopmen, and their chosen 

Wives and sweethearts by the dozen, 

In open britska, shay or drag, 

Or hired gig with doubtful nag, 

From Owler's heathered heights they conic, 

To thy sweet vale, Elysium ! 

And through a lengthened Summer's day 

Here pass their joyful holiday." 


And Elysium is hardly too big a. word to apply to the green 
valley in which Baslow lies so prettily, if you have come over 
the wild bleak moors either from Sheffield or Chesterfield. 

From Baslow it is a pleasant afternoon's ramble to visit the 
familiar landmark of Longstone Edge, which stretches across 
from the Wye, near Cressbrook Dale, to the Derwent at 
Calver, some five miles in length and rising to nearly thirteen 
hundred feet at its highest point. It has no outstanding 
feature, no masses of picturesque stone on the skyline ; 
Longstone Edge is set simply, yet with imposing dignity, as 
the northern boundary of the valley which is at its broadest 
towards Ashford, and narrows towards Longstone and Hassop. 
We cross the Derwent at Baslow Bridge and turn to the right 
along the road that leads past the weir. In a few hundred 
yards we come to Bubnell Grange, an old twin-gabled house of 
the ordinary Derbyshire pattern, and then, on the left hand, 
reach a retired clough or coomb, more like a fold in the 
Sussex Downs, which bears the name of Bramwell Dale from 
the farm house lying ahead of us. The further slope and 
crest of its neat pastures are covered with, a delightful wood, 
that fits like a saddle lo its side. Through this wood runs a 
lane, over which the trees interlace their branches and afford 
cool shade even in the hottest of summer suns, ere it emerges 
into another narrow valley, with Calver a short mile away on 
the right, and Froggatt Edge high above it on the other side 
of Derwent. Across this valley rises Longstone Edge, and the 
old road from Bakewell to Sheffield, through Hassop, Calver, 
and Grindleford Bridge, runs at its foot, lined on either side 
by trees which form an exquisite avenue. I could find no one 
who knew when or by whom these trees were planted. Yet 
the man who had the thought and the will to set such gracious 
trees to transform a bare road into a thing of beauty deserves 
the kindliest remembrance. Nowadays trees are rarely planted 
— they are not utilitarian ; they have a trick of throwing down 
the stone walls with their roots. But the difference ! 


Let us cross the road to a gate opposite and mount upwards 
along a rough cart track, first by the side of a plantation, then 
out in the open again, keeping throughout by the wall side. 
Soon we begin to get a noble view, which gives us the valleys 
of Wye and Derwent together, and enables us to combine in 
the same fair landscape both Bakewell and Chatsworth, the top 
of whose great conservatory glows and glances like a mirror. 
Yonder is the spire of Edensor and the village of Pilsley, which 
looks so important and obvious as soon as one gets up among 
the hills, but hides itself so effectively when one is down in the 
plain. On the right we have Bakewell and its spire, and below 
us the dark green woods of Hassop. Our way lies towards the 
clump of trees on the summit, but before we reach it we turn 
through a gate on the left hand along a wider track. One of the 
stone posts of this gate is an old road stone. Tidswall Road is 
the legend on one side, with the date 1737 below it ; and on 
the other three sides are to be read Sheffield Road, Chester- 
field Road, and Ashbourne Road. It has suffered much 
ill-usage. The iron catch for the gate has been driven 
ruthlessly into it ; it has been roughly gashed on the top, 
and alien letters have been deeply incised — capital letters 
designed to serve as parish boundary marks. It is a pity, 
for these stones can never be replaced. What would 
not antiquaries give for a complete set of milestones from one 
of the Roman roads? As it is, only one or two survive in 
fragments. But on many English high roads even the mile- 
stones of the coaching days have vanished in recent years, for 
no reason save that of wanton destruction. If the authorities 
must put up their iron monstrosities, they might at least leave 
the ancient stones to the slow processes of senile decay. This 
stone is not in situ, for there never was a main road over this hill- 
side, and the mention of distant Ashbourne is also curious, 
unless it be due to the fact that in 1737 all civil cases relating 
to this part of Derbyshire were tried at Tutbury, and Ash- 
bourne stood as a sort of synonym for London and the south. 
Possibly it originally stood at the cross roads at Calver or 


Barbrook Mill, and the Ashbourne direction was taken to 
include the direction to Bakewell. 

Below the clump of trees, where the path begins to dip, turn 
up the hillside again by a cart track, leading past a disused 
limekiln, towards Bleaklow Farm — the only human habitation 
on the edge. At the back of the farm a track winds among 
the unsightly heaps of tailings from the disused lead mines 
which cover the entire face of this rising ground. Here I fell 
in with an old man, busy repairing a stone wall, who told 
me that he was one of the last survivors of the lead miners in 
the district. Eighteen shillings a week, he said, had been the 
most he had ever earned in a lead mine — three shillings a day 
was the regular wage, and the men worked in shifts of eight 
hours each. That was at the Lady Wash mine above Eyam, 
where expensive machinery had been put down, and this was 
among the last to relinquish the struggle against the influx of 
cheap Spanish ore. The chimney towards which he pointed 
across the valley is still a prominent landmark for miles around. 
He considered eighteen shillings a week a good wage, though 
he had earned as much as forty-five in a colliery, and he regretted 
the extinction of Derbyshire's staple industry. For extinct it 
practically is, except for the one great mine in Darley Dale 
and very few others, and no man now brings up his son to 
be a lead-miner. As for the limestone tailings which litter 
the ground, it only remains for them to be carted away and 
shipped to America and elsewhere, to be used in the processes of 
the mysterious manufacture which is keeping so many horses and 
carts and even motor wagons busy on the roads to the Derby- 
shire railway stations with their loads of what once was useless 

As you thread your way through the mounds look out 
for a little cairn of stones — in a field on your right hand — 
which marks the highest point hereabouts. The view it affords 
is totally different from that which we have had towards the 
south. Here we look over an undulating plateau, covered with 


heather and gorse but quite without trees and shade, save the 
woods above Eyam, and one or two little oases of dark green 
which mark the hamlets of Foolow and Wardlow. We look, 
indeed, straight across Middleton Dale to Eyam Edge and 
Hucklow Edge. The whitewashed house standing almost 
solitary midway along the ridge is the tiny alehouse at Bretton. 
Tideswell we cannot see, it is hidden in its hollow to the left ; 
but on the right the church tower of Eyam is visible and the 
deep cleft of Stony Middleton. It is a thoroughly Derby.shire 
prospect, which makes us appreciate the more the softer scene 
which discloses itself as we resume our way and find the edge 
dipping before us, when again we face towards the south. 
Here we command the Longstone valley, with Great Long- 
stone in the centre and Little Longstone and Headstones 
Head a mile to the right. Just beyond Headstones Head, 
where we can see the cleft which we know to mark the course 
of the ^\'ye, Fin Cop rises out of the plain, more like a promon- 
tory of the sea than an inland hill. For it ascends field by 
field in the regular smooth ascent of an inclined plane and 
then suddenly breaks short in curving outline at the edge. 
Monsal Dale lies below that graceful bend. 

We join a road which has come over the moor from Ward- 
low and Foolow. For half-a-mile this runs along the side of 
the edge, gently dropping all the way, and giving us the con- 
tinued pleasure of a noble view. Then it suddenly turns at 
right angles and tumbles headlong down to Great Longstone. 

This is a straggling place, of no particular distinction, whose 
chief attraction is a row of magnificent elms reaching from the 
corner of the village green to the gates of Longstone Hall, 
where they join a short avenue of approach to the fine red- 
brick house, covered with ivy and creepers. The Hall, which 
is about a century and a half old, was built to take the place 
of an older house which, save that it was rather larger, was 
a replica of Eyam Hall. Indeed, both houses belonged to 
the Wrights of Longstone, one of the oldest of Derbyshire 


families, who, as the Court Rolls of the Manor of Ashford 
testify, were resident in the district as far back as the tenth cen- 
tury, and were probably the parent stock of the many well- 
known branches of the Wrights which have obtained distinc- 
tion in the Midland counties. They have their memorials 
in the church close by, and if other tablets show that Long- 
stone Hall was associated for a time with alien names, that 
is because for half a century the ^Vrights migrated to 
Devonshire and the Hall was let. They returned in 1870 
to their ancient hearth. 

Longstone Church, which hes close to the Hall, was restored 
thirty years ago with a praiseworthy determination to retain all 
that was worth retention. So the old oak beams of the roof in 
the nave and aisles have been suffered to remain as they were, 
and have not been improved away. In the nave is a tablet 
to the memory of Dr. Edward Buxton, who died in 1822 at the 
age of seventy-five. He had been in practice in Bakewell but 
had retired to Longstone. Then in 1820 "a long, epidemical 
contagion " broke out. The old Doctor did not sit at home 
with folded hands. He girded on his harness once more, and 
put himself and his talents at the service of the suffering, with- 
out asking a fee. Let me quote from the tablet. " His pro- 
fessional abilities, ever ready to assist the poor and the needy, 
showed particularly conspicuous during a long epidemical con- 
tagion which in the year 1820 afflicted this village, when his 
gratuitously administering relief to soothe and subdue the exist- 
ing woe strongly testified his goodness of heart." The contagion 
in question was typhus fever, which visited every house in 
Great Longstone except the bootmaker's next to the present 
Post Office. Not a single person died in the village itself, 
though there were two deaths up at Bleaklow Farm on the 
edge, where one would have thought the air too pure for the 
typhus germs to exist. Dr. Buxton's remedy was a curious one, 
for he prescribed not physic but " wort " — that is to say, new 
beer before the processes of fermentation are complete — and to 


obtain this in sufficient quantities beer was brewed every day 
at the Church Lane Farm, then occupied by a Mr. Gregory. 
In 1904 there was still living in Great Longstone a nonagenarian 
survivor of the " epidemical contagion " of 1820, active and well 
enough to live by herself and tend to her own wants. 

At the east end of the south aisle is a black oak parclose 
containing several memorials bearing the names of the Eyres 
of Hassop. The best is a fine brass, dated 1624, showing 
Rowland Eyre and Gartrelle, his wife, kneeling in prayer at 
two separate desks. The parclose has two doors with wooden 
locks, and the carving shows the familiar leg and spur of the 
Eyre crest. According to the story, an ancestor of the Eyres 
fought by the side of William the Conqueror at Hastings and 
opened the visor of the Norman's helmet at an opportune 
moment, when he was gasping for breath. The Duke asked him 
his name and was told that it was " Truelove," to which he 
made reply, " True love thou hast shown me, but henceforth thy 
name shall be Eyre, for thou has given me air." Later in the 
day on inquiring for his new friend he found that he had lost a 
leg, and promptly gave him the missing limb for his crest with 
the promise of many manors. It sounds a more than usually silly 
story, but it seems to possess the sanction of great antiquity. 

The Eyres, whose memorials adorn Longstone Church, dwelt 
at the neighbouring hall of Hassop, set in a charming park 
along the road from Longstone to Baslow. This Hassop estate 
belonged originally to the Foljambes — whom we met at 
Tideswell — was then carried by marriage into the Plumpton 
family, and sold in 1498 to Catherine, widow of Stephen Eyre 
of Hassop, a younger son of the Eyres of Padley. It remained 
in the possession of the Eyres down to the death of the 
Countess of Newburgh — a. Countess suo Jure — in 1853. Much 
romance and mystery attach to the Earldom of Newburgh, and 
much litigation has arisen out of the Hassop estate. It would 
require a volume to tell the story in full ; here we will be content 
with a few of the salient points. The actual connection between 


Hassop and the Earldom of Newburgh did not begin until 1814, 
when Mr. Francis Eyre of Hassop assumed the title as the sixth 
Earl of Newburgh, through his mother, Lady Mary Radclyffe. 
She was the younger daughter of the third Countess(suojure)viho 
had married en secondes noces Charles Radclyffe, second son of an 
Earl of Derwentwater. Ardent Jacobites, both father and son 
fought at the battle of Preston in 17 15 and were taken prisoners. 
The father was executed, the son managed to escape to the Con- 
tinent, where in 1 731, on the death of his nephew, he assumed 
the title, though it had been declared attainted. In 1 745 he was 
caught in a ship off Dover while bound for Scotland — evidently 
to join Prince Charlie — and was executed in the Tower in 1 746 
on the death sentence which had been passed upon him in 
absence thirty years before. His son, the fourth Earl, saw all his 
estates confiscated in favour of Greenwich Hospital and the fifth 
Earl died without heir in 18 14. 

The Earldom of Newburgh reverted, therefore, to the 
descendants of Lady Ann Clifford, daughter of the third 
Countess by her first marriage. She was indisputably repre- 
sented by an Italian, Prince Giustiniani, who, being an alien, 
could not assume the title. Consequently, it was taken for 
granted that the succession devolved upon the representatives 
of the daughter of the third Countess by her second marriage, 
that is to say, upon the own sister of the fourth Earl. This 
was Lady Mary Radclyffe, who had married Francis Eyre of 
Hassop, and their son succeeded to the title and estates, 
vvithout challenge. He styled himself the sixth Earl and was 
succeeded by his son, the seventh Earl, who died s.p. in 1833. 
The eighth Earl, his younger brother, succeeded and died 
unmarried in 1852, and his sister then became Countess in 
her own right. She had married, in 1836, Colonel Charles 
LesHe, and died childless in 1853. This Colonel Leslie was 
an old Peninsular veteran, who carried to his grave a bullet in 
the leg which he got at the Battle of Albuera, and inherited 
under his wife's will the whole of the Hagsop estates, which 


are still in the possession of his family. To the earldom, of 
course, he had no claim whatever. The will was made by the 
Countess when she was on her deathbed, when, in fact, she 
was almost moribund. A mounted messenger had been sent 
off in hot haste in the early hours of the morning to fetch the 
doctor from Baslow, and the Countess was sinking when he 
arrived. \Vhen they told him that a solicitor was on the way 
down from London to make the will, he warned them that, if 
they waited, the Countess would probably be dead before he 
came. So the will was hurriedly drawn up — leaving the estate 
to her husband, with special remainder to her stepson and his 
second son — and the dying Countess had but just sufficient 
strength to sign. It was a very close thing for Colonel Leslie ! 

The principal claimant to the Earldom of Newburgh was a 
Mr. Cadman, of Sheffield, who declared that he was descended 
from the Hon. Charlotte Radclyffe and a certain George 
Goodwin, whom she married at Hope in 1747. But the 
registers at Hope have been mutilated, and the pages con- 
taining the entries between September 1745 and August 1748 
are missing. These registers, at the beginning of the nine- 
teenth century, were in the custody of a parish clerk, who kept 
a public house, and was always ready to produce them for the 
inspection of any inquisitive stranger. It is practically certain 
that the registers were not tampered with until the line of the 
Newburghs looked like failing, and it is more than a curious 
coincidence that there are mutilations in the registers at 
Longstone, Hathersage, Eastwell, Banbury, Wirksworth, and 
Lichfield covering the years in which it is known that there 
were entries relating to the Eyres ! Consequently, strong 
suspicions were current in Derbyshire half a century ago that 
someone had not been playing the game. 

A second claimant — this time to the Hassop estates, not to 
the earldom— was Mr. Gladwin Cloves Cave, who, in the early 
'eighties, came over from Australia and flustered quiet little 
Hassop by taking forcible possession of the Hall. He claimed 


that the will made by Dorothy Leslie, nee Eyre, in 1853 was 
invalid, because her brother, the eighth Earl of Newburgh 
whom she had succeeded, had settled the estates in favour 
of his mother's sisters, nees Gladwin, from whom Mr. Cave 
was descended. But this deed of settlement was never 
forthcoming, and judgment in the Courts went against the 
claimant, who was by special injunction restrained from further 
trespass on the Hassop estates. It has also been held that the 
assumption of the Earldom of Newburgh by Thomas Eyre and 
Francis Eyre between 1827 and 1852 was entirely without 
warrant. In 1857 Maria Bandini Giustiniani was naturalised 
in Great Britain, and her claim to be Countess of Newburgh 
was allowed in 1858. At her death in 1877 she was succeeded 
by her son as eighth Earl, who was created Prince Giustiniani 
by Pio Nono. 

We have spoken of the unfortunate Earls of Derwentwater 
who suffered in the Stuart cause ; part of the red baize from 
the scaffold of the second Earl is still preserved at Hassop 
Hall, and faded crimson stains tell of the purpose which it served. 
Not only the Radclyffes but also the Eyres were staunch for 
the Stuarts. The latter were up to the eyes in the rebellion 
of the '45, and a century before in the Civil War Hassop 
Hall had been garrisoned for the King. Its owner. Colonel 
Thomas Eyre, raised a troop in 1642, fought in hand-to-hand 
encounter with Cromwell at Edgehill, distinguished himself at 
Welbeck and the siege of Newark, and, after Naseby, was taken 
prisoner near Derby and thrown into Derby gaol, where he 
died in 1645 of wounds and neglect. 

Mcorseats^ Hathersage. 



The path to the moor at Baslow Hes straight up the hill 
from the church, past the grounds of the Grand Hotel and 
the houses beyond. But much the pleasanter way is to turn 
in at the back of the hotel and, in a few yards, climb to the 
top path of the Yeld wood, which lines the slope above the 
Sheffield road. It rises gently and, on running out into the 
open, bears leftwards into the narrow sandy road, which 
ascends more steeply past the quarry and soon reaches 
the level plateau of the moor. A little to the right is 
the Wellington Monument, a shaft of cut stones some ten 
feet high and placed on the top of a big boulder. This was 
set up in 1866 as a balance to the Nelson monument on 
the opposite height, and also as a record of the Iron Duke's 
visit to the moor when the guest of the Duke of Rutland. 
This point commands a lovely view down the valley of the 
Derwent over Chatsworth Park. Edensor is hidden, but its 
spire is visible among the trees, and the whole valley looks, 
and indeed is, one delightful pleasaunce. Far away in the 
distance one can see the white smoke from the trains at 

V 2 

324 BASLOW EDGE chap. 

Rowsley below the Stanton Woods, which block the end of 
the valley, and midway we get the curving dips of the hills on 
either side which project down into the vale, and seem wishful to 
cleave it in twain on the further confines of Chatsworth 
Park. The high wooded ground at the back of Chatsworth is 
dwarfed by the overhanging moors. Up the valley at our feet 
runs the Sheffield road, dominated on the opposite side by 
Gardom's Edge. This looks tolerably smooth in most lights, 
but towards evening the black rocks disclose their rugged ourtine. 
The road flows on like a white dusty riband, and the long strings 
of Sheffield waggonettes and brakes crawl slowly up it when 
night falls and the blare of the horn and the song of the 
holiday-maker float up to the moor. We can watch them 
climb the toilsome ascent till the road winds out of sight on 
the left, curving round towards the keeper's lonely cottage, 
which stands as gaunt sentinel on the sky-line. 

It is a pleasant walk along the turfy drive — the moor belongs 
to the Duke of Rutland and is carefully preserved — to where 
it issues in a by-lane, a hundred yards or so from the main 
road. This by-lane was once the principal line of traffic 
between Chesterfield and Manchester, through Grindleford and 
Chapel. You can see it cross the Sheffield road and strike 
over the lower spur of the rising ground, no broader than the 
wide green tracts at its sides, as it runs to join the Chester- 
field road at a lone farm named Bleak House. Returning to 
the Wellington Monument and then bearing to the right, 
we pass in a hundred yards a solitary monolith rising 
from the heather. This is the Eagle Stone, or, more pro- 
perly, the Aigle Stone, so called, it is conjectured, from the 
Saxon deity who could throw stones which mere men could not 
move. A similar stone at Studland, near Bournemouth, is 
called the Agle Stone, and Anvil Stone and Andle Stone 
are other variants of what is evidently the same name. 
Thence the path goes forward— too far from the edge to afford 
any view on the left side — until it reaches a cleft in the rocks. 
Here the rough, narrow road, of which we spoke above 

xxii CURBAR EDGE 325 

reappears and drops down to Curbar and the Derwent Valley, 
and here too an entirely new prospect greets us. Chatsworth is 
shut out, but in its stead we see a gently rising upland across 
the Derwent with the village of Calver at the foot of the slope, 
and to the right the limestone gorge of Stony Middleton. 
Still higher on the right are the roofs of Eyam and above these 
again are Eyam Edge and Eyam Moor. Below us is Curbar, a 
grey little village with a stranded look, while the Derwent 
twists at right angles from its general course under the stone 
bridge by the weir. But pleasant as is this view it is not to 
be compared with the one that is obtained by crossing the road 
and following along the next edge to a tumbled cairn of 
stones. Just beyond, a group of huge rocks, flat-topped and 
chasm-divided, faces perpendicularly down to the valley. One 
of the largest of these has depressions in its surface, of varying 
depth, but all curiously rounded. These I found full of water 
from the rain of the day before and, as the wind came racing 
over the valley, it agitated these tiny pools till the water lapped 
and fretted like a fairy sea. There is always a breeze on 
Curbar Edge, and if any wind at all be stirring it will smite 
your face here with furious buffeting till the view quivers 
before your eyes like a picture in a biograph. Here we regain 
Chatsworth Park and the whole lovely vista down to Rowsley, 
while on the right the Derwent valley has opened out and we 
begin to see up stream to Grindleford and catch glimpses of 
the peaks and ridges above and beyond Hathersage. Nothing 
mars the delights of the scene. Even the mills of Calver and 
the ruined mining chimneys blend into the picture, and the 
smoke from the kilns of Stony Middleton turns into blue, 
mysterious haze. 

Curbar Edge suggested to Mr. William Watson one of his 
finest sonnets. Night on Curbar Edge : — 

' ' No echo of man's life pursues my ears ; 
Nothing disputes this desolation's reign ; 
Change comes not, this dread temple to profane, 
Where time by EEons reckons, not liy years. 

326 THE FOX HOUSE INN chap. 

Its patient form one crag, sole stranded, rears, 
Type of whate'er is destined to remain, 
While yon still host encamped on night's waste plain 
Keeps armed watch, a million quivering spears. 
" Hushed are the wild and wing'd lives of the moor, 
The sleeping sheep nestle 'neath ruined wall 
Or unhewn stones in random concourse hurled ; 
Solitude, sleepless, listens at Fate's door ; 
And there is built and 'stablisht over all 
Tremendous silence, older than the world. " 

The reference to the " .sole stranded crag " is evidently to the 
Eagle Stone on Basldw Edge, but the name Curbar Edge is 
often applied to the whole edge from above Froggatt to the 
Wellington Monument. 

As we resume our way, the path begins to drop, but with 
very gradual descent, and, >loth to quit the edge, affords a 
continual succession of delightful views. Then it bends gently 
towards the right, and as the valley narrows we see the 
Chatsworth demesne no more, while Stony Middleton and 
Eyam are blotted out of sight by the Stokemoor AVood, facing 
Stoke Hall. High above is the chimney of the New Engines 
Mine, on the fringe of Eyam Moor, looking from here more 
like some pillar or obelisk, and the road from Eyam to 
Grindleford comes slanting down the hill, after making its sharp 
turn at right angles a mile and a half out of Eyam. Below 
are Grindleford Bridge, one of the best known of Derwent's 
many bridges, and the station of the Dore and Chinley line. 

Our path leads us out into a second Sheffield road which has 
come up the Derwent valley under the edges, and we follow it 
up the hill to the right for a brisk half-hour's walk, around the 
head of the inlet- valley, where stands Longshawe, a " shooting 
box " — so dukes call their smaller country seats — of the Duke 
of Rutland. Above it is the Fox House Inn, a famous 
roadside house with oriel windows, situated at the junction 
where the road splits rectangularly. But it is a long climb up 
to the Fox House, with little reward in the way of scenery save 
the backward view across to Eyam Moor, where the by-lane 


from Hucklow Edge and Eyam Edge over Sir William Hill 
drops down as sheei- as a plummet. " Pleasuring parties " from 
Sheffield throng this road in summer, else it has lost most of 
its traffic. The new railway destroyed the carrying trade, on 
which, until ten years ago, Eyam and the Vale of Hope 
depended for supplies. It has driven to their final haven the 
old carrier carts and 'buses which jogged regularly into Sheffield 
so many times a week. As I walked up the hill I fell into 
conversation with a man carting stone from Eyam to the 
Toad's Mouth who had driven one of these 'buses for twenty- 
two years. Nor did he seem greatly to mind that the railway 
had robbed him of his occupation. It had cheapened, he 
said, the price of coals ; he still had a horse and cart to drive, 
and I dare say the pace of his old 'bus was not much more 
than that of his stone cart as it creaked and grumbled up the 
steep ascent. 

From the Fox House let us take the road to Hathersage, 
passing in a few yards on the left the main road leading down 
to Grindleford Bridge. In a short half-mile we reach Burbage 
Bridge, a solidly banked-up structure at a turn of the road 
thrown across a pretty little mountain stream flowing down 
from the moor. Twenty yards beyond is the Toad's Mouth, a 
curiously-shaped rock piled up on another big boulder, not 
unlike the gaping mouth of a squatting toad. An eye has 
been added by some sportive artist to emphasise the likeness. 
The wild expanses of the Burbage and Hathersage Moors on 
the right hand rise to the edge of Higgar Tor, over fourteen 
hundred feet above sea level, whose massive and fantastic 
boulders show grandly against the sky line. Between Higgar 
Tor and the road are the remains of an ancient British 
fortified place, several acres in extent, known as the Caerl 
^Vark. The name explains itself — given by a later generation 
to the handiwork of men of an earlier race. We have seen it 
in the place-name Calton, wliich is really Caerlton, on the high 
ground above Edensor, and not far from where we now are 
is a large rock, fashioned like a chair with a step for the feet. 

328 SURPRISE VIEW chap. 

which bears the name of Cair's Chair. Higgar Tor itself^so 
we are told by those who are wise in such recondite and 
doubtful matters— means the Hill of God. The Caerl Wark is 
unquestionably one of the most important prehistoric camps 
in England, and the general plan of the work can easily be 
traced. For at the summit of the little hill is a rocky platform, 
some six hundred feet long, presenting on three sides an almost 
vertical scarp, roughly filled in with masonry. An earthen 
rampart, faced with big unhewn stones, was built across the 
neck of land connecting the platform with the rising ground in 
the west, and the fortress was as complete as the hands of its 
builders could make it. 

From Burbage Bridge the road turns sharply to the south-west 
and runs in a direct line to Surprise View, with barren wastes 
on either hand, save for the woods about Longshawe, whose 
handsome front comes well into view. Ten thousand acres of 
moorland are attached to Longshawe, one of the best sporting 
estates in the country, on which the sixth Duke of Rutland — 
the fox-hunting Duke — lavished large sums of money and laid 
out twenty miles of drives. The road rises a little, passing 
midway upon the left a sunken track leading across to the 
Grindleford road. Then we reach the famous Millstone Edge 
Nick, known far and wide as the Surprise View, where the road 
turns at right angles to the right and leads down into Hathersage. 
As we mount to the top of the rock through which the road 
has been cut the whole delightful scene is spread before us. 
We are standing on the extremity of Millstone Edge, a flanking 
outpost, as it were, of Stanage Edge, running high up across 
the Hathersage Moor to High Neb and Moscar. At a lower 
level the open ground above Hathersage proper carries the eye 
along towards Bamford Edge and Lady Bower, and the distant 
heights of Derwent Edge. We cannot see into Derwent Dale, but 
Crook Hill, in the fork of the Ashop and the Derwent, is plain 
before us, and the ever-present Win Hill. From AVin Hill to Lose 
Hill, from Lose Hill to Mam Tor at the back of Castleton, and 


then round to the lesser heights of Eyam Moor and the near 
side of Longstone Edge above Calver, such is the glorious 
prospect ! Yet with most, I fancy, the special charm of 
Surprise View lies not so much in the hills as in the valleys. 
On the left is the valley of the Derwent, where it flows down to 
Grindleford, richly wooded on either side and crowned with 
moorland heather on the opposite crest by Hazelford and 
Learn Hall. To the right stretches the whole length of the 
green Vale of Hope. Hathersage is at our feet, and at the far 
extremity the cincture of hills encircling Castleton and the red 
scarred side of Mam Tor. Nearly opposite is the lovely 
wooded recess which leads to Highlow, Abney, Bretton, and 
the Offerton woods. Beyond— on our side this time — is the 
Bamford reach of the Derwent ; beyond that again is the gap 
where the railway quits the vale to escape the Castleton Hills 
only to be confronted with those of Edale, and — just opposite 
where the line begins to turn — the gap of Bradwell Dale. 
Gazing on the lovely scene one wonders the more why the 
cottage a few yards below us is roofless, why its walls have been 
suffered to fall in, why the grass is growing on the hearth-stone. 
What a site for a dwelling ! Even the bitter winds of winter 
would be worth enduring for the sake of opening one's eyes 
every morning upon such a perfect combination of valley, moor, 
and wood. Perfect in all but one detail ! A quarry lies to 
our left, the huge quarry of the Derwent Water Board, con- 
nected with the railway by cuttings and embankments and a 
fearsome inclined plane. 

A pleasantly curving and swift descending road soon carries 
us into Hathersage. Looking back we find that the crest of 
the edge above us is also scarred with quarries, but on the 
other side the deep green of Highlow almost tempts us to drop 
down across the railway and invade its cool retreats. As we 
hesitate, however, a turn of the road brings us into 
the outskirts of Hathersage itself, whose chief attraction 
is its church, beautifully situated on the slope above the 
village. In its chancel you will find several ancient monuments 


of the Eyres of Highlow, one of whom fought with Prince 
Harry at Agincourt. Nor was he the only Derbyshire man 
who drew the bow or couched the lance in those far off 
campaigns. For what says the ballad ? 

" Recruit me Cheshire and Lancashire 
And Derby hills that are so free, 
No married man nor no widow's son, 
For no widow's curse shall go with me. 

Yet there was a jovial bold company." 

Another family of Eyres dwelt at North Lees, under 
Stanage Edge, a most picturesque and happily placed manor 
house, and still a third branch dwelt at Moorseats, perched on 
the hill-side above the church. There is rivalry between these 
two houses, for each claims to be the real Moor House where 
St. John Eyre Rivers and his sisters dwelt in Charlotte Bronte's 
masterpiece, Jane Eyre. The distinction unquestionably 
belongs to Moorseats, which corresponds closely with the 
descriptions in the book, save for some rearrangement, evidently 
recent, of doors and windows. Charlotte Bronte visited 
Hathersage — the Morton of the novel — in 1845 to stay with 
her friend Miss Nussey, whose brother was vicar of the. parish 
and made her an offer of marriage. She would thus constantly 
hear the name of Eyre. There is also a curious piece of 
internal evidence, for the clergyman at Morton is made to say, 
that when he came to the village two years before there was no 
school and he at once opened one. The school at Hathersage 
was opened in 1845 ; the novel was written in 1847. But the 
identification is certain. Every reader of Jane Eyre will 
remember how Jane fled from Thornfield Hall and Mr. 
Rochester after the interrupted wedding, and how the driver of 
the passing coach which she had hailed set her down at 
Whitcross, after a thirty-six hours' drive, saying that he could 
take her no further for the money she had given him. 
Whitcross we are told, was not a town, nor even a hamlet ; 


it was only a stone pillar set up where four roads met. " Four 
arms spring from its summit ; the nearest town to which these 
point is, according to the inscription, distant ten miles ; the 
farthest above twenty. From the well-known names of these 
towns I learn in what country I have lighted ; a north-midland 
shire, dusk with moorland, ridged with mountains ; this I see. 
Thereare great moors behind and on each hand of me; there are 
waves of mountains far beyond that deep valley at my feet." 

J^orth Lees Hall^ near Haihersage, 

Where, then, is Whitcross ? Months afterwards, when Jane, in 
obedience to the voice which she heard calling her, returned to 
seek Mr. Rochester, she tells us that she left Moor House at 
three o'clock and reached ^Vhitcross soon after four. Whitcross, 
therefore, must be the cross-roads by the Fox House Inn up 
above Longshawe and Grindleford Bridge. The description of 
Morton, as a village mostly agricultural but with a needle- 
factory and a foundry, and the reference to its church spire and 
bells, tally with Hathersage, for Ebenezer Rhodes, writing a 
quarter of a century before, had spoken of the manufacture of 
metal buttons, steel wire, and needles as being hardly consonant 


with the character of Hathersage, " where the farming interest 
prevails." There is also a reference in Jane Eyre to a ball in 

the neighbouring town of S , at which the officers of the 

garrison " put all our young knife grinders and scissor merchants 
to shame," where the allusion is so plainly to Sheffield that the 
name might as well have been given in full. 

The description of Moor House, the home of the Rivers, 
may be quoted : — 

" They [i.e. Diana and Mary Rivers) loved their sequestered home. I, 
too, in the grey, small, antique structure, with its low roof, its latticed case- 
ments, its mouldering walls, its avenue of aged firs— all grown aslant under 
the stress of mountain winds : its garden dark with yews and holly — and 
where no flowers but of the hardiest species would bloom — found a charm 
both potent and permanent. They clung to the purple moors behind and 
around their dwelling — to the hollow vale into which the pebbly bridle-path 
leading from their gate descended ; and which wound between fern-banks 
first and then among a few of the wildest little pasture fields that ever 
bordered a wilderness of heath, or gave sustenance to a flock of grey moor- 
land sheep with their mossy-faced lambs — they clung to this scene, I say, 
with a perfect enthusiasm of attachment." 

The pebbly bridle-path still remains and settles the question 
of identification. Another passage, which contains an admir- 
able bit of local colour, occurs in the chapter where St. John 
Rivers, in his masterful way, tells Jane to " put on her things, 
go out by the kitchen door ; take the road towards the head 
of Marsh Glen." That was his method of inviting her to go 
for a walk. Jane did as she was bid, and they gained the 
head of the glen, shut in by the hills. 

" Let us rest here," faid St. John, as we reached the first stragglers of a 
battalion of rocks, guarding a sort of pass, beyond which the beck rushed 
down a waterfall ; and where, still a little further, the mountain shook off 
turf and flower, had only heath for raiment, and crag for gem — where it 
exaggerated the wild to the savage, and exchanged the fresh for the 
frowning — where it guarded the forlorn hope of solitude and a last refuge 
for silence. 

I took a seat ; St. John stood near me. He looked up the pass and 
down the hollow : his glance wandered away with the stream and returned 


to traverse the unclouded heaven which coloured it ; he removed his hat, 
let the breeze stir his hair and kiss his brow. He seemed in communion 
with the genius of the haunt ; with his eye he bade farewell to something. 

" ' And I shall see it again,' he said aloud, ' in dreams, when I sleep by 
the Ganges : and again, in a more remote hour — when another slumber 
overcomes me — on the shore of a darker stream.' " 

Then followed the strange wooing in which the visionary 
Rivers, in his deep, relentless voice, claimed Jane as his " help- 
meet and fellow-labourer " and bade her go with him to India 
to convert the heathen. " God and nature," he said, " intended 
you for a missionary's wife. It is not personal but mental 
endowments they have given you : you are formed for labour, 
not for love. A missionary's wife you must — shall be. You 
shall be mine. I claim you — not for my pleasure, but for my 
Sovereign's service." Poor Jane ! The brutal frankness of the 
zealot's avowal numbed her ; his imperious will nearly broke 
her resolution. She begged a quarter of an hour to think, and, 
while Rivers " strode a little distance up the pass, threw himself 
down on a swell of heath, and then lay still," she slowly made 
up her mind. She agreed to go to India if she might go free. 
She would obey the call to minister to the heathen, but not to 
be the wife of one who did not even pretend to love her. 
Evidently Charlotte Bronte admired St. John Rivers more than 
most of her modern readers do, who are repelled by his narrow, 
if sincere, fanaticism and his intolerable priggishness. " If you 
reject my offer, it is not me you deny, but God. . . . Refuse 
to be my wife, and you limit yourself for ever to a track of 
selfish ease and barren obscurity. Tremble lest in that case 
■ you should be numbered with those who have denied the faith 
and are worse than infidels ! " Surely one of the strangest mar- 
riage proposals in the whole range of fiction ! 

In Hathersage churchyard is the grave of Little John, friend 
and lieutenant of Robin Hood. At least tradition affirms that 
he lies here, between the two yew trees and the two stones, ten feet 
apart, which mark the resting place of some tall son of Anak. 
For proof they tell you that a thigh bone was found beneath 


the turf long ago — the bone of a man fully eight feet high. 
Well, if ever there was a Little John, he must have come to the 
appointed end of all of us and so have been buried, and why 
not here as well as elsewhere ? After all, there is better reason 
to connect him with Hathersage than with any other place. 
For did not his bow once hang in the church, and was it not 
seen in the reign of the first James by that excellent old Oxford 
antiquarian, Ashmole ? Then it was taken down and hung for 
more than a century in Cannon Hall, near Barnsley. So we 
may do our best to believe that Little John is sleeping in the 
pretty churchyard on this fair hill-side looking down into the 
lovely Vale of Hope and across to the green woods of Highlow. 
From Hathersage it is a pleasant walk along the valley of the 
Derwent to Grindleford. Crossing Grindleford Bridge, you will 
find in the hamlet of Padley, not far from the railway station, 
on the Hathersage side, the ruins of Padley Chapel, now dese- 
crated to the uses of a cow-byre. Architecturally, it is of some 
interest, for it evidently was the private chapel of a large 
country house, whose site is marked by the mounds at the 
rear, with projecting masonry here and there. The north and 
south fronts are of dressed stone ; a corbel table runs nearly 
round the whole structure under the high-pitched roof, and 
there is a large projecting chimney on the south side. The 
doors and windows seem to indicate the Decorated style and 
are not a little puzzling in their situation, which leads one to 
suspect that the building was in two storeys, the upper one 
approached by outside staircases. Historically, however, the 
luin is one of the most interesting in Derbyshire. Padley Hall 
was, in the sixteenth century, the principal seat of the Eyre 
family, the head of whose house had married Joan, the heiress 
of the Padley estates. These Eyres were staunch Catholics, 
and Anne, the daughter and heiress of Sir Arthur Eyre, had 
married Sir Thomas, the heir of Sir Antony Fitzherbert of 
Norbury. The Fitzherberts, as we saw in an earlier chapter, 
were also Catholics, and, throughout Elizabeth's reign, lay 


Hathersage Church. 

under grave suspicion, their houses at Norbury and Padley 
being subject to constant search. " Padley may be doubted 
much to be a house of evil resort," wrote one of Burghley's 


agents, describing how he had made a raid thither on Candle- 
mas Day in 1588 and found Sir Thomas Fitzherbert's brother, 
John, and two ' seminaries.' The names of these unfortunate 
men were Nicholas Garlick and Robert Ludlam, and it was 
their fate to be hanged, drawn and quartered at Derby for the 
crime of being priests and, therefore, as a matter of course, 
false traitors to the Queen's most excellent majesty. For the 
equally heinous crime of harbouring them John Fitzherbert — 
despite his brother's entreaties to the Earl of Shrewsbury, the 
Lord Lieutenant of the county — was put to death ; the Padley 
estates were escheated, and that arch-villain Richard Topcliffe 
for some time actually dwelt in the house of his victim. 
" Tantum religio " — or what passed for such — ^^potuit suadere 
malorum." Every year a devout pilgrimage is paid by local 
Catholics to the scene where the Padley martyrs were taken 


Stony Middleton and Eyam 

Stony Middleton, on the main road between Sheffield and 
Chapel-en-le-Frith, three miles from Grindleford Bridge and 
about the same distance from Baslow, is not a very 
delectable village. It lies in a deep limestone gorge, 
whose upper part is as imposing as any in Derby- 
shire, but the approach from Calver is not promis- 
ing. On the outskirts is the Hall, the seat of Lord Denman. 
The family was ennobled in 1834, when Thomas Denman, the 
eminent King's Counsel, who shared with Brougham the 
defence of Queen Caroline against the charges of George IV., 
was raised to the peerage as Baron Denman of Dovedale. He 
was one of the ablest of the Whig lawyer politicians of the time 
of the Reform Bill, and took a leading part in the suppression 
of the slave trade and the abolition of capital punishment for 
forgery and other minor oifences. His speech and cross- 
examination on behalf of Queen Caroline gained him enormous 
popularity at a time when hostility to the Court was the surest 
passport to the favour of the people. Lord Denman, who 
became Lord Chief Justice in 1832, had inherited in 1812 the 
Stony Middleton estate from his uncle. Dr. Joseph Denman, 
the author of a treatise on the Buxton waters. The Denmans 
were a distinguished medical family. We have met a Dr. 
Denman at Bakewell, the grandfather of the judge ; his son, 
who migrated to London, became one of the most celebrated 



surgeon accoucheurs of his time. Lord Denman died in 1854 
and was succeeded by the amiable and accompHshed, but 
somewhat eccentric peer, who hved to the patriarchal age of 
eighty-nine, and continued nearly to the last to address the 
House of Lords in interminable orations to which no one paid 
the faintest attention. When at Stony Middleton, his special 
hobby was the raising of a certain breed of black pigs. These 
he was sometimes known to take with him in his carriage 
when he wished to make presents to his friends. 

The Hall has no interest, nor has the church — an ugly 
building rebuilt in the middle of the eighteenth century. 
Rhodes tells us that in his time it was shut up for sixteen 
months together without a single Sunday service being held. 
Stony Middleton was in the diocese of Lichfield, and one day, 
when the Bishop happened to be passing through, the landlord 
of the Moon Inn informed him of the facts, adding that it did 
not affect him personally, for he never went to church, but he 
did not like the Methodists to have it all their own way. They, 
he said, had preachings and meetings several times a week. 
No wonder Dissent is strong in Derbyshire. Near the church 
are the remains of an ancient bath — on the site of a supposed 
Roman one — dedicated to St. Martin. Stony Middleton, like 
so many Derbyshire villages, had its chalybeate and tepid 
springs, and Bray, writing in 1777, says the bath was nearly as 
hot as that of Buxton and was " used with good success by those 
afflicted with the rheumatism." The village itself is mean and 
dirty, especially its most populous part, which probably remains 
unseen by the majority of visitors. For, on the left-hand side, 
a street climbs precipitously up the hill, and the cottages are 
closely huddled together in any sort of disorder, clinging as 
best they can to the ledges of the rock. To the right of the ugly 
market cross houses of a better class are found, and a pleasant 
foot-path leads up among these through the fields to Eyam, 
affording an excellent view of the Derwent Valley towards 
Chatsworth. Stony Middleton, however, is not the flourishing 

Aff/am morf i) 

"' °qrindl?for3!" 



Sir William Jg^ 



i I- ///Igg N 




Natural Scale, 1:63,360. 
I inch = I mile 
Q U 'A I mile 

I I I ^ 1 

Heights in feet thus:- J29S 

Contours 1!5£. 


Emery Walker sc, 
Z 2 

340 LOVER'S LEAP ch. xxiii 

place it was in the palmy days of the mining and lime-burning 
industries. Now hardly an ounce of lead is got out of the 
hills; the hme-kilns are mostly closed; and the boot factories 
are only sufficient to keep the village from want, not enough to 
make it prosperous. 

The dale by which you leave it is worth leisurely inspection. 
It has its Lover's Leap, better authenticated than most, for 
dates and names are given to confound the sceptic. A girl 
called Baddeley, whether moved by jealousy or unrequited 
love is not stated, leaped down from the top of the limestone 
cliff which towers up over the main road. Like all women 
suicides, she took off her hat and laid it carefully on the grass 
before she jumped. But instead of breaking every bone in 
her body, she only received a few bruises and was able to walk 
home, shaken and surprised. That was in 1760: she died — 
still unwed — many years afterwards. The Lover's Leap marks 
the beginning of a fine ridge which guards the road ori the 
right-hand side for fully a mile, the limestone assuming the 
most fantastic shapes of pinnacle and tower. One of these 
battlemented rocks is called the Castle, and near by, at the 
base of the cliffs, is. a cavern, now blocked up, where was 
found, many years after his disappearance, the body of a 
murdered Scotch pedlar. The shoe buckles alone established 
the identification. The left side of the gorge is as uninterest- 
ing as the right is attractive. It is simply a high, tumbled bank, 
grassy for the most part, though here and there the rock crops 
out. Old quarries and lime-kilns abound. It was in Middle- 
ton Dale, we are told, that Lord Duncannon was riding in 1743 
when his horse stumbled against a piece of spar. He picked 
it up, examined it, and thought it would make a pretty 
ornament. So he sent it to Watson, the Bakewell statuary, 
suggesting that it should be turned into a vase, and this was 
the origin of the Ashford marble and spar works. 

A mile from Stony Middleton we come to a little roadside 
inn, The Ball, where a by-road turns up to Eyam, half a mile 


distant on the right. The ascent is sharp, but the lane is one 
of great beauty, for trees grow luxuriantly wherever they can 
gain a footing on the high rocky sides, and enters Eyam, 
whose main street runs east and west, at its eastern end. A 
minor road on the right bears down towards Stony Middleton, 
leading into the footpath that we spoke of. This is called the 
Lydgate, pronounced as though it were spelt Lidgett, a name 
usually applied to a narrow lane, and common in Derbyshire 
and Yorkshire. The principal road to the right leads to 
Grindleford. Eyam stands on a high terrace above Middleton 
Dale and below Eyam Edge, an attractive line of hills running 
parallel with the dale, and consists of one long main street, 
with a curious break in the continuity of the line just past 
Eyam Hall. It lies high, yet there are protecting and 
sheltering heights above it ; it is just sufficiently off the 
main lines of traffic to give one the sense of being aloof 
rather than remote. Eyam, which is full of interesting 
associations, is decidedly one of the most winsome villages 
of the Peak. 

A Christian church has stood here since before Norman 
times, and in the churchyard is an ancient Saxon cross, 
elaborately sculptured, both on head and arms and on its 
shapely broad shaft. This is the pride of Eyam, and is nearly 
complete. Tradition says that it was found on the moors. In 
the eighteenth century it lay neglected in a corner of the church- 
yard. The missing fragment of the shaft was well remembered 
in Rhodes' day : the sexton told him that it lay about for 
many years and was finally " knocked to pieces for domestic 
purposes." That the cross stands where it does is due to 
Howard, the prison reformer and philanthropist, who visited 
Eyam — he was a friend of the Sewards —shortly before he left 
England for the last time. It was his admiration which induced 
the people of Eyam to get the cross set up on a new base. The 
chief risk to which it is now exposed is not neglect but the 



vandalism of the people who, during the summer months, 
come driving into Eyam in brake-loads. The only way to pre- 

NEW i.R'CH^C.n- 

Eyam Cross. 

serve it from the wantonness of those who think it sport to 
cliinb up and sit on the arms, is to surround it by spiked iron 


railings. The elaborate sun-dial on the south wall of the 
church is happily out of reach. 

Near to the cross and the dial, and under the shade of a 
very shapely yew tree, is the table tomb of Catherine Mompesson, 
which should also be protected from the ravages of these 
heedless Goths. It is getting badly worn ; the sculptures, at 
one side, of the symbols of death, an hour-glass and wings, will 
soon be quite defaced. The lettering has already been repaired 
in places with inlet pieces of stone. Yet this is a tomb which 
the people of Eyam ought to delight in preserving, for Catherine 
Mompesson was the heroic wife of the heroic rector who won 
for Eyam its immortality of fame during the Plague. " Mors mihi 
lucrum " (" Death to me is gain ") says one inscription on the 
tomb; '■'Cave" ("Be on your guard") says another, and a 
third, " Nescitis horam," reminds us that we know not the 

The church has suffered from the restorer's hands. The 
tower and south aisle are of the fifteenth century ; the original 
building was of the thirteenth ; the restorations are of the 
nineteenth. Of the Norman work, one pillar and the font 
alone survive. A second ancient font preserved in the church 
was found some years ago at Padley, near Grindleford. In 
the chancel is a carved oak chair which belonged to Mompesson 
with the legend "Mom. 1662. Eyam." This was happily 
discovered by a former vicar of Eyam, after he had left the 
parish, in a second-hand shop in Liverpool. Another curiosity 
in the vestry consists of two old pictures of Moses and Aaron — 
similar to those at Hope — which used to hang on the west 
wall — until they were replaced by stained windows dealing 
with the same subjects. This vestry was for a long time the 
sanctuary of a certain incumbent of Eyam against the officers 
of the law. The story goes that the Rev. Joseph Hunt one 
day " gloried and drank deep " in a neighbouring inn. ^^'hile 
in his cups he made drunken love to the landlord's daughter 
and, to amuse his boon companions, went through a form of 


marriage with her. The Bishop of Lichfield heard of the 
disgraceful scene and' insisted iipon Hunt's marrying the girl, 
and then a Derby lady, to whom he had been engaged, brought 
an action for breach of promise, and naturally obtained swing- 
ing damages from a virtuously indignant jury. The rector 
could not pay and, to evade arrest, shut himself up in the 
vestry, where his parishioners supplied him with food and 
warned him when danger threatened. He died in 1709. 

In the churchyard is a ponderous and ugly gritstone monu- 
ment to the memory of William Wood, who died in 1865. He 
wrote the Plague chronicles of Eyam and collected the tales 
and traditions of the neighbourhood, which he set down in 
simple and vigorous English. 

" Men but like visions are, 
Time all doth claim, 
He lives who dies and leaves 
A lasting name." 

So runs the inscription, and the churchyard is full of odd epi- 
taphs, both in prose and verse, many of the latter being written 
by the Rev. Peter Cunningham, who was resident curate here 
for many years, while the rector. Prebendary Seward, lived at 
Lichfield and drew the tithes. Cunningham had a heavy touch 
which is unmistakable : we much prefer the simple cottage- 
made rhyme which runs : — 

" Since life is short and death is always nigh, 
On many years to come do not rely. " 

On the western side of the churchyard is a family burial 
place, as forlorn as any to be found outside a disused London 
cemetery, where the sooty and unkempt ivy strangling the 
mouldering gravestones makes a picture of woe that strikes a 
chill to the heart. Rhodes described it as " an oblong structure, 
formed by eight stone columns placed at regular distances, and 
surrounded with urns, the intervening space between the 
columns being built up with stone walling ; and on two sides 


are small iron-grated windows, not unlike the light holes in a 
prison." Its heavy leaden roof had been stripped off and sold 
by the family ! In the eighty-five years which have elapsed 
since Rhodes saw it, Time has been busily trying in his slow 
way to throw it to the ground. He would have succeeded long 
since, had not the bulging walls been pinned and strengthened 
with iron bars. But despite these Time is winning. The iron 
gratings in the windows are eaten through with rust ; the urns 
are tottering ; the walls are gaping. It would not take a house- 
breaker five minutes to level the whole place in ruin. Inside, 
the gravestones are choked with weeds, growing tall and lank 
with repulsive vigour. One wonders sometimes, when one sees 
carefully tended graves, whether the dead have any joy of this 
tending. It is a pretty, graceful idea ; yet we should put it from 
us. For what if the dead be also sensible of neglect ? 

The Rectory abuts on to the eastern side of the churchyard. 
This was the birthplace in 1747 of Anna Seward, called in her 
day " The Swan of Lichfield," though the title is hardly one 
which modern critics would spontaneously assign to her. Her 
father, the Rev. Thomas Seward, was Rector of Eyam for 
many years ; her mother, a daughter of Dr. Hunter, Johnson's 
old schoolmaster at Lichfield, was a society-loving lady, and 
did not find Eyam, standing remote from the world amid the 
hills of the Peak, a very congenial place of residence. She 
was anxious, therefore, that her husband should obtain prefer- 
ment elsewhere, and her daughter Anna declares that she was 
the real cause of the family leaving the village. "Mrs. 
Seward," she wrote, " was in the bloom of youth and loveli- 
ness, and though married to the man of her choice and the 
object of his most devoted affection, she never ceased to regret 
the gay and more discriminating society of her native Lichfield, 
where she had been the object of general admiration. She 
felt that, amidst its enlightened circle and elegant society, the 
talents of Mr. Seward, of which she was laudably proud, would 
be more justly appreciated and his qualifications receive their 


more gratifying tribute." That is very nicely put for the eye of 
the outside world, but we suspect that the Rector's wife was 
very much moped and " consumedly bored " at Eyam, that she 
put on airs with the parishioners, and was distinctly querulous 
at times in the family circle. We may be tolerably certain, more- 
over, that the Rector was equally convinced that his superior 
qualities were wasted at Eyam. Dr. Johnson, who knew him 
well at Lichfield and frequently saw him at Dr. Taylor's house 
at Ashbourne, did not like him greatly. " Sir ! " he said of him 
to Boswell in 1777, after taking tea in his company, "his 
ambition is to be a fine talker ; so he goes to Buxton and such 
places, where he may find companies to listen to him. And, 
Sir, he is a valetudinarian, one of those who are always mend- 
ing themselves. I do not know a more disagreeable character 
than a valetudinarian, who thinks he may do anything that is 
for his ease and indulges himself in the grossest freedoms. 
Sir, he brings himself to the state of a hog in a sty." This is 
scathing, indeed. Yet Johnson should have been the last 
person in the world to abuse anyone for being anxious to shine 
as a talker ; his own manners were exceedingly trying to the 
fastidious ; and, at any rate in his later years, he was very full 
of his own ailments. Boswell, however, gives us a much more 
flattering sketch of Mr. Seward in 1776, for he describes him 
as a "genteel, well-bred, dignified clergyman. He had 
travelled with Lord Charles Fitzroy, uncle of the present Duke 
of Grafton, who had died abroad, and he had lived much in 
the great world. He was an ingenious and literary man, had 
published an edition of Beaumont and Fletcher, and written 
verses in Dodsley's collection." A year or two later Boswell 
called upon him at Lichfield and found him in bed with a 
cold, " dressed in his black gown, with a white flannel night- 
gown above it, so that he looked like a Dominican friar." 
Perhaps he was a trifle pompous, but not more than was then 
thought befitting a canon residentiary, who lived in a 
bishop's palace. Thomas Seward left little mark upon the 

348 A SKETCH OF EYAM chap. 

Parish of Eyam during his ministry there, save that he " new 
fronted" the rectory, and he returned to Lichfield — though 
without resigning Eyam — when his daughter Anna was a child 
of six, and her sister a year younger. 

The old front of the rectory faced the road and the porch 
was left standing, when the alterations were made, though the 
door into the house was blocked up. The new front, put in 
by Mr. Seward, looks on to the church. This house contains a 
fine oak staircase, and memorials of the plague in the shape of 
a little oak cupboard, from one of the Plague Cottages, and the 
plague burial registers. The latter, however, do not seem to 
be the originals, which were, probably enough, destroyed for 
fear of infection and a fair copy made. As a girl, Anna 
Seward delighted to spend some weeks of every summer in her 
old home and, writing in 1764, when she was seventeen, she 
gives a sketch of her friends in the village, for she adds, there 
were " some liberal-minded people," even in Eyam. Another 
letter, dated from Lichfield in 1765, contains a detailed 
description of Eyam village and its scenery, from which we 
may make a quotation. After lamenting that she has not "a 
Claude or Salvatorial pencil " to lend graphic force to her 
words, she says : — 

" Eyam, though but a village, is near a mile in length and considerably 
populous. It sweeps in a waving line among the mountains, upon a kind 
p{ natural terrace, perhaps a quarter of a mile in breadth .... On 
the right hand, to its eastern termination, the mountain, in whose bosom 
it stands, is crossed by another and still higher mountain .... The 
top of this eastern elevation, so majestic and picturesque amidst all its 
barren brownness, presents us on ascending it with the eagle's view of 
several lovely valleys, separated from each other by a number of small 
hills, winding down to the right along the range of those vales, and at about 
four miles distance' the eye perceives the Palace of Chatsworth rising, in 
golden beauty, from beneath its dark and pendant woods, which are 
flanked by a range of grey, stony and bleak mountains. The south side 
of my native mansion, the parsonage (which stands by the church in nearly 
the centre of the village) looks upon a mountainous knoll, whose surface is 
always green : the sheep which feed upon it have made it glossy and 



smooth as a bowling turf. From childhood have I delighted to observe, 
amidst the gradual clearing of a foggy day, the mists which had enveloped 
the head of this round and lesser mountain, rolling away by degrees, and 
its bright green summit peeping through them and imbibing the soft gilding 
of the sun's beams. Its height above the village is moderate. It is called 
the Cliff, and its top affords a level and lawny walk, of about an hundred 
and fifty yards extent, before it descends. The summit overlooks that 
stupendous Middleton or, more properly, Eyam Dale, so well known to 
those who make excursions from Buxton. This dale is narrow and the vast 
and sterile rocks rise on each side to a sublime height. No beauty of wood 
or field softens the barren grandeur of the scene. It is here that the sterner 
graces have their aeries : here that the seasons suffer no visible alteration, 
except when the craggy steeps are covered with snow and shoot forth 
miUions of their pensile and horrent icicles." 

Beyond the church, and opposite the entrance to a little dale 
called the Delf, is Eyam Hall, one of the best preserved of the 
Derbyshire manor houses, a delightful home in grey stone, the 
possession of which must be a constant joy. It was built by 
Thomas ^^Tight, one of the Wrights of Longstone, soon after 
the plague, the fabric being completed in 1676. This date 
appears on the leaden rain spouts, and the hall itself has never 
been dwelt in save by descendants of those whose initials are 
there traced. It stands back from the village street, being 
approached through two courts, the lower with smooth lawns, 
the upper flagged with stone. A low parapet wall with broad 
flight of steps divides the two. The principal garden lies to 
the east side, with a fine old bowling-green surrounded by yew 
trees and terraces, grass walks and dense hedges of yew. The 
shallow centre part of the house is almost wholly covered with 
creepers which spread round to the wings. Eyam Hall remains 
just as it was when it was built ; even the small panes of glass 
in the beautiful mullioned windows are unchanged. This 
glass is of a delightful green tint, and many of the panes are 
scratched with names and dates, covering a period of more than 
two centuries. The house contains a fine oak staircase with 
twisted balustrades, which together with the doors and panels 
of the principal rooms came from the older house of the end 



of the fifteenth or the beginning of the sixteenth century. . Eyam 
Hall is Tudor in practically every detail, though built in the 
last quarter of the seventeenth century. The explanation is 
that it was an exact copy of the old Bradshaw Hall at Eyam, 
of which only one forlorn wing now remains, and, indeed, was 
actually built from the stone of that dismantled house. 

Until recent years several old customs survived in Eyam, 
which have now fallen into disuse. One was a mysterious game 

Eyam Hall. 

called Ball, which consisted of dragging about from house to 
house the figure of a horse, lit up with candles placed in its 
inside. It was wheeled into the kitchens to the accompani- 
ment of a song. Another was a form of mumming known as 
Guising, in which gentle as well as simple took part and visited 
one another's houses, it being a point of honour to dress so 
that recognition was impossible. A third was a species of 
Morris dance, indulged in on May Day. The inhabitants of 
the first house in the village began it by taking hands and 


dancing to the second house. There they were joined by their 
neighbours and danced on together to the third, until the 
whole long street of Eyam was full of the dancing throng. 

An Eyam celebrity, who must not be passed over in silence, 
is Richard Furness, the poet. Born in 1791, he began life as 
a currier's apprentice at Chesterfield, where he picked up a 
little French from the French officers living on parole in the 
town, learnt music and began to lisp in numbers. He must 
also have been a seriously-minded youth, for he joined the 
Wesleyans, became a local preacher and figured on " the plan." 
In 1812, when his time was up at the currier's, he tramped 
to London. There he enlisted as a volunteer soldier, and on 
one occasion occupied the pulpit in the City Road Chapel — 
the Temple of Methodism — at the invitation of Dr. Adam 
Clarke. Furness, however, was a rolling stone, and returned to 
Derbyshire, where he quitted the Methodists in disgust because 
they reproved him for joining in a patriotic song that was being 
sung at a public house in celebration of some victory over 
the French. In 1813 he started business as a currier 
at Eyam, and wooed Frances Ibbotson, daughter of the 
the vicar of Hathersage. When the vicar refused to 
countenance the wooing, Furness promptly ran away with the 
girl. A romantic elopement out of the parsonage window was 
followed, alas ! by very dull prose at Eyam, for his shop was an 
utter failure, and he had to quit his native village under a 
cloud. Furness then went to be master of the Free School at 
Dore, a few miles away across the hills, and remained there 
from 182 1 until his death in 1857, acting as the vicar's factotum 
and the all-round handyman of the village. His rhyming 
description— and advertisement — of his many qualifications 
runs as follows : — 

" I, Richard Furness, schoolmaster, Dore, 
Keep parish books and pay the poor, 
Draw plans for buildings and indite 
Letters for those who cannot write ; 


Make wills and recommend a proctor, 

Cure wounds, let blood with any doctor. 

Draw teeth, sing psalms, the hautboy play 

At chapel on each holy day. 

Paint sign-boards, cart-names at command. 

Survey and plot estates of land. 

Collect at Easter one in ten, 

And on the Sunday say ' Amen.' " 

Yet with all these accomplishments he never earned more 
than eighty pounds a year and usually his income was much 
less. He was one of those wayward men of talent who might 
with application do great things, yet invariably waste their 
opportunities. His most important work, a satire entitled 
The Rag Bag, was published in 1832. We have no space 
to deal with the poet's bitter invective against the dishonesty 
and callousness of the world, but some of his references to the 
scenery of Derbyshire well deserve to be rescued from oblivion. 
Furness, for example, thus describes the dalesman's passionate 
love for his native hills and his constant longing to turn 
towards home : — 

" Now see him downward in the distance move, 
By Derwent, Wye or by the silver Dove ; 
To streams like his the rich Pactolus yields. 
To scenes like his Arcadia's happy fields ; 
Parnassus famed sinks in his glowing mind 
And Peak's bleak mountains leave it far behind : 
Touched by the magnet of the place he loves, 
He still veers homeward whereso'er he roves. 
And joys he more, though barren be the spot. 
To view the star that glitters o'er his cot 
Than if through distant lands he daily rolled 
With wealth and ease in chariots of gold. 
For there's a point in Heaven where man is blest, 
A place on earth there is, where wanderers rest, 
To that would souls, to this would travellers come. 
That happy point, this resting place is home." 

Again, in his introduction to another poem, The Astrologer, 
he says : — 



" Hail ! holy forms of Nature — mountains bleak ! 
Your minstrel still — still loves his native Peak : 
Oft has he wandered on your heaths, unknown, 
While his wild harp has wept to storms alone : 
Where high Sir William lifts, in clouds o'ercast, 
His giant shoulders on the western blast — 
Peers o'er a thousand dales, and looking out. 
Views Win-Hill, Mam and distant Kinderscout. 
Below the hills, where the first morning beam 
Pours all its glory on the graves of Eyam, 
Where Hollow-brook, in angry winter floods. 
Falls, foams, and flows down Roylee's shelving woods." 
These lines have more Hfe, feeling and vigour in them than 
are to be found in any of Anna Seward's frigid references to 
Derbyshire, though her attachment to Eyam and its hills was 
evidently as sincere as that of Furness. 

Allusion has already been made to the Rev. Peter 
Cunningham. He was the son of a naval officer and, after 
being curate at Almondbury, near Huddersfield, was curate at 
Eyam for eighteen years, acting for that absentee pluralist, Mr. 
Seward. He resigned in 1790 on Mr. Seward's death. 
Ebenezer Rhodes devotes to him and his poetry some pages of 
his Peak Scenery, but the extracts which he gives, notably the 
long one from Cunningham's poem on Chatsworth, are not 
to our modern taste. All life is crushed out of the lines by the 
weight of otiose epithets and ponderous classical allusions, and 
even his eulogist admits that as a poet " he had many beauties 
chequered with a considerable portion of defect." Much more 
admirable than his verse was his whole-souled devotion to his 
cure. " The majority of his parishioners," says Rhodes, " were 
poor and ignorant, and he strove to better their manners and 
improve their situation in life by informing their minds. His 
attention to the education of the youth of the village was, at 
one time, truly exemplary : regardless of pecuniary compensa- 
tion, he took them under his tuition, and devoted much of his 
time to their improvement. So long, indeed, as he remained 
at Eyam, none were permitted to want instruction : hence he 

A A 


was beloved, and the grateful recollections of his pupils still 
dwell upon his name with delight." 

" Christe's lore and His Apostles' twelve, 
He taught but first he followed it himself." 

Such a man was certain to remain poor. When he quitted 
Eyam he acted for some years as chaplain to an English factory 
at Smyrna, but lost all his effects by fire and found himself 
obliged, through lack of means, to cross the greater part of 
Europe on foot. Eventually, through the Devonshire interest, 
Fox gave him a small living in the gift of the Crown, but he 
did not live long to enjoy it. Rhodes tells us how, when Mr. 
Seward preached his farewell sermon at Eyam, he pronounced 
a glowing eulogy upon Cunningham, referring to him as " a 
continued living sermon to us all, our general friend, our 
delight and our joy." Then he went on, " Think not that I 
have put so much of the pulpit duty upon him, since we have 
been here together, through idleness and indolence. No, it 
was that I would not disappoint so many longing ears that 
wished to hear him. It was that I rejoiced at the occasion of 
really preferring his sermons to my own, and of giving so 
eminent and worthy, though so young a man, the right hand of 
fellowship. Grey hairs may receive instruction from his lips 
and the aged bow down to him, and that because he keepeth 
the commandments of the Lord, and delighteth in the law of 
his God." AVithout doubting the sincerity of these words — 
the more remarkable because rectors rarely confess quite so 
candidly that their curates preach better than themselves — we 
fancy that Cunningham was the willing horse of the two, and 
that the society-loving rector was exceedingly glad of a curate 
who saved him the trouble of preparing new sermons. 

AVriting to Mr. Seward at Lichfield in 1776, Cunningham 
inveighs against the local Dissenters : — " I have still," he says, 
" the inexpressible satisfaction to observe your church more 
crowded than I am assured it has ever been remembered at this 
season of the year. No more Methodist preachers appear in 


the chapel at Eyam : the few that resort to them at Grindleford 
Bridge are such as an angel from Heaven would have no 
influence with. And as I suppose you do not expect me to 
work miracles, since nothing less will convert them, they must 
even be left to prey upon garbage and follow the wandering 
fires of their own vapourish imaginations ? " Half in jest, half 
in earnest, he adds that his friend, Major Trafford, has settled 
in Eyam as resident magistrate and will be a terror to evil 
doers. Doubtless, the bark of the Rev. Peter was much more 
terrifying than his bite, but this angry reference to the 
Methodists has an interesting side-light thrown upon it by an 
entry in Wesley's Journal for the year 1766, where he says, 
" The eagerness with which the poor people of Eyam devoured 
the \Vord made me amends for the cold ride over the snowy 

The names of Peter Cunningham, Anna Seward, William 
Newton, and the famous Major Andrd occur in conjunction 
with a very ghostly story which will interest those who 
believe in the significance of dreams. Anna Seward on one 
occasion took Major Andrd — who was an intimate friend of 
theirs at Liclifield and betrothed to Honora Sneyd — over to 
Eyam to introduce him to Cunningham and Newton. Before 
they arrived, Cunningham related to Newton an extraordinary 
dream. He dreamed that he was in a forest and saw a horse- 
man riding at great speed towards him. Suddenly three 
other horsemen darted out of ambush, rushed upon the solitary 
rider and took him prisoner. Then the scene changed ; 
Cunningham saw a gibbet, and dangling from it was the form 
of the first horseman. When Miss Seward and Major Andre 
arrived, Cunningham was startled to recognise in Andre the 
face of the man whom he had seen hanged in his dream. 
Such stories are only interesting when they are provided with a 
proper sequel, and in this case the sequel — the hanging of Major 
Andre' as a spy by the order of Washington — was one of the 
most poignant episodes of the American War of Independence. 

A A 2 



Eyam is famous in story for the heroism with which its 
inhabitants endured the Great Plague for more than a year, 
from September 1665 to October 1666. It suffered and became 
immortalised through suffering, chiefly owing to the calm 
devotion and inspiring example of its Rector, WiUiam 
Mompesson. Let us briefly tell the oft-told tale again. One 
day in September, 1665, a box of clothes came down to Eyam 
from London addressed to a tailor living in one of the cottages 
fronting the street at the west end of the church, which still 
bear the name of the Plague Cottages. It was opened by a 
certain George Vicars, who died a few days later after infecting 
all the household. Then, as no concealment was possible, 
Eyam knew that the dreaded plague had broken out in its 
midst. The villagers must have heard how London had been 
scourged through the summer of the previous year, and they 
were aware by previous experience of the ravaging power of 
this terrible pestilence. For, only thirty years before, in the 
neighbouring village ofCurbar, several families had been entirely 
wiped out. The plague was no new visitant to Derbyshire. 

Before the end of September six had died ; in October 
twenty-three more victims were added to the list ; in November 
seven, in December nine. Snow and hard frost checked the 
spread, but could not destroy the germs of the disease. It 
broke out anew with the spring. During June there were 


nineteen deaths, in July fifty-six, in August seventy-seven, and it 
looked as though the whole population were doomed. But at 
last the turn came. September saw twenty-four burials, and the 
first eleven days of October fourteen more. Then the plague 
was stayed, leaving, according to the usual story, only a pitiful 
remnant of ninety persons out of a population of three hundred 
and fifty. This, however, is undoubtedly an exaggeration, for 
the register of births and deaths shows that the population must 
have been from eight to nine hundred. Throughout most of 
this terrible time Eyam was cut off from the world, by choice 
and also by necessity. The country-side grew frantic with 
terror when it heard of the mortality in Eyam. As far off as 
Sheffield, strangers who were suspected of coming from Eyam 
or near it were driven away with sticks and showers of stones. 
People forgot their humanity ; their panic left no room for pity. 
We would not say that they were more heartless then than 
now. In the last great cholera and small-pox epidemics in 
England and, in more recent years, during epidemics in the 
Highlands, the same phenomenon has manifested itself. And 
so the rigid isolation of Eyam was, perhaps, not quite so voluntary 
as some writers have supposed. The people who lived in the 
neighbouring villages shut the gates of mercy and compassion 
on any fugitive from Eyam. 

What Mompesson did was to persuade his people, with some 
show of resignation, to remain in the village. He gave them 
consolation ; he inspired them with hope. He wrought them 
up to that fine exaltation of spirit which nerved them to face 
death as disciplined sailors face it in shipwreck — he made the 
manifest duty of self-sacrifice appear reasonable. We do not 
know at what precise moment in that ghastly twelvemonth 
Eyam was cut off from the world and began to depend for its 
sustenance upon the supplies of food which were set at certain 
appointed places on the boundaries. The supply was organised 
by the Earl of Devonshire, who nobly remained at Chatsworth. 
Mompesson had sent away his two little children at an early 



stage ; his wife Catherine stayed by his side and was his most 
devoted helper until she, too, was stricken down in August. 
This drew from him, on September ist, a most pathetic letter 
to his patron. Sir George Savile, in which he says, " This is the 
saddest news that ever my pen could write. The destroying 
angel having taken up his quarters within my habitation, my 
dearest wife is gone to her eternal rest, and is invested with a . 

Hyajn Chi trek 

crown oF righteousness, having made a happy end. Indeed, 
had she loved herself as well as me, she had fled from the pit of 
destruction with the sweet babes, and might have prolonged her 
days, but she was resolved to die a martyr to my interest. My 
drooping spirits are much refreshed with her joys, which I think 
are unutterable." Mompesson thought that he, too, was doomed, 
and spoke of himself as " a dying man." But he escaped the 
infection. " As for my part," he wrote in the following 
November, " I cannot say that I had ever better health than 


during the time of the dreadful visitation, neither can I say 
that I have had any symptoms of the disease. My man had the 
distemper and, upon the appearance of a tumour, I gave him 
several chemical antidotes, which had a very kind operation 
and, with the blessing of God, kept the venom from the heart. 
Then, after the rising broke, he was very well." Mompesson 
quitted Eyam not long afterwards and went to Eakring in 
Nottinghamshire, a living in the gift of the Saviles, where he 
died in 1708. He became a Prebend of York and Southwell : 
had he wished it, he might have been Dean of Lincoln, but he 
declined the dignity. 

Mompesson was not the only clergyman in Eyam during the 
plague. His predecessor in the rectory was also there, the 
Rev. Thos. Stanley, who had been ejected in 1662, after an 
eighteen years' ministry, because he would not subscribe to the 
Corporation Act of 1661. He stood by Mompesson's side 
and did his duty just as nobly. So when, a little later, some 
paltry-minded bigots appealed to the Earl of Devonshire, as 
Lord Lieutenant of the county, to have Stanley turned out of 
Eyam as a recusant nonconformist, the Earl refused with just 
indignation. " It is more reasonable," he said, " that the whole 
country should testify their thankfulness to him who, together 
with his care of the town, had taken such care, as none else 
did, to prevent the infection of the towns adjacent." This 
generous rebuke did the Earl great honour. 

Those who would learn every detail that is to be known of 
the plague in Eyam should read the little book in which 
William Wood, the local historian, gathered up the traditions 
still current fifty years ago concerning it. Others, perhaps, 
may find pleasure in the lengthy poem by William and 
Mary Howitt, entitled The Desolation of Eyam, which this 
pietistic pair of poets wrote as far back as 1827. We may 
quote one or two stanzas. The first is a description of Eyam 


" Among the verdant mountains of the Peak, 
There lies a quiet hamlet, where the slope 
Of pleasant uplands wards the north winds bleak : 
Below, wild dells romantic pathways ope : 
Around, above it, spreads a shadowy cope 
Of forest trees : flower, foliage and clear rill 
Wave from the cliffs, or down ravines elope : 
It seems a place charmed from the power of ill 
By sainted words of old : — so lovely, lone and still." 

Another stanza describes the outbreak of the plague : — 

" Out it bursts, a dreadful cry of death ; 

' The Plague ! the Plague ! ' the withering language flew. 

And faintness followed on its rapid breath ; 

And all hearts sunk, as pierced with lightning through. 

' The Plague ! the Plague ! ' no groundless panic grew, 

But .there, sublime in awful, trod 

The pest ; and lamentation, as he slew. 

Proclaimed his ravage in each sad abode. 

Mid frenzied shrieks for aid and vain appeals to God." 

One more stanza, suggested by the tomb of Catherine 
Mompesson, is worth quoting :— 

" And be it so for ever ! It is glory. 
Tombs, mausoleums, scrolls, whose weak intent 
Time laughs to scorn, as he blots out their story, 
Are not the mighty spirit's monument. 
He builds with the world's wonder — his cement 
Is the world's love — he lamps his beamy shrine 
With fires of the soul's essence, which , unspent, 
Burn on for ever. Such bright tomb is thine. 
Great patriot, and so rests that peerless Catherine." 

To my mind the most pathetic memorial of the plague and 
the spot best worth visiting in Eyam is the little plot of ground 
where He the Riley Graves. The name is curiously misleading, 
for one naturally imagines that the Riley Graves signify the 
burial place of people named Riley. But it is not so. Riley 
is not a surname but a place name, as is best shown by its 
variant spelling, Roylee. To reach the spot you take the main 
road to Grindleford from the east end of Eyam, until you come 


to a gate on the left which runs up through a wood. Turn 
through here and ascend to the quarry by a good road, and 
then, towards the end of a large field beyond, you will see a 
stile and a footpath leading to a small stone enclosure of 
irregular oval shape. Tread reverently, for this place has seen 
the utmost intensity of human anguish, and the memory of 
such tragic suffering should hallow it. In this little patch of 
ground, in a wide open field on the hill-side and commanding 
a lovely prospect, are seven graves, all of which bear the name 
of Hancock. One, that of John Hancock, the head of the 
family, is a table tomb with the date Aug 7, 1666, and the 
inscription : — 

" Remember, Man, 

As thou goest by, 

As thou art now, 

Even so was I. 

As I doe now 

So must thou lye, 

Remember, Man, 

That thou shalt die." 

The Latin monition, " JVesciiis horam ; Vigilate ; Ofate" is 
also written on this tomb, doubtless an echo of the inscription 
on the tomb of Catherine Mompesson. The Hancocks were 
working people who would not, in normal circumstances, sleep 
beneath Latin. John Hancock, the father, died on August yth. 
He had lost a son and daughter on the 3rd : another son and 
another daughter died on the same day as himself; a third 
daughter died on the 9th, and yet a fourth on the loth. Seven 
deaths in the house in eight days ! Only the mother escaped, 
and she, so tradition says, buried her dead with her own hands, 
dragging the bodies down the hill-side, frantic and distraught 
with grief. There was no one to help — the people of Eyam 
had their own dead to bury. Her neighbours, the Talbots, a 
family of father, mother, two sons and three daughters, had 
been wiped out utterly in the previous month. They had kept 
a smithy on the road-side. May we not say, then, that this spot 


is hallowed by the memory of great suffering ? Rhodes tells 
us that the gravestones originally lay flat, and that in his time 
the ground was ploughed all around them until they were 
enclosed by a Mr. Bird, a resident of Eyam, who bought the 
property and planted a few fir trees within the walls. These 
have long since vanished. As a matter of fact, the table tomb 
of John Hancock is the only one m situ ; the others were scat- 
tered over the field until collected and enclosed by Mr. Bird. 
It is thought the ancient ash tree about a hundred yards away 
marks the site of the Hancocks' house, but no traces are to be 
seen, and one can imagine how the place would be shunned 
for years by the villagers, fearful lest it should contain the seeds 
of infection. The mournfulness of the whole pitiful tragedy 
comes upon us as we stand in the tiny enclosure and read the 
names upon the gravestones, and in few places is the mind so 
powerfully impressed by the sense of old, unhappy, far off things. 
Then, as now, the valley of the Derwent spread away in all its 
green loveliness ; the smoke curled up blue from the roofs of 
the houses in Middleton Dale below; and the hills lifted up 
their stately ridges. The prospect must have been the same 
for the stricken woman as for us, save that when she cast her 
eyes behind her she saw a desolate house and a cold hearth. 

From the Riley Graves let us visit another mute relic of the 
plague — Mom.pesson's Well. Returning past the quarry to 
about a hundred yards from the gate where we left the main 
road, we take a footpath to the right, which soon joins a cart 
track, and, where this runs out, find a second footpath, also to 
the right, and follow its steep course up the hill for half a 
mile through Eyam Firs till it issues in a road. Turn again 
rightwards for a few hundred yards, passing a pond and a by- 
road, until you reach a green space which slopes down to Mom- 
pesson's Well, its head covered with a block of roughly-shaped 
limestone. The well itself is about four feet long by three 
broad, and is some eighteen inches in depth. The pan is 
usually full, and the water finds its exit by overflowing into a 


marshy swamp. It can hardly be said that Mompesson's Well 
repays the toil of those who seek it. The scene has no preten- 
sions to beauty. Close by are two disused mines, the New 
Engines and the Lady Wash, whose chimneys and heaps of white 
tailings would ruin any landscape. Here, however, there is no 
landscape at all, and the road itself leads nowhere from the 
ordinary tourist's point of view. It was, of course, just this 
remoteness which caused the well to be chosen in the plague 
time as a suitable place where food might be set for the infected 
village. A similar spot used for a similar purpose bears the 
interesting name of Qualmstones at Sarden, in Oxfordshire, 
qualm being an old word for pestilence. 

Better worth visiting than Mompesson's Well is the Cucklet 
Church, which lies in the lovely little dell, locally known as the 
Delf. It is private ground, but the keys are obtainable at Eyam 
Hall on payment of a trifiing fee the proceeds of which are 
devoted to local charities. The Delf is a secluded valley in 
miniature, its grassy slopes dropping abruptly from the level of 
the road, and dotted here and there with trees. At its foot is 
a tiny stream, and the ground rises equally steep on the other 
side. In a few yards the dell winds and opens out into an 
irregular amphitheatre, with banks of easier ascent, and facing 
these is a bluff of limestone, curiously arched in places. This is 
called the Cucklet Church, and from here Mompesson preached 
to his rapidly thinning but never wavering flock, when it was 
thought too dangerous to hold services in the parish church. 
Since Mompesson's day there has been no more plague in 
Eyam, and Anna Seward's sensational story of a number of 
persons falling victims in 1757 from the opening of some of the 
plague graves is not borne out by the registers. Nevertheless, 
the dread of infection from those who have been dead more 
than two centuries is hardly extinct even now. Some time 
ago, when two of the stone posts around Catherine Mompesson's 
grave were being replaced, and it was found necessary to dig 
deep, human remains were brought to light. An instant panic 

364 BRADSHAW HALL chap. 

arose among the workmen lest the bones should be those of 
Mrs. Mompesson ; they were hurriedly covered over, and for 
some time afterwards Eyam lived in nervous apprehension of 
an outbreak of plague. 

One little-known walk from Eyam will generously reward 
those who have a long morning or afternoon to spare. Take 
the Foolow Road from Eyam Hall and continue along the 
commonplace street to the outskirts of the village. A lane 
runs up on the right towards the slope of Eyam Edge, and 
gives us a glimpse of a fine modern house among the trees on 
the hill-side, while just before us is the shivering wreck of 
Bradshaw Hall. It belonged to a branch of the family which 
dwelt in the old hall of the same name near Chapel-en-le-Frith. 
Only part of one of the wings remains, and its fine Tudor 
windows have long been blocked with rubble. In the gable 
is a sculptured stone, but the device is undecipherable, and all 
around is the litter of an unkempt farm-yard. One would 
rather see this fragment of what was once a fine mansion razed 
to the ground and put out of its misery than turned to such 
humiliating use. Going forward we top the crest of the hill, 
while Eyam, Edge sinks as our road rises parallel with it, losing 
much of its dignity and all the grace which it borrowed from 
its trees. 

Here, beyond a little house on the right hand, turn down 
a sandy lane on that side, and continue past a group of gravel 
pits towards the footpath, which you see slanting up the side of 
the edge towards a little cluster of roofs. From the summit 
we command the broad plateau between us and Longstone 
Edge. It is too bare to be beautiful, and only here and there 
do welcome little oases of green woods relieve the monotony. 
Foolow — where there is a fine stone Hall with a beautiful 
oriel window — is below us, and Wardlow further beyond. 
There is the green line of Middleton Dale; Tideswell is hidden 
in its fold ; Longstone Edge, curiously different from the aspect 
it presents from the Ashford or Baslow side, seems to have 


shrunk and become flattened. The road which we find at the 
top of the edge runs straight from Great Hucklow to Grindle- 
ford over Sir William Hill ; it is the road which we saw fall 
like a plummet as we climbed to the Fox House Inn. 

The few cottages form the hamlet of Bretton. A tiny inn, 
the Barrel, three centuries old, looks across to Longstone 
Edge and, when the winter winds are blowing, shivers with the 
cold. Kists have been found along the edge, with urns now 
in the Sheffield Museum : and this is much easier to believe 
than that the road was once known as Bretton Race-course. 
No one could tell me when last the races were held, but the 
track — on the wide road — was about a mile and a half round, 
and it may have been a popular place for the settling of local 
wagers on points of speed. It has in late years seen the train- 
ing of many a professional runner exercising his muscles for 
the Sheffield Handicap. Going down by the side of the 
Barrel Inn, we pass some ruined homesteads, and soon reach 
a small farm lying in the fork made by the road and a green 
lane to its left. The latter affords an excellent view over 
towards Abney and the broad expanse which is bounded by 
Shatton Edge, Bradwell Edge and Black Knoll. Out of the 
valley below us rises a green hill with the road to Abney from 
the Derwent Valley on the far side of it. To the left, as we 
face it, is a sloping expanse of well- cultivated fields, some of 
them showing red with the plough. A few homesteads are seen 
near to Abney, one of them, the Cockey or Cockett Farm, 
where was born William Newton, the Minstrel of the Peak. 
But for the most part the ridges mount from solitary fields. 

As we descend the green track a genuine surprise awaits us. 
For we suddenly find ourselves on the upper slope of a secret 
coomb in the hill-side, running down into a larger ravine that 
bears the name of Bretton Clougb, with a pretty brook, the 
Bretton, flowing through it. It was to this secluded spot that 
the people of Eyam drove their cattle in the '45 to conceal 
them from the expected ravages of the Highlanders. The 

366 STOKE FORD chap. 

path is not one of the easiest to follow, as it zig-zags down the 
steep turf and leaves us rather mystified amid a confusion of 
tumbled green hillocks which rejoice the geologist, who comes 
here gladly as one that has found great treasure. The place is 
full of wire netting, designed to confine the rabbits in their pro- 
tected warren. At the foot of the descent, take the right-hand 
gate of the two and keep the path until a farm comes into 
sight straight ahead. Go forward to this and then descend 
towards the brook, following its course down the clough until 
you join it at a charming spot known as Stoke Ford. Here the 
Bretton mingles its flood with a little brook that comes down 
Abney Clough, and together they flow towards Derwent and 
Trent, under the new name of the Highlow. There is a bridge 
at Stoke Ford — a rustic affair of saplings — or there are the 
stepping stones, if you prefer, close by. It is a pretty meeting 
of the waters in as secluded a valley as one may hope to find. 
From the ford we climb up to the Abney road, entering it by 
the side of a fine plantation, and look back for the last time at 
the winding clough through which we have picked our way. A 
little further on a great overlapping fold of Eyam Moor draws 
our eyes across the valley, and then suddenly the red quarries 
by the side of Surprise View, on the other side of the Derwent, 
between Hathersage and Grindleford, loom up into unex- 
pected view. We cannot yet see the valley into which we are 
descending at right angles, but the crests of the opposite ridges 
indicate how it lies. 

All this time we have been steadily approaching a pleasant 
green hill, pasture to its very summit. The Highlow brook makes 
a wide sweep away from us to the right ; the hill is Highlow 
itself, whence it derives its name, and the grey homestead is 
Highlow Hall. It is a stone-built house, facing up the valley 
towards Abney, and its principal gateway now gives entrance 
on to the fields. There is another on the roadside, from which 
the house stands deeply back, the intervening space filled with 
big stone barns and outbuildings, affording robust suggestion of 


broad acres, rich tilth and fat stock. Highlow Hall is among 
the best preserved of the Derbyshire manors, and was long the 
home of one of the many branches of the Eyres. Notice the 
stone dovecote near the road — wisely set well away from the 
house — and the shapeliness of the gateway, and if it be your 
privilege to enter the house itself, you will not fail to admire the 
broad, oaken staircase and the air of solid comfort which 
pervades the ancient dwelling. From here down to the 
Derwent we obtain a succession of magnificent views. On our 
left a wooded gorge opens out towards Offerton Moor— this is 
the gorge which looks so alluring from Surprise View. Then, as 
we go forward, we get a noble view of Hathersage and the high 
ridges above the valley on the Sheffield side, presenting to the 
eye a long continuous edge ; and an easy descent takes us down 
into the main road to Grindleford, near where it crosses the 
Uerwent, about a mile out from Hathersage. 



Among the fairest of the Derbyshire dales are those of the 
Lathkill and the Bradford. These twin and trouty streams rise 
on the eastern slopes of the high ground which drains down 
into the Wye between Bakewell and Rowsley. Neither, for all 
its windings, has an independent existence of more than five 
miles ; and mingling their floods at Alport, they flow together 
for a short three miles till they reach the Wye below Haddon. 
The choice of approach to them is varied ; but it is best, 
perhaps, to walk down Lathkill Dale from Monyash and up 
Bradford Dale from Youlgreave to Middleton. The Lathkill 
springs from a cavernous opening in the rock about two miles 
from Monyash in a long, rugged limestone defile. The first 
dale on the right is Cales Dale, up which lies the path to One 
Ash Grange. Here, in these upper reaches — though the word 
sounds altogether too big for the stream — we are in a charac- 
teristic Derbyshire ravine, hewn out of the hills in some far-off 
age by rush of water, but of no special attraction to eyes which 
have already feasted on the best. And here is the Lathkill, 
flowing gently over sedgy, grassy bottoms, careless of walls and 
little weirs designed to check its flow. Suddenly, at one of its 
many bends, the right bank assumes a cloak of trees, reaching 
to the top of its soaring crest, while on our bank, the left, the 
trees are but scanty, and great scaurs of rock jut out amid big 


patches of broken stone. Here is a sheep-dipping station, and 
then the Lathkill falls to a lower level in a pretty little cascade 
over moss-grown rocks, below which is a deep, pellucid pool. At 
its side is a small tufa quarry — a few square yards of unsight- 
liness which reconciles one to the news that garden rockeries 
of tufa are going out of fashion. In narrowed channel and with 
rapid flow the river enters a straight reach of a quarter of a 
mile, still with a bare hill-side on the left bank and lovely woods 
upon the right. The channel broadens to some twenty yards, 
deepening as it approaches a mill, and clear as the famed 
Bandusian Fount itself The gaping windows, the broken 
chimney, the holes in the tiled roof, tell us even at a distance 
that the mill is a ruin. In what was once a garden nettles grow 
knee deep ; the wheel stands idle, rusting silently in pitiful dis- 
use, though the stream, which would set it spinning merrily, 
still leaps down the narrow race and splashes noisily on the 
motionless iron. Futile effort — the place is dead. A glance 
through the windows shows the empty corn-bins and the shutes 
• — now grimy and black — down which the flour used to pour in 
white flood. Saddest of all — the industry is dead too. To the 
left, through an opening in the hills, a bare and uninviting track 
leads to the uplands. It is the way the corn used to come — it 
comes no more. 

Opposite, a leafy gorge runs up from the stream, with foliage 
so dense that one can distinguish none of its features save the 
scaurs of the limestone high above the trees. Beyond the mill 
is a little plantation which sunders us from the bank, but, as 
we rejoin it, the Lathkill broadens out into thrice its normal 
size, a shallow sheet of water by the side of the Low Weir. 
Jutting out from the opposite bank are the stones of a tiny 
breakwater, and the shallow steps of the weir itself are covered 
with moss and almost dry. Only one small runnel was filtering 
its way through the crevices of the stones, but through the 
sluices at the sides the water was spirting gaily. The pool 
looked absolutely still, as I saw it in a beautiful June evening, 

B B 


its centre covered with water-plants which had thrust up their 
brown leaves and tiny white flowers to the surface, and its bed 
overspread with green sedges, that gave place near the banks to 
patches of clean gravel. Only the splash of the spirting water 
and the sharp cries of two waterfowls, calling to one another as 
they breasted their way through the weeds and left an open 
lane behind them, broke the delicious stillness of this lovely 

As we proceed, our bank of the Lathkill also becomes clothed- 
in a glory of green foliage, and the river path runs beneath the 
shade of elm and larch, with here and there a rowan and a iir 
and abundance of hazel and beech. In the more sequestered 
spots, where the wind has not penetrated, the brown leaves of 
last year's fall lie untouched; in the more open places they are 
banked up in great drifts. The wood is not dense ; there is 
no tangle of undergrowth, and, looking up the slope, one can 
see the sky through the topmost trees and distinguish each 
separate trunk. For a space we lose the Lathkill — in the reach 
where the miners have left their ugly trail — but we come to it 
again by a ruined cottage on a level piece of sward on the 
right bank. This is a homestead which the last occupant 
must have quitted with regret, if he had eyes for beauty or ears 
for the music of the stream, here rippling along over a bed of 
fine gravel, where not even a minnow can hope for conceal- 
ment. Two hundred yards further down, a ruined aqueduct 
leads to a ruined mill Six of the ponderous stone columns by 
which it crossed the river are still standing, in various stages of 
unpicturesque decay. They cry shame on their builders, for 
these are no stately relics of clever brain and honest work, 
like the arches of the aqueducts in the Campagna — they are 
mere rubbish, on which one is glad to see Time working his 
will so quickly. 

Beyond the mill a long reach carries us down to ford and 
foot-bridge and to the path leading up on the left to Over 
Haddon, perched on the hill above. We are clear now of 

B B 2 


woods on our side of the stream, though they still continue on 
the right bank. Here, too, the Lathkill runs within banked 
channels, nor clears itself of man's devices and a wilderness of 
sadge till it is past the foot-bridge and has flowed by the meadow 
beyond, leaving but just room for the path to squeeze a way 
between the limestone scaurs and the water, which broadens 
out to a width of forty yards. A boathouse is seen under the 
woods of the opposite bank, but the boats are for fishing rather 
than rowing in a stream where the water-plants grow so free. 
Then come a few yards where the rocks overhang the path, 
and below is a weir of five curving steps with a black pool 
beneath, where the trout come up to play as though they 
enjoyed the rush of the falling stream. And who doubts their 
enjoyment or delight in their arrowy journeyings, knowing the 
river as they do, far better than we clumsily-moving creatures 
can ever hope to know it ? The Lathkill is one of the most 
renowned of English trout streams and has been so since 
Cotton's day. Does not Piscator say that the Lathkin — for so 
he spelt it— is, " by many degrees, the purest and most trans- 
parent stream that I ever yet saw, either at home or abroad, and 
breeds, it is said, the reddest and the best Trouts in England." 
" Too small to be reputed rivers," he adds, the Lathkill and 
the Bradford are " no better than great springs." It is for the 
fisherman's sake that these waters are so carefully held up by 
the succession of weirs and deep pools which look so picturesque 
and charming all the way from Over Haddon to Conksbury 
Bridge, and for the next mile and a half down to Alport. But 
the reaches are unequally tended ; some are so choked and 
overgrown with weeds and rushes that no stream is visible. 

I saw one of the great pools drained off a few days later, till 
the tufa bed— congenial soil for all manner of strange plants — 
lay exposed in mid-stream, with muddy channels on either side 
of it in which a wader would sink to his waist. They had 
driven the fish down the shrinking stream into a shallow pool 
and then lifted them out into two great zinc washing-pails, each 


of which, when full of fish and water, taxed the strength of 
two men to carry. Hundreds of trout lay in the pails, in a 
huddled mass, glad to be counted and emptied out into one of 
the lower pools. But the biggest had been placed apart. 
These reposed in a close-meshed net in the river bed, covered 
over with moss to keep the sun from scorching them, and 
waiting, poor things, till their necks should be broken and they 
.should fulfil their destined end of providing " a dish of trout " 
for an appreciative palate. Such is the penalty that big trout 
pay when they take to eating their smaller kith and kin ! 

Conksbury Bridge has a fascination of its own. As we 
approach it by the river path it looks a solid wall built across 
the stream ; nor, until we are close upon it, do we distinguish 
the low arches through which the river flows. It looks an 
ancient bridge : its very name suggests remote antiquity. And 
old it is, standing on the old high-road from Bakewell to the 
Newhaven Inn and Ashbourne. Once there were cottages on 
the other side — they have been swept away — but the farmhouse 
near by, Meadow Place Grange, was long a place of some 
account, and had its own private chapel. At the bridge the path 
crosses to the right bank ; on the left a delightful wood rises 
from a narrow strip of green sward. Then, in a few hundred 
yards, we reach a little arched bridge with the daintiest of pretty 
weirs by its side, and a stone's-throw away under the trees may 
be seen the Fishing House of the Marquis of Granby, a much 
less substantial building than the Fishing House on the Dove. 
The foot-path which mounts through the wood leads straight 
over Haddon Fields to the Wye at Haddon Hall, and was the 
direct track from Haddon to Youlgreave. Our way, however, 
lies not over the bridge but up to the right, past the keeper's 
lodge, and out into the lane, which leads into the high-road, 
and so on to Youlgreave. 

Over Haddon, which lay on the hill above us a mile before 
we reached Conksbury Bridge, is a pretty village. This was the 
home of Martha Taylor, the fasting girl, the Mirabile Peed, 


as one writer called her, "the Derbyshire Non-such," as she 
was styled by another. Two rare pamphlets relating to her 
case may be seen by the curious at the British Museum, one a 
quasi-scientific document written by Joseph Reynolds, of King's 
Norton, in 1669 and "humbly offered to the Royall Society"; 
the other, composed in the same year by " H. A." and designed 
for religious edification. The facts are these. In 1667 an 
Over Haddon girl, named Martha Taylor, " born of mean 
parentage '' and about eighteen years of age, began to abstain 
from solid foods. She had been ailing for eight years, ever since 
a neighbour had struck her a blow — whether in jest or anger — 
in the small of the back. This had led to lameness and spinal 
trouble, and she had taken to her bed in 1662, lying by the 
fire-side in the lower room of the house. She gradually wasted 
away, and from Dec. 22, 1667, onwards eat nothing solid. 
Reynolds says that all the sustenance she had was "now and 
then a few drops of the syrup of stewed prunes, of water and 
sugar, or the juice of a roasted raisin." Her lips, too, were 
occasionally moistened with a feather dipped in sugar and water. 
Once she continued five weeks without sleep, but " her coun- 
tenance remained fresh and lively, and her voice clear and 
audible," and she was " free in discourse." She had learned to 
read and "attained some knowledge in sacred mysteries," but 
" pretended to nothing of enthusiasm." Apparently, the case 
was genuine enough, for she was carefully watched by physicians, 
surgeons and other persons " for at least a fortnight together." 
These were appointed by the Earl of Devonshire, who took 
great interest in the girl. For thirteen months she had lived in 
this way, in full possession of her faculties, but wasted to 
an incredible degree. The last published record of her fast is 
of the date March 30th, 1669, and, according to the register, 
she was buried on June 12th, 1684. Either the latter date is 
wrong, or the girl recovered. It is impossible to believe that she 
existed in such a deplorable condition for seventeen years. 
Youlgreave is an attractive village with a handsome church 


at its eastern end, whose noble tower dates from the fifteenth 
century and is one of the finest of its kind in Derbyshire. The 
interior has been well restored and contains a number of inter- 
esting things — a fine Burne-Jones window in the chancel ; a 
unique round sandstone font, set on pillars, with a projecting 
stoup at the side ; an exquisite little alabaster table tomb, four 
feet long, with a miniature effigy of Sir Thomas Cokayne, of 
Harthill ; a quaint little figure of a palmer with wallet and staff ; 
and monuments of the Gilberts of Alport, the ubiquitous Eyres, 
the Thornhills of Stanton, and other families which have long 
vanished from the district. In the parish register are two 
entries of more than usual interest under the dates 16 14 and 
1615. These were the years of the great snow and drought, 
both of extraordinary duration and intensity. The story cannot 
be better told than in the clerk's own words and in his own 
curious spelling. He says : — - 

"This year, 1614-15, January 16, began the greatest snow which ever 
fell uppon the Earth within man's niemorye. It covered the Earth fyve 
quarters deap uppon the playne {i.e. 45 inches). And for heapes, or drifts 
of snow, they were very deap so that passengers, both horse and foot, 
passed over gates, hedges and walles. It fell at ten severall tymes, and 
the last was the greatest, to the great admiration and feare of all the land, 
for it came from the foure pts of the worls so that all c'ntryes were full, yea 
the south p'te as well as these mountaynes. It continued by daily 
encreasing until the 12th day of March (without the sight of any earth, 
eyther uppon hilles or valleys), uppon wch daye, being the Lorde's day, it 
began to decrease : and so by little and little consumed and wasted away, 
till the eight and twentieth day of May, for then all the heapes or drifts 
of snow were consumed, except one uppon Kinderscout, wch lay till 
Witsun week. Hyndrances and losses in this peake c'ntry by the snow 
afore abovesayd. (l) It hindered the seedtyme. . (2) It consumed much 
fodder. (3) And many wanted fewell, otherwise few were smothered in 
the fall, or drowned in the passage : in regard the floods of water were nut 
great though many. The name of our Lorde be praysed. There fell also 
ten lesse snows in Aprill, some a foote deep, some lesse, but none continued 
long. Uppon May day in the morning, instead of fetching in flowers, the 
youthes brought in flakes of snow which lay above a foot deep uppon the 
moores and mountaynes. 

376 BRADFORD DALE chap. 

The simple directness of this narrative bears comparison 
even with Blackmore's description in Lorna Doom of the 
great snow in Devonshire half a century later. As regards the 
drought, the Youlgreave clerk did not enter into so many 
particulars. But he tells us that no rain fell upon the earth 
from the 25th day of March till the and day of May, and then 
there was but one shower. Only two more fell between then 
and the 4th day of August, so that the greater part of the land 
was entirely burnt up. 

We descend the hill past Youlgreave churchyard to where 
the Bradford is spanned by road-bridge and foot-bridge, the 
latter with stone supports no more than three feet high. Here 
we turn rightwards up the left bank, below the terraced gardens 
of the cottages on the hill-side, and cross at the end of the 
first reach. The river is no more than a bubbling brook, which 
would speedily run itself dry were it not restrained by the 
weirs that transform whole reaches of this gracious stream into 
still pools, even more crystal clear than those of the Lathkill. 
As you walk along the grassy track you can see the trout busy 
on their errands amid the brown water-weeds, which display 
below only their lean, bare stalks and grope their way to the 
surface ere they put out a leaf. These are the forests of the trout, 
and through them the fish go darting with unerring aim, though 
they travel quick as a flash of light. Turning with the stream 
round the spur of a little hill, we see a large mill before us — 
empty, of course. Through the barred doors one can hear the 
disconsolate drip of the water on the wheel, and the mill-race 
running idly, doing no work. In the dam above only the 
waterfowl were stirring and a big brown rat, which came 
swimming across with his muzzle high out of the water. 
Suddenly his beady eyes met mine. He stopped instantly, 
hesitated for a fraction of a second, then dived like a stone. I 
saw him no more ; though for this, perhaps, my town eyes 
were at fault. Just one more twist and our bonny dale 
comes to an end with stately trees on either bank. We have a 


glimpse of the bare hill-side beyond, and note the big lime- 
stone rock with the ash tree by its side, at the corner beyond 
where the path crosses the bridge. A gallant Cavalier there 
received his death wound. One regrets that Bradford Dale 
ceases so soon. It is but a mile long, but for peaceful loveli- 
ness and sheer prettiness nothing in Derbyshire excels it. So 
we pass reluctantly over the bridge towards the stone building 
with ugly roof of corrugated iron, whence issues the throbbing 
sound of the water turbine which supplies Middleton with 
water, and then up the leafy dell that leads to the village. 
This lane is out of the sun's eye and cool as a shady arbour, 
for steep cliffs protect it, cliffs where the jackdaws are chatter- 
ing, and where the trees thrust out long roots which cling in 
frenzied contortion to the rocks to compensate for lack of soil. 
In the pretty village of Middleton, the most interesting spot 
is the mound which marks the site of the old embattled house 
where the Fullwoods dwelt. The most famous of his line was 
Sir Christopher, who enlisted more than a thousand miners for 
the King in the Civil War, and lost his life in that unhappy 
struggle. Tradition says that he was surprised at Middleton by 
a party of Parliamentarians, emissaries of Sir John Cell, of 
Hopton, and took refuge behind the rock which we saw in the 
dale below, where he was mortally wounded. He died at 
Caulton, in Staffordshire, on Nov. i6th, 1643, and his loss was 
a severe blow to the Royalist cause in Derbyshire. The house 
was dismantled and its stones used in the building of the 
Castle Farm, in whose fields the mounds lie — the first field on 
the right hand on fflie road to Youlgreave. A mile out of 
Middleton, at a bend of the same road, we come to Lomberdale 
House, commanding a fine view down Bradford Dale. This 
was the residence of William Bateman, the well-known Derby- 
shire archeeologist, an enthusiastic barrow-digger and collector 
of antiquities, whose museum, long located in this house, is 
now at Sheffield and has been unhappily lost to Derbyshire. 
His record of his explorations is still a standard work of 


Derbyshire archaeology. Just beyond Lomberdale House a 
field on the left hand bears the- name of Costal — said to be a 
corruption of " cold steel," but the derivation looks exceed- 
ingly suspicious. Another mile and we are in Youlgreave again, 
where we pass, as we enter the village, a pretty old house by 
the roadside and a barbarously ugly conduit in the market 
place, enclosed with rails, and bearing the date 1829. 

From Youlgreave it is a pleasant short excursion to visit the 
curious rocks on Harthill Moor, which takes its name — it used 
frequently to be spelt Hartle — from an old manor, now a farm- 
house, about half a mile from Alport. This was the ancient 
home of a local branch of the Cokaynes. The way lies down 
to the Bradford, where one crosses the stream, bears to the 
right hand and in a few yards takes a foot-path on the left. This 
slants across the fields and soon begins to rise to the high 
ground, passing through an attractive wood, and out by the 
side of a farm into the road from Alport to Elton. A continu- 
ing path across the road brings us to the tumbled mass of rocks 
known as Robin Hood's Stride, so-called from the two projecting 
pillars at either end, eighteen feet high and twenty-two yards 
apart. Graned Tor was another name for this striking pile of 
rocks, which some of the older archaeologists fondly believed to 
be a Druidical monument, and it was also known as Mock 
Beggars Hall from its resemblance at a distance to a large 
mansion. The rocks stand well on an eminence above the 
road, but they are not to be compared with the Black Rocks at 
Cromford. Cratcliff or Cardiff Tor, another imposing mass of 
the same ridge, lies near by on our left hand ; a hermit's cave 
may be seen at its foot, with a crucifix roughly carved out of the 
rock. Near at hand also are the Rowtor, Router, or Roo Tor 
Rocks, surmounted by the Needle. The best view of these 
various groups is to be obtained from the bend of the road in 
the hill in front of us which leads up to Winster. We shall 
visit Winster, however, later on ; here we turn back down the 
road, and in two miles take the by-road to the right that leads 



to Stanton-in-the-Peak. A curious old house, with most of its 
windows blocked up, attracts notice as we enter the village ; the 
church is modern and undistinguished, and fenced about with a 
high wall. Behind it spreads the deer-park surrounding Stanton 
Hall, which has been for many generations the home of the 
Thornhills. Stanton, pleasantly situated in woods, is the head- 
quarters of a great quarrying industry located on the moors at 
the back overlooking Darley Dale. Our road bears leftward 

The Peacock Inn^ Rowsley. 

beyond the church and keeping well up on the high ground as it 
turns to the north-east, soon gives us a series of beautiful views 
over the valley of the Wye towards Bakewell. At the point com- 
manding the finest prospect, a semi-circular recess has been built 
with stone flooring and seat. From here we may look down on 
the grey walls of Haddon, bowered in trees, above the sinuous 
Wye. Below us, too, are the pastures of Nether Haddon and 
Haddon P'ields, carrying the eye on to the pretty town of 
Bakewell, with Longstone Edge rising up in the background to 
bound the horizon. Everywhere green woods, green fields and 

38o ROWSLEY chap. 

delightful streams. We begin to descend, still keeping the view 
with us, till our road receives lanes from right and left. Then, 
still descending, we pass to the right of Peak Tor or Pillow Hill, 
one of the most shapely little hills in Derbyshire, whose velvety 
sides are dotted with fine trees. This shuts out our prospect, 
but a new view opens to the right over Darley Dale towards 
Matlock, and, when we have flanked Peak Tor, we stand on 
a ridge that for a little way commands the double view over 
AVye and Derwent. Dropping down at the back of the hill, by 
a road where the slippered wheels of the stone-waggons have 
dug great trenches in the surface, we are on the level once 
more, and soon cross the Wye, which joins the Derwent a stone's- 
throw away through the fields. John Gisborne has charmingly 

described the scene ; — 

" The tortuous Wye 
Appears. Mark how reluctant he withdraws ! 
How he turns back in many a lingering curve, 
As if enamoured of the groves and towers 
He lately passed : as if well pleased to paint 
On his effulgent mirrors moving slow, 
A double picture of the enchanting scene, 
The vale's reflected charms. And who, I ask, 
Of all that ever roamed these banks or lawns, 
Can wonder ? Who that hither bends his step 
What time her stars the primrose first expands 
Gemming yon hawthorn's root : or July suns. 
Pride of the ardent year, invite the trout 
With oft-repeated circles to disturb 
The glassy smoothness of their lucid haunts ? 
Or when, as now, autumnal visions glare. 
Or e'en when winter's snow, like flowers, enwreathes 
The pinnacles of Iladdon ; who can hide 
' The forms of beauty smiling at his heart,' 
Can wonder at the pausing tide of Wye ? " 

Then we enter the village of Rowsley — pleasant enough in 
its older part, with an inn — the Peacock — that dates back to 
the time of the Commonwealth, and an ancient bridge over 
the Derwent, 


" From whence 
Rowsley ! thine arches grey are seen, and sure 
More graceful arches never yet beheld 
Their circles finished in a glassy flood." 

Over the bridge we come to the railway and to the Rowsley of 
the railway workers, ugliness in rows of uniform pattern. If 
your way, however, be on foot to Edensor or Baslow, avoid the 
dusty road by taking a foot-path through a gate from the side of 
the Rowsley Post Office, and continue through the fields on 
the right bank of the Derwent, till you issue by the farm near 
the bridge on the border of Chatsworth Park- 

Rowsley Bridge. 



Darley Dale is green and spacious. It extends from 
Rowsley, at its northern, to Matlock at its southern extremity, 
some five to six miles long in a straight line, and is at its 
broadest mid-way, where Two Dales branches off on its eastern 
side and Wensley on its western. At the Rowsley end the 
hills seem to enfold the valley as though to deny all outlet, 
though here the AVye and Derwent meet, and their respective 
valleys converge. So, too, at Matlock, the hill of Riber lies 
straight across the broad mouth of the valley, and the Derwent 
has to force a passage to the right through a deep, romantic 
gorge. Darley Dale is seen at its best from the hill-tops, as we 
shall see it from Stanton Stand and from the summit of Masson. 
From Beeley to Two Dales one wood succeeds another ; then 
comes a wide break, and two minor dales run up to the moors 
at the back. One of these is Hall Dale ; the other is the gorge 

CH. XXVI OAKER hill 383 

of the Sydnope brook with Sydnope Hall at its upper extremity, 
once the home of Sir Francis Darwin. Eighty years ago a busy 
flax mill on the Sydnope, belonging to a family named Dakeyne, 
or Dakyns, was worked by an elaborate and ingenious con- 
trivance designed to supersede the old water-wheels. These 
Dakeynes, a branch of the family at Stubbing Edge, near Ash- 
over, bore the curious motto, " Strike, Dakeyne, the devil is in 
the hemp." 

Mid-way down the dale the road to Winster rises through 
Wensley, at the foot of which is Oaker Hill, a pretty little 
green hill of irregular outline, with a few cottages lying snugly 
on its sides, which would be quite undistinguished save for the 
happy circumstance that Wordsworth dedicated a sonnet to 
it. When the poet visited Darley Dale, he was told how two 
brothers had once parted on its summit. The one was quitting 
his native home to push his fortunes elsewhere ; the other had 
elected to remain. On the top of Oaker they said farewell, 
and met no more. 

" 'Tis said that to the brow of yon fair hill 
Two brothers clomb ; and turning face from face, 
Nor one look more exchanging, grief to still 
Or feed, each planted on that lofty place 
A chosen tree. Then, eager to fulfil 
Their courses, like two new-born rivers, they 
In opposite directions urged their way 
Down from the far-seen mount. No blast might kill 
Or blight that fond memorial. The trees grew 
And now entwine their arms ; but ne'er again 
Embraced those brothers upon earth's wide plain, 
Nor aught of mutual joy or sorrow knew 
Until their spirits mingled in the sea 
That to itself takes all— Eternity." 

One of the twin sycamores died, and for many years the sur- 
vivor stood solitary on the summit. It now has a companion 
planted in honour of the King's Coronation. Oaker Hill might 
surely have been left to the poet. It is said that the actual. 


planter of the two sycamores was a man, named Shore, who 
wished his own coffin to be made from their wood. 

StancHffe Hall, for many years one of the show places of 
Darley Dale, is now a school. It adjoins the most pitiless 
quarry in the dale, where the hill-side has been attacked so 
ruthlessly that it looks as though what remains would fall by its 
own weight. From this famous quarry came the stone of which 
St. George's Hall, Liverpool, was built, and its lions, weighing 
six tons each, were fashioned here. It is said that Sir Joseph 
Whitworth, who bought the old Stancliffe Hall estate very 
cheaply, more than recouped himself by his profits on the sale 
of this stone. Then he closed the works, built himself a man- 
sion and lavished money upon the grounds and flower gardens 
which, in the opinion of many, more than rivalled those of 
Chatsworth. When Sir Joseph and Lady Whitworth died the big 
hall came into the market, but found no purchaser and long 
stood empty. The quarries were re-opened ; the work of 
destruction began anew, and the hill is in process of being torn 
away block by block. Sir Joseph Whitworth's memory, how- 
ever, will be kept green in t)arley Dale as long as the Institute 
stands, which bears his name, and the Hospital, which was the 
gift of his wife. Elsewhere he is associated with guns and 
engines of destruction ; here in Darley Dale with flowers and 
gardens and generous beneficence. 

But the finest thing in Darley Dale is the marvellous old yew 
tree in the churchyard of Church Town, a few minutes' walk 
from Darley Dale Station. A church of St. Helen has stood 
here for many centuries, as the stone coffins and sculptured lids 
now set up in the porch bear witness. Within, the fabric shows 
a medley of styles, and the monuments go back to a certain 
John de Darley early in the fourteenth century. The most 
interesting are the effigy slabs of the Rollesley family of the 
middle of the sixteenth century, whose name survives in Rows- 
ley. Here, too, is Burne Jones' Song of Solomon windoW; 
in memory of one Raphael Gillman, who died in i860 at the 





Church and Yew tree, Darley Dale. 

age of ninety. It consists of twelve blazing panels, utterly unlike 
the ordinary pallid designs for church windows. The colours are 
vivid ; the contrasts sharp ; the scenes and the figures alike 

c c 

386 THE DARLEY YEW chap. 

bizarre. The window is a picture puzzle, challenging attention 
and demanding an answer, and must be a great rival to the 
preacher during sermon time. The yew stands opposite the south 
porch, surrounded — most wisely, considering the vandals with 
pocket knives who infest the roads — with spiked iron railings. 
It is not as tall in the bole as many ancient yews, for it divides 
almost immediately into two main trunks, and then sub-divides 
again into scores of branches of varying thickness. Many of 
these were lopped off about 1820. Whether this was a neces- 
sary operation or not I do not know, but Rhodes, in recording 
it, uses the word " despoiled," and the destruction was probably 
sanctioned by the rector to avoid the expense of propping up 
the flowing branches. But the yew, which is thirty-three feet 
in girth four feet from the ground, is still hale and hearty and 
gives no sign of faihng strength. As to its age the authorities 
differ widely. Some — including Dr. Cox, who has written with 
great feeling on this venerable tree — boldly assign to it an age 
of two thousand years ; others deny it more than six or seven 
hundred. Let the scientists decide their quarrel ! 

Derbyshire is rich in yew trees. There are fine specimens at 
Doveridge, at Sudbury and at Beeley, but the Darley yew is 
the noblest example of all. It has even claims to be considered 
the finest in the British Isles, regard being paid to age and size 
and condition. Others ranking high are the Crowhurst yew in 
Surrey; the Tisbury yew in Wiltshire; the forest of, yews at 
Cherkley Court, near Leatherhead ; the yews of Brecon and 
those of Fountains Abbey, under whose branches, according to 
the legend, the masons lived while they built their poem in 
stone. In Evelyn's time a giant yew stood at Brabourne, in 
Kent, whose girth was only one inch short of fifty-nine feet, and 
Prebendary Gilpin speaks of a yew at Fotheringal, near Tay- 
mouth in Scotland, which was fifty-six feet and a half in circum- 
ference. Compared with these the girth of the Darley yew 
seems insignificant, but it gives no added charm to me that a 
yew should be hollow, as at Crowhurst, where they have nailed 


a rough wooden door to the poor old ruin and turned it into a 
tool-house. The Darley yew is not a hollow shell, but a firm, 
solid tree, which should withstand many a century more of 
winter storm. 

Why were yews planted in churchyards ? We must renounce, 
it seems, among many other pleasant fictions of the past, the 
old idea that the churchyard yew was intended to supply the 
parish with wood for the making of bows. Patriotic poets have 
sung of the bow which was made in England, of " the yew wood, 
the true wood," grown on English soil. Alas, the facts do not 
fit the theory ! The English yew did not make specially good 
bows. The best came from abroad, and the English archers 
at Crecy, maybe, shot with foreign-grown weapons. The best 
foreign yew fetched in the English market three times the price of 
the native product, and the poets, therefore, will be well advised 
in future to stick to the English oak. Yews probably owe their 
presence in churchyards to their dark funereal aspect, though 
by a strange contradiction their longevity and their perpetual 
green also make them a meet symbol of immortality. Whatever 
its symbolical meaning, however, an ancient church yew has the 
faculty of arousing sentiment even in the most unlikely breasts 
and stirs deeper feelings than oak or elm. Mute but pathetic 
evidence of this may be seen in the case of the Darley Dale 
yew. On all sides, beneath its branches, the ground is covered 
thick with gravestones, set so close that the graves encroach 
one upon the other. Evidently, from time immemorial the 
peiople of Darley Dale have been desirous of sleeping their last 
sleep beneath its shade. " Let me be buried under the old 
yew," must have been the last request of many a dying dales- 
man, till the tree has become almost as sacred in its associations 
as the church itself 

" Old warder of these buried bones 

And answering now my random stroke 
With fruitful cloud and living smoke ; 
■ Dark yew, that graspest at the stones 


388 JOHN GISBORNE chap. 

And dippest towards the dreamless head, 
In thee too comes the golden hour, 
"When flower is feeUng after flower." 

No poet ever observed tree life more closely than Tennyson. 
If you strike with a stick the branch of a yew tree when it is in 
bloom in the spring, the pollen from the male yellow flowers 
will fall in a golden shower upon the female blossoms, and the 
process of fertilisation will be accomplished. 

Darley Dale has had its poet — a minor one, it is true, yet 
still a poet. John Gisborne, a brother of Thomas Gisborne, 
the Prebendary of Durham and the better known author of 
Walks in a Forest, lived in the dale during the first quarter of 
the nineteenth century and dedicated to his brother a little 
volume of poems, entitled Reflections, which was published in 
1833. He too, was a strong Evangelical — he was known, 
indeed, as " The Man of Prayer " — and his pietistic tendencies 
obtrude themselves in his reflections on the church and the 
yew tree. He says : — 

" Defaced and much bereaved 
Of all thine outward ornament, "tis well 
O sacred edifice, that Truth presides 
Within thy court, that Evangelic Day 
Diffuses heavenly radiance on thy walls 
And lights the sinner to a Throne of Grace. 
Nor shall thy reverend yew, the sire who holds 
His scejjtre verdant through the changeful year. 
Unnoticed stand. He has beheld, like thee. 
Thousands entombed within his shadow, heard 
For ages past the sobs, the heart-fetched groans 
Of parting anguish ere the grave was closed. 
And drank the mourner's tears. 'S'ea, he has felt, 
Like thee, the war of elements ; like thee, 
Escaped the fury of that deadlier strife 
Wliich mortals sometimes urge, sparing nor sex, 
Nor age, nor science, nor the works of art. 
Nor GOD'S high altar." 

Wordsworth complirnented Gisborne on his verses, but he 
was diffident and shy, and the main bent of his life was towards 


religion. He left Darley Dale about 1835 and migrated to 
Blackpool, then a tiny hamlet on the Lancashire coast, where 
he ended his days. 

The approach to Matlock along the main road through 
Darley Dale is most disappointing. As road, river, and rail- 
way draw together, we reach the commonplace outskiits of the 
town, spoilt by aggressive limekilns, quarries, and all the 
paraphernalia of industry in its ugliest form. ^Vhen we emerge 
we are close to Matlock Bridge, an ancient structure which, as 
I saw it, was in the throes of being widened. Matlock Bank 
stretches away up the steep hill side to the left hand— a pros- 
perous-looking place of little interest, unless your tastes lie in 
the direction of hydropathy and the buildings where it is culti- 
vated. Fifty or sixty years ago Matlock Bank was a bare 
expanse with few houses. But our way hes along the Derwent 
side. Crossing the bridge, we follow the main road — now a 
street of commonplace shops— till we soon pass under the 
railway and enter upon one of the most beautiful river reaches 
of Derbyshire. We do so with high expectation. The fame 
of Matlock's beauty has gone forth to the uttermost parts of 
the earth. For a whole century writer after writer has assured 
us that the charms of romantic Matlock are irresistible ; that its 
combination of river, rocks, and woods is matchless. Let us 
quote Ruskin's glowing eulogy : — 

" Learned traveller, gentle and simple — but above all, English Pater- 
faiiiilias — think of what this little piece of mid-England has brought into 
so narrow compass of all that should be most precious to you. In its 
very minuteness it is the most educational of all the districts of beautiful land- 
scape known to me. The vast masses, the luxurious -colouring, the mingled 
associations of great mountain scenery, amaze, excite, overwhelm, or 
exhaust — but too seldom teach ; the mind cannot choose where to begin. 
But Derbyshire is a lovely child's alphabet ; an alluring first lesson in all 
that is admirable ; and powerful chiefly in the way it engages and fixes 
the attention. On its miniature cliff's a dark ivy leaf detaches itself 
as an object of importance ; you distinguish with interest the species of 
mosses on the top ; you count, like many falling diamonds, the magical 
drops of its petrifying wells ; the cluster of violets iri the shade 


is all Armida's garden to you — and the grace of it all ! — and 
(he suddenness of its enchanted changes, the terrorless grotesque- 
grotesque par excellence. It was a meadow a minute ago, nov/ it is a 
cliff, and in an instant a cave — and here was a brooklet, and now it is 
a whisper underground. Turn but the corner of the path, and it is a little 
green lake of incredible crystal ; and if the trout in it lifted up their heads 
and talked to you, you would be no more surprised than if it was in the 
Arabian Nights." 

Many years have passed since Ruskin penned that eloquent 
passage ; if he could revisit the well-loved scene, would he 
suffer the written word to stand ? I think that those who best 
know Ruskin's work and feel qualified to speak, however diffi- 
dently, in his name, will agree that if he could walk or drive 
from Matlock Bridge to Matlock Bath, and from Matlock Bath 
to Cromford, the old man's indignation would rise at every step 
till, by the time he reached the turn of the road at Cromford, 
he would be bubbhng over with fury and rage and would scarify 
those who so complacently wrest his generous praise to the 
ignoble uses of advertisement. Ruskin would not mince his 
words ; and making no allowance for delicate susceptibilities, 
he would tell the Matlock people in scorching words that they 
have suffered their beautiful country to become vulgarised. 
Let the truth be told for once ! Nature has done for favoured 
Matlock all she can ; she has lavished upon her her very 
choicest treasures ; she has given her a delightful river which 
is a joy to the eye and to the ear, majestic cliffs which rise in 
stately beauty, living woods which wave their lovely plumes 
over rock and stream. She lias formed these gracious gifts 
into the most exquisite combinations, as though she had said 
to herself, " I will make in Matlock my choicest abode that 
men may there see my perfect handiwork." And in return for 
these bounties, what have the guardians of the dale done for 
Nature ? They have dehberately degraded Matlock Bath into 
a tripper's Paradise, and encouraged the railway companies 
to let loose daily in the summer-time among its sylvan beauties 
a horde of callous rowdies, who envy Attila his destructive 


secret, whereby the grass never grew again where once his foot 
had been planted. The debasing influence of the day tripper 
is everywhere visible in Matlock. His trail is unmistakable. 
His litter is omnipresent. And even when no long trains are 
standing empty in the sidings waiting for the hour of return, 
the mark of the tripper is daubed all over Matlock. He has 
tastes which must be catered for — the ugly phrase is here 
appropriate. The shops deck themselves out with vulgarities 
and banalities to please their patron. His eye is supposed to 
be dim ; therefore, nothing but what is gaudy will attract him. 
His ear is so accustomed to the roar of machinery and the din 
of streets that there must be a bawling salesman on the pave- 
ment to shout crude invitations to buy. It is these shops, 
these refreshment bars, these permanent preparations for the 
coming of the tripper, which ruin a place, and, once begun, the 
descent to Avernus becomes a veritable glissade. 

It is very well for the local authorities to quote with com- 
placence the alluring periods of Ruskin, and, seizing upon them 
as a gigantic free advertisement, to invite people to Matlock as 
to an earthly Paradise. Matlock and Matlock Bath are steadily 
being ruined, not alone in the eyes of the fastidious, who shrink 
from crowds — unless they are fashionable crowds — as from the 
plague, but in the eyes of people of ordinary good taste who 
hate rowdiness and vulgarity. 

The proof lies all about us as we enter the dale which leads 
to Matlock Bath. The river flows on our left hand ; Matlock 
proper is behind us ; the High Tor rises just ahead. The first 
thing we pass is a large, unsightly quarry on the right ; then we 
reach the Boat House Hotel, once one of the fashionable houses 
of the dale. Next succeeds a finely-wooded curve, but the 
houses are mean and poor, and blatant advertisements abound 
on every hand. Suspension bridges span the river, but you 
must pay to pass through the turnstiles, and big boards descant 
on the beauties of the walks up to the Tor and the price of 
admission. The High Tor is magnificent, rising up sheer from 

392 HIGH TOR CH. xxvi 

the Derwent to the height of six hundred feet, beautifully 
wooded on its lower part, but with the limestone rock showing 
grey and bare for more than half its height. Its broad irregular 
ridge, sloping sharply down towards Matlock Bath^ nobly domin- 
ates the dale through which the Derwent flows amid trees at 
its base. Just here, for a few yards, Matlock Dale is unspoilt, 
but we no sooner pass round the bend than we are saluted by 
the brick chimney of some paint works, while just at hand is a 
manufactory of ginger beer, and a little way beyond is the 
familiar reek of gasworks. A few well-kept houses, with bright 
flower gardens, partially redeem the right-hand side of the 
road, but for the most part the dwellings are in keeping with 
the gasworks, not with the Tor. Arrived at the dingy 
approach to the railway station at Matlock Bath, we cease 
to be offended, For we have grown accustomed to outrage. 

Here, however, where the road and river turn sharply at 
right angles, we hope for better things as the dale makes a new 
start. This is the modern part of Matlock Bath, with a strip of 
public garden between us and the Derwent. On the further 
bank promenade grounds have been laid out, approached by 
a light suspension bridge. The main street is a street of 
shops, and the evidence of the day tripper becomes cumulative 
and overwhelming. Every shop, all down this short reach 
of the river, seems either a cheap eating-house or a cheap spar- 
shop, where the stranger may purchase a memento of his happy 
day, and obtain a bewildering choice of perfectly useless and 
futile ornaments. Again the situation is charming ; but, what 
with the bawling of the drivers of brakes and waggonettes, the 
attentions of the pushing salesmen, and the tawdriness and 
vulgarity of their wares, one is glad to get away and make still a 
new essay around the next bend, where the hill rises in a 
magnificent sweep on the right hand, while on the left is the 
most exquisite gorge of the Derwent. We are now in the old 
part of Matlock Bath — the South Parade — from which narrow 
winding ways run up to the residential houses on the lower 


"* \i T % =-- II V Sf All ^r, V 


///;f/i 7"ur, lifatlocle 


slopes of the Heights of Abraham, themselves overtopped 
by the wooded crest of Masson. It is a glorious site for an 
inland watering place, but the main road is frankly detestable. 
The eating-house, the tea-room, the common toy- and spar-shop, 
the bars of the frequent hotels dominate the street. Such 
desecration — for desecration it is — is pitiful. At every step 
you are adjured to go and see some miraculous cavern, or drop- 
ping well, or giant stalactite, each the greatest marvel and 
wonder of the Peak, and the catch penny or catch three-penny 
touting boards at last get upon the nerves. Further on I saw 
corrugated iron refreshment bars on the main road, as though 
there were any danger of the poor tripper leaving with thirst 
unquenched, and for his amusement a huge switch-back railway 
has been erected on the river bank. The bank here is narrow, 
with just room for a strip of bright green lawn, yet on it has been 
set this wooden monstrosity ! When trade is brisk, you may 
hear every few minutes shrill, hysterical laughter and cries of un- 
controlled joy, blended with the rush and rattle of strident wheels. 
It is a wanton outrage to one of the fairest scenes in England. 
Happily, there are signs that the people of Matlock Bath are 
seeing the folly of so short-sighted a policy; and schemes of 
considerable magnitude are on foot for the improvement of the 
district. It is proposed to acquire gradually the entire river 
bank, which unfortunately belongs to a large number of small 
owners, each of whom has hitherto done that which he liked 
with his own. The Fishpond stables are to be cleared away 
under this scheme, and on their site and an adjoining plot it 
is proposed to build a Pump Room and Baths on the Buxton 
and Harrogate model. The thermal water from the Grotto 
Spring in the grounds of the Royal Hotel {the Old Bath) 
would thus be properly utilised, half the flow of water — which is 
four hundred thousand gallons a day — being guaranteed in per- 
petuity to the town. If that were done and stringent control 
were exercised over the enterprise of individual ratepayers, and 
the railway companies were discouraged from flooding the place 


every summer day with trippers, Matlock Bath might hope to 
win back some of her vanished prestige. 

No more lovely natural situation can be conceived. The 
river runs straight for a short stretch, its left bank a high limestone 
cliff, beautifully wooded, with paths — Lovers' Walks — winding 
upwards among the trees. The right bank is a sloping hillside, 
stretching down from Masson, also delightfully wooded and 
with houses scattered in pleasing irregularity. We shall return 
and climb the hill later on ; at present let us continue along 
the main road past the church and the weir to the great brick 
cotton mills with their stone quoins and windows, and their tall 
chimney. Then Derwent makes another of his violent turns, 
and we pass at the corner an unexpected chapel — uglier even 
than the mill — which bears the date of 1777, and the name of 
the donor, one Lady Glenorchy, who endowed this place of 
worship and the parsonage at its side. Lady Glenorchy, a 
typical evangelical religieuse of the eighteenth century, was the 
wife of Viscount Glenorchy, eldest son of the Earl of Breadal- 
bane. At the age of twenty-three she became a religious fanatic. 
Renouncing all the frivolities of fashionable life, she suddenly 
devoted her whole life to preaching the doctrine of Saving 
Grace. Her sincerity was beyond question, for she gave up her 
entire fortune to the training of young ministers and the building 
of chapels. Moreover, she not only built, but endowed 
them — doubtless the main reason of their survival. The princi- 
pal one is at Edinburgh, where her ladyship lies buried. Early 
in the nineteenth century Dr. T. S. Jones, the pastor of this 
Edinburgh chapel, wrote, a life of his patroness, with selections 
from her letters and diary, which show what exquisite comfort 
Lady Glenorchy derived from subscribing herself " the chief 
of sinners." The only passage, however, to interest us is that 
which tells how her ladyship came to be associated with Mat- 
lock. One Saturday, while she was driving through the village 
on her way south, her carriage broke down, and this necessitated 
her remaining over the Sunday. " On making enquiries," says 


Dr. Jones, "as she usually did wherever she went, concerning 
the state of religion in Matlock, and finding it very low, she 
was induced to make proposals for purchasing a small, but neat 
house, originally built for the residence of the managing partner 
of a cotton mill, and which had a chapel adjoining, capable of 
containing 300 persons. This purchase she finally accom- 
plished. The chapel remains, and much good has been and 
still continues to be done by the preaching of the Gospel in this 
place." Lady Glenorchy bought the house and chapel — they 
had been built in 1777 by Sir Richard Arkwright for his 
partner Mr. Need of Nottingham — in 1785, and it was her 
intention to settle down in Matlock for the rest of her days. 
But her health was bad, and she died in the following year. 
Before her death, however, she made over house, furniture, 
and chapel to the Rev. Jonathan Scott, one of her proteges, 
whom she had installed as minister, the deed of gift being with- 
out limitation and restriction to himself and his wife. In her 
will, too, she left Scott _;^5,ooo to be spent as he thought best on 
the training of young men for the ministry. 

Above the dusty Glenorchy Chapel, on the right of the road 
where the steep hill turns with the stream, is a flaming modern 
villa, whose red tiles look garish and out of place. The 
Derwent bends to the left, and on that side the rugged cliffs 
fall away, giving place to a pleasant green slope, whereon stands 
Willersley Castle, a plain yet imposing stone building of three 
stories, the chief residence of the Arkwrights and long famous 
for the beauty of its grounds. A few yards further on the road 
pierces the rock and comes out into the broad cross-roads at 
Cromford. It is worth while, as we retrace our steps, to note 
the view from the lodge gates of Willersley, for this is what 
George Eliot called " the turn of the road at Cromford " and its 
beauty was famous in her day. It is a pretty picture, 
" esteemed by painters " — so Pilkington wrote in 1789— "the 
most compleat piece of scenery in the whole valley." But let 
VIS return and rtiake our way to the top of Masson. Turning 


up on the left hand by the side of the Temple we enter the 
private grounds of the Heights of Abraham. As we rise, we see 
that the fine cliffs of the Lovers' Walks are the sheer edge 
of a plateau of cultivated land running down from the hill 
behind. We are far from the vulgarities of the main road, 
though even here not quite secure from pressing invitations to 
see caverns, or to be photographed, or to buy picture postcards. 
The Heights of Abraham owe their name, it is said, to local 
enthusiasm for Wolfe's great victory outside Quebec, and 
another part of the slope labours under the name of the Heights 
of Jacob. The rest of the patriarchs have happily been spared. 
A stone tower on the Heights, a conspicuous landmark from 
the valley, offers a delightful view, but those who are wise will 
continue the easy ascent until they reach the summit of Masson 
— a thousand and seventy-six feet — not a peak, but a broad 
plateau with a large clump of wind-swept trees. From here the 
whole of Matlock Bank, with the north side of Darley Dale 
and the uplands above, looks a smooth unbroken ascent 
stretching away towards Ashover and Chesterfield. Riber 
Hill stands up boldly across the entrance to Darley Dale with its 
squat castle crouching on the top, but its sloping shoulder is cut 
off sharply by the gorge of the Dervvent. By the side of Riber 
we can look over Scarthin down the railway past Cromford to 
the ruined Stand on Crich heights; we can see the ridges of 
Stonnis and Middleton-by-Wirksworth, and the densely-wooded 
depressions which mark the gorges through which run the roads 
to Bonsai and Winster. In the far distance we may distinguish 
the clumps about Newhaven ; the line of Axe Edge is often 
visible, and over Stanton Lees we can make out the heights 
above Hathersage and Grindleford. The view from the sum- 
mit of Masson can hardly be omitted from the finest prospects in 
the whole of Derbyshire. If the valley of the Derwent at its foot 
were better visible it could challenge comparison with the very 
best. But on this side the view is restricted. The descent from 
Masson to Matlock Bridge follows an easy and obvious track. 




Natural Scale, 1:63.360. 

liiicli = I mile mile 

< f , '4 , '^ . 1 

Heights in feet thus: ^3^ 

Contours -252S. 






ihit-terttin)] r^ 

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Emery Walker sc. 


Present day Matlock is in great measure the creation of 
the late John Smedley. Matlock Bath, as a watering place of 
the Buxton and Harrogate type, attracting patients and quasi- 
patients by the curative properties of its thermal waters, had 
practically ceased to exist. The most obvious function of its 
principal spring was that of supplying the fishpond in the South 
Parade, where the big trout crowd together like the salmon in 
the rivers of British Columbia and turn incurious eyes on the 
tripper who offers them orange-peel and nut-sh'ells. John 
Smedley did for Matlock what others of a previous generation 
had done for Matlock Bath. He was a practical eccentric, 
who rode to great profit his hobby of water and fresh air. 
Originally a manufacturer of hosiery, he was given to studying 
medical books, and so easily convinced himself that most 
doctors were mere empirics. He was also an energetic 
Primitive Methodist, fond of preaching to his workpeople, and if 
they would listen to his sermons, his bounty was freely placed 
at their disposal. "Water is best," he said with Pindar, and 
opened a free hospital on hydropathic principles for any of his 
mill hands who cared to try the cure. At length he quitted 
stocking-making to become the founder of those quaint com- 
pounds of hotel and nursing home which are known as 
" hydros." His establishment has had scores of imitators, 
most of which do not take themselves quite so seriously, and 
thus " hydro " is often no more than a synonym for an unlicensed 
hotel. Smedley made a handsome fortune, and the temple of 
this Matlock ^sculapius— ^sculapius himself was a hydro- 
path, if we may judge from the abundant waterpipes which have 
been brought to light among the ruins of his ancient temples 
— dominates Matlock Bank like some gaunt Tibetan lamaserai. 
He also built himself Riber Castle on the top of Riber. It is 
now a school — the usual fate, apparently, of all grandiose private 
houses in this neighbourhood — and, like the Coliseum at 
Oban, it most effectively compels every stranger who sees it to 
ask who built it and why. 



As a watering place Matlock Bath cannot boast the antiquity 
of Buxton. The first medicinal spring — the Old Bath — was 
discovered in 1698, but only a rude shanty was put up, for the 
spot was then almost inaccessible. However, in 1702, a coach 
road was made to Matlock Bath, as it soon began to be called, 
and the old bridle path from Matlock Bridge was widened and 
improved. The lease and buildings were purchased for 
;^i,ooo by Messrs. Smith and Fennel, of Nottingham. In 
1735 a second spring, known as the New Bath, was discovered, 
a quarter of a mile to the south of the first one, and later on a 
third was found on what is now Museum Parade. Such were 
the humble beginnings of Matlock Bath. One of the earliest 
references to it occurs in Defoe's Tour, where the author notes 
the existence of several small springs, and says, " One of these 
is secured by a stone wall on every side, by which the 
water is brought to rise to a due height, and, if it is too 
high, there is a sluice to let it out as low as you please. It has 
a house built over it, and room within the building to walk 
round the bath, and so go by steps down gradually into it. 
The water is but just milk warm, so that it is no less pleasant 
to go into than sanative." William Bray, in 1777, merely 
states that there were two baths, "each possessing its appro- 
priate conveniences." It was the custom for the company at 
each of the two hotels to dine together in a large room at 

CH. xxvii CHEAP LIVING 401 

two, and take supper at eight, and the author adds that "the 
ordinary is moderate and every person drinks afterwards as he 
Hkes." Music and cards formed the after supper diversions. 
Evidently Matlock Bath had not yet become fashionable. 

In 1802 Warner found the place still primitive and retired. 
He speaks of four medicinal springs, one at Saxton's, which 
stood upon a gentle eminence opposite to Wild Cat Tor — now 
bearing the name of Lovers' Walks — two at the Old Bath Hotel, 
and one at a third hotel. Their temperature varied from sixty- 
eight to seventy-two degrees. He describes the three hotels as 
offering " very good accommodations," and the prices were ex- 
ceedingly reasonable. For example, one might hire a bedroom 
for the week for five shillings, and a private parlour for a guinea. 
Breakfast cost fifteen pence, pubhc dinner two shillings, and 
supper a shilling. No extra charge was made for the use of the 
large common sitting and dining rooms, and the fee for the medi- 
cinal bath was sixpence. In fact the daily hotel bill of the 
visitor to Matlock Bath a hundred years ago was hardly more 
than the present charge for a table d'hdte dinner at one of 
the huge palaces of luxury, which are now becoming the 
dominant feature of our inland and seaside watering places. 

With improved roads Matlock Bath rapidly increased. The 
new coach road from Matlock through Belper to Derby was 
finished about 18 15, superseding the old road over the hills 
through Wirksworth and Kedleston. When Ebenezer Rhodes 
was at Matlock Bath, about 1818, the Old Bath was still the 
principal hotel, with accommodation for a hundred visitors, and 
an Assembly Room, fifty-one and a half feet long, and twenty- 
two wide, had been built, "lighted with elegant glass 
chandeliers." This is now the Royal Hotel, but the modern 
building was moved about fifty yards nearer Cromford. The 
swimming bath, now on the Parade side of the hotel, was then 
on the further side. Saxton's, now the New Bath Hotel, was the 
second best inn, the Museum Hotel came third, and there were 
sundry "lodging-houses" — the word had not then wholly lost 

D D 


its status -of which the best was The Temple, now a hotel of 
the same name. This, according to Rhodes, "was one of 
the most delightful residences in the place," and was connected 
with the Old Bath by a terrace along the hill- side. And, lest 
any one should fear to be bored in Matlock Bath for lack of 
elegant diversions, were there not, as Rhodes most carefully 
enumerates, " two or three billiard tables ; a circulating library, 
and a number of spar and petrifaction shops " ? 

Twenty years later prices had risen considerably. In 1838 
it was no longer possible to get a bath for sixpence. A tepid, 
swimming, or " plunging " bath, or a cold shower cost a shilhng. 
If one wanted either variety of bath hot, the charge rose to 
half-a-crown. Clearly civilisation was making rapid strides. 
There had been changes, too, in the relative social position of 
the hotels, for we find that those selected for special praise were 
The Temple, Walker's, and Hodgkinson's. The last-named — 
still existing — was the principal coaching-house. About half- 
past ten in the morning, the Royal Mail from London to Man- 
chester drove up, changed horses, and set off at a quarter to 
eleven. In a few minutes the Bruce and the Peveril of the Peak 
clattered up. These two were rivals, bound for Manchester from 
London, but they took the longer Bakewell and Buxton route. 
They were timed to leave at a quarter past eleven. Then 
there was a lull until a little after three in the afternoon when 
the Nelson, from Nottingham to Manchester, came in sight, to 
be off again at the half hour, and the last coach for the north 
was the Dart, running from Birmingham and Derby to Shefifield 
by a roundabout route. She was due to leave at six. There were 
also, of course, an equal number of coaches bound for the south. 
Matlock Bath was largely resorted to by Liverpool people, and 
one of the principal Assembly Rooms in the place was called, 
in their honour, the Liverpool Gallery Rooms. 

By this time the fame of Matlock Bath was well established. 
Rhodes describes the " carriages rolling along the road by the 
riverside, and well-dressed ladies and gentlemen perambulating 


the dale in various groups." The suggestion is of elegance 
walking delicately. But a writer named Lipscomb fortunately 
characterises the place for us in greater detail. " Matlock," 
he says, " must be allowed to possess advantages superior to 
the majority of watering places. It has gaiety without dissi- 
pation, activity without noise, and facility of communication 
with other parts of the country undisturbed by the bustle of a 
public road. It is tranquil without dulness, elegant without 
pomp, and splendid without extravagance. In it the man of 
fashion may at all times find amusement : the man of rank 
may find society by which he will not be disgraced, and the 
philosopher a source of infinite satisfaction ; while they who 
travel in search of health will here find a silver clue that leads 
to her abode." What an irresistible combination of attractions ! 
If there was a single drawback to the perfect felicity of 
Matlock Bath, it is perhaps to be found in the quality of the 
Brass Band, with which the Bath was " enlivened " during the 
season. The Guide of 1838 informs us that certain "young 
men of Matlock and Cromford have spiritedly come forward 
to perform alternately at one or other of the houses, or on the 
Parade, every evening ; and sometimes parties engage them to 
play on the water where the music has a most charming effect." 
It was a band of amateurs, who depended solely on the 
generosity of the public for remuneration, and we have our 
suspicions that they were no better than the average wandering 
troupe of musicians— casual atoms which, when thrown 
together, assume the title of the Town Brass Band. 

The scenery of Matlock and Matlock Bath has never, we 
believe, found a single detractor. The good Gilpin lavished 
upon it his most enthusiastic praise. " It is impossible," he 
wrote, " to view such scenes as these without feehng 
the imagination take fire. Every object is sublime and 
wonderful. Not only the eye is pleased but the imagination is 
filled. We are carried at once into the fields of fiction and 
romance. Enthusiastic ideas take possession of us." What 

D D 2 


Gilpin demanded from Nature was that she should " throw her 
wild scenes into beautiful composition and decorate them with 
great and noble objects." He wanted the combination of rock 
and verdure, trees and water. We will not say he was wrong ; 
there is evidently much to be said for a theory of the beautiful 
which, when challenged for a concrete instance, selects Matlock 
Bath as its exemplar. " I have never seen anywhere else," wrote 
Nathaniel Hawthorne, " such exquisite scenery as surrounds 
this village of Matlock." When we consider, however, how. 
irresistible the charm of the Matlock country has proved to all 
who are responsive to the appeal of exquisite landscape, it is 
strange that it has been . so little honoured in English poetry. 
Erasmus Darwin in his Loves of the Plants (Canto IV. v. 175 
seq.) is almost at his very worst when he comes to Matlock : — 

" Where as proud Masson rises rude and bleak. 
And with misshapen turrets crests the Peak, 
Old Matlock gapes with marble jaws, beneath, 
And o'er scared Derwent bends his flinty teeth ; 
Deep in wide caves below the dangerous soil 
Blue sulphurs flame, imprisoned waters boil ; 
Impetuous streams in spiral columns rise 
Through rifted rocks, impatient for the skies." 

Each noun has its laboured adjective to keep it company, 
and the lines are fit only for a schoolboy's exercise. They 
might have been written by a man who never saw Matlock and 
the Derwent, and not by a poet, like Darwin, who knew and 
loved the scenes he was describing. For despite Wordsworth, 
who said that Darwin was " a mere eye-voluptuary," and Rogers, 
who heartily scolded Mrs. Barbauld for talking of The Botanic 
Garden with rapture, Erasmus Darwin was a poet. Cowper was 
fascinated by him ; Campbell said that Catnbyses' March was 
" the finest passage in all English poetry." Canning and Frere 
laughed at him, but, said Lord Brougham, it is also certain that 
they stole from him. None the less, his lines on Matlock are 
very poor. Gisborne — not the Rev. Thomas, but Mr. John — 
did better, though his evangelicalism is a little tedious : — 


" Nor from thy haunts 
O Matlock, shall this heart be long withdrawn, 
Nor e'er repine to meditate afresh 
On scenes which ever please ! Unlike the world 
Whose friendship snares the bosom, yet with whom 
Repeated converse serves but to expose 
Delusive joys, thou dost endear thyself 
Most closely when familiar ; and to hold 
Communion with thy river, rocks, and shade 
In each revolving season, soothes the mind 
And lulls the passions to Divine repose." 

Rhodes tells us how he and Montgomery scaled the Heights of 
Abraham together one day, and rested at the alcove among the 
trees, about half-way up. The sky had been bright, but was 
clouded over, and to a heavy shower of rain there succeeded , 
"a gentle sprinkling that fell with almost snowy softness, and 
formed a veil exquisitely fine, through which the different 
features of the scene became more soft and tender ; all 
harmonised in form and colour by the thin medium through 
which they were beheld." The two friends stood and admired 
the prospect ; then Montgomery turned and wrote in pencil 
on the wall of the alcove the following lines : — ■ 

' ' Here in wild pomp, magnificently bleak. 
Stupendous Matlock towers amid the Peak ; 
Here rocks on rocks, on forests forests rise. 
Spurn the low earth, and mingle with the skies. 
Great Nature, slumbering by fair Derwent's stream, 
Conceived these giant-mountains in a dream." 

The first four lines do not rise above mediocrity, and the 
third is an obvious echo of a much better line of Pope's. But 
the last couplet, which is perfectly self-contained in itself and 
needs no introduction, is perhaps the best that Montgomery 
ever wrote. Yet, strange to say, the poet, not content to leave 
well alone, took out the allusion to the Derwent, and introduced 
the lines into a long and tedious didactic poem which he wrote 
on the West Indies ! 

406 THE DERWENT chap. 

The Derwent, which adds so much to the charm of Matlock 
Bath, has had many pretty things said in its praise. V/illiam 
Sampson, for example, a quaint forgotten poet of the early 
seventeenth century, indulges some pleasant conceits : — 

" Amid thy valleys Darwent swiftly runnes 
Who, like a tender mother, to her sonnes 
Yields foords and springs and waters, sweet and cleare 
As the blest sunne in his meridian spheare. 
There may you see the salmon, tench and trout. 
Like Neptune's Tritons, nimbly frisk about. 
Sometimes along the flower-enamelled vales 
She does inundate, and tells wanton tales 
Unto the meadows, for she takes a pride 
Her crystall limbes on pearly sands to glide. 
As if she were enamoured on the hill, 
Whose steepe descent her water-courses fill. 
As loth she were to leave the continent 
And thrust her head into her sister Trent." 

I have found no lines on the Derwent more graceful than these. 
They far excel the stanzas which Anna Seward wrote in 1775 
on her " favourite river " : — 

" There under pendant rocks, his amber flood. 

As Ilebrus swift, impetuous Derwent pours ; 
And now, beneath the broad, incumbent wood, 

Silent and smooth and deep, he laves the shores ; 
Till gaily rushing from his darksome way. 
His foamy waters glitter on the day, 

Resistless, dashing o'er each rocky mound ; 
And still on his umbrageous bank he shows 
Woodbines and harebells and the musky rose ; 

The heavy velvet wild bees murmuring sound ; 
His every grace that decks Pieria's clime, 
Green vale and steepy hill and broken rock sublime." 

No wonder Sir Walter Scott groaned when he went through the 
papers which the Swan of Lichfield had left to him, as her 
literary executor, to prepare for publication. " Most of her 
posthumous poetiy " — he wrote to Johanna Baillie — " is 


absolutely execrable." Squire Mundy, " the sagest magistrate 
on Derwent-side," as Miss Seward once reproachfully called 
him, chiding him for giving up poetry, in order to sit on the 

" Shall Mundy bid the lyric psean pause 
That county halls may murmur hoarse applause ? " 

wrote an address to the Derwent in 1792 to congratulate the 
stream on having Dr. Erasmus Darwin as a dweller on its 

" Derwent, like thee, thy Poet's splendid song, 
With sweet vicissitudes of ease and force, 
Now with enchanting smoothness glides along, 
Now pours impetuous its resounding course. 

While Science marches down thy wondering dells. 
And all the Muses round her banners crowd. 

Pleased to assemble in thy sparry cells 
And chant her lessons to thy echoes loud. 

While here Philosophy and Truth display 

The shining robes those heaven-born sisters wove, 

While Fays and Graces beckon smooth their way 
And hand in hand with Flora follows Love." 

Darwin, in the shape of an address to the Muses, had intro- 
duced into his Botanic Garden : Economy of Vegetation, a rnuch 
admired reference to the death of Mrs. French, a sister of 
Squire Mundy, under the name of Milcena. 

" By Derwent's willowy dells, 
Where by tall groves his foamy flood he steers 
Through ponderous arches o'er impetuous wears, 
By Derby's shadowy towers reflective sweeps 
And Gothic grandeur chills his dusky deeps ; 
You pearled with Pity's drops his velvet sides. 
Sighed in his gales and murmured in his tides. 
Waved o'er his fringM bank a deeper gloom, 
And bowed his alders o'er Milcena's tomb." 

Say what one will of the Lichfield circle — the Sewards, the 
Darwins, the Mundys, the Sneyds, the Edgeworths - they 


believed heartily in one another, and were true to their friends.. 
John Gisborne's lines on the Derwent are also worth quoting :^ 

" Down the vale 
Comes Derwent, sovereign river of the Peak. 
But when he passes Megdale's tufted rocks 
Feeling the pressure of the narrowed vale. 
He foams, he frets, he wheels : and rushing thence 
Through arches half engulfed, where yonder bridge 
Presumes to check his congregated pace, 
Sweeps onward, careless of the opening scene 
Of beauty and magnificence combined. 
Yet, as if conscious of his mighty powers, 
As if to swell the triumph of his route, 
Just where the traveller stops oft to view 
The wondrous scene, to all the caverned hills 
He speaks in thunder ; calls on Matlock's Tor 
To wake the mountain echoes from repose 
And bids his billows with redoubled roar 
Toss high their tawny crests." 

Byron was a not infrequent visitor at Matlock in the days of 
his early manhood, when he was under the spell of the charms 
of Mary Chaworth — of Annesley Hall, a neighbouring estate 
to Newstead Abbey — herself the daughter of a lady who, as 
Fanny Burney tells us, had been a belle and reigning toast at 
Brighton. He went there simply because Mary was staying there, 
chaperoned by two ladies named White, and he hardly left her 
side. Her guardian, Lord Eldon, the Lord Chancellor, 
favoured Byron's suit, but she herself was cold. Years before 
she had mortally wounded his pride by speaking of him as 
" that lame boy " — words which he chanced to overhear — yet 
it is but fair to say that she never gave him the least encourage- 
ment. Byron's lameness prevented him from dancing, and he 
used to sit looking on moodily while Mary Chaworth danced at 
the balls in the Assembly Rooms of the Old Bath Hotel. 
Moore, in his Life of Byron, tells us how on one occasion 
Miss Chaworth was dancing with a partner who was a stranger 
to her — it was permitted at these public balls for any gentleman 


to invite a lady to dance with him — and when she resumed her 
seat Byron turned tp her .pettishly and said, " I hope you like 
your friend." He had scarcely uttered the words when he was 
himself accosted by an ungainly-looking Scotch lady, who 
ratlier boisterously claimed him as " cousin," and was putting 
his pride to the torture, when he heard the voice of his fair 
companion retorting archly in his ear, " I hope you like your 
friend." It was not a pleasant visit for Byron, who is described 
as having "assumed a degree of hauteur and cold reserve 
towards all the company at the New Bath, which they did not 
consider it necessary to submit to, while Mary Chaworth, on 
the contrary, was all affability." But excuses may be made for 
one who was suffering the pangs of disdained love and furious 
jealousy. The sincerity of his passion has never been doubted : 
none but a devoted lover would have set on paper such 
poignant sentences as those in which he refers to his stay at 
Matlock with " my M. A. C." Then comes the outburst : — 

" Alas ! why do I say 'my'? Our union would have healed feuds in 
which blood had been shed by our fathers — it would have joined lands 
broad and rich, it would have joined at least one heart and two persons not 
ill matched in years (she is two years my elder) and — and — and — what has 
been the result ? " 

Doubtless, if Mary Chaworth had married Byron the course 
of his riotous and tempestuous career would have flowed in 
a calmer channel, but it is not easy under any circumstances 
to think of Byron leading an exemplary life of domestic felicity. 
Not only was he rendered miserable at Matlock by ,the 
insensibility of Mary Chaworth ; he was goaded to fury by the 
sight of a favoured rival. This was Mr. John Musters — called 
" the king of gentlemen huntsmen " — a country squire of 
Nottinghamshire, who also used to follow Miss Chaworth 
about from place to place. Lord Eldon wrote to warn him 
that if he held communication or contracted a marriage with 
Miss Chaworth — then a ward in Chancery — he would be 
prosecuted to the utmost extent of the law. Musters seems 


to have forwarded the letter to Mary, who boldly snapped her 
fair fingers at the Lord Chancellor and said, " you shall never 
have the power to prosecute Mr. Musters, my Lord ; I will 
wait until I am of age and then your power ceases." And she 
was as good as her word ! Nor was Musters daunted, for he 
continued to dog the footsteps of the Cha worth — Byron— White 
party. As soon as they heard of his arrival, off they set again 
in the hope of eluding him, but so spirited a lover as the 
charming Mary Chaworth always contrived to let her faithful 
swain know her whereabouts, and so skilled a Master of 
Hounds as John Musters was never long in picking up the 
trail. Mary Chaworth and John Musters were eventually 
married. It was a romantic match which linked two well- 
known Nottinghamshire estates ; but alas 1 the union did not 
prove a happy one. Mary Musters — her title to fame is that 
she was "Byron's Mary" — died in 1832, from the results of a 
chill caught in her flight from Colwick Hall, on the outskirts 
of Nottingham, during the rioting at the time of the Reform 
agitation, when the " Nottingham lambs " burnt and pillaged 
Nottingham Castle. 

Another great name which has close associations with 
Matlock is that of John Ruskin. He was taken there for the 
first time as a boy of ten, in 1829, by his mother and father, 
who delighted in Derbyshire scenery. No boy was ever more 
carefully trained by his parents to a love .of poetry and the arts, 
and few children ever showed more precocious talent. We 
hear of him drawing a pencil outline of Saxton's New Bath 
Hotel — the precursor of many a thousand sketches that were 
to flow from his pencil, and he himself placed on record in 
later life his recollections of the pleasure he took during this 
visit in studying the minerals and rocks of the district. He 
wrote : — 

" In the glittering white broken spar, specked with galena, by which the 
walks of the hotel were made bright, and in the shops of the pretty village, 
and in many a happy walk among its cliffs, I pursued my mineralogical 


studies on fluor, calcite and the ores of lead, with indescribable rapture 
when I was allowed to go into a cave. My father and mother showed far 
more kindness than I knew in yielding to my subterranean passion, for my 
mother could not bear dirty places, and my father had a nervous feeling that 
the ladders would break, or the roof fall, before we got out again. They 
went with me., nevertheless, wherever I wanted to go, my father even 
into the terrible Speedwell mine at Castleton, where, for once, I was a 
little frightened myself." 

It is an interesting picture, Mrs. Ruskin picking her way 
daintily among the rough and dirty places, and resigned to dis- 
comfort in order to please her only child ; Mr. Ruskin, the 
artistic wine-merchant, testing the strength of the ladders or 
casting nervous glances at the roof; and the boy, with no 
boyish relish for cave-exploring as an adventure, but anxious 
only to learn more about rocks and spars. 

Sixteen years later, in 1845, Ruskin, while writing of the 
charms of retirement, laments that real retirement was im- 
possible to such a temperament as his father's. He was too 
much wrapped up in the routine of his business, and too much 
consumed with ambition for his brilliant son, whom he wished 
to see "moving in the western light of London, among its 
acknowledged literary orders of merit." But Mrs. Ruskin and 
Ruskin himself cherished faint and intermittent dreams of an 
idyllic country life of quiet, and had visions of " a rose-covered 
cottage in the dells of Matlock or the vale of Keswick .... 
that might be nearer the heavenly world for us, than all the 
majesty of Denmark Hill, connected though it was by the 
Vauxhall Road and convenient omnibuses with St. James's 
Street and Cavendish Square." Ruskin seems to have made 
many journeys to Derbyshire: in 1871 he came very near to 
ending his days at Matlock. He went there to spend the 
summer, which proved to be unusually wet. Writing one 
Midsummer morning to a friend, he' thus describes the de- 
pressing prospect from his window : — 

" I sit down to write by the dismallest light that ever I wrote by. For 
the sky is covered with grey clouds : not rain cloud but a dry black veil, 


which no ray of sunshine can pierce ; partly diffused in mist, feeble mist, 
enough to make distant objects unintelligible, yet without any substance or 
wreathing or colour of its own. And everywhere the leaves of the trees are 
shaking fitfully, as they do before a thunderstorm ; only not violently, but 
enough to show the passing to and fro of a strange, bitter and blighting 

Even to read such a description is enough to make one 
shiver and think how cheerful a fire would be. On one of 
these miserable July mornings Ruskin rose early and went out 
before breakfast with his sketch-book. He began to paint a 
spray of wild rose — the picture now hangs in a gallery at 
Oxford— and took a chill, which he could not throw off. It 
developed into a severe attack of internal inflammation, and 
his obstinate refusal to take the medicines prescribed by the 
local doctor who was called in to see him, retarded his 
recovery. Apparently, he grew irritated at the doctor's remon- 
strances, and demanded to know what would be worst for him 
to take. He was told " Beef," and beef, and nothing but beef, 
would he have. Mrs. Arthur Severn has described how it was 
procured : — 

" It was a slice of cold roast beef he hungered for at Matlock {to our 
horror and dear Lady Mount Temple's, who were nursing him). There 
was none in the hotel and it was late at night, and Albert Goodwin went 
off to get some somewhere or anywhere. All the hotels were closed, but 
at last at Matlock Bath he dis'covered some, and came home triumphant 
with it, wrapped up in paper. J . . . R . . . enjoyed his late supper 
thoroughly, and though we all waited anxiously till the morning for the 
result, it had done him no harm. And when he was told pepper was bad 
for him, he dredged it freely over his food in defiance." 

Matlock Bath has another association which may also be 
recalled. John Wesley was there one day in 1761 and 
found the valley "from the town to the bath pleasant beyond 
expression." He did not come, however, as "a picturesque 
tourist " but as a preacher of the Word, and he tells us how he 
stood "under the hollow of a rock, on one side of a small 
plain, on the other side of which was a tall mountain." It was 


in the height of the season, and among Wesley's auditors were 
many well-dressed gentlemen. One of these addressed 
him as he made his way back to the town and said, " Why do 
you talk thus of Faith ? Stuff, nonsense ! " Wesley made 
inquiries and on finding that the man was "an eminent 
Deist," he set down in his Journal the exclamation, " What ! 
Has the plague crept into the Peak of Derbyshire ? " It is 
no argument, but we like it none the worse for that. 



From Cromford the road to Wirksworth ascends for a long 
mile with toilsome steepness. Slowly it shakes itself clear of 
houses, and then on the left hand we see the famous Cromford 
or Black Rocks, frowning down the valley in solemn and 
sombre dignity. If we leave the road and make our way 
towards them, we cross the High Peak Railway, which, regard- 
less of gradients, however desperate, has come climbing up 
from the river side, two miles out of Cromford. The rocks 
lose their dense blackness when we approach them, and are seen 
to be of no deeper colour than grey as they stand out from 
the face of the hill in a series of bastions of irregular outline 
and varying size. The slope, covered with brushwood and 
shrubs down to the railway, is littered with the debris of the 
hill top— huge boulders which have fallen with resounding 
crash in bygone ages. The Black Rocks provide ample 
opportunity for the cragsman to show his endurance and the 
fool his folly in attempting to scale them. For us the less 
heroic approach from the side of the adjoining quarry ! 

From the top, the view towards Matlock is superb, despite 
the mills at the entrance to the Lovers' Walks, for the rich 
woods lie in dense masses on the lower slopes of Masson, and 
the gorges of the Derwent are a perfect delight. Cromford 
lies picturesquely below us with Willersley Castle and its trees 
for a charming background, and the eye can follow round from 




the summit of Riber to the woods of Lea Hurst. To the left 
the high ground is barer, and the cliffs above Middleton have 
been torn and gashed by the quarrymen, whose handiwork you 

The Black Rocks, Cromford, 

can trace along the ridges towards Wirksworth. Here, too, 
one sees better the peculiarities of the Black Rocks them- 
selves. Their base lies in the hill side, some eighty feet below, 
and they are divided into five great bastions, detached from 


one another by deep clefts. Each has its name, each its own 
fantastic shape. A pine tree grows on the furthest bastion on 
the Wirksworth side. But the finest of the series is one 
which looks as though it had been built of successive deep 
layers of rock, the topmost one projecting from the edge, and 
each layer worn deeply away where it rests upon the one 

Rejoining the road, and escaping from the region of the 
railway bridges and embankments, we soon drop down into 
Wirksworth, the gigantic quarries on the right contrasting with 
the unscarred green slopes on the left, at the foot of which 
lies the httle town. On the outskirts is an old Baptist burial 
ground, a curious patch with a quaint mortuary chapel, and 
an imposing board setting forth the table of fees. Wirks- 
worth 's status has woefully fallen in the last half century. It 
used to be the centre of the lead mining industry in Derby- 
shire — the miners' metropolis. Here stood the Moot Hall 
where they met for their conclaves, and were a law unto 
themselves. It is still to be seen in a by-street, a single- 
storeyed structure, not of much interest, for it only dates from 
1814, when, as the stone tells us, it was built by the direction 
of the Rt. Hon. Charles Bathurst, Chancellor of His Majesty's 
Duchy and County Palatine of Lancaster. Now it is used as 
a dissenting chapel. Here, twice a year, the Barraoot Courts 
were held, and here was kept the ancient brass dish, holding 
fourteen pints, for measuring the lead ore. Round its rim is an 
inscription setting forth that it was made " in the iiij yere of 
the reign of Kyng Henry the VIIL, before George Earle of 
Shrowesbury " by the assent and consent of all the miners of 
Wirksworth. " This Dishe to remayne in the Moote Hall at 
Wyrkysworth, hangyng by a cheyne so as the Merchauntes or 
mynours may have resorte to the same at all tymes to make the 
true mesure after the same." There is now hardly a single 
dish of ore taken from the local lead-mines in a whole year • 
the population has deserted the mines for the quarries. Yet 


Derbyshire lead was reputed to be the best in England, and 
indeed in Europe. "It is not churlish," said old Thomas 
Fuller, " but good-natured metal, not curling into knots and 
knobs, but all equally fusile, and therefore most useful for 
pipes and sheets. ... As if Phoebus himself had been their 
Vulcan, massy pieces of lead are frequently found so well 
ripened in the bowels of the earth that they seem refined, 
such the original purity thereof." 

This is not the place for a dissertation on lead-mining, but 
some of the old miners' customs were too unique to be omitted. 
It was, for example, a recognised practice that throughout the 
King's Field — i.e. the hundreds of the High Peak and the 
Wirksworth Wapentake or Low Peak — any man might search 
for veins of ore wherever he chose, save in house, church, 
or garden, irrespective of the damage he did to crops or to 
the surface of the ground. Then, in order to mitigate the 
intolerable nuisance that this must have caused, the custom 
grew up that unless the searcher found sufficient to pay a dish 
of ore to the King or his farmer — in the technical sense — or his 
lessee, he was liable for damage. If, however, he found lead, 
the Barmaster was informed, and, provided that the vein was 
duly worked, the finder was awarded a " meer " or measure of 
ground, and the unfortunate landowner or tenant had to look on 
and see the lucky miner making an utter mess of his property 
with " huddle ponds " and tailings and other unsightly things, 
while footpaths were opened to the nearest villages. This 
meer he called his " privilege." If the vein was left unworked for 
a certain length of time anyone else might come along and 
claim it. No wonder there were constant disputes, and that the 
landowners of Derbyshire are not altogether sorry at the decay 
of lead-mining. " For the grace of God and what I can find," 
was the old prayer of the Derbyshire lead-miner. 

In the middle of the seventeenth century, a poem was 
written by a certain Edward Manlove, a steward of the 
Barmoot Court, setting forth all the liberties and customs of 

E E 


the miners, and describing the courts which were held twice a 
year for the punishment of criminals and the settlement of all 
disputes. Theft of ore was considered a very serious offence. 
" For stealing oar twice from the minery, 
The thief that's taken fined twice shall be, 
But the third time that he commits such theft, 
Shall have a knife stuck through his hand to th' haft, 
Into the stow, and there till death shall stand. 
Or loose himself by cutting loose his hand. 
And shall forswear the franchise of the mine, 
And always lose his freedom from that time." 

The " stow," it should be explained, was a wooden frame at the 
top of the mine, up which the tubs- of ore were drawn to the 
surface. The miners, who had to pay lead tithes to the parson, 
did not always do so cheerfully, and on this head Manlove 
addressed some very pertinent lines to the clergy. He said ; — 

" Small parcels yet small men may sell for need. 
If they cannot procure the dish with speed, 
Provided always that to church and lord 
They pay all duties custom doth afford. 
For which the vicar daily ought to pray 
For all the miners that such duties pay. 
And reason good, they venture lives full dear 
In dangers great, the vicar's tythe comes clear ; 
If miners lose their lives, or limbs or strength. 
He loseth not, but looketh for a tenth. 
But yet, methinks, if he a tenth part claim. 
It ought to be but a tenth of clear gain, 
For miners spend much money, pains and lime. 
In sinking shafts before lead oar they find. 
And one in ten scarce finds, and then to pay 
One out of ten poor miners would dismay. 
But use them well, they are laborious men ; 
And work for you. You ought to pray for them." 

Evidently there was the making of a good Radical in Edward 
Manlove. Lead tithes were paid at Castleton and at Eyam, 
where in good years they raised the value of the living to 
^1,500. The VVirksworth miners protested against the tithes; 


appealed to the Court of Chancery and the Privy Council, 
and after 1778 the vicar's portion was reduced to one-fortieth. 
In Ashover and Matlock the parsons had resort to litigation 
in order to enforce payment, but without success. 

The Derbyshire lead-miners, who were highly esteemed in the 
British army as sappers, aroused the wonder of most visitors 
to the county. Defoe describes how, near Matlock, he watched a 
miner emerge with difficulty from one of the curious shafts, 
or "grooves" as they were then called, a narrow hole leading 
straight down into the mine with timber steps at its sides. 
This man was clothed in a leather suit and cap, and Defoe says 
he was " as lean as a skeleton, pale as a corpse, his hair and beard 
a deep black ; what little flesh he had was lank and, as we 
thought, something of the colour of the lead itself." He spoke 
with so uncouth a dialect that Defoe could not understand 
what he said until his guide acted as interpreter. Women, 
too, worked in the lead-mines, and wore, according to 
a visitor's account in 1829, an extraordinary garb. "The 
head," he said, "is much enwrapped, and the features nearly 
hidden in a muffling of handkerchiefs, over which is put a man's 
hat, in the manner of the paysannes of Wales." Their gowns 
were usually red, tucked up round the waist into a sort of bag, 
and set off by a bright green petticoat. A man's coat of grey 
or dark blue completed the costume, and to protect their feet 
they wore rough shoes with soles three inches thick, tied round 
with cords and thongs. The writer frankly describes them as 
"complete' harridans." But the Peakrills generally were 
reputed to be "a rude, boorish kind of people." The phrase is 
Defoe's. Prebendary Gilpin from the polite south was horrified. 
"The inhabitants of these scenes," he wrote in 1772, "are as 
savage as the scenes themselves. We were reminded by a dis- 
agreeable contrast of the pleasing simplicity and civility of 
manners which we found among the lakes and mountains of 
Cumberland. Here a wild, uninformed stare, through matted, 
dishevelled locks, marks every feature, and the traveller is 

E E 3 




followed, like a spectacle, by a crowd of gazers." But wages 
were dreadfully low. At the Ecton mines, which brought the 
Duke of Devonshire ;£ 10,000 a year, a miner was paid one 
shilling for six hours' work ; women could only earn from four- 
pence to eightpence a day ; and boys and girls from twopence 
to fourpence. So, at least. Bray reports in 1777. 

But we are wandering from Wirksworth, whose chief pride 

ntLt LKnJtfi 

Wirksworth Church. ' 

is its cruciform church of thirteenth-century date, though an 
earlier church stood here in the days of the Saxon Abbey of 
Repton, to which Wirksworth belonged. The tower is in the 
middle of the building, and is capped by a little spire many 
sizes too small. The church has been frequently restored — 
Rhodes describes how in 1820 he found it "undergoing 
a thorough regeneration." Others would use a different word, 
for irreparable damage was committed. It was then that 


the ancient sculptured stone — now built into the north wall of 
the nave — was discovered beneath the chancel. It was once, 
doubtless, the lid of a coffin, and is covered with pre-Norman 
figures, grouped to represent scenes in the life of Christ. In 
the centre is a lamb carved upon a plain cross. Another 
interesting old stone, built into the wall of the south transept, 
represents a pilgrim with a wallet. The monuments are dis- 
appointing. A knight of the time of Henry VIII. lies in the 
chancel, and there are tablets to the Lows and Hurts of 
Alderwasley, and the Gells of Hopton. One memorial stone 
bears upon it such well-known Midland names as Gell, Ark- 
wright, Strutt and Wright of Nottingham. In the vestry is a 
curious portrait of the Rev. Abraham Bennett, F.R.S., who was 
curate of Wirksworth for 23 years and died in the town in 
1799. He was vicar of Fenny Bentley near Tissington and the 
author of New Experitnents on Electricity. 

Another curate at Wirksworth, a century and a half ago, 
named Beighton, was a friend of Garrick, who used to 
visit him occasionally. Beighton was a scholar, a book-lover, 
and an enthusiastic gardener, and Garrick was importunate on 
his behalf with some of his powerful friends until he procured 
him a living near London. His needs and ambitions were 
modest. " My dear friend," he used to say to Garrick, " could 
I have p^So a year for a curate, and j[^'^o to keep up my little 
garden, I would feel no ambition beyond it." "And ^1^30 
more," said Garrick slyly, " to keep Hannah your house- 
keeper." " Pooh ! " said Beighton, " you turn everything to 
ridicule ; come, let me show you the finest arbor vitae in the 
country." Beighton died in 1771, and Lord Camden, the 
Lord Chancellor, described him as "one of the best men 
Christianity had ever produced, and one whom we must never 
hope to see again unless we go to heaven." Garrick wrote his 
epitaph : — 

" Near half an age, with every good man's praise, 
Among his flock the shepherd passed his days ; 

422 MILL HOUSES chap. 

The friend, the comfort of the sick and poor, 
Want never knocked unheeded at his door. 
Oft when his duty called, disease and pain 
Strove to confine him, but they strove in vain. 
All mourn his death, his virtues long they try'd, 
They knew not how they loved him till he dy'd 
Peculiar blessings did his life attend. 
He had no foe, and Camden was his friend." 

Wirksworth church has been called the Cathedral of the 
Peak, but this title belongs with much greater propriety to 
Tideswell, with which, if the truth be told, Wirksworth church 
cannot compare in beauty or in interest. It is a fine, spacious 
building, but it has the air of having been rescued from bad 
keeping after long years of careless neglect. It stands 
high in the middle of the town, surrounded by a large church- 
yard, in one half of which the tombstones are erect, while in 
the other half they lie flat on the ground. The contrast is not 
pleasing ; it looks too much like a premature division of sheep 
and goats 

Wirksworth has little else of interest, though a ten minutes' 
stroll through its principal streets will bring to light a few old 
inns and old houses bearing the unmistakable stamp of the 
market town which stood on the high road and saw through 
traffic. Those of us who are enthusiasts for Adam Bede will 
walk down the Derby Road and look at the little wayside 
cottage which was the home for many years of Dinah Morris's 
prototype. It lies rather more than a mile out of Wirksworth 
— or Snowfield, to give it the name under which it appears in 
the novel The Haarlem Tape Works, of which Samuel 
Evans — the husband of Elizabeth Evans — was manager, is a 
red brick structure by the side of a large mill-dam. The mill 
is an old one, built of stone up to the first storey and then of 
brick above, with a stubby chimney, which, when I saw it, 
emitted a dense black smoke that hung in the still air like a 
pall. A new brick wing has been built on to the mill at the 
back, and the manager's stone house stands below. It is not 
the mill, however, which we have come to see, but the cottage 


on the left-hand side of the road, to which it stands at right 
angles. This is a two-storeyed building, whose thatched roof 
gave way a year ago to commonplace slate. The door is in 
the middle, with no window above it, and the ground floor 
consists of two rooms, one on either side the door, and a little 
room leading out of one of these. There are two rooms 
above, but the plan has been changed somewhat since the 
Evanses lived there. What used to be the kitchen — the room 
to the left as you enter — is now the parlour, and the staircase 
has been moved. The garden in front — a medley of flowers 
and vegetables — is of recent date, for a cart track once ran up 
in front of the house. Here lived the Evanses, well known in 
the neighbourhood for their enthusiastic piety and their 
untiring devotion to good works. Elizabeth Evans had 
occasionally to contend with the more conservative Methodists, 
who looked askance on women who possessed the gift of 
tongues and the power of prophesying, and for some years she 
actually seceded from the Methodist Church in order to join 
an offshoot known as the Arminian Methodists. This body 
merged in another obscure branch called the Methodist 
Association, but, long before her death in 1849, Elizabeth 
Evans had made her peace with the parent church, and her 
virtues are recorded on a tablet in the Bede Memorial Chapel 
at Wirksworth. She lies buried in the old churchyard, but as 
she expressly desired that no stone should be put up to her 
memory, her grave cannot now be distinguished with certainty. 
Samuel Evans, also, was an ardent and enthusiastic preacher, 
and used to hold meetings in the mill — meetings of the old 
Methodist kind, where fervour was considered a necessary sign 
of grace, and results were reckoned up by counting the heads 
of the "gende convertites." That little roadside cottage has 
been the scene of much "wrestling in prayer," much song, 
much praise, and much assurance. So have thousands of 
other cottages where have dwelt souls just as sincere as Samuel 
and Elizabeth Evans, but they have not had a George Eliot 
for their niece. And if there be any who are inclined to look 


askance upon Samuel Evans holding forth to his workpeople 
on the mysteries of religion, let them glance down the Derby 
Road and imagine they see a sturdy figure striding up it, at a 
pace which would leave them standing still. It is Samuel 
Evans, the preacher, delighting in the play of his muscles, and 
ready any day to walk out here to Mill Houses — as the little 
spot is called— from Derby Market Place in a round two 
hours. The distance is a full thirteen miles. 

You can just see the tip of Wirksworth church spire over the 
brow of the intervening rise, but you shall have a noble view of 
the whole valley if you will climb to the high ground above. 
From the mill retrace your steps for a hundred yards until you 
come to a footpath on the right, which crosses at the top of the 
field the single-line branch railway from Duffield to Wirksworth, 
and then mounts up the steep hillside. It swells into a cart 
track and then crosses another near a farm. Once more a foot- 
path, it rises steeply to some wooden posts in the corner of the 
field, and a spacious view unfolds itself. From here we see 
how charmingly Wirksworth lies in the cup of the hills, and 
how it is sheltered under the lee of the spur which strikes 
down into the valley. This is the hill which, as we descended 
into the town, lay on our right hand and showed nothing but 
the scars of the quarries. Here the quarries are invisible ; we 
only see the reverse side and the pleasant houses nestling 
among the trees. Away in the distance is the road over the 
ridge, and on the far horizon the tree-topped hill which we 
know to be Masson. However, we are not yet on the rim of 
the basin in which Wirksworth lies, and our path leads through 
three fields (across a road) to the wood opposite, and then 
through a succession of continuing fields to a road by a farm. 
Turn leftwards and, where the road immediately forks, keep up 
to the right through a little hamlet to the real top of the hill. 
Here we can look far down the valley towards Belper and 
across to the ridge above Hopton. The wooded knoll below 
us is Gilkin, and what we may call the upper Wirksworth Valley 
opens out, disclosing the line of quarries, but giving us a finer 

xxviii . ALDERWASLEY 425 

view of the sweep of Barrel Edge. Not often have we to find 
fault with the accuracy of George Eliot's description of places, 
but few who have toiled up out of the valley to where we stand 
will agree with her summary dismissal of Wirksworth in the 
phrase, " The town lay grim, stony and unsheltered, up the 
sides of a steep hill." It is not grim, it is not stony— except 
by the approach from Cromford — and it certainly is not 

We now begin to look eastwards towards the hills and valleys 
of the Derwent, and run out into the main road to Belper— a 
little to the right of the cross-roads, best known by the name of 
their lonely inn, the Noah's Ark. Turning rightwards, we 
get the new distant landmark of Crich Stand, high upon its 
quarried hill, while the towers of Riber are visible to the left. 
A sign-post speedily signals us to quit the Belper road and 
turn down to the left for Alderwasley, in the pronunciation 
of which great stress is laid upon the concluding syllable, 
though the local people often clip it to Allersloe. The way 
lies through rural scenery, pleasant as one could wish to see, 
and fringed with noble ash and sycamore. Alderwasley is a 
pretty, straggling village which has its vague -traditions of 
having once trembled at the sound of war's rude alarms. 
Opposite the school is a field called Killcroft, and the farm at 
the foot of the rising ground beyond is Buryhill Farm. But 
when the fight was fought no one knows. It was " in old 
times " — that must suffice. We mount the little hill and, as we 
descend again, reach, on the left hand, the old village church, 
St. Margaret's, now used only as a mortuary chapel. The 
interior is funereal and dismal ; the oak panelling round the 
walls was made out of the old pews. Over one of the entrance 
doors, now filled up, is an ancient tablet of marble or white 
stone, protected by thick glass, showing the arms of the Low 
family, who dwelt at Alderwasley Hall before the estate passed 
by marriage into the possession of the Hurts. 

But the little cemetery is most beautifully kept, with turf as 
trim as a college lawn, and fine rhododendrons which make a 


rich blaze of colour in their season. This is the private burial 
place of the Hurts, divided from the villagers' resting place by- 
a stone wall. Both are new; indeed, until a few years ago, 
every interment had to be made at Wirksworth, and the 
journey over the hills in severe weather must have been 
dreadful. Why ? No doubt because the Wirksworth parsons 
clutched their burial fees. From here a most gracious view 
extends over towards Crich Stand. Crich village, to the right 
of the Stand, is three miles away— so the sign-post tells us just 
below, where we turn leftwards and have the finely-timbered 
Alderwasley Park upon our right. It does not look so far, 
but we have to dip down into the hollow, and the other side 
is steep. Alderwasley Hall, not visible from the road, came 
into the possession of the Hurts in 1670 by the marriage of 
Nicholas Hurt, of Casterne, in Staffordshire, with Elizabeth 
Low, who succeeded to the Alderwasley estates on the death 
of her brother without issue. She was the granddaughter of 
the Edward Low whose memorial we saw in Wirksworth 
Church. He had been an ardent Royalist in the Civil War, 
and lost his eldest son at the Battle of Gainsborough in 1643, 
the fight where the gallant Colonel Cavendish also fell. 

At the foot of the hill is Whatstandwell, where the Uerwent, 
the main road, the railway and the Cromford canal all lie 
amicably together in the wooded valley. Here the river is 
spanned by a fine bridge, to the builder of which the little 
village owes its curious name. For, late in the fourteenth cen- 
tury, so we learn from the records of Darley Abbey, one AValter 
Stonewell, who dwelt near by, built this bridge and, as Wat 
was the common abbreviation of Walter, Whatstandwell Bridge 
is really Wat Stonewell's Bridge. Naturally, such a name 
has suffered many contortions. Even as late as 1830 it is 
found in print under the disguise of Hot-stand-well and Hot- 
Stanwell. A popular derivation was "Will't stand well?" — a 
sceptical inquiry as to the stability of the structure. Crossing 
the string of bridges, we mount the opposite hill and obtain, as 
we look back, a fine view of the noble woods through which 



we have passed. Turn at the side of the village school and 
keep well to the left until Crich Stand comes into sight. It 
looks tantalisingly near, but it has to be outflanked and taken 
in the rear by long detour. It was evening when I approached 
it and had to hurry to gain the summit ere the sun sank, like a 
molten ball of fire, over Matlock, between Masson and Riber. 
After the heat of the day the mist hung close and low, but I 
could distinguish the tangle of ridges between the Stand and 
Masson, each with its fringe of green woods. To count them 
is impossible, so confusedly do they merge one into the other. 
This view from Crich Stand — the vowel, by the way, is long — 
is one of the most beautiful in the county. Though the hill is 
only nine hundred and fifty feet above sea-level, its situation is 
most happy. The fairest side is towards Matlock, up the 
Derwent Valley by the woods of Lea Hurst, where the broad 
hill, intersected by winding roads, rises steeply up towards 
Wirksworth and confronts the wooded heights beyond 
Holloway and Dethick. If we change our station, we have the 
big straggling village of Crich itself below us, while the smoke, 
curling up densely a few miles away, marks the lime-kilns of 
Bullbridge, near Ambergate. On that side, and towards Ripley 
and Alfreton, a large plateau lies at our feet, and beyond it, 
at a lower level, spreads a wider weald that stretches far 
away to the left, where the ground mounts to the Ashover 
country and the uplands of the Matlock and Darley Moors. 

The Stand, some fifty feet high, is a round tower set on a 
square base of massive blocks of stone. It looks strong 
enough to last for centuries, and so, doubtless, it would have 
done had not the lightning found it a few years ago, which, 
with a single stroke, drove deep fissures into it from top to 
bottom and tore away some of the upper blocks. The 
door-way, therefore, which used to give entrance to the staircase 
within, has been filled up and the fabric is most insecure. 
Originally built in 1788 by Francis Hurt, of Alderwasley, and 
rebuilt in 185 1, it rests on the edge of a gigantic quarry which 
has been continuously worked for about sixty years. In places 

428 CRICH CHURCH ck. xxviii 

the hill itself seems willing to simplify the task of the quarry- 
men, for stupendous masses of stone have been partially riven 
from the side and appear to be waiting for a slight shock of 
earthquake to come tumbling to the ground. Geologically, 
Crich Cliff is of some interest, owing to its being a mass of 
carboniferous limestone thrust up through the measures of 
sandstone and shale. Si.xty years ago the Crich district was 
described as the richest mineral field in the whole wapentake 
of Wirksworth. 

The village is dull, though the church contains memorials 
of a Bellairs, a Beresford — son and heir of Adam Beresford, of 
Fenny Bentley — a German Pole of Wakebridge, and a John 
Clay, whose first wife was the daughter of the Chief Cock 
Matcher and Servant of the Hawks to Henry VIII. There is 
also a curious brass to the infant child of a former rector, 
" Noe sooner bloomed but blasted. Yet to revive with time at 
the refreshing." The church, whose tower and steeple are 
landmarks only less familiar than the Stand, is in the higher 
part of the village, which straggles on for a mile and a half 
along the rather tedious road leading down to BuUbridge and 



Passing under the railway bridge at Ambergate, opposite the 
new church on the road to Belper, let us begin the ascent towards 
Heage. The first landmark is soon reached in Heage Firs, a 
name given to a group of dejected fir trees standing on a 
little patch of uncultivated ground at the cross-roads. Two of 
these poor castaways are stone dead, the remaining four have 
just sufficient vitality to deck their withered branches with a 
few leaves. Beyond is a level stretch of a quarter of a mile ; 
then the road plunges downwards into the straggling and untidy 
outskirts of Heage, and mounts 'the other side past a wind- 
mill on the left and the new village school on the right. The 
old endowed school with a thatched roof, whose place it has 
taken, is close by, while on the crest of the hill stands a large 
National School — empty of scholars. Heage proper lies up 
here at the summit, on the main road from Belper to Chesterfield, 
and the spreading stables of the inn testify to vanished im- 
portance. The church is certainly one of the ugliest in 
Derbyshire. The chancel is not unpleasing, but the main body 
was rebuilt in the early part of the nineteenth century in the 
very crudest of styles. And even the stone chancel has been 
vulgarised by having a common brick out-house attached to it, 
with two crude chimneys which would deface a wash-house. 

In the exterior wall of the chancel is a stone with the in- 
scription, "G.P. 1661," referring to George Poole or Pole, who 

430 DEADMAN'S LANE chap. 

lived at Heage Hall, an old mansion lying away to the left of the 
road by which we entered the village. Here, not many years 
ago, a diamond pane of glass was found, bearing the legend, 

*' Trap heureux en toi 
Malheureiix en moi." 

At once the theory was started that this was written by Mary, 
Queen of Scots, who, when a prisoner at Wingfield Manor, only 
a few miles away, might have visited the Poles at Heage Hall. 
It is possible, but decidedly far-fetched. Many generations have 
lived in the ancient hall, and it is much easier to suppose that 
the lines were scratched on the pane in a moment of idleness 
by some languishing gallant or maid. 

From Heage our direction lies almost due north, and for a 
mile we keep along a high ridge. On our right is a broad 
valley stretching across to Ripley and the iron-works at Butterley, 
whose furnaces send up a continual pillar of fire by day and 
night. The picturesqueness of the scene is marred by the high 
embankment of the railway to Codnor Park and the Erewash 
Valley, but the view straight before us as we descend the hiil is 
one of considerable beauty. Wingfield Park— not to be con- 
fused with the Manor or the Hall — is fresh and unspoilt, and 
to its left we look towards Bullbridge and Ambergate, with 
alluring glimpses of miniature valleys. Crossing railway and 
canal, we enter upon the main road to Ripley. This, however, 
we quit on reaching the Methodist chapel, lit by a lantern in 
the roof, opposite the gates of ^^^ingfield Park, and take the 
Chesterfield road on the left. The by-road to Pentrich soon 
branches off to the right, but for a pleasant by-path continue 
along the Chesterfield road until you come to a corn mill on 
the left, whose wheel is turned by the Amber. Opposite the 
mill a smithy once stood. It has vanished now, but the foot- 
path remains which leads up through the fields. This broad 
track used to bear the name of Deadman's Lane, not from any 
relics which had been found there, but because by this way 
dead men were borne to their last resting place in Pentrich 



Churchyard. There was no burying place at Heage until the 
nineteenth century was well advanced. When our foot-path 
makes a second turn at right angles — this time to the left — we 
find ourselves upon the line of the old Ryknield Street, of which 

^ ^yf^^.'-^/ 

Oriel Windcyiv in North Courts Wingfield Manor 

a curious little fragment has escaped obliteration and is quite 
unmistakable. Though one side is raised fully six feet above 
the level of the other, the two hedges, twenty yards or so apart, 
continue for a little way their parallel course, until first one 
fails and then the other. This was the Roman road from Little 
Chester, just outside Derby, to Chesterfield. It ran by 

432. PENTRICH chap. 

the side of Breadsall Priory to the right of Horsley. Then, 
for more than three miles, from Bottlebrook Houses through 
Denby Station to Marshay Farm, the Ryknield Street is still in 
use. From Marshay Farm to the spot where we have struck it, 
it has long been ploughed up, but we shall find other traces of 
it a mile further on. 

Here, from this corner, we can see the gilded arrow of the 
vane of Pentrich Church shining above the trees at the top of 
the steep field. The'church is an interesting structure, much 
of which dates from Norman times, and one or two of its 
memorials are worth a passing notice. The Major Jessop, for 
example, of Butterley Hall, who served during the Peninsular 
War with the Forty-fourth Regiment, and was severely 
wounded at Waterloo, must have been one of the oldest 
survivors of that great fight, for he lived to see his ninetieth 
year in 1869. Another memorial is to a sea captain, who, 
" after long and faithful service against the French and 
Spaniards," settled down in his birth-place at Butterley, and 
died in 1764. But who was the Madame Mawers, youngest 
daughter of Mr. Joseph White, who died in 1776, aged 
twenty-two, of whom we are told, " She was as great a Knguist 
as this nation ever produced. She was a very religious, beauti- 
ful, virtuous, dutiful, loving and affectionate wife." Her 
celebrity was strictly local. The biographical dictionaries do 
not know her name. 

From the church a long flight of steps leads to the level of 
the road, and we find ourselves in Pentrich, a typical English 
village, quiet and remote. Yet Pentrich was once the home of 
a revolution, which began in wild talk, came to fruition in 
futile bloodshed and ended on the gallows. Save in the 
district, the story has long been forgotten ; let us, therefore, 
recall the main facts. In 181 7, when George IV. was Regent 
and the Government was in the hands of the well-detested 
Lord Liverpool, distress and discontent were general, and the 
labourers of Pentrich, Wingfield and Swanwick — like the 


artisans in the big towns — fell an easy prey to the schemes of 
hare-brained revolutionaries. I can find no evidence that the 
distress in Pentrich was more acute than elsewhere, nothing to 
show why it should have been made the headquarters of a 
conspiracy to march on London and overthrow the existing 
regime. The strong beer at the White Horse — a Httle inn, 
kept by widow Weightman, which has long since been pulled 
down — and the bombast of Jeremiah Brandreth, combined 
with an absolute ignorance of the perils of the undertaking, 
had most to do with gaining recruits. These were promised lands 
and estates when they had overthrown the Government, and 
Brandreth assured them that success was easy and certain. 
This Brandreth — " the Nottingham captain," as he was gene- 
rally called — was a short, thick-set man of twenty-six, whose 
only qualification for leadership was the violence of his speech 
and action. From the evidence given at his trial it is clear 
that he had gained a great ascendancy over those in the plot, 
but he was absolutely incapable of thinking out a scheme of con- 
certed action. He used to sit with his confederates in the 
White Horse parlour — the inn stood where the Post Office is 
now — with maps spread out on the table before him, tracing 
with his pipe-stem the route by which he would lead them to 
London, and showing at what points they would be joined by 
other hosts, all rising like themselves against the tyrants. 
Then, as a sort of incantation, he used to repeat over and over 
again the following doggerel lines : — 

" Every man his skill must Ir)', 
He must turn out and not deny ; 
No bloody soldier must he dread 
He must turn out and fight for bread ; 
The time is come, you plainly see, 
The Government opposed must be." 

Each village, he would say, must destroy its own vermin. 
They would begin by burning Colonel Halton's house over his 
head at South Wingfield — the Colonel was a magistrate- -and 


then attack the iron-works at Butterley. And, as they went 
along, they would call at each house, make all the able-bodied 
men join them on pain of death, and seize every gun in the 

Such was the plot. When at last the eventful day arrived, 
Brandreth and some twenty men from South Wingfield met 
near that village at a place called Hunt's Barn. After calling 
at a few houses and demanding arms and recruits, some moved 
down to the Wire Mill, where the road from Crich to Pentrich 
crosses the Amber, while Brandreth and others went on to 
Wingfield Park. At a house where a Mrs. Hepworth lived 
with her son and daughters and two men-servants, the 
revolutionists demanded entrance, tried to break in the front 
door, and then went round to the back and forced open the 
windows of the kitchen, where all the inmates were collected. 
Brandreth raised his gun and fired into the room. The charge 
struck one of the men-servants, Robert Walters, while he was 
bending down to lace his boots, and killed him on the spot. 
So senseless a murder shocked Brandreth's followers and they 
upbraided him, but he browbeat them into silence and, after 
plundering the house, they went on. At Pentrich lane they 
were joined by the party from the Wire Mill and some attempt 
was made to get the men into military order. They were 
formed in twos, those with guns being placed in the front ranks 
and those with pikes in the rear. Then they entered Pentrich, 
where officers were appointed, and Brandreth made a speech. 

By this time their numbers seem to have risen to about a 
hundred, and they took the road to the Butterley Iron-works, 
between Pentrich and Ripley. Here preparations had been 
made to receive them, for special constables had been sworn 
in, but most of these had gone off home at three o'clock in the 
morning. They had heard guns being fired and other unusual 
noises, but, as they were not molested, they thought the revolu- 
tion had been postponed. One suspects that they were not too 
eager to stop. Consequently, only the manager, Mr. Goodwin, 


and about a dozen others, armed with pikes, were in the works, 
when Brandreth formed his men into line before the gates. He 
knocked at the door with the butt end of his gun. Mr. Good- 
win appeared and asked what he wanted, and when Brandreth 
demanded that the men should turn out and join him, Mr. 
Goodwin resolutely denounced him for his criminal folly, saying 
that the laws were too strong for him and that they would all 
be hanged. Brandreth, instead of shooting the manager, as he 
had boasted that he would do, fell back without a word, and 
gave the order to march. From that moment all spirit went 
out of the revolution, for the men lost faith in their leader. 
Fortune, too, favoured the brave, for, as a horseman came riding 
up to join the rebels, Mr. Goodwin seized his bridle and got 
him to promise to go home. When the rider turned the horse's 
head round, Mr. Goodwin saw a bag concealed behind his smock- 
frock. " You rascal ! " he shouted, " I must have that bag," 
and, when the man refused, he dragged him from his horse. 
The bag was full of bullets. 

Meanwhile, the revolutionists tramped into Ripley, where 
they gave three cheers, and then went on to Codnor. Here 
they divided into three sections — the reason being that there 
were only three public-houses in the village— and received re- 
inforcements from Swanwick. At the toll-gate at Langley Mill 
they met one of their number who had been sent on ahead to 
find out how matters were shaping in Nottingham. He brought 
back unfavourable news, which Brandreth suppressed and 
announced that all was going well. It began to be whispered, 
however, that the soldiers were out, and on the road between 
Langley Mill and Eastwood a number of desertions took place, 
and most of the pressed men made good their escape. One of 
the latter, a Pentrich man named Hole, openly defied Brand- 
reth when he raised his gun, and told him that he would hack 
his head off with his paring knife. Brandreth moved away, but 
shouldered his gun again as soon as Hole turned his back, and 
would have shot him had he not been restrained. An olc^ 

F F 2 


tan-yard at Giltbrook, about a mile from Kimberley, marked the 
furthest advance of Brandreth's Httle army. He was in the act 
of forming his men into line, when Captain Phillips and a troop 
of the isth Hussars from Nottingham Barracks came on the 
scene and at once charged. The effect was magical. Without 
waiting for the shock, the revolutionists flung down their arms 
and fled in all directions. The Pentrich rebellion was at an 
end. Brandreth and nearly fifty of his associates were captured, 
lodged in Nottingham gaol and stood their trial at the next 
Derby Assizes. The verdict was never in doubt, though Mr. 
Denman, subsequently Lord Chief Justice, did his best for the 
prisoners and compared Brandreth to Lord Byron's Corsair, who 
was then the literary hero of the hour. All was of no avail. 
Brandreth and two others were executed ; twenty more were 
transported ; the rest obtained a free pardon. 

Among those who watched the public execution, carried out 
with all the old-fashioned barbarity, save for the quartering of 
the bodies, was Shelley. The scene aroused his violent indig- 
nation, and, in a most intemperate pamphlet, he contrasted the 
end of these misguided creatures with the death of the Princess 
Charlotte, wife of Prince Leopold and only daughter of the 
Regent, which had taken place on the previous day. This 
pamphlet was published anonymously, Shelley taking the nom- 
de-plume of "The Hermit of Marlow," and choosing for his 
motto, " We pity the plumage but forget the dying bird." In 
his concluding section the author declares that it is God who 
has slain the Princess, but man who has murdered Liberty. 
" Fetters heavier than iron weigh upon us, because they bind 
our souls. We move about in a dungeon more pestilential than 
damp and narrow walls, because the earth is its floor and the 
Heavens its roof. Let us follow the corpse of British Liberty 
slowly and reverentially to its tomb, and if some glorious phan- 
tom should appear, and make its throne of broken swords and 
sceptres and royal crowns trampled in the dust, let us say that 
the spirit of Liberty has risen from its grave, and left all that 


was gross and mortal there, and kneel down and worship it as 
our Queen." The poet's indignation was not very well applied 
in this case, for Brandreth was nothing but a scatter- 
brained, violent revolutionary who committed a cold-blooded 
murder. His deluded victims, however— all, with one or two 
exceptions, agricultural labourers— demand our sympathy, 
which is intensified, rightly or wrongly, by the character of 
the Regent and his Ministers, and the infamous agents provo- 
cateurs whom they employed. The block on which Brandreth 
and the others were decapitated, after being cut down from the 
gallows, is still preserved in Derby gaol, and, according to 
tradition, the blood stains upon it have never dried. Such 
was the Pentrich Revolution, difficult to conjure up as we 
linger among these trim cottages. The last survivor of Bran 
dreth's army — one of the pressed men who deserted after 
leaving Langley Mill — was a man named Booth, who died at 
Ripley in 1896 at the age of ninety-seven. 

But it is time to be moving again. Leaving Pentrich Church 
we follow along the churchyard wall past the Post Office to a 
thatched cottage facing down the road. From here a cinder 
cart-track leads towards Coneygrey Farm, nearly a mile distant. 
Two fields away from the farm it crosses the line of the Ryknield 
Street, whose course may be traced at the foot of a meadow 
on the right in a deep and wide depression. A solitary and 
aged oak, no more than a hollow strip of bark with a few 
pathetic green leaves, seems to mark the further side of the 
ancient street. Maybe as a sapling, it saw men pass on the 
errands of peace and war along this once busy thoroughfare. 
The ruins of Wingfield Manor now begin to show on the crest 
of the rising ground across the valley, but before we dip down 
into the Chesterfield road again, the green hill by the wood 
side beyond the farm demands notice. No higher than the 
ridge, of which it forms the extremity, it is locally known as 
Castle Hill or Cannon Hill. The usual story is told of Crom- 
well planting his batteries upon it, but its military history goes 


back far beyond the days of Cromwell, for it is unquestionably 
the site of a Roman Camp. It was the first station on the 
road from Derventio or Little Chester, just twelve miles 

From here we make our way to Wingfield Manor. A side 
lane running out of the Chesterfield road at our feet soon turns 
to the left at right angles, but there is no bridge over the 
Amber and the railway till one reaches the Wire Mill, which 
played its little part in the Pentrich Revolution. Despite its 
name, no wire was ever made there, and it is supposed that 
" wire " is a mistake for or corruption of " weir." That road is 
far round and, were it not trespass, it would be tempting 
to take the track through the gate — where the lane turns 
leftwards — passing from the fields under the railway and over 
the Amber by a single plank bridge, to where the path 
meanders through the mazes of a little wood. Then it emerges 
into a lane by the side of a farm just below Wingfield Manor. 

■^■^ -- -^ j'ii-'^ai^i^'^^^^ 


Wingfield Manor ^ Soutn front of South Court. 



Wingfield Manor, one of the most fascinating of English 
ruins, has charm of situation —without any claim to exceptional 
beauty — charm of grace in the ruins themselves, and, 
above all, charm of association. It stands on the crest of a 
little hill, whose uneven mounds denote earthwork and en- 
trenchment, favourably placed to command wide views, and, 
though the whole place is dismantled, it is not so far gone in 
decay as to need expert knowledge in order to recreate its past 
glories. To the professed archffiologist a few exposed founda- 
tions or even the vague outHne of confused mounds may be 
enough ; we need more, and Wingfield Manor happily supplies 
it. The general plan of the building is easily made out. The 
entrance gateway opened upon a great quadrangle where the 
less important members of the household dwelt, and an 
archway in its north side led into a smaller but more stately 
quadrangle. A farmhouse now occupies the eastern half of 


the buildings dividing the two quadrangles, while in the western 
half is the well-preserved High Tower, 72 ft. high. The great 
banqueting hall, 72 ft. by 36 ft., with a fine porch and octagon 
bay window, takes up the north-e&,st angle of the northern 
quadrangle ; the state apartments are in the middle, and the 
vast kitchens and butteries in the north-west corner. The 
rooms occupied by Mary Queen of Scots are said to have 
taken up the whole of the west side. The chief puzzle for 
antiquaries is to find the chapel. Beneath the hall, and of the 
same dimensions, is a spacious crypt, dimly lit, with vaulted 
roof supported by groined arches that rest on rows of octagon 

The mansion was begun by Ralph, Lord Cromwell; Lord 
Treasurer in the reign of Henry VL, but he did not finish it, 
and the Manor was sold to the second Earl of Shrewsbury, who 
was killed in the battle of Northampton. Successive Talbots 
made ^Vingfield their home, and in Queen EHzabeth's time it 
was one of the chief seats of the powerful sixth Earl whom, with 
his Countess, we have already met at Tutbury, Buxton, and 
Chatsworth. H!e was here with Mary Queen of Scots in 
January, 1569, on his way to Tutbury from the north, and 
returned for a six months' stay in April of the same year. The 
Queen was taken seriously ill, and the physicians sent down from 
London reported that the place was unwholesome and insani- 
tary. To this Shrewsbury retorted that the bad smells were due 
to "the continued festering and uncleanly order of her own 
folke." The Queen's lodgings were cleansed, in her absence, 
but she fell ill again on her return, and not until 1584 did she 
make another lengthy stay at Wingfield. It was then that young 
Anthony Babington, of Dethick, a few miles away, concocted the 
futile plot for Mary's escape and for the murder of Queen 
Elizabeth, which brought him, and thirteen others, to the 
scaffold in 1586. Anthony pleaded bitterly for dear life : — 

" Most gratious Souvarigne, if either bitter teares, a pensive contrite 
harte ore any dutifull sighte of the wretched synner might work any pitty 


in your royal brest, I would wringe out of my drayned eyes as much bloode 
as in bemoaninge my drery tragedye should lamentably bewayll my faulte, 
and somewhat (no doughte) move you to compassion. But since there is no 
proportione betwixte the qualitye of my crimes and any human commisera- 
tion, Showe, sweet Queene, some mirakle on a wretch that lyethe prostrate 
in your prison, most grivously bewaylinge his offence, and imploringe such 
comforte at your anoynted hands as my poor wives misfortunes doth begge, 
my childs innocence doth crave, my gyltless familye doth wishe and my 
heynous trecherye doth leste deserve. So shall your divine mersy make 
your glorye shyne as far above all princes, as my most horrible practices are 
more detestable among your best subjects, who lovinglye and happelye to 
governe I humbly beseeche the mercye Master himself to grante for his 
sweete Sonnes sake JESUS CHRISTE." 

He might as well have asked mercy of a stone as of Elizabeth. 
Let us hope that Queen Mary spared at least a sigh for the 
last of the many gallant gentlemen who laid down their lives in 
her cause ! 

Wingfield Manor, however, has other memories than those 
of the Shrewsburys and the Queen of Scots. During the Civil 
War it played an important part — never more than local, it 
is true, yet still important. The estate on the death of the 
seventh Earl of Shrewsbury had passed, by the marriage of his 
eldest daughter, to the Earl of Pembroke, who garrisoned the 
house for the Parliament on the outbreak of the war. In 
December, 1643, the Earl of Newcastle captured it for the 
King after a twelve days''siege, and left a strong garrison in 
charge. This proved a sharp thorn in the side of the Parliament 
forces at Derby, for the Cavaliers raided over a wide area and 
cut off isolated posts and convoys. Eventually, therefore, Sir 
John Gell moved up to Wingfield, laid regular siege, and 
vowed he " would not desist till, if God so pleased, he had 
the place," which was described as " the Sanctuary of all the 
Papists and delinquents of that country." Sundry efforts 
were made for its relief. One detachment, two hundred 
strong, under Colonel Eyre, was captured in Boylstone 
Church, near Sudbury, by the Parliamentarians, who sur- 
rounded the building and took them all prisoners, one by 


one, as they came out. Another force, under General Hastings, 
was driven back by the Earl of Denbigh and Sir John Gell. 
But the siege itself made little progress until the main Parlia- 
ment army sent Sir John " four great peeces," capable of throw- 
ing thirty two pound balls, which managed to effect a breach. 
Then the garrison surrendered. Colonel Dalby, the officer in 
command, was treacherously shot at the entrance gate by a 
deserter, who thrust his musket through a loophole and fired 

In 1646 Wingfield Manor was dismantled, but the order for its 
destruction was not very faithfully obeyed, and the chief damage 
to the glorious old building was done in 1774 by one of the 
Haltons, into whose possession the estate had passed. He 
pulled down the entire western side of the north quadrangle to 
provide himself with ready-dressed stone. The elaborate dials, 
which still remain on some of the walls, were set up by 
Immanuel Halton, the mathematician, a century before. From 
the summit of the High Tower, fine prospects are obtainable 
over towards Crich Stand, Ambergate and Pentrich, but the 
most fascinating view of all is to look down on the grey ruins, 
the tottering smoke stacks, the roofless hall, the great vacant fire- 
places, the kitchens, the outer walls of what was Queen Mary's 
prison, and the magnificent walnut tree which grows upon the 
site of her rooms. 

Before we leave Wingfield Manor let us speak a little more 
fully of the Earl and Countess of Shrewsbury who were, for so 
many years. Queen Mary's custodians. The post was a most 
thankless one, especially as the Earl was answerable to so im- 
perious, capricious, and niggardly a mistress as Queen Elizabeth. 
Many causes had contributed to his' selection. He was lord 
of Sheffield Castle and Sheffield Manor, Worksop Manor, 
Wingfield Manor, Rufford Abbey, Buxton Hall, and Tutbury 
Castle. His wife, the Countess, owned in her own right 
Chatsworth, Hardwick, Bolsover, and Oldcotes, in Derbyshire, 
and Welbeck Abbey, in Nottinghamshire. These all lay within 


thirty miles of one another, and, therefore, if the captive 
needed change of air or residence, it could be obtained 
without difficulty. Moreover, Elizabeth, a shrewd judge of 
character, knew that Shrewsbury might be trusted implicitly to 
treat Mary with every courtesy, and yet be vigilant against 
intrigue. He belonged to the middle party in religion, had 
friends on both sides, and, though himself a Protestant, bore 
no ill-will to the Catholics. He was also rich, and Elizabeth 
could, therefore, stint him of proper maintenance, knowing 
that he was able to make good the deficit out of his own purse. 
Shrewsbury, naturally, grew unspeakably weary of a charge 
which completely deprived him of all liberty of movement and 
action, and he eventually laid down his duties with heartfelt 
relief. The stoutest partisans of Mary admit that he made a 
kindly and considerate jailer. 

But in the eyes of posterity the Earl of Shrewsbury has 
been eclipsed by his second wife, the famous Bess of Hard- 
wick, a woman of boundless ambition and unusual strength of 
character. Not for her the womanly ideal expressed by Pope 
in the lines, 

" She who ne'er answers till hev hushand cools 

And, though she rules him, never shows she rules." 

Bess of Hardwick was cast in another mould — a mould very 
similar to that in which Queen Elizabeth had herself been 
cast. Or to take another, and perhaps closer parallel, Bess of 
Hardwick might have been twin-sister to that brimstone lady, 
Sarah Jennings, afterwards first Duchess of Marlborough. 

She was the fourth daugher of a plain country squire, John 
Hardwick of Hardwick, near Ault Hucknall, the ruins of 
whose old mansion are still to be seen by the side of Hardwick 
Hall. Born in 1518, she married at the age of fourteen Robert 
Barlow of Barlow, a boy scarcely older than herself, who died 
in the following year and left to his girl widow all his estates. 
Why she remained unwed for the next sixteen years is not 
stated, but in 1549, when she was thirty-one, she became the 



third wife of Sir William Cavendish, of Suffolk, and induced 
him to " sell his estates in the southern parts of England and 
purchase lands in Derbyshire where her kindred lived." We 
are expressly told by Bishop Kennett that this was done "at 
her desire," and we may suppose that Sir William was a very 

AuH Hucknall Church. 

uxorious and docile husband thus to uproot himself from his 
native soil. He bought the Chatsworth estate from the Agards 
and — again at his wife's instigation— began to build there a 
fine new mansion which, at his death in 1557, was uncom- 
pleted, and was finished by his widow at a total cost of 
j^8o,ooo. Three sons and three daughters were the issue of 
this union. Lady Cavendish next ^ married a west-country 


knight, Sir William St. Loe, who was one of the Queen's 
Captains of the Guard. In her marriage settlements she 
stipulated that all Sir William's estates should pass to herself 
and her heirs in default of issue of the marriage, and so, when 
he died, his children by his first wife were left without a 
shilling. Finally, in 1568, she made a fourth essay in matri- 
mony, and this time, at the age of fifty, landed her biggest fish 
in the person of the sixth Earl of Shrewsbury. Again she 
made judicious terms before giving her coy consent. She 
insisted that her youngest daughter, Mary Cavendish, should 
marry the Earl's second son, Gilbert, and that her eldest -son, 
Henry, should marry the Earl's youngest daughter. Lady 
Grace. By these two marriages she hoped to bind together 
the Talbot, Cavendish, and Hardwick interests, and not until 
these nuptials were solemnised would Bess of Hardwick give 
her hand to the Earl. For the first few years the marriage 
was a happy one. In 1573 we find the Earl writing to his 
wife as follows : — " Of all the joys I have under God, the 
greatest is yourself. To think that I possess one so faithful 
and one that I know loves me so dear is all and the greatest 
comfort that this earth can give. . . . Farewell, only joy." 
That was obviously no perfunctory duty letter, and in 1577 
the Countess was also sending pretty messages to her husband, 
praying, "God send my jewel health." 

The Countess, having attained the height of her own ambi- 
tions, now schemed for the advancement of her own children. 
She had a glorious opportunity in 1574. The old Countess of 
Lennox, mother of the Earl of Darnley, late' husband of 
Mary Queen of Scots, was travelling north with her younger 
son Charles Stuart Earl of Lennox. They stayed at Rufford 
Abbey en route and were entertained by the Countess of Shrews- 
bury. The visit lasted no more than five days, but in that 
time the two match-making mothers entered into a compact 
that Lennox should marry Elizabeth Cavendish, another 
daughter of the Countess. The marriage took place clandes- 


tinely — this time, we may suppose, it was the Countess who 
had to deal handsomely in the way of marriage settlements — • 
and the only child of the union was the ill-fated Lady Arabella 
Stuart, who, if anything had happened to James, the only son 
of Queen Mary, would have been heiress to the thrones of 
England and Scotland. 

We can imagine with what self-satisfaction the Countess 
would congratulate herself on having pushed her way to the 
very steps of the throne ; we can imagine how nervously the 
Earl would apprehend the resentment of Queen Elizabeth ; 
and we can imagine too the violent explosion of anger with 
which the Tudor Queen received the news. If she boxed proud 
Leicester's ears on one famous occasion, what would she have 
done had the Countess of Shrewsbury been handy, hardly able 
to conceal the smile of triumph on her shrewd, purposeful face. 
The Queen promptly ordered her presumptuous subject to the 
Tower, and furious letters rained in upon the unfortunate Earl, 
her husband, who was probably innocent of the whole intrigue 
and knew nothing of what was afoot until the wedding was 
over. He wrote to Burghley a pitiful, deprecatory letter, 
assuring him that it had been all his wife's doing, and that she 
was for ever scheming new marriages. " There are few noble- 
men's sons in England," he said, " that she hath not prayed 
me to deal for at one time or another. So I did for my Lord 
Rutland, with my Lord Sussex, for my Lord Wharton, and 
sundry others ; and now this comes unlooked for, without 
thanks to me." Queen Elizabeth, recognising that the marriage 
was made and could not be unmade, soon released the Coun- 
tess from the Tower, and during most of the next ten years 
the ambitious lady remained in the Midlands, helping her 
husband to take care of Queen Mary. 

They were not years of undiluted happiness. In 1584 the 
Earl and his Countess were at open war. We find the former 
in the August of that year writing thus to Burghley :— "For as 
to my wife, she hath sought to impoverish me and to enrich 


herself. She hath sought the ruin and decay of my power and 

posterity and to raise up her house and name into that honour. 

She hath sought my discredit and slander, in the face of the 

world, and albeit she hath a little changed the air, yet she doth 

carry the old mind which hath nothing now left to work upon 

but mine old carcase, whereof I do think she would make a 

sacrifice, if I should receive her again." This was a change 

indeed from the " Farewell, my only joy ! " tone of a few years 

before ! What was the cause ? The gossips were talking 

freely in their ill-natured way of the relations between Queen 

Mary and Shrewsbury. The Countess herself lent some 

colour to this report by her reply to Queen Elizabeth on one 

occasion when she was asked how Queen Mary fared. 

" Madame !" was the reply, "she cannot do ill while she is 

with my husband, and I begin to grow jealous ; they are so 

great together." Probably this was merely a jest, with a touch 

of malicious sarcasm to spice it, but a few years later, when 

the Earl and Countess had fallen out over other matters, the 

Countess began to spread scandalous reports of an intrigue 

between her husband and Queen Mary. The Scottish Queen 

was furious when they came to her ears. She wrote angry 

denials to Queen Elizabeth and turned the tables on the 

Countess of Shrewsbury by retailing all the discreditable 

stories which the Countess had told her about Queen Elizabeth 

herself. Those who read the letter will see that Queen Mary 

did not forget to embellish and embroider her narrative and 

make the very most of her material. But Queen Elizabeth took 

the sensible view that a liaison would not have escaped the sharp 

eyes of Bess of Hardwick in its earlier stages, and she evidently 

did not beheve it. Nor need we. The gouty old Shrewsbury 

was not likely to attract Queen Mary ; it was his fate — after 

he had quarrelled with his wife— to fall into the hands of an 

intriguing serving maid who ruled him with a rod of iron. 

But let us leave old scandals ! The real quarrel between 
Shrewsbury and his Countess was over money matters, and in 

448 HER WILL chap. 

the end they separated, Shrewsbury thanking Queen Elizabeth 
for her graciousness in reHeving him at last of " the two 
devils " who had made his life intolerable to him, his wife and 
his Royal prisoner. The Earl died in 1590 and was buried at 
Sheffield, where an interminable elegy of twenty-three verses 
was inscribed upon his tomb. Let us quote one only : 

" Soe great a trust as this so long was never seen, 
A subject for to be a keeper of a Queen, 
To scape out of his hands by divers ways she sought. 
But still he did prevent the ways that she had wrought." 

The Countess survived him for seventeen years, living in great 
state at Hardwick, which she had inherited on the death of her 
brother. Here she built the famous Elizabethan mansion 
which has proved her most enduring monument. In her will 
she left ;^2oo as a poor widow's mite, "to be bestowed of a 
cup of gold "for the acceptance of Queen Elizabeth. "To 
whose most excellent Majesty," she continued, " I make this 
most humble, earnest and last request that it would please her 
Highness to have compassion and to be good and gracious to 
my poor grandchild, Arabella Stuart, accordingly as her Majesty 
hath most graciously oftentimes said unto me that she would 
do for her poor orphan, now left only to depend upon her 
gracious Providence." To Arabella she left ^1,000, a sable, 
most of her pearls and jewels, and " my christal glass framed 
with silver and gilt and set with Lapis Lazarus and Aggett." 
But the unfortunate Arabella never enjoyed her legacy, for in 
1602 the old Countess changed her mind and cut her grand- 
daughter and her own son, Henry Cavendish, bodily out of her 
will. She herself outlived her royal mistress and continued to 
build and scheme to the very end. Tradition says that she 
had been told she would never die so long as she went on 
building, and her death is reported to have taken place during 
a hard frost which kept her workmen idle. She was buried 
with great pomp in All Saints' Church at Derby, where she had 
set up her monument during her own lifetime. The long and 


tedious inscription we will not transcribe, but we cannot omit 
two or three striking references to this masculine old lady of the 
sixteenth century. Bishop White Kennet, who compiled some 
memorials of the Cavendish family, says of her rather quaintly : — 
"On Nov. 18, 1590, she was a fourth time left, and to death 
continued, a widow. A change of conditions that perhaps 
never fell to any one woman, to be four times a creditable and 
happy wife, to rise by every husband into greater wealth and 
higher honours, to have an unanimous issue by one husband only, 
to have all those children live and all by her advice to be 
creditably disposed of in her life time, and after all to live 
seventeen years a widow in absolute power and plenty." 
Thomas Hobbes, who found a hole through which to creep out 
of the world at Hardwick and is buried in Hucknall Church, 
and whose patron, the Earl of Devonshire, was a descend- 
ant of Bess of Hardwick, says of her in his Latin poem De 
Mirabilibus Peed, 

" At quota pars ea laudis Elizae 

Salopicae ? qtiae mtilta et magna palatia struxit, 
Magnas divitias, magnamque bonamqtie fiaravit 
Famam, quae magnos sibi conciliavit amicos 
Ornavitque humiles. Multam, magnamque reliquit 
Prolem qua regio late nunc usque beatur. " 

Yet another panegyrist was one William Sampson, who in a 
little volume of elegies entitled Vivit Post Funera Virtus, 
published in 1636, has a longish poem dedicated to the memory 
of Bess of Hardwick. He speaks of her as 

" This blest Eliza, this bright diamond 
Which long time grew upon our Peakish stronde." 

and says very truly that " like a Queen, she long lived in the 
North." With distinctly less truth he praises her for being 

" Free from ambition or thoughts to aspire, 
Yet was her temper all celestial fire." 

To this the Earl, her husband, would have entered a demurrer, 

G G 


though he might well have said "Amen" — had he been alive 
to say it — to Sampson's quaint valedictory address : — 

" Rest, sweete Eliza ; again I say goe rest, 
Sleepe with tlie Thcenix in thy spycie nest." 

One more reference — this time from the pen of that cynical 
man of the world, Horace Walpole. In his folio copy of 
Collins' Historical Collections— x\o^ in the British Museum 
—he wrote in the broad margin, opposite an account of Bess of 
Hardwick, the following set of verses. We omit the first 
four, father scabrenx, lines describing her four marriages and 
the way she secured every shilling that had belonged to each 
of her husbands : — 

" Sad was the Dame, but not dejected, 
Five stately mansions she erected, 
With more than royal pomp, to vary 
The prison of her captive Mary. 
When Hardwick's towers shall bow the head. 
Nor Mass be more in Worksop said. 
When Bolsover's fair frame shall tend. 
Like Oldcoates, to its destined end, 
When Chatsworth knows no Candish bounties 
Let Fame forget this costly Countess." 

Walpole also notes that she had an income of ;^6o,ooo a year, 
and that her estates in his day brought in _j^"2oo,ooo. That 
was more than a century ago. Their present annual value — 
owing to the minerals which have been found, and the growth 
of important townships upon them — must be incalculably more. 
A word as to her descendants ! She was, as we have said, the 
daughter of a Derbyshire squire, well-to-do, no doubt, but still 
a squire and no more. Yet among her grandchildren were the 
Earl of Devonshire, the Earl of Newcastle, the Earl of Kingston, 
Sir Charles Cavendish, Lady Arabella Stuart, the Countess of 
Pembroke, the Countess of Arundel and the Countess of Kent, 
while her great grandchildren included Viscount Mansfield, 
Viscount Newark and Lord Martrevers. Bess of Hardwick 



was thus the ancestress of the three ducal families of Devonshire, 
Newcastle, and Kingston, and of Earls and Barons by the score. 
Hardwick Hall — the sole survivor of this stately lady's 
many new mansions — was begun in 1590 and finished in 1597. 
It is beautifully situated, almost midway between Mansfield 
and Chesterfield, on the crest of a hill in a spreading park, and 
is in shape a parallelogram, surmounted by six towers, each a 
hundred feet high, with the initials of the Countess, E.S. 

Hardwick Hail. 

repeated frequently in the battlements. The Hall has a frontage 
of 209 feet and looks to be all window set in a frame of stone, 
this predominance of glass giving rise to the couplet, " Hard- 
wick Hall, More glass than wall." AVhat was once a magnifi- 
cent stone-flagged entrance court was partially converted into 
flower-beds and shrubberies half a century ago. Hardwick is 
principally famous for its almost unique tapestries, for its noble 
state apartments, which retain their ancient furniture, and for a 
number of singularly interesting portraits of the Cavendish 
family and of the Kings and Queens of England. The Hard- 

G G 2 


wick portrait of Mary Queen of Scots is justly celebrated, and 
many examples of the Scottish Queen's needlework embroidery 
are to be seen in the room which bears her name, despite the 
fact that the Hall was not begun until some years after her 
death. The older Hardwick Hall, now in picturesque, ivy-clad 
ruin, was inhabited for a century after the completion of the 
new mansion, the reason being that so much space had been 
allotted to the great galleries and state apartments that there 
was insufficient accommodation for the large household when 
the family was in residence. The old Norman church of 
Ault Hucknall, where Hobbes lies buried under a plain black 
marble slab — " The Philosopher's Stone " he had called it with 
sportive irony a few days before his death — lies on the borders 
of Hardwick Park. 



After seeing Wingfield Manor, nothing in South Wingfield 
need detain us. The Hall at the foot of the ancient ruin is 
plain and ugly. It was an act of vandalism to tear down the 
old masonry of the manor ; the enormity was doubled when 
the stones which had formed part of so gracious a design were 
constrained to house the chief vandal himself. Nor does the 
village make amends, where the modern builder has been busy 
with his bricks and slates and his rows of dreary cottages. We 
are not sorry, therefore, to take to the fields again and follow a 
long footpath which in a mile leads us out near Wessington 
Green, another forlorn place, with a modern church, built at 
the side of a breezy, if rather dishevelled, common. Crich 
Stand is still a prominent feature in the landscape, and the 
towers and chimney stacks of Wingfield Manor show boldly 
against the sky. Our way lies through fields which gain in 
beauty as we leave Wessington behind. On our right is a long 
parallel ridge ; the Chesterfield road runs along its crest, keep- 
ing, from just below the church tower of Shirland, to the line 
of the Ryknield Street. At the foot of the ridge is the railway, 
the main Midland route from Ambergate and Birmingham to 
Sheffield and the north, but we see only the white smoke of 
the passing trains. On our left are the lofty hill of Highore- 
dish, throwing a rounded green spur down to the plain, and 
the heights of Dethick Common, while ahead of us is an alluring 

454 MATHERGRAVE chap. 

landscape of green hills and pastures with the tall chimneys of 
Littlemoor in the far distance. 

A mile from Wessington Green we quit the fields by the side 
of Brackenfield Church, standing at the cross roads away from 
its village. It is barely half a century old, but not until 1858 
did Brackenfield become a separate parish. It had been part 
of the parish of Morton— three miles away over the ridge to the 
east — and an ancient chapel of the Holy Trinity stood high up 
under the hill, more than a mile to the west of the present 
church, 'When the latter was built, the old chapel was allowed 
to fall into ruinous decay, though part of the fabric dates from 
the end of the fifteenth century. Most of the old oak was 
used for firewood, and only in 1878 were the rood screen and 
two of the surviving pews rescued and moved down into the 
new church. They now stand disconsolately at the west end ; 
but it is intended soon to set up the screen, which bsars the 
arms of the Willoughbys and Bradbournes, in its rightful 
position on the chancel step. 

Up the hill, past the village green and school, we come to a 
place where four roads meet. Here is a large stone built into 
a wall, bearing the initials S.M. and a spurious date. The 
spot is marked on the Ordnance map as Mather's Grave, but 
it is usually spoken of locally as Mathergrave, and has given its 
lugubrious name to a neighbouring farm. People whom I 
questioned on the road told me that one Samuel Mather had 
cut his wife's throat and committed suicide, and had then been 
buried at the cross roads as a felo de se. Later inquiries 
brought to light £|, different story. From the old parish registers 
of Morton it appears that in 1 7 1 6 Samuel Mather of Bracken- 
field had an illegitimate daughter and the child became 
chargeable to the rates. Rather than face the scandal, Mather 
committed suicide in an old barn, about a hundred yards from 
the present vicarage. There is no warrant for the statement 
that he had the guilt of murder on his conscience. Local 
tradition also relates that the suicide was drawn to his grave 


by two bullocks, and that, while the animals rested on the way, 
an ill-omened raven flew down and settled on the corpse. The 
episode of the raven looks like the usual rustic embroidery on 
an original legend. Some years ago, when the highway was 
widened, the bones of the suicide were found and were 
re-interred beneath the wall which bounds the cottage garden 
hard by. 

Several cross-roads up and down the Derbyshire countryside 
are pointed out, where, according to local tradition, some 
unhappy wretch, who has taken his own life with full know- 
ledge, lies interred without Christian rites. So late as 1838 a 
man named Thomas Bagshawe, of Hazlebadge, near Bradwell, 
was thus buried. Sometimes there was the added bar- 
barity of a stake driven through the body, a crude indignity 
only abolished a century ago by 4 George c. 52, when it was 
ordered that a felo de se should be buried within twenty-four 
hours of the verdict of the coroner's inquest, in unconsecrated 
ground and in the dark hours between nine o'clock and mid- 
night. Public opinion has undergone a marked change with 
respect to suicide — though to what extent the old feeling of 
horror has been modified we will not attempt to say. But 
coroners' juries are certainly not so ready as once they were to 
deny the suicide Christian burial. Unless a man has com- 
mitted some dastardly crime before he takes his own life, they 
display generous reluctance to brand him as a. felo de se. 

But this is a melancholy theme. I^et us turn back down 
the road a little way till we come to a lane on our left hand 
that leads to some cottages and a farmyard, and continue 
through the meadows at the foot of the green hill below High- 
oredish. Far away to the right over a dip in the ridge we see 
a new spire springing skywards — it is that of Clay Cross church. 
Keeping up whenever there is a choice of paths, we at length 
enter the Ashover Road and, after dipping down through a 
wooded dell, find ourselves in an absolutely different scene. A 
new ridge has arisen on our right out of the plain, while on the 


left the hills show the curving sweep that usually denotes wild 
moor above. The ridge is Ashover Hay, a fantastic eminence 
climbing to seven hundred feet, and, as we shall see better 
when we get to Ashover, shaped like a whale's back. A few 
farmhouses are seen on the Hay — the word simply means 
hill — and, in the days of the Great Plague, death was busy in 
this remote hamlet and claimed many victims. But no Mom- 
pesson dwelt on Ashover Hay and the details have been long 
forgotten. As we follow the road the hills on our left assume 
a bolder curve and form a fine amphitheatre. The edge nearest 
to us is Drakelow ; midway the farms of Ravensnest give their 
name to the heights above them ; while at the farthest end is 
Cocking Tor, whose slopes are covered in places with the 
debris of old lead mines. These mines, which have not been 
worked for a century, were once among the richest in Derby- 
shire, and brought their owner in thirty years a fortune of 
p^i 20,000. 

On Ashover Common, above the Cocking Tor, you may 
find a rocking stone, called Robin Hood's Mark, about 26 ft. 
in circumference, and another oddly shaped rock, called the 
Turning Stone, once fondly believed to be a rock idol. They 
now attract little attention. The name of Cocking Tor, by 
the way, seems to be dying out through the unhappy mischance 
that the outhne of a portion of the hill is supposed to resemble 
Mr. Gladstone's nose. Among the trees below stands Overton 
Hall, once the residence of Sir Joseph Banks. The old 
scientist was still alive when Rhodes wrote his Peak Scenery 
and remarked in his quaint way : " From the elevated situation 
this distinguished individual held, both in science and litera- 
ture and the place he occupied in the estimation of the public, 
I frankly confess that so long as he was sojourning among us, 
I could neither pass his house in London in Soho-square, or 
his residence at Overton, without a feeHng of veneration for his 
character." Do people still honour the name of the naturalist 
who accompanied Captain Cook on his first voyage round the 


world, in the Endeavour, a journey which then took three years ? 
Banks was President of the Royal Society from 1777 to his 
death in 1820, and his fine house in Soho-square was the 
gathering place of scientists from all parts of the world. But 
he has been resting for more than eighty years in his grave in 
Westminster Abbey, and memories are short save for the very 
greatest. We soon drop down to a bridge over the Amber, 
here in its pretty infancy — it rises three miles away in the 
hills — and then the road divides again, forking up either side 
of the Ashover- valley. As we keep to the right, the valley 
spreads out, rising on our side with gentle ascent through 
pleasant meadows, to a low edge ; while on the left a rolling 
hill hides from sight the high ridge behind it. 

Ashover, charmingly situated and one of the pleasantest of 
the small market towns of Derbyshire, is remote from the 
railway — in these days to be three miles from a station is to 
be remote — nor are the trains likely to approach more nearly. 
It lies at the head of a valley from which there is no exit at 
the upper end save by surmounting a steep hill, and it 
means a toilsome climb to reach the summit of the Chester- 
field and Matlock Road. The only place of consequence 
lying in the triangle of which Chesterfield, Ambergate and 
Rowsley are the points, it retains the charm of being neither 
town nor village, but a curious blend of both. It is to be seen 
at its best from the ridge which, at the town end, bears the 
odd name of " The Fabric." The explanation generally given 
is that the hill was the common property of the people of 
Ashover, who had the right to quarry there for stone for their 
dwelling-houses, and drew therefrom the stone for the church. 
Lands left in trust for Church purposes were sometimes called 
Fabric Lands, because they provided either material or 
revenue ad fabricam reparandam, and so " The Fabric " is 
thought to be a sort of " Church Hill." But such derivations 
are always doubtful. 

Be that as it may, those who make the easy ascent to the 

458 EASTWOOD HALL chav. 

ridge behind the big castellated house on the slope will be 
rewarded with a fine view, for the ridge really is a ridge, and a 
wide expanse of goodly land lies outstretched on the further 
side. The view extends across the noble woods of Winger- 
worth to Chesterfield in the north-east ; due east over Clay 
Cross to Hard wick and — between Hardwick and Chesterfield — 
over the chimneys of Temple Normanton to Bolsover Castle. 
A pleasant prospect, yet the Ashover valley holds the eye 
the longest, as we look towards Ashover Hay and see how 
its. rounded back loses from this distance all its sharpness of 
form, or as we admire again the noble sweep of the hills above 
the Ravensnest farms, and follow their outline along to the 
quarries and the place where the Matlock road is lost to 
sight. Below among the trees is the ivy-clad fragment —a 
tower and a few rooms — of Eastwood Hall, once the big 
house of the neighbourhood and successively the home of 
the Pleasleys, the Willoughbys and the Reresbys. The last 
Reresby to live there was a Sir Thomas, who had been High 
Sheriff for the county in 1613, and had followed the pre- 
vailing fashion of the day in the matter of wasteful expenditure, 
for, in order to pay his debts and provide portions for his 
daughters, he was compelled to sell the Hall and the advowson 
of Ashover Church. These were bought in 1623 by the Rev. 
Immanuel Bourne, who had the grievous mortification to see 
his home blown up by a detachment of Roundheads during 
the Civil War. He made what proved a very bad speculation 
when he purchased Eastwood Hall. 

There is still extant a letter which this unfortunate squire 
and parson wrote in 1646 to a cousin at Manchester, de- 
scribing the misfortunes which had come upon him. When 
the war broke out in 1642 the Rector of Ashover tried to keep 
strictly neutral. But neutrals have no place when civil war is 
afoot ; the non-combatant is freely plundered by both sides. 
On the King's side especially an utter lack of discipline pre- 
vailed. The troops sacked and looted, like soldiers of fortune 


in an enemy's country, and good royalists suffered just as 
severely as the most malignant crop heads. In the same way, 
in the American War of Independence, British Generals allowed 
their Hessians to plunder loyalist homesteads and outraged the 
feelings of their only friends. Bourne describes for us the 
conduct of a detachment of fifty " dragooners " sent by Sir 
Francis Wortley to Ashover in order to watch the Chesterfield 
road, lest Sir John Gell or Colonel Hutchinson from Notting- 
ham should attempt a surprise. Their instructions were " to 
keepe a look out towards Nottinghamshire, and also, as usual, 
to collect benevolence "—in other words, to levy blackmail. 
Bourne writes as follows : — 

" These men, on coming here, did take up their quarters at Eddlestone, 
but as Sir John Pershall was away at his other house in Staffordshire, they 
obtained no benevolences from him, but they lived at free quarters and 
there was great slaughter of pigs and sheep and fowles. They also did drink 
all the wine and ale in his cellars. They then, drunken and mad, did 
come down to the town, and did do the same at the alehouses, but Job 
Wall withstood them in the doorway and told them they should have no 
drink in his house, they having had too much already ; but they forsoothed 
him, and did turn him out and set a watch at the doors till all the ale was 
drunk or wasted. They then came to me, and to Dakin and to Hodgkin- 
son, and demanded ten pounds from each for the King's use and also smaller 
sums from the farmers and myners ; and when we did beg them to be con- 
tent with less they swore we were Roundheads and enemies to the King, 
and, if we did not pay, they should burn our houses about our ears, which 
I believe they would have done, and we were glad to pay." 

Eddlestone, or Edlestow as it is now spelt, the spot where these 
royalist ruffians were stationed, lies about half a mile from the 
Chesterfield main road on the bill side above Slack. They did 
not remain there long, for they were withdrawn as soon as Sir 
Francis Wortley heard that Sir John Gell was near Chesterfield 
in superior force. Then Ashover received a visit from a local 
Parliamentarian named White, of Milltown, who had obtained 
a captaincy of dragoons. He came with his troop and told the 
Rev. Immanuel that as he had been able to pay ten pounds 
to the King, he would now have to find twenty for the cause of 

46o THE HALL BLOWN UP chap. 

God and the Parliament. The rector says he did not "feel 
inclined to pay so much money to such a mean fellow " and 
threatened to write to his superiors and betters. Whereat 
" he replied with an impudent face that he had no betters, and 
that if I did not pay the money he would take all my cattel in 
part payment, and do the same with all the others ; so at last 
we payed him and were right glad to get rid of such a knave." 
Again the tide of war turned, and the Earl of Newcastle came to 
Chesterfield. This meant the retirement of Sir John Gell and 
the King's men were once more in the ascendant, who "like 
demons, destroyed all they came near, and left the poor to 
starve." Can one wonder that " this wilful waste and destruction 
made the King many enemies, and hundreds now joined Sir 
John, either for revenge or to keep from starving " ? The rector 
himself, when the royal cause began to look hopeless, complied 
with the ordinances of the Parliament, cast aside his surplice, 
gave over praying for King Charles, and even accepted the 
appointment of Commissioner of Sequestration, hoping thereby, 
as he frankly admitted, to " soften some of the hard measures 
dealt out to the King's friends." But his time-serving stood 
him in Httle stead. The Royalists regarded him as a traitor; 
the thorough-going Parliamentarians said he was a " malignant 
in disguise." 

Then in 1646 came the blow which he had been so anxious 
to avert. The decree went forth that Eastwood Hall should be 
demoUshed. An old servant of the rector heard the order given 
and privately warned him to move as much of his belongings as 
he could to a place of safety. This he did, and transferred it 
to the old rectory, but with such haste that " great destruction 
was made of the beautiful carved furniture I bought with the 
hall." The very next day a company of dragoons came riding 
over from Wingfield Manor, which had just been laid in ruins, 
and their Muster- Master demanded possession of Eastwood Hall 
in the name of the High Court of Parliament. Bourne had no 
means of resistance, and contented himself with a protest, 


"I told them that I had done nothing against Parliament, and that I 
was holding ofifice under their Highnesses at the time, and that I should 
bring their conduct before either Fairfax or Col. Hutchinson ; but they 
replied with all civility that they had orders from their commanding officer 
to destroy the hall, and that he had also said that he would not leave a nest 
in the countrie where a malignant could hyde his head. They, however, 
offered to assist in removing anything I set store by. I now found that 
they had brought three small pieces of ordnance which they drew up to the 
top of the Feebrick and discharged them at the hall, but the cannons being 
small (only two drakes and one suker) they did no harm beyond breaking 
the windows and knocking off the corners of the walls, and they soon tyred 
and set the pyoneers to work, but the walls being thick and the mortar 
good, they made little progress, till at last growing impatient they did put a 
barrel of powder in the tower and at once destroyed more than half the hall 
and left the other in ruins, so that it cannot be repaired." 

Such was the end of Eastwood Hall as a residence. When the 
Roundheads had finished their work of destruction they sang a 
hymn — one of exultation, doubtless — and marched down to the 
church at Ashover. The rector followed— just allowing them 
to get a discreet distance ahead — and found to his great sur- 
prise that Scout-Master Smedley was in the pulpit, where he 
preached a sermon two hours long against Popery, priestcraft, 
and kingcraft. " But Lord," continued the rector, " what stuff 
and nonsense he did talke, and if he could have murdered the 
Kyng as easily as he did the Kyng's English, the war would 
long since have been over." When the sermon was done, and 
the troop was preparing to set off, some one drew attention to 
the old stained-glass windows representing the Crucifixion. 
Mattocks and bars were brought, and the windows and the 
stone work broken to fragments. Then they ransacked the 
vestry, and finding a few prayer books and the parish registers, 
they made a bonfire with them in the market place, and rode 
away singing another psalm. The rector, to whom we owe this 
interesting account of the wanton mischief wrought in Ashover 
during a long summer day, survived his misfortunes for many 
years. He died and was buried in Leicestershire. Thus he 
has no monument in Ashover Church, though there is one 



to his son Obadiah, who succeeded him as patron and rector, 
and there are many other memorials of his descendants, of his 
name and the name of Nodder. 

The church, ahke inside and out, is of great interest, and its 
graceful tapering spire enjoys as much local fame as the spire of 
Ashbourne. Tradition says that it was originally built by the 

Askcnier Church. 

Babingtons of Dethick, who were connected by marriage with 
the Reresbys. The Babington arms are found on the ancient 
rood screen; there are Babington tombs and brasses, and 
there was once a Babington chantry chapel. The finest of the 
monuments is the alabaster tomb containing the effigies of 
Thomas Babington and his wife Edith, a sister of Sir Anthony 
Fitzherbert of Norbury, the celebrated judge. In the chancel 
are two good brasses, but I like best the simple tablet "To the 


memory of David Wall, whose superior performance on the 
bassoon endeared him to an extensive acquaintance. His 
social life closed on the 4th of December, 1796, in his syih 
year." His " superior performance ! " Ashover was not jealous 
of David's fame but proud of him, and vaunted him, no doubt, 
to Chesterfield and Derby folks who strayed that way. Bassoon 
players are happier in this respect than prophets. But note 
that whatever hopes David entertained of joining the angelic 
quire, he did not expect convivial music. He counted his 
"social life" as closed, and quitted with a sigh "the warm 
precincts of the cheerful day " and night. On the south side 
is a handsome tablet to one Francis Parkes, born at Knott 
Cross in Ashover parish, who in 17 13 died in Nottingham at 
the age of thirty-nine. " He by his natural genius and great 
industry became a wonderful proficient in the politer art of 
painting." What does the comparative degree signify? 
Probably nothing more than that Parkes painted portraits of 
the people who moved in the best society in Nottingham. 
The politer art of painting is thus the art of painting the 
politer people ! Outside in the churchyard are several tomb- 
stones of interest ; we will quote from one only, a good variant 
upon a very hackneyed theme. 

" Reader stand and shed a tear, 
Think on the dust 
That slumber here, 
And as thou reads 
The state of me, 
Think of the glass 
That run for thee." 

The grammar may be faulty, but there is no mistaking the 
barbed edge of this Parthian arrow. 

Ashover Church has a rare leaden font, decorated with 
twenty curious figures, each book in hand, excellent material 
for bullets which the Roundheads were blind to overlook. 
Ashover also at one time possessed an unique treasure in its 


parish clerK, a certain Leonard Wheatcroft, who cried "Amen " 
to the Rev. Immanuel Bourne in the critical days of the Civil 
War. He wrote an account of his own adventures with a 
running commentary on things in general, and by great good 
fortune the manuscript has managed to survive. It was 
recently printed in the Derbyshire Archceological Journal. 
Wheatcroft was a bit of a poet — "he makes rhymes about 
almost everything," wrote his rector — and his lines, though 
the sheerest doggerel, had sometimes a swing which helped 
to carry them off. Here are a few on the destruction of 
Eastwood Hall : — 

" The Roundheads came down upon Eastwood Old Hall, 
And they tried it with mattock and tried it with ball. 
And they tore up the leadwork and splintered the wood. 
But as firmly as ever the battlements stood ; 
Till a barrel of powder at last did the thing, 
And then they sung psalms for the fall of the King." 

While Leonard Wheatcroft was parish clerk, an Ashover 
woman, named Dorothy Mately, was swallowed up- by the 
earth to the exceeding edification of John Bunyan and his 
friends. Bunyan tells the story in The Life and Death of 
Mr. Badman, and, as no one could tell a story better, let me 
give it in his own words : — 

" This Dorothy Mately was noted by the people of the town to be a great 
swearer and curser and liar and thief, just like Mr. Badman, and the labour 
she did follow was to wash the rubbish that came forth of the lead mines ■ 
and there to get sparks of lead ore. Her usual way of asserting things was 
with these kinds of imprecations— 'I would I might sink into the earth if 
it be not so,' or, ' I would GOD would make the earth open and swallow 
me up.' Now, upon the 23rd March, 1660, this Dorothy was washing of 
ore upon the top of a steep hill, about a quarter of a mile from Ashover, 
and was there taxed by a lad for taking two single pence out of his pocket, 
for he had laid his breeches by and was working in his drawers, but she 
violently denied it, wishing the earth might swallow her up if she had them. 
Now one George Hodgkinson, of Ashover, a man of good report there, came 
accidently by where this Dorothy was and stood awhile to talk to her as 
she was washing ore. There stood also a little girl by her tub side, and 
another at a distance from her calling aloud to her to come away ; where- 


fore the said George took the girl by the hand and led her away to her that 
called her : but behold they had not gone ten yards away from Dorothy, 
but they heard her crying aloud for help. So, looking back, he saw the 
woman and her tub and sieve twirling round and sinking through the 
ground. Then said the man, " Pray to GOD to pardon thy sin, for thou 
art like never to be seen alive any longer." So she and her tub twirled 
round and round till they sunk three yards into the earth, and there for a 
while stayed. Then she called for help, thinking, as she said, she could 
stay there. Now the man, though greatly amazed, did begin to think 
which way to help her ; but immediately a great stone which had appeared 
in the earth, fell upon her head and broke her skull, and then the earth 
broke in upon her and covered her. She was afterwards digged up, with 
the boy's two single pence in her pocket, but the tub and sieve could not 
be found." 

Evidently Dorothy was plying her wash-tub on dangerous 
ground, where the miners had been excavating the limestone 
for lead ore. But Banyan, and all the seriously minded folk 
of Ashover, regarded the fate of Dorothy Mately as a punish- 
ment similar to that which overtook Sapphira. 

We quit Ashover by the road that mounts the hill to 
Kelstedge, where it joins the main highway from Matlock to 
Chesterfield, and runs tolerably straight for two miles across a 
windy plateau to the hamlet of Spitewinter, In another half 
mile we reach a large quarry on the highest ground of Stone 
Edge, where a desolate road turns leftwards across the wilds of 
Beeley Moor ere it drops down to Rowsley. Here our road 
dips, affording a delightful view of the exquisitely wooded 
valley in which ^Vingerworth lies. Chesterfield is only four 
miles further on, but we take a by-road on the left to Holy- 
moorside, on the brook Hipper, and then bear rightwards up 
into the new road from Chesterfield to Baslow. Opposite the 
junction of the roads a stone stile gives access to an ancient 
church path, flagged for much of the way, and then changing 
into a dehghtful grassy lane which brings us out close to the 
church of Old Brampton, so called to distinguish it from New 
Brampton - practically a suburb of Chesterfield — which lies 
to the south-east. Old Brampton Church is not much visited, 

H H 


yet it has several points of interest, notably the sculptured 
effigies on the outside walls, and a curious sepulchral stone, in 
the shape of a coffin, inside the building. Within a deeply 
cut quatrefoil at the top is the half-length figure of a woman, 
holding her heart in her hands, while at the lower end of the 
stone the toes are just showing. The middle is covered with 
an inscription in Lombardic capitals, giving the lady's name 
as Matilda la Caus, heiress of the family who in the thirteenth 
century were lords of the manor of Brampton. The slab was 
found in 1801, while a grave was being dug in the churchyard. 
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the leading people 
of the district were the Clarices of Somersall, to whom, in 
1673, an omnibus monument was put up, concluding with 
some Latin elegiacs on the familiar theme that without death 
there can be no life. 

" Far, vitae humanum fulcrum, non nascitur agris 
Tntereat semen ni cereale prhis, 
Vivitttr ex letho, viventia cuncta vicissivi 

Orbe in terrestri corripit Orcus atrox. 
Nulla nisi in caelo sincera est vita henigiio 
Qui vivit moritur, qui mofi/urque fa€i. " 

This tablet is adorned with two gaudy and golden-haired 
females grasping gilt trumpets — in quite the worst style of late 
Stuart sepulchral ornament. Another Clarke monument is to 
the memory of Sir Godfrey Clarke of Chilcote, who married 
Lady Catherine Stanhope, daughter of the Earl of Chesterfield. 
He was a Member of Parliament — non semel ekctus — and a 
fine old Tory, for his great political principle, as his epitaph 
sets out in all the majesty of capital letters, was to restore to 
King, Church, and State what belonged to each. 

" Id till ice prospexit 

Et pro virili contendit, 

Ut in oiniii re saha essent et 


Regi, Ecclesiae, Reipublicae 



The emphasis on the word " restore " tells us plainly enough 
that Sir Godfrey was a Jacobite and drank to the king over the 
water. He died in 1734, and as it was not considered politic 
to defy King George too openly even on a tombstone, this was 
evidentlythe ingenious way adopted to show that Sir Godfrey 
died as he had lived — a partisan of the White Cockade. 

The village of Old Brampton, whose chief distinction is to 
have been the birthplace of Thomas Li nacre, the true founder 
of the College of Physicians and one of the first teachers of 
Greek in England, lies on an ancient highway which has been 
robbed of most of its traffic by the later road that runs to the 
south of it through New Brampton, and keeps a parallel course 
never much more than a mile distant. Old Brampton itself is 
about six hundred feet above sea level, but we rise to nearly a 
thousand feet just beyond the cross-roads, at the summit of 
Pudding-pie Hill some three miles on. Then we reach Bleak 
House, an aptly named homestead standing in a fork of the 
road and partly hidden by trees, through which the wind whistles 
shrilly through the long winter nights. Here the road divides. 
The older branch turns rightward across the moor, and soon 
narrows to a cart track with broad green spaces on either side. 
This was the old highway between Chesterfield and Manchester, 
which dropped down into the Derwent Valley by the side of 
Curbar Edge, and traces of its ancient consequence may be seen 
in the two tall road-stones set up on the grass. The date 1 743 
appears on one of them, and chiselled on its four sides are the 
directions, Bakewell Road, Chesterfield Road, Dronfield Road, 
and Middleton Road. Evidently, therefore, it stood just here 
at the cross-roads — the way to Bakewell lying through Baslow, 
and the lane to Dronfield turning up to the right at right 
angles in a direction almost due north. 

We take the leftward branch, and desolate as our road has 
been from Old Brampton, its desolation deepens as we go 
forward, with little prospect at all on the right hand and 
wastes of dark moorland on the left. A mile from Bleak 

H H 2 

468 GIBBET MOOR chap. 

House it crosses the Blackleach Brook and then swerves 
down to the left towards Gibbet Moor. Nor was that evil 
name given without a cause. Long ago, so the story runs, 
while a woman was frying some bacon one day in her cottage 
by the moor side a tramp came to the door. He' asked for 
food : she said she had none to give to him. He pointed to the 
frying pan ; the woman retorted that she was not cooking bacon 
for idle folks like him. Thereupon the ruffian attacked her, 
knocked her down, and in blind fury poured the boiling grease 
from the frying pan down her throat, scalding her to death. 
The miscreant was sentenced to be hanged alive in chains by 
the cottage door where his victim had lived, and there the 
gibbet was set up. He was long in dying — it is said that a 
passing traveller took mercy on him and gave him food — and 
his screams, as he swung on his gibbet, were so piercing that 
they disturbed the peace of the lord of Chatsworth in his house 
over the hill. Thenceforward, the legend adds, no criminal was 
ever gibbeted alive in Derbyshire. 

We have been steadily making for a group of fantastic rocks 
at the edge of Gibbet Moor, but, just as we draw near, the 
moor recedes, and on our right hand there opens out the 
striking line of Birchen Edge, with the Nelson Monument at 
its further extremity. In the gap right ahead of us, as our road 
begins to fall, we notice the familiar outline of Longstone Edge 
and the ridges beyond, and quickly descend into the tiny hamlet 
of Rqbin Hood, so named from the hero who swaggers gloriously 
on the signpost of the thatched inn. Just below we Join the 
new Chesterfield road, and an iron milepost soon tells us that 
Baslow is only a mile further on. Nor is the news unwelcome, 
for even those who love mpst the bleakness of a high moorland 
road will be grateful for the trees which now greet their eyes, 
and for the sure promise of a fair valley afforded by every 
forward step they take, till the road joins the big Sheffield high- 
way just by the entrance gates of Chatsworth Park. These 
gates are little used now ; they were built at a time when the 


nearest railway station to Chatsworth was Chesterfield, and 
there seemed no likelihood of the railroad coming nearer. 
When the line up the Derwent Valley was extended from 
Ambergate to Rowsley, the Beeley entrance to Chatsworth 
Park naturally came into greater use. Crossing the Bar Brook, 
we find ourselves once more in the delightful village of 



From the triangular station at Ambergate, built high in air 
in what, until the railway spoilt it, was the romantic meeting- 
place of the Amber and the Derwent, let us descend to the 
cross-roads and start on our way to Cromtbrd. Seen from the 
level ground, the station becomes simply a hideous deformity, 
and the adjoining kilns of Bullbridge throw up fleecy masses 
of white clouded smoke. Our road soon crosses the Amber 
and we enter thevalley of the Derwent at the true southern gate 
of the Peak. The river lies on our left hand ; on the right the 
railroad runs in a half sunken track, hidden by a canopy of 
trees. Beyond it is the silent canal. There is just room enough 
for these three and for the road and a meadow ; then the hills 
to right and left. In three-quarters of a mile, a deep recess in 
the woods on the left hand makes space for a mill, high above 
whose chimneys the woods extend, with a fringe of pines 
outlining the summit, and crowning a dense mass of luxuriant 
foliage of oak, elm and ash. No mill could stand in a more 
exquisite valley ; no chimney could declare more eloquently the 
ruthlessness of industrial man. These woods are the remains 
of a great forest, called Duffield Frith, which stretched from 
Duffield to Wirksworth, and became the property of the Crown 
when the estates of Earl Ferrers were confiscated. Half a 
mile further on the Derwent begins to wind : the hills dip on 
either side, and the meadows between us and the river 
contract and then grow wide again. Looking back, we can see 

CH. xxxn LEA HURST 471 

that the high ground on our right, Crich Chase, is just as 
finely wooded as the Shiningcliff Wood on our left, though it 
was hidden from our view. Then we reach Whatstandwell 
station, below the road climbing up to Crich, and facing the 
woods of Alderwasley, which overhang the solid three-arched 
bridge that here spans the Derwent. Here amid the trees 
are the escarpments of rock which gave the Midland Railway 
engineers such a fright a few years back, when they feared a 

It is a very pretty reach, and the little stony village of 
Holloway is set in the further corner of the hill from which 
a rounded spur descends to the stream. Beyond the spur 
the woods rise gloriously again, and we enter the little valley 
of Lea Hurst. Crich Stand has come into view to dominate 
the scene, but it is the valley which draws the eye. It has 
not, indeed, escaped scot-free. As usual there is the amari 
aliquid — a glaring pumping station in red brick. Lea Hurst, 
however, is famed for more than its beautiful scenery, 
for in the wood opposite to us stands an ancient stone 
house with many gables, the early Derbyshire home of 
Miss Florence Nightingale, " the lady with the lamp," and 
the gentle heroine of the hospitals of Scutari. Just beyond 
we enter on the broad dale which extends to Cromford. 
It is unsatisfactory work comparing one beauty spot 
with another, or even one stretch of road scenery with 
another. But if you take the great main roads of England — 
real highways of traffic like the road we have been travelling 
on — very few can show a more delightful, varied or better 
wooded five miles than the road from Ambergate to Crom- 
ford. It has no sensational features, nothing at any one 
point to call for rapturous superlatives, but it is more than 
pleasant going all the way. However, avoid it on a summer 
Saturday or Sunday, for then every speck of dust on the road 
is set dancing by multitudes of traps and cycles and motors, 
and you that have come to bless will stay to curse. 


Cromford was the earliest centre of the cotton industry in 
England, as revolutionised by the mechanical inventions of 
Richard Arkwright. Arkwright was not a Derbyshire man ; he 
was born at Preston in Lancashire, and spent his early days 
as a barber and wig-maker in Bolton, until he invented the 
spinning Jenny, which laid the foundations of his fame and 
fortune, and created a gigantic industry in face of bitter opposi- 
tion from threatened monopolies. He set up in 177 1 his first mill 
at Cromford, which still survives, though for some years it has 
ceased to spin cotton. The Cromford Mills may be seen 
without trespass from the wide entrance gates. In the left- 
hand corner is the big wheel. It revolves no longer, though a 
thin stream of water is still carried into the mill by an aqueduct 
from across the road, and falls into a circular basin in the 
spacious court-yard before it is conveyed away underground. 
Opposite the entrance a limestone cliff towers above the mill 
buildings and tall trees wave above the rock. The buildings 
are of irregular shape and vary in height from three to five 
storeys. One large block was burnt down a few years ago. 
Cromford Mills ceased to be devoted to their original purposes 
when the great cotton combine was formed; they are now 
divided between a brewery, a corn mill, and a steam laundry. 
Arkwright was knighted in 1786 on the occasion of his present- 
ing an address to George III., and survived' his dignity for six 
years. He never dwelt at Willersley, the big house on the 
other side of the Derwent which he began to build shortly before 
his death. Indeed, it was no sooner finished than it was burnt 
to the ground, and had to be built anew. 

Cromford itself is a straggling place, with irregular clusters of 
houses scattered upon the steep hillsides and bearing that 
indefinable stamp of operatives' dwellings which is character- 
istic of so many Lancashire towns. Whether of brick or stone 
— these all create the same impression. Their austere severity 
and ugliness suggest that the builder's one idea has been to 
hasten the construction of as many as possible, careless 


whether those who are to dwell in them will be comfortable 
or not. The Cromford cross-roads lie at the foot of the hill, 
where the old Derby road comes steeply down from Wirksworth 
and continues forward to the river past the mills. All the 
Matlock traffic has, of course, long been diverted through the 
gap on the left which was blasted out of the solid rock. Here 
is the new Derby road along which we have come from Amber- 
gate — constructed mainly for the convenience of the cotton mills 
at Belper, Milford and Cromford — and a fifth turns off by The 
Greyhound, the principal posting house of Cromford in the old 
days, and still the chief hostelry of the place. This last we take 
and skirt a large sheet of water, one of the dams which supplied 
the Cromford Mills with their water power, obtained from a 
small stream flowing down the Bonsall valley. It is the last of 
a long series of dams of all shapes and sizes that we shall pass 
in the next mile, ingeniously devised so that not a drop of water 
should escape idly into the Derwent. Passing up Scarthin, 
as the chief street of this side of Cromford is called, and, soon 
leaving the houses behind, we find ourselves in a narrow valley, 
where there is no room for more than the road and the grey 
lagoons of the stream, whose colour suggests that there are 
factories higher up the vale. The sides of the valley are luxuri- 
antly wooded, but so steep that one can see little save a pro- 
fusion of green. 

The road divides. The right-hand branch would take you 
to Bonsall in a mile— Bonsall where Kings and Princes are 
buried, and each man has his own marble bridge over the 
river. So the old jest ran, followed by the explanation that 
several families of the name of King and Prince lived in 
the village, and that a tiny stream runs down the gutter of the 
principal street. To the left is the road for Newhaven and 
Ashbourne, known for the first two miles of its leafy course 
as the Via Gellia. It is a foolish name, foolish because there 
was absolutely no reason to import the Latin word, and doubly 
foolish because that word lent itself so easily to corruption. 



The Via Gellia has become in common parlance the Via Jelly, 
But it has occasioned yet another monstrous abuse of language. 
The name of Viyella, given to a much advertised mixture of 
woollen and cotton, which is the product of Derbyshire mills, is 
— horresco referens - a corruption of Via Gellia. Its only excuse 
is that it was perpetrated to satisfy the requirements of the 
Patent Office. Such are the dangers of introducing classicisms 
into the vernacular. Yet this unfortunate road was thus named 
to pay honour to its maker, one of the Gells of Hopton. 

I was disappointed with this much-praised highway. Lovely 
it undoubtedly is, for it lies in a deep ravine, whose limestone 
sides mount precipitously to a great height and are clad with 
trees to the very top. Such a road cannot fail to please and 
the dense mass of varying green gives perpetual delight to 
the eye. But when that is said one- has said all. The ravine 
keeps an almost constant width and never discloses its 
full delights. There is no babbling stream, and but few 
runnels down the hillsides ; and when we have passed the 
paint works and the cluster of cottages by their side we 
begin to look forward to reaching the end. One gets no 
horizon in the Via Gellia, and so, beautiful as it is in detail, 
beautiful even more as it would be if we could see it from 
above and thus obtain a couj) d'xil of the whole, I was in- 
clined to think that the people who passed me in their chars-a- 
bancs were more fortunate than I. Driving either way along 
this road at a tolerable pace, one would obtain a gracious im- 
pression of exquisite trees, and would regret being rushed 
through so hastily. The pedestrian is always being tantalised 
with the hope that at the next turn of the road there will be 
a superb prospect, but the prospect never comes. 

At a break in the hills on the left, three miles from Crom- 
ford, two roads enter ours around the shoulders of Nimblejack 
Hill. One of these winds its way to Middleton and ^^'irks- 
worth ; the other turns off at right angles to Hopton, and thence, 
once more at right angles, to Ashbourne. Our way continues 

xxxn WINSTER 475 

forward, still hilly and wooded, but the valley broadens, the 
hills become dwarfed, and the woods grow less dense during 
the next two miles. Very soon they begin to fail us first on the 
right and then on the left, and by the time a little inn is 
reached we see that the road will soon emerge from the deep 
gorges up which we have been travelling. Passing through 
the hamlet of Grange Mill — an inn, an old corn mill, and a 
few cottages bunched together — a long steady rise of nearly 
three miles takes us up to Winster. The gradient is never 
severe, but the barrenness of the view becomes fatiguing, for 
on either hand the sloping ridges prevent all outlook, and are 
never of sufficient height to become picturesque in themselves. 
We are unfeignedly thankful, therefore, when we join the old 
main road from Newhaven, and find ourselves just above 
Winster. Darley Dale is away on our right ; the high ground of 
Stanton faces us, and on the left are the clumps of the high 
plateaus near Newhaven. I found more pleasure in looking down 
upon the delightful little town of Winster, with the fresh breeze 
blowing cool on the heights, and in recognising around me my 
famihar landmarks, than in the enclosed valley of the Via 
Gellia, where the trees, however delightful, could yield nothing 
more than shade. 

Winster is a small market town which lost its old status with 
the extinction of lead-mining. Its church, on the site of an 
ancient one, is of mid- Victorian ugliness, though the Georgian 
tower was left standing. A few old houses survive, the small 
and weather-beaten Hall in the centre of the town, with pilasters 
adorned with roses and fleur-de-lis, is the only one of any 
interest. In the Market Place stand the remains of a market 
hall, the upper part of which was pulled down in 1904, owing 
to the dangerously ruinous state into which it had been allowed 
to fall. It was of brick with stone windows and pointed roof, 
dating from Jacobean times. The heavy, crude stone arches 
below, which have not been touched, are probably five centuries 
old. On the north side of the principal street, about half-way 

476 STANTON MOOR chap. 

down, a little lane runs off, issuing at once in a footpath, and 
dipping down through a succession of fields. Where it branches, 
keep to the right, and slant up over the hillside towards a 
farm. There, as you look back, you will see how closely 
Winster lies huddled up on the hillside, and how curiously it 
has been built so as to leave a ring of green in the centre. But 
the feature of the view is the noble sweep of the hills round 
from Winster to Elton, and the high ground of Harthill Moor, 
with the tips of the higher ridges showing half a dozen miles 
further away in the background. Crossing a lane our path con- 
tinues to mount, till, as it approaches another farm and the big 
quarries by its side, it swerves to the right, dips to the wood in 
front and then rises again. Here, before we quit the fields, a 
large tract of Darley Dale discloses itself, with Matlock Bank 
at its extremity, and Riber Castle looking up the valley. We 
can see the road which runs up out of Darley Dale to join the 
Chesterfield Road from Rowsley, and at our feet is an unhappy 
chimney with more than its share of attendant horrors. But 
there are woods everywhere, and they are gracious ; in the 
meadows, where the mowing machine has been busy, the swathes 
lie in even rows, and the white roads look as alluring and 
mysterious from a distance as Derbyshire roads always do. A 
little further on we see where Oaker Hill displays its lone tree, 
and Masson lifts its stately head. 

As we come out into a lane, a gate just opposite gives en- 
trance to the wood. A few yards up, at the foot of a curious 
group of rocks, the track divides. Take the leftward branch 
and rejoice to find yourself in a delicious plantation of young 
fir trees, where every variety of conifer conspires to contribute 
its own special tint of green. The path lies near the edge of 
the plantation, on the right hand; and the smooth cropped turf 
makes pleasant walking, all the more welcome after long miles 
of high road. We are in the Duke of Rutland's Stanton Moor 
Plantation, on a high plateau, where, if you search, you may find 
many oddly shaped rocks of unusual size, a circle of nine 


stones, and several tumuli. The small stone circle, eleven yards 
in diameter, which lies some distance to our left, is called the 
Nine Ladies, while some thirty yards away stands the solitary 
King Stone. Just off our path, twenty yards to the right, one 
of the larger stones is to be found to which the name of the 
Andle Stone has been given, though this is not the only mean- 
ingless title which has been thrust upon it. Deep steps have 
been cut into it so that those who will may climb to the summit, 
but the prospect gains nothing from the few additional feet. It 
stands on the verge of the hill, which here is precipitous, and 
the whole panorama of Darley Dale is spread out below us — 
the Darley Dale which some people, alas ! are in such great 
haste to spoil. Quarries, no doubt, there must be, and it is no 
use bemoaning their presence. But Darley Dale is not the 
perfect scene it once was, and fifty years hence the laments will 
be louder, for the scars will be deeper. 

A few yards further and we reach the Stand, a square, solidly- 
built tower, erected by one of the Thornhills of Stanton Hall, 
which has been more fortunate than its fellow at Crich, 
inasmuch as it has not attracted to itself the stroke of light- 
ning or of thunderbolt. Over the door is a coronet, with the 
inscription, " Earl Grey, 1832." The view from here is 
even more extensive than from the Andle Stone. We 
not only have Darley Dale below us, but we can look up 
the Derwent valley beyond Rowsley towards Chatsworth. 
There is the wild Beeley Moor and the slope of the Lindup 
Woods, while across the valley is the curious dip wherein lie 
the Two Dales, which run up to the high moor behind. The 
long rows of railway sidings at Rowsley are the chief blot upon 
what otherwise is an exquisite scene. From Stanton Stand 
make for the detached stone that crowns the next bluff. It, 
too, has its coronet above a capital Y, and the date 1826. The 
Y represents " the famous Duke of York," the Duke of the ten 
thousand men, and of the heavy pillar that overtops the Mall 
from the level of Carlton House Terrace. He died in the 


January of the following year. A broad track runs just below 
this stone, and all about us are huge quarries. Follow the 
path as it descends into a meadow, turn to the right where it 
forks, enter the road and go down the hill. The road bears 
to the right and then bends sharply to the left, issuing in about 
three-quarters of a mile in the old steep road from Stanton to 
Rowsley. Then turn rightwards and descend, with delightful 
views of the vale of the Wye and the towers of Haddon on 
your left hand, till these are hidden from sight as you wind 
round the charming Beacon Tor and drop down into Rowsley. 



It would be an indignity to leave. Derbyshire without visiting 
its county town. So many sign-posts have pointed us the way 
thither in our wanderings, so many milestones have impressed 
on us the varying distances, that to Derby we must go, the 
more so as we left Glossop and Chesterfield out of our 
itinerary. Let us, therefore, stroll up into the town, out of the 
maze of railway sidings, engineering shops, and carriage works, 
which mark the headquarters of the Midland system. Of 
antiquities Derby has few remaining. Almost all the old 
houses are gone — not only the mansions of the gentry, which 
used to stand in the main streets, but also the picturesque 
gables of cottages and shops. The Corporation brooms have 
swept clean. The Roman station was at Little Chester, now 
a suburb; and Derby was one of the five great Danish 
towns of the Midlands. King Charles I. slept in a house in 
the Market Place in 1635, and the Corporation gave him a 
fat ox, a calf, six sheep, and a purse of gold, wherewith to 
entertain his friends. Seven years later, after he had raised 
his standard at Nottingham, he was here again, and borrowed 
;!^30o which were never repaid. Throughout the Civil War 
Derby was for the Parliament— the headquarters, as we have 
seen, of Sir John Cell, of Hopton. 

But the most romantic event in its annals is connected with 
the invasion of England by Prince Charles Edward in 1745, 
that forlorn hope which only gained a semblance of justification 


from the unpreparedness of the Hanoverian Government and 
the very indifferent quahty of the Enghsh generals and troops. 
But it never had a real chance of success, because the popu- 
lation of England was either actively in favour of the existing 
regime, or, if inclined to sympathise with the Stuart cause, was 
decidedly disinclined to fight for it. This, however, is not the 
place for historical dissertation, and the broad outlines of the 
rebellion and its tragic ending on Culloden Moor are well 
known. Yet there are many interesting local details which do 
not find their way into the general history of the reign of 
George II. Horace \Valpole has vividly described in his 
Letters the fever of excitement, not unmixed with very 
lively fears, into which London was thrown on hearing of the 
rebel successes in the North. The Government had treated 
Prince Charlie's landing as a matter of no consequence. They 
took for granted that his ragged Highlanders would be scat- 
tered as soon as they came into touch with the English troops. 
When, therefore, news came of the capture of Edinburgh and 
the rout of Johnny Cope, of the advance to Carlisle, and then 
of the march towards London, confidence gave way to panic. 
And if that was the feehng in London, what must the good 
citizens of Derby have felt when they learnt that Prince Charlie 
and his Highlanders were heading straight for their town ? 
The rebels advanced in two columns, which united at 
Macclesfield on December ist. Lord George Murray, advanc- 
ing with one column to Congleton, drove back a squadron of 
English horse under the Duke of Kingston, and quite deceived 
the Duke of Cumberland, whose army lay at Newcastle-under- 
Lyme, into thinking, that the Prince was marching to attack 
him or trying to pass into Wales. The Duke, therefore, pushed 
forward to Stone — between Stafford and Stoke — while Lord 
George Murray slipped to the east and joined the other column 
under the Prince at Ashbourne. They had thus a free road 
open to the South, and entered Derby on December 4th 
without a show of opposition. 


Nevertheless, though so lit'tle came of it, opposition had been 
carefully prepared. Derby lay within the sphere of the all-power- 
ful Cavendish influence, which was unreservedly on the side of 
King George. The Uuke raised, at his own expense, a regi- 
ment of a hundred and fifty men, and the other county magnates 
joined the Corporation of Derby in equipping six hundred 
more. A general subscription list had been opened, and Derby 
slept in tolerable security, trusting to the valour of these levies. 
But as soon as it was known that a column of the Highlanders 
was at Ashbourne— only half a day's march away — terror and 
confusion reigned in the town. On the night of December 3rd, at 
about ten o'clock, the drums beat to arm« through the streets ; 
the local regiments fell in ; the Duke of Devonshire placed him- 
self at their head; and the order was given to march. But 
instead of taking the Kedleston and Ashbourne road, they took 
the road to Nottingham. In other words, they marched not 
against but away frorri the foe, and Derby was left to its fate. 
This may have been sound strategy, but it was distinctly dis- 
appointing to the burgesses who had subscribed for a force to 
defend them, and a number of the wealthier inhabitants promptly 
hid the valuables which they could not take with them in a hasty 
flight, and made off with their families in the darkness. The 
Duke of Devonshire and his levies marched by torchlight to 
Borrowash, midway between Derby and Nottingham, and there, 
according to a bitter squib published not long afterwards, the 
Duke harangued his men and said, " Go, refresh yourselves, 
lest you faint by the way and lest you be slain on empty 
stomachs." His men obeyed to the letter and " made war 
upon the poultry : moreover, they did eat and drank much 
strong drink and departed, forgetting to pay." Whether the 
irony of the Jacobite lampoon was deserved, we cannot say ; 
but at least the Jacobites themselves did no better, for they 
cautiously stayed at home. 

It was about noon on December 4th when the advanced 
patrols of the Highland army came into Derby. After seizing 


a valuable horse, they went to the George Inn, and demanded 
billets for nine thousand men. When they asked for the Mayor, 
they were told that he had fled. Then they inquired for the 
magistrates. But these too had departed, and some time elapsed 
before they discovered the sole remaining Alderman, whom 
they forced to proclaim King James in the market square. It 
was not exceptional valour which had kept this Alderman in 
Derby when all his colleagues had fled, for he was too lame to 
travel. Then the church bells were rung, and bonfires lighted 
to give the panic-stricken town a look of gaiety, and at two 
o'clock Lord Balmerino arrived with thirty of the Prince's Life- 
Guards. " These," says a contemporary historian, " composed 
the flower of the army, and being dressed in the same uniform, 
which was blue with scarlet waistcoats trimmed with gold lace, 
made a fine appearance. They were drawn up in the market- 
place, where they continued till three o'clock, when Lord Elcho 
arrived with one hundred and fifty men, the remainder of the 
Guards. These, upon the whole, were fine figures, but their 
horses were very much jaded." 

Not long afterwards the main army marched into view, six 
or eight abreast, clad in every conceivable kind of dress, and 
of all ages and sizes. They were played into Derby by the 
bagpipes, and eight standard-bearers bore white standards 
embroidered with large red crosses. The Prince himself did 
not arrive until dusk, for he had left his army in the forenoon 
and had ridden over to Radbourne Hall, where he had been in 
consultation with Mr. German Pole and the leading recusants 
of the neighbourhood. He was expecting to find there a large 
sum of money from the Stuart partisans in the Midlands, but 
the money was not forthcoming, and his disappointment was 
intense. Subsequently it was discovered that the Derbyshire 
yeomen to w^hom it had been entrusted had appropriated it to 
their own use ! Prince Charlie was on foot when he entered 
Derby ; he wore a green bonnet laced with gold, a white bob- 
wig, and a Highland plaid, and carried a broadsword. He went 


direct to the house of Lord Exeter in Full Street, a handsome 
red-brick mansion which was not pulled down until 1854. His 
principal officers, the Dukes of Athol and Perth, Lord Bal- 
merino, I^ord George Murray, Lord Pitsligo, Lord Nairn and 
others, quartered themselves in the best houses, and altogether 
accommodation was found on the first night for 7,098 officers 
and men. 

A council of war was immediately held, at which it was decided 
to levy all the ready money available, and about ;^3,ooo was 
obtained. The Prince demanded the proceeds of the land tax, 
the excise, and the post, while those who had subscribed to the 
defence fund against the Pretender were now summoned to pay 
an equal sum against King George. The conduct of the High- 
landers was tolerably good. Those who had money paid for 
what they wanted ; those who had none seized what took their 
fancy. We are told, it is true, that their conduct became " so 
outrageous that many of the respectable inhabitants concealed 
themselves," but no specific charges of outrage are laid against 
them, and the people of Derby fared a good deal better than 
they had expected. They certainly gave Prince Charlie no 
voluntary support. The Prince's recruiting sergeants talked 
big in the inns and at the street corners, and offered five 
shillings down, and five guineas on arrival at London, to all 
who would join the white standard with the red cross. But 
they only secured three recruits, a travelling journeyman black- 
smith named Cook, a butcher called Edward Hewitt, and 
James Sparks, a stocking maker. They were, we are told, 
" unprincipled and idle fellows, men of degraded lives and 
sullied character," but the testimony was borne by hostile 
witnesses, and we may give the three the benefit of the doubt. 
Probably plenty of young men in Derby had a taste for adven- 
ture, but the ragged plaids of the " wild petticoat men " did not 
inspire much confidence, and the Highlander himself was an 
alien, speaking an alien tongue and carrying alien weapons. 
Prince Charlie's army did not look like driving George U. 


from his throne, and the Derby folks showed good judgment in 
holding aloof. 

It was fully expected that the rebels would resume their 
march towards London on December 5th, for a small detach- 
ment had been sent forward to hold Swarkeston Bridge over 
the Trent. But the day passed without a move being made, 
and in the evening a second council of war was held at the 
Prince's headquarters in Lord Exeter's house. It was a stormy 
meeting and the debate was long and angry. The Prince was 
for going forward and putting everything to the hazard. 
" Rather than go back," he cried, " I would wish to be 
twenty feet underground." The cooler members of his staff, 
especially Lord George Murray, the ablest soldier of them 
all, were for immediate retreat. Their force was not grow- 
ing ; the English Jacobites were lying snug at home ; neither 
men nor supplies were coming in. The Duke of Cumber- 
land was only two marches away ; Marshal Wade was hurrying 
up at all speed from the North. If they evaded these, 
there still remained to be faced the army that covered 
London. The country too was hostile to them, whereas, 
by withdrawing to Scotland and the hills of Argyle and In- 
verness, they would at least be fighting amongst friends and 
on ground which would be as difficult to the enemy as it 
was familiar to themselves. Such arguments were unanswer- 
able, and the die was cast for retreat. Early on the Friday 
morning the drums beat to arms and the pipes skirled through 
the town. Ranks were formed ; at seven the army began to 
move ;■ and then, to the amazement and exultation of the 
citizens, it was seen that they took the road not to Swarkeston 
but to Ashbourne. It was also the road to CuUoden. 

The rebels moved swiftly from Derby to Ashbourne, then 
on to Leek and Manchester, then through Leigh and Wigan to 
Preston, where they arrived on December 12 th. The last 
glimpse we get of Prince Charlie is of his having Mass said in 
All Saints' Church and riding off on a fine black horse which 


had belonged to Colonel Gardiner, who fell at Prestonpans. On 
the retreat, greater licence was allowed to the mounted patrols 
of the Highland army. They spread out on either flank, 
stripping the farms of horses, and carrying off considerable 
loot. At Clifton, near Ashbourne, two of the rebels shot a 
farmer who had refused to surrender his horse; at Hanging 
Bridge, an innkeeper was murdered in a brawl. But, on the 
whole, the countryside escaped very lightly, and the bark of 
the Highlanders was worse than their bite. Had there been 
outrage and pillage on the scale of devastation familiar enough 
even in the nineteenth century, local records would surely have 
preserved remembrance of it. But no such records exist. 
Derbyshire was profoundly glad to be rid of the rebel host — at 
Castleton, for example, which had lain outside their track, the 
bell-ringers received five shillings for celebrating the retreat 
with a merry peal — but not many wounds remained to be 
bound up, and few invasions have resulted in so little bloodshed 
as the march of Prince Charlie from Carlisle to Derby. 

All Saints' Church, where Prince Charlie Hstened to Mass, 
piDSsesses a fine sixteenth-century Gothic tower, which, ac- 
cording to local tradition, was built at the sole expense of 
the Derby bachelors and maidens. We fancy, however, that 
the benefactions of Robert Liversage, a wealthy dyer, defrayed 
most of the cost. This tower is in three stages, and 174 feet 
high exclusive of the pinnacles. The church is of much later 
date, for it was entirely rebuilt in 1725, and, though not un- 
handsome in itself, is quite incongruous with the tower. Here 
is the gorgeous tomb of Bess of Hardwick lying in full state 
and decked out in all her finery, as becomes the ancestress of 
dukes and earls and lords of all degrees. Here, too, lies the 
gallant Colonel Cavendish, slain near Gainsborough in the 
civil wars : and here are the disjecta membra of what must have 
been the appalling monument of the second Earl of Devonshire, 
with crude stone figures of himself and his countess, and their 
sons and daughters. When the church was restored, in 1877, 


the monument was taken to pieces. The process might well 
have been cavried a step further. Derby once had a second 
fine church dedicated to St. Alkmund, but it was cleared away 
in 1846 and a modern structure of that unfortunate period was 
set up in its place. 

Derby has its associations with Mary Queen of Scots, who 

All Sninls Church, Derby. 

passed a night in the town on her way to Tutbury Castle in 
1584, when she was in the charge of .Sir Ralph Sadler. 
Quarters were found for her in an inn kept by a Mrs. 
Beaumont, but the name of the hostelry is not known. The 
landlady and four of her women neighbours were in the hall as 
the cavalcade approached. The Queen alighted, and then, 


with her customary tact, " as soon as she knew who was her 
hostess, after she had made a beck to the rest of the women 
standing near the door, she went to her and kissed her and 
none other, saying that she was come thither to trouble her, 
and that she also was a widow, and therefore trusted that they 
should agree well enough together, having no husbands to 
trouble them, and so went into the parlour upon the same low 
floor, and no stranger with her but the good wife and her 
sister." We may be sure that such pleasant affability quite 
gained the heart of Mrs. Beaumont, and that Queen Mary had 
one kind soul in Derby to lament her fate. Sir Ralph Sadler 
took care that no prowling emissaries from France or Spain got 
word with Queen Mary during her stay in Derby, for he kept 
a watch all night in the Market Place and at the street corners, 
and eight of the guards walked up and down before the inn 
until daybreak, " as myself, lying over against that lodging, can 
well testify by the noise they made." If they kept Sir Ralph 
awake, the probabilities are that they also disturbed Queen 
Mary, but that would trouble neither Sir Ralph Sadler nor his 
Royal mistress, Queen Elizabeth. 

In the eighteenth century, Derby was reputed to be a town 
of gentry rather than trade. None the less, it enjoys the 
distinction of having been the home of the first silk mill 
in England. The art of spinning silk by machinery was an 
Italian secret, very jealously guarded, until one John Lombe, 
of Derby, travelled to Italy and succeeded in obtaining by 
bribery and dishonest means — which he, doubtless, justified to 
himself as business smartness— models of the machinery then 
in use. On his return he built a mill on a little island in the 
Derwent, which was pulled down in 1890 by an unimaginative 
Corporation. Lombe had a hard struggle. Parliament had 
granted him a patent for fourteen years, but as the industry 
was an entirely new one, and his mechanics had never seen the 
models working, endless modifications and improvements had 
to be made, with the result that the fourteen years had almost 


expired before the mill began to answer Lombe's expectations. 
He, therefore, appealed to .Parliament for assistance, and 
received a grant of ^^14,000 on condition that he allowed a 
complete model to be made of his engines. They were the 
wonder of all who saw them. Defoe's Tour speaks with awe 
of each Italian engine, containing 26,586 wheels and 97,746 
movements, which worked 73,726 yards of silk thread every time 
the water-wheel went round, and that was three times every 
minute. " One fire engine," we are told, " conveys warm air 
to every individual part of the machine, and the whole work is 
governed by one regulator." Another Derby man, Thomas 
Roe, introduced the silk industry into Macclesfield, with 
machines built on the model of those of Lombe. Lombe's 
fate was tragic. The Italians were so infuriated at his having 
discovered their secret that they sent over a woman to compass 
his death. And this, so the story runs, she effected by means 
of poison. 

Derby used also to be famous for the excellence of its ale — 
a fame in which it has since been superseded by the sister 
town of Burton. Old Thomas Fuller, Doctor of Divinity, 
living in the pre-teetotal age, when it was not deemed beneath the 
dignity of a cleric to be thankful for good liquor, declared that 
" never was the wine of Sarepta better known to the Syrians, 
that of Chios to the Grecians, of Falernum to the Latins, than 
the Canary of Derby is to the English thereabouts." He did 
not moderate his rapture. " To make malt for drink was a 
masterpiece indeed ! How much of philosophy concurred to 
the first kill of malt ! And before it was tossed on the floor, 
how often was it tossed in the brain of the first inventor ! " 
No Doctor of Divinity would dare give utterance to such a 
thought at the present day for fear of the angry protests which 
would rain in upon him from temperance organisations the 
world over. In 1691, when the English brewers were alarmed 
at the growing taste for French claret, a little pamphlet was 
issued in the shape of "A Dialogue between Claret and 

xxxiii CROWN DERBY 489 

Darby Ale," in which one of the disputants says, " Truly my 
ordinary liquor is the product of our own country, good, nappy, 
well-brewed ale ; but when I would regale my sense and treat 
my palate, 'tis generally with a pint or two of Nottingham or 
Darby." The later editor of Defoe's Tour — perhaps the fat 
little printer novelist, Samuel Richardson himself, who belonged 
to Derbyshire — notes that " what trade there is in the town, 
is chiefly in good malt and good ale " ; and he also remarks 
that the further north he went, the better was the brew. From 
Derby ale to Derbyshire cheese is an easy and natural transi- 
tion. The latter, also, had a more than local fame, for at 
the beginning of the nineteenth century it was estimated that 
nearly two thousand tons of Derbyshire cheese were sent 
annually to London, and to the ports of the east coast for 
export to the Continent — a very large trade, considering that 
it all had to be carried in waggons. The Bakewell cheese 
fair was far-famed within living memory : now there is hardly 
a cheese press to be found in the county, save at one or 
two large manufactories, and though most of the land is laid 
down in permanent pasture, even the remote country districts 
use foreign imported butter. 

Derby is also the home of the fabled Derby Ram— the 
ballad in whose praise is said to have been written, in his 
young days, by Erasmus Darwin — and of the world-renowned 
" Crown Derby " porcelain We do not speak of the existing 
Royal Crown Derby Porcelain Company, which dates back no 
further than 1877, though the ware which issues from the 
factory on the Osmaston road takes a high place in the scale 
of excellence. The old Crown Derby works closed their doors 
in 1848, when everything came to the hammer as the result of 
a few years of incompetent management. According to vague 
tradition, an obscure foreigner was the first to introduce the 
making of china into Derby, in the shape of Httle figures, which 
were sold in the streets But the early history of the industry 
is very doubtful until we reach the name of William Duesbury, 


of Longton, who in 1755 entered into an agreement with a Derby 
banker, named Heath, and a china maker, named Planche', to 
estabhsh a factory in the town. Premises were taken on the 
Nottingham road, and by 1757 the firm was sending consign- 
ments of " Derby figures " to the London sale rooms. The 
business prospered ; it absorbed first the Longton Hall factory, 
and then, a few years later, the Chelsea and Bow factories. 
Derby thus secured a virtual monopoly of the best artists and 
designers ; King George paid a visit to the London warehouse 
in Bedford-street, Coventgarden, and no nobleman thought 
his table complete without a dessert service of Derby china. 
Boswell, who visited the factory in 1777, records his admira- 
tion of the " ingenuity and deHcate art with which a man 
fashioned clay into a cup, a saucer, or a tea-pot, while a boy 
turned round a wheel to give the mass rotundity." Johnson, 
who made one of the party, thought the china was beautiful, 
but much too dear, " for that he could have vessels of silver, of 
the same size, as cheap as what were here made of porcelain." 
Duesbury died in 1785 ; his son, William Duesbury, the second, 
died in 1796, after admitting an Irishman, named Michael 
Kean, into partnership. Then the decline began. Business 
was still carried on in the name of W. Duesbury, the third, who 
was a minor, but dissensions arose, and in 181 1 the factory 
was sold to Robert Bloor, a former employe of the firm. The 
process of degeneration was rapid. Instead of maintaining its 
name for issuing none but the best work, the factory commenced 
to turn out cheap and gawdy china for the million. Most disas- 
trous of all was the determination to put on the market the 
many thousands of imperfect vases, figures and dishes which 
had been accumulated in the course of years. These were 
hurriedly touched up for sale, and scattered broadcast over the 
land to be auctioned for what they would fetch. Such a policy 
was remunerative for the moment, but it killed the reputation of 
the factory, and eventually the whole plant was sold in 1848, and 
the moulds and models scattered to the four quarters of Heaven. 


From Derby a pleasant excursion can be made to Quarndon 
and Kedleston. Quarndon is a pretty little place, which once 
hoped to become famous as a Spa, but has long outlived its 
ambitions. Near the top of the village, on the main road, is an 
ugly, three-sided stone structure, 10 ft. by 8 ft., with an iron 
entrance-gate. Low down on the left-hand side is a lion's 
head in iron with a spout in its mouth, out of which drips the 
water from the spring into an iron cup. Drop by drop it drips 
with exasperating slowness, for an earthquake in 1896 diverted 
the main supply, which used to flow from the middle arch in 
plentiful stream. This iron water, however, was not Quarn- 
don's chief attraction. Its most important spring lay in 
Kedleston Park, the ancient family seat of the Curzons, about 
half a mile away through the fields. One Lord Scarsdale 
evidently believed firmly in the virtues of his sulphur spring, 
for he built a large inn on the main road for the accommoda- 
tion of guests. It is a fine, square, three-storied brick building, 
flanked on either side by a lower range of rooms, and with 
huge stables at the rear. Opposite, on the fringe of the park, 
is what was once a handsome bowling green. Lord Denman 
stayed at the Kedleston Inn three-quarters of a century ago, 
and describes it as " a large well-looking house but not very 
handsome within." The parlour where he supped was paved 
with red tiles, and the floor of his bedroom was of plaster. An 
ordinary was held for those who came to bathe and drink the 
waters. But for thirty years and more the Kedleston Inn has 
been a farmhouse. The water of the sulphur spring was very 
clear and transparent in a glass, but in the well it looked to be 
of a blackish-blue colour tinged with purple. Lord Denman 
compared it with the water of Tunbridge Wells. "In the 
morning," he says, " I bathed there and found it most agree- 
ably cold, but it did not smell delightfully. The walk to it 
from the inn is pleasant, and of a sufficient length to create in 
the invalids a good appetite for breakfast. At present, how- 
ever, the number of visitors is very small The bathing house 


is a good little building placed among trees so as to be seen to 
advantage from the great house." It has long been dosed, but 
in the old days it was a place of resort for the citizens of 
Derby, and we are told that the Kedleston water was actually 
sold in the town " as a substitute for malt liquor, the charge 
for carriage being a penny a quart." 

Kedleston House is not now shown to the public ; it used to 
be greatly admired. Built by Adams in 1761 for the first Lord 
Scarsdale, it contains an enormous hall, 67 ft. by 42 ft. and 
40ft. high. Johnson scoffed at it as "a big town hall," when 
he drove over one day from Ashbourne. ^Vhat pleased him 
most at Kedleston was to find a copy of his own Dictionary in 
one of the rooms, which prompted him to the vain but very 
neat quotation of Virgil's line, 

Quae regio in terris nostri non plena laboris ? 

Government House at Calcutta was copied from Kedleston 
House, a circumstance which has proved especially happy and 
appropriate during the Viceroyalty of Lord Curzon of Kedleston, 
the most distinguished representative which the Scarsdale branch 
of the Curzon family has produced, and also one of the ablest 
Viceroys who have governed the great Dependency, and have 
not shrunk from initiating sweeping changes and reforms. 

And so back to Derby, and from Derby back to the London 
which one is rarely loth to leave, yet to which, after absence, 
one is never reluctant to return. 

And what is writ is writ, 
Would it were worthier ! 



Adam Bede, 60-2, 422 
Adelaide (Queen), 51 
Alderwasley, 425 
Alport (river), zoo 

(dale), 200 
Alsop-en-lc-Dale, 106 
Alstonefield, 127 
Amber (river). 3, 438, 470 
Ambergate, 429, 470 
Anchor Church, 36 
Andr6 (Major), 353 
Apostle of the Peak, 174-6 
Arborlow, 137 seq, 

Arkwright (family), 250, 257, 396, 474 
Ashbourne, 65-96, 480, 484 
Ashford, 235 seq. 
Ashop (river), 197 seq.^ S04 
Ashopton, 201-2 
Ashover, 457-465 . 

Hay, 456 
Ashton (Aaron), 192-3 
Ashwood Dale, 147 
Aston Hall, 209 
Ault Hucknall, 452 
Austen (Jane), 311 
Axe Edge, 6, 167 


Babington (Anthony), 440 

(family), 462 
Bagshawe Cavern, 229 
Bagshawes (of Ford), 174-6 

(Rev. E.), 223-4 

(Rev. W.), 239 

(W. H.), 242 
Bakewell, 258 seq. 

Cross, 265 

Riot, 267 seq. 
Balcony Field, 34-5 
Balguy (family), 203, 209 10 

Bamford Edge, 204 

Bancroft (Thomas), 32-4 

Banks (Sir J.), 456-7 

Banks (Thomas), 83-4 

Bar Brook, 313 

Barmoor Clough Well, 17J-2 

Baslow, 312-3, 323 

Bateman, 138, 264, 377 

Baxter (Richard), 25-6 

Beeley (moor), 8, 297 

Bendigo, 173 

Benet (John), 144-5 

Bennett (Abraham), 421 

Bentley (Rev. Sam.), 114-5, 122-3 

Benty Grange, 139 

Beresford Dale, 120 seq. 

Beresford (family), 130, 428 

Beton (John), 284 

Black Rocks, 414-6 

Blanketeers, 88 

Bleak House, 467 

Blue John Mine, 221 

Bonsall, 475 

Boothbys (of Ashbourne), 66, 72, 84, 87, 95 

Boothby (Penelope), 83-7 

Borrowash, 481 

Boswell (James), 74-8, 347 

Bourne (Rev. Immanuel), 458 seq. 

Boylstone, 441 

Brackenfield, 454 

Bradford Dale, 376-7 

Bradley, 72 

Bradshaw (the regicide), iSo 

Hall (Chapel -en- le- Frith), 180-1 
(Eyam), 350, 364 
Bradwell, 228 

Brandreth (Jeremiah), 432 seq. 
Bray, 400, 420 
Breedon-on-the-Hill, 20 
Bretton, 317, 365 

Clough, 365 
Bridge Chapels, 31 
Bright (John\ 42, 144 
Brighton, 421 



Brindley (James), 40-1, 238 
Bronte (Charlotte), 330 
Brough, 209 
Bubnell Grange, 314 
Bunyan (John), 464 
Burbage Bridge, 327 
Burdett (Sir F.), 37 
Burghley (Lord), 151, 288 
Burne- Jones (windows), 375, 384 
Burney (Fanny), 305 
Button-on-Trent, 40-1 
Butterley, 430, 432, 434 
Buxton, 148-166 

Baths, 150, 155-7, 162-3 

Crescent, 156, 159 

Coaches, 160-2 

Scenery, 163-5 
Buxton (Edward), 318 
Byron, 2, 90, no, 222, 264, 408-10 


Cadman, 321 

Caerl Wark, 327 

Calton, 282 

Calwich Abbey, 64 

Camden (I-^rd), 421 

Campbell (Lady Charlotte), 306 

Canning, 66 

CantreIl(Rev. W. H.), 22 

Castle Donington, iB 

Castle Hill, 437 

Castleton, 222 seg. 

Castle {sec Peak Castle) 
Cave Dale, 225 
Cave (G. C), 321-2 
Cavendish (Lord Frederick), 284 

(Lord George), 257 

(Sir William), 444 

(Colonel), 485 
Chantrey (Sir F.), 86-7, 248 
Chapel-en-le-Frith, 176-9 
Charles L, 83, 479 
Charles IL, 29 
Charlton (Hamlet), 264 
Chatsworth, n, 285-311, 324 seg., 46S 

(Hunting Tower), 296 
Chaworth (Mary), 222, 408-ro 
Chee Tor, 241 
Chelmorton, 146 
Chinley Churn, 184 
Chrome Hill, 169 
Church Town, 386 
Churnet (river), 55 
Gibber (Colley), 286 
Clarke (family), 466 
Cockyard, 181 
Codnor, 435 
Codnor Castle, 14 
Cokayne (family), 83, 95, 154, 375 
Cokes (of Melbourne), 22-4 
Colepeper (Colonel), 290 
Combs Edge, 171 
Coinplcic Angler, 97, 118-9, 123 

Congreve, ioo_ 

Conksbury Bridge, 373 

Cook (Eliza), 117, 254 

Copley (Sir Godfrey), 292 

Cotton (Charles), 11, 114, 117, 122 seg.^ 

153-4, 216, 286 
Cowper (Earl), 25 
Cratcliflf Tor, 378 . 
Cressbrook Dale, 244 seg. 

Mills, 248-50 
Crich, 428 

Stand, 427, 471 
Cromford, 396, 414, 471 seg. 
Cubley, 53, 67 
Cucklet Church, 363 
Cumberland (Duke of), 480 
Cunningham (Rev. Peter), 245-6, 345, 

Curbar Edge, 325 
Curzon (family), 492 


Dakeyne (family), 383 
Darley Dale, 7, 382-8, 477 

Yew, 386 
Darwin (Erasmus), (^6, 165-6, 404, 407,489 
David Grieve, 191-2 
Dayes, 112, 271 
Deadman's Lane, 430 
peep Dale, 146-7 
pefoe, 163, 400, 419, 489 
Delany (Mrs.), 305 
Delf, 363 

De Mirabilibns Peccl, 301 
Denman (Thomas), Ld. Chief Justice, 337 

(Dr. Joseph), 157, 337 

Lord, 79, 158-9, 338, 491 
Derby, 39, 47Q seg. 
Derby Ale, 488-g 

Porcelain, 489-90 

Ram, 489 
Derbyshire Castles, 14 

Dales, 6-8 

Gipsies, 12 

Hills, 6-7 

Moors, 8-g 

People, 13 

Rivers, 2-3 

Roads, 13, 16 
Derbyshire Railways, 15-16, 136, 206 
denounced by Ruskin, 251-2 

Watering Places, 15 
Derwent (river), 2 seg., y, 202, 328-9, 392, 

(dale), 7, 20Z 

(Edge), 7, 204 

(Hall), 203 
Devil's Hole {see Peak Cavern) 
Devonshire (Earls and Dukes of), 135, 153, 
156, 163, 166, 284, 290, 293 seg.. 
303-1O) 357) 359) 374. 481, 485 

Duchess Georgiana, 232, 304-7 
Elizabeth, 307-8 



Disraeli, 311 

Donington Park, 18 

Dove Head, 168 

Dove Holes, 103 

Dove (river), 2 seq.., 40, 55, 97 seq.., t68 

Dovedale, ir, 93, 95-117 

Doveridge, 53 

Downfall, 193 

Drayton (Michael), to 

Dronfield, 467 

Duesbury (W.), 489-go 

Duffield (Castle), 14 

(Frith), 470 
Duncannon (Lord), 340 

Foote (Samuel), 132 
Footpaths, 9, 108, 188, 381 
Ford, 174 
Foremark, 37 
Fox (C. J.), '304- 307 
Fox House, 326 
French prisoners, 94, 351 
Fro^gatt Edge, 6 
Fuller (Dr.), i, 355, 488 
Fullwood (Sir Christopher), 377 
Funeral garlands, 256 
Furness (Richard), 351-3 

Eagle Stone, 323-4 

Eastwood Hall, 458 seq. 

Eaton Woods, 55 

Edale, 7, 211-2 

Edensor, 284 

Edwards (John), ii6 

Eggington, 41 

Eldon Hole, 215-8 

Eldon (Lord), 408-9 

Eliot (George), 60-3, 396, 423-5 

Elizabeth (Queen), 44, 150, 288, 440 

Elliott (Ebenezer), 208 

Erdeswicke, 11, 42 

Erewash (valley), 5 

Evans (Robert), 62 

(EUzabeth), 62-3, 422-4 

(Samuel), 62, 422-4 
Eyam, 342, 364 

Cross, 342-4 

Ed^e, 364 

Hall, 349 

(old customs at), 350-1 

Plague at, 356 seq. 
Eyres of Hassop, 319 seq. 
Highlow, 330, 367 
Padley, 319, 334-6 

(Beebe), 234 

Fabric, 457 
Featherbed Moss, 187 
Fenny Bentley, 129-30 
Ferguson, 222 
Ferrers (4th Earl), 20 

(Earl of Derby), 42, 129 
Fiennes (Williani), 154 
Fife (Lord), 307 
Fin Cop, 241, 254 
Fishing House, 122-3 

Fitzherberts (of Norbury), 58-60, 334-6, 

(of Tissington), 60, 131 seq. 

(Rev. John), 53 
Fitzpatnck (General), 305 
Foljambe (family), 231, 319 
Foolow, 317, 364 

Gainshoeough, 304 

Gardom's Edge, 7, 324 

Garlick (Nicholas), 336 

Garrick (David), 303, 421 

Gella (of Hopton), 32, 290, 459, 474 

Gibbet Moor, 468 

Gibbon (Edward), 30S 

Gibbons (Lee), 275 

Gib Hill, 138 

Gilpin (Prebendary), j 10-2, 164, 221-2, 

403) 419 
Giltbrook, 436 
Gisborne (John), 57, 63; 380, 388, 404, 408 

(Prebendary), 115 
Giustiniani (Prince), 320-2 
Glenorchy (Lady), 395-6 
(!>lossop- Sheffield Road, 198 
Goodwin, 435 
Gore Lane, 228 
Grange Mill, 475 
<!yratton (John), 139 seq. 
Graves (Rev. Rich.), 131 seq. 
Green Man (Inn), 77, 93 
Greville (Charles), 309 
Grindleford Bridge, 326, 334 
Grove (Rev. Thomas), 303 


Haaklem Tape Works, 422 
Hacket (Bishop), 37 
Haddon Hall, 227, 270 seq. 
Bowling Green, 280 
to Edensor, 280-4 
to Rowsley, 279 
Hall (John), 313 
Hancock (John), 361 
Hanson Grange, 106 

Toot, 119 
Hardwick, 301-2, 451-2 

(Bess of), see Countess of Shrewsbury 
Harpur (family), 32-3 
Harthill Moor, 378 
Hartington, 127-g 
Hassop, 319 seq. 
Hastings (Marquis oO, 18 

(Colonel), 34 
Hathersage, 329-34 



Hawthorne (Nathaniel)", 404 
Hayfield, 184 sea. 
Hazelbadge Hall, 229 
Headstones Head, 250 
Heage, 429 

Heights of Abraham, 394, 397 
Henmore (brook), t% 69-70 
Higgar Tor, 327 
Highlow, 366-7 
High Peak, 5, 187 

Forest, 177, 230 
High Tor, 241, 391 
Hilton, 41 
Hobbes (Thomas), 152-3, 218. 222, 287, 

298-302, 449 
Hodgson (Rev. Francis), 264 
Hollinsclough, 7, 169 
Holme Hall, 258 
Holymoorside, 465 
Hooker, 294 
Hope, 210-1 

(Vale ot), 7, 205-6, 328-9 
Howitt (William and Mary), 359-60 
Hucklow (Great and Little), 229 
Hume, 91 

Hunt (Rev. Joseph), 344-5 
Huntingdon (Earls oO, 18, 48 
Hurdlow, 136 
Hurt (Francis), 426 
Hutchinson, 219, 233 

I LAM, 98 
Ingleby, 36 


Jane Eyre^ 330 scq. 
Jewitt (Rev. A. G.), 22a 
Johnson (Dr. Samuel), 40, 53, 54, 67-S3, 
98, 133. 302-3- 347. 492 

Kedleston, 491-2 

House, 492 
Kegworth, 17 
Kennet (Bishop), 291, 299 
Kinder (Philip), 10, 13, 14 
Kinder (river), 191 
Kinderscout, 6, 186 teg. 
King 0/ the Peak (novel), 275 
King's Newton, 29 
Kniveton (Henry), 57 

Lady Bower, 204-5 
Lady Wash Mine, 316, 363 
Lalla Rookh, 89 
Lamb (Lady Caroline), 24 
Lamb (family) {sec Melbourne) 
Lancaster (Duke oO, 20, 42, 177 
Langley Mill, 435 
Langley (Rev. W.), 80 

Lathkill Dale, 8, 368-73 
Lea Hurst, 471 - 

Lead Mining, 316, 416-g 
Leicester (Earl oi)( 218 
Lennbx (Earl of),- 445 
Lennox (Lady Sarah), 306 
Leopold (Prince), 67 
Leslie (Colonel), 320-1 
Lichfield, 37, 86-7, 179 
Lieven {Madame de), 310 
Linacre (Thomas), 467 
Lomhe (John), 487 
Longshawe, 326 
Lipscomb, 403 
Little Chester, 479 
Little John's Grave, 333-4 
Litton, 230, 243 
Lomas (Rev. Rob.), 145 

(John), 169-70 
Lomberdale House, 377 
London, 255 
Longstone (Great), 317 seq. 

Edge, 314 seg. 
Lose Hill, 2IT-2 
Lovers' Leap (Buxton), 147 
(Stony Middleton), 340 
Ludlam (Robert), 336 
Lytton (family), 230, 243 


Macaulav, 153 

MacRitchie, 158 

Mam Tor, 7, 206, 212-4 

Manifold (river), 98 

Manlove (Edward), 417-8 

Manners (Sir John), 262, 274 seg. 

(family), 261 

on-Dove, 41 
Mary (Queen of Scots), 44-50, 150- 

287 seg , 440, 486-7 
Marples (John), 294-5 
Masson, 394, 397 
Mateley (Dorothy), 464-5 
Mather (Samuel), 454-5 
Matlock, 389-413 

Bank, 389, 399 

Bath, 391 seg. 

Bridge, 389 

Coaches, 402 

Baths, 400-2 
Mayfield, 88-93 
Melbourne, 20-8 

Hall and Gardens, 25-8 

(Lord), 24-5 
Mercia, 37-9 
Mermaid's Pool, 192 
Meteyard (Eliza), 275 
Meverill (Sir Sampson), 232 
Meynells (of Bradley), 72 
Middleton (Youlgreave), 377 
Myestones (old), 315, 467 
Mill Hill, 197 
Mill Houses, 422-4 



Millais (Sir J. E.), 85 

Milldale, 118 

Miller's Dale, 242 

Milton, 37 

Mock Beggars Hall, 378 

Moira (Lord), 17 

Mollanus (Major), 41 

Mompesson (Catherine), 344, 358, 363 

(William), 357 seq^, 363 

Well, 362-3 
Monk's Bridge, 41 

Dale, 236 
Monsal Dale, 250 seq. 
Montgomery (James), 164-5, 4^5 
Monyash, 139 seg. 

Moore (Tom), 17, 24, 28, 89-93, no, 308-9, 
408 . 

(Bessie), 93 
Moorseats, 330 
iSIorpeth (Lord), 293, 310 
Mundy (Squire), 115, 407 
Murray (Lord George), 480 seq. 
Musters (John), 409-10 


Nesbit (Elizabeth), 87-8 
Newhurgh (Earls of), 319 seq. 

(Countess of), 319 seq. 
Newhaven Inn, 135 
Newton Solney, 40 

Newton (William), 232, 244 seq., 355, 365 
Nightingale (Florence), 471 
Noe (river), 2, 228 
Norbury, 57-60, 231 
Norfolk (Dukes of), 48, 203 
North Lees, 330 
Nussey, 330 


Oaker Hill, 383 
Odin Mine, 221 
Okeover Hall, 97 
Old Brampton, 465-7 
Over Haddon, 372-3 

Padley Chapel, 334-6 

Palraerston (Lady), 25 

Parker (Francis), 463 

Paxton (Sir Joseph), 29T, 294 seq. 

PejJc Cavern, 221 seq. 

Peak Castle, 224 seq. 

Peak Tor, 380 

Pentrich, ^32 

Revolution, 432-7 
Peveril (family), 177, 226 
Peaeril of the Peak, 226-7 
Pigott, 307 
Pike Pool, 1 20-1 
Pilkington, 11, 13, 396 -- 

Piide and Prejudice ^ 311 
Priest's Way, 146-7 
Prince Charlie, 32, 95, 479-. 
Poole (G.), 428-9 
Port (Sir John), 39 
Pursglove (Richard), 231 


Quin, 303 


Radcliffe (Ann), 116-7 
Radclyffe (family), 320 seq. 
Repton, 37-g 
Reynolds (Joseph), 374 

(Sir Joshua), 85 
Rhodes (Ebenezer), 86, 112, 230, 235, 247, 

280, 331, 345, 353, 362, 401, 405 
Riber, 382, 397, 399, 476 
Rivers (St. John), 332-3 
Robin Hood (village), 468 ■ 
Robin Hood's Picking Rods, igo 

Stride, 378 
Rocester, 56 
Roe (Philip), 265 
Rogers (Samuel), 24, 91-3 
Roman roads, 40, 136, 171, 200, 228, 431, 

Ronsard, 290 
Roosdyche, 182-3 
Roston, 56 
Roussambeau, 95-6 
Rousseau (J. J.), ^3 
Rowsley, 305, 380-1, 478 
Rushup Edge, 173 
Riley Graves, 361-3 
Ruskin, 83, 251-3, 389-90, 410-2 
Russell (Lord John), '•37 
Rutland (Earls and Dukes oQ, 271 seq., 328 
Ryknield Street, 40, 431-2, 437 

Sadlek (Michael Thomas), 54-5 

(Sir Ralph), 487 
Salt (Micah), 14; 
Sampson (William), 406, 449 
Scott (Sir Walter), 226-7, 4^6 
Scots prisoners at Chapel, 178 
Seward, Anna, 236, 244 seq., 346 seq.^ 363, 

(Rev. Thomas), 345-8 
Shardlow Bridge, 17 
Sheep Dipping, iig-20 
Shelley, 436-7 
Sheridan, 306 
Sir William Hill, 326, 365 
Shrewsbury (6th Earl oOj 44-8, 150-1, z88 
seq-i 440 seq. 

(GoHHtess of), 44-8, 179> 443-50/485 



Slackhall, 173-4 
Slack (Samuel), 232-3 
Smedley (John), 399 
Snake Inn, 198-9 
Somers (John), 46-7 
Sparrowpit, 172-3 
Speedwell Mine, 221 
Spencer (Herbert), 34, go 
spiritual Quixote, i33~4 
Sterndale (Mrs.), 248-9 
St. Evremond, 299 
Stanage, 205 
Stancllfife Hall, 384 
Stanley (Rev. Thomas), 359 
Stanton-in-the-Peak, 379 

Moor, 477 

Stand, 477 
Stoke Ford, 366 
Stonyford, 173 
Stony Middleton, 337 scg. 
Stuart (Lady Arabella), 446-8 
Sudbury, 51-2 
Sullivan (Sir Arthur), 276 
Surprise View, 328-9 
Swarkeston Bridge, 29-34 

Talman (William), 290 
Taylor (Dr.), 67-79 

(Joseph), 155 

(Martha), 374 
Tennyson, 388 
Thorpe, 98 

Thorpe Cloud, 97, 100, 108 
Thrale (Mrs.), 72-3 
Tideswell, 230 seq. 

Catch and Glee Club, 233 

Well, 235 
Tissington, i^o seq. 
Toad's Mouth, 327 
Topcliffe (Richard), 336 
Trent, 2 se</., 31, 36 
Tunstead Milton, 182 
Tutbury, 42-50 

Uttoxeter, 54-5 

Vernons (of Sudbury), 51-2 
Vernon (Sir George), 261, 274 seq. 

(Dorothy), 262, 274 seq. 

(family), 272-3 

(of Hazelbadge), 229 
Via Gellia, 475 seq. 


Wall (David), 463 

Walpole (Horace), 12, 271, 302, 304, 450, 

Walton (Isaac), 122 seq. 
Ward (Mrs, Humphrey), 191 
Wardlow Mires, 243 
Warner (Rev. R.), 12, 158, 163, 220, 401 
Waterpark (Lord), 53 
Watson (family), 255, 259, 265 seq., 292 

(William), 325 
Well Dressing, 56-7, 130-r 
Wellington Monument, 323 
Wesley (John), 355, 412-3 ■ 
Wessington Green, 454 
Westwood (T.), 122 
Whatstandwell, 426, 471 
Wheatcroft (Leonard), 464 
Whitcross, 330-T 
White (Capt. Jack), 184-5 
Whitworth (Sir Joseph), 384 
Willersley Castle, 396, 472 
William Clough, 194-6 
Willington, 40 
Win Hill, 7, 20s seq. 
Wingfield Manor, 439-42 
Winnats, 172, 213, 219-20 
Winster, 378, 475-6 
Wirksworth, 143, 416-25 
Woodlands, 198, 200 
Wood (William), 345-59 
Wootton Hall, 63 
Wordsworth, 113-4, 286, 383, 3S8 
Wormhill, 236 seq. 
Wraxall, 305 

Wren (Sir Christopher), 290 
Wrights»(of Longstonc), 317-8 
Wyatville (Sir J.), 157 
Wye (river), 2-3, 239 seq., 250 seq:, 279, 



Yew-trees, 53, 386-8 
Youlgreavcj 374-6 





Extra crown 8vo, cloth gilt, gilt tops, 5s. net each. 

Cambridge and Ely. By Rev. Edward 

CoNYBEARE. With Illustrations by Frederick L. Griggs. 
Also an Edition de Luxe. Limited to 250 copies. 
Royal 8vo, 21s. net. 
A THENAL UM. — "A volume which, light and easily read as it is, 
deserves to rank with the best literature about the county." 

GUARDIAN. — " One of the most attractive volumes of the series that 
has yet appeared. . . . Artist and writer have combined to give us a book 
of singular charm." 

Buckinghamshire. By Clement Shorter, 

With Illustrations by Frederick L. Griggs. 

WORLD.— ^' A thoroughly delightful little volume. Mr. Frederick 
L. Griggs contributes a copious series of delicately graceful illustrations." 

OBSERVER. — "A very full, pleasant, and informing book. . . . 
Mr. Griggs again gives us of his best." 

Middlesex. By Walter Jerrold. With 
Illustrations by Hugh Thomson. 

EVENING STANDARD.— "Y^^ay Londoner who wishes to mul- 
tiply fourfold the interest of his roamings and excursions should beg, 
borrow, or buy it without a day's delay." 

DAILY TELEGRAPH.—" K model of its class, for it is difficult to 
see how descriptive work of the kind could be performed with a more 
sympathetic and humane touch." 

Surrey. By Eric Parker. With Illustrations 
by Hugh Thomson. 

DAILY TELEGRAPH.— " Knthot and artist have combined to give 
us one of the very best books on the most variedly beautiful of the home 
counties. " 

SPECTATOR. — "A very charming book, both to dip into and to read. 
. . . Every page is sown with something rare and curious." 

Hampshire. By D. H. Moutray Read. With 

Illustrations by Arthur B. Connor. 

WORLD. — " Mr. Moutray Read has written a well-nigh perfect 
guide-book, and he has been thrice blessed in his illustrator, Mr. Arthur 
B. Connor." 

STANDARD. — "In our judgment, as excellent and as lively a book 
as has yet appeared in the Highways and Byways Series." 


Kent. By Walter Jerrold. With Illustrations 

by Hugh Thomson. 

PALL MALL GAZETTE.— " K book over which it is a pleasure to 
pore, and which every man of Kent or Kentish man, or ' foreigner,' should 
promptly steal, purchase, or borrow. ... The illustrations alone are 
worth twice the money charged for the book. " 

TRUTH. — "It will rank as one of the very best volumes in an 
admirable series." 

Berkshire. By James Edmund Vincent. 
With Illustrations by Frederick L. Griggs. 

DALL Y CHRONLCLE.—" We consider this book one of the best in an 
admirable series, and one which should appeal to all who love this kind of 

DAILY TELEGRAPH.—" The author shows himself in this book to 
be possessed of a pretty touch in descriptive writing, a good eye for country, 
and a keen interest in literary and historical associations." 

Dorset. By Sir Frederick Treves. With 

Illustrations by Joseph Pennell. 

STANDARD. — " Sir Frederick Treves is to be congratulated on a 
breezy, delightful book, full of sidelights on men and manners, and quick 
in the interpretation of all the half-inarticulate lore of the countryside." 

FIELD. — "This volume, in literary style, and happy illustration by 
the artist, is one of the very best of the series. " 

Oxford and the Cotswolds. By H. A. 

Evans. With Illustrations by Frederick L. Griggs. 

DAILY TELEGRAPH. — "The author is everywhere entertaining 
and fresh, never allowing his own interest to flag, and thereby retaining 
the close attention of the reader." 

COUNTY GENTLEMAN.— "-Ro better study of any well-marked 
division of the country has appeared. " 

Derbyshire. By J. B. Firth. With Illustra- 
tions by Nelly Erichsen. 

STANDARD. — "One of the brightest contributions to the ' Highways 
and Byways ' series. We have found Mr. Firth a careful guide, with a 
nice way of choosing from a great mass of material just such scenes and 
memories as appeal to the traveller of taste." 

DAILY TELEGRAPH— " Tht result is altogether delightful, for 
' Derbyshire ' is as attractive to the reader in his arm-chair as to the 
tourist wandering amid the scenes Mr. Firth describes so well." 


.Sussex. By E. V. Lucas. With Illustrations 
by Frederick L. Griggs. 

WESTMINSTER GAZETTE.—" A delightful addition to an 
excellent series. . . . Such beauty and character has the county, it re- 
quires of the writer who would do justice to Sussex a graceful and sprightly 
pen, as well as fulness of knowledge. Mr. Lucas is well endowed in 

■these things. His knowledge of Sussex is shown in so many fields, with 
so abundant and yet so natural a flow, that one is kept entertained and 
charmed through every passage of his devious progress. . . . The draw- 
ings with which Mr. Frederick Griggs illustrates this charming book are 

-equal in distinction to any work this admirable artist has given us." 

South Wales. By A. G. Bradley. With 
Illustrations by Frederick L. Griggs. 

TIMES. — " -A book which may be described honestly as one of the 
best of its kind which has ever been published." 

SPECTATOR. — "Mr. Bradley has certainly exalted the writing of a 
■ combined archaeological and descriptive guide-book into a species of 
literary art. The result is fascinating." 

London. By Mrs. E. T. Cook. With Illus- 
trations by Hugh Thomson and Frederick L. Griggs. 

GRAPHIC. — "Mrs. Cook is an admirable guide; she knows her 
London in and out ; she is equally at home in writing of Mayfair and of 
■City courts, and she has a wealth of knowledge relating to literary and 
historical associations. This, taken together with the fact that she is a 
writer who could not be dull if she tried, makes her book very delightful 

Hertfordshire. By Herbert W. Tompkins, 
F.R.Hist.S. With Illustrations by Frederick L. Griggs. 

WESTMINSTER GAZETTE.— " K very charming book. . . 
Will delight equally the artistic and the poetic, the historical and the anti- 
quarian, the picturesque and the sentimental kinds of tourist." 

ST. JAMES'S GAZETTE.— " C\2.m full ofinterest and entertainment. 
The county is singularly rich in material for gossip and comment, and Mr. 
Tompkins has made a very charming book from it. Nothing more can 
well remain to be said, yet all that is said in these pages is to the point." 

Lake District. By A. G. Bradley. With 

Illustrations by Joseph Pennell. 

ST. /AMES'S GAZETTE.— " A notable edition — an engaging 
volume, packed with the best of all possible guidance for tourists. For 
the most part the artist's work is as exquisite as anything of the kind he 
■has done." 

DAILY TELEGRAPH.—" Mr. Bradley has done his work amazingly 
well. His heart has been in his subject. Mr. Joseph Pennell has found 
abundant scope for his graceful art." 


East Anglia. By William A. Dutt. With 

Illustrations by Joseph Pennell. 

WORLD. — " Of all the fascinating volumes in the ' Highways and By- 
ways ' series, none is more pleasant to read. . . . Mr. Dutt, himself ani 
East Anglian, writes most sympathetically and in picturesque style of the 

North Wales. By A. G. Bradley. With 
Illustrations by Hugh Thomson and Joseph Pennell. 

PALL MALL GAZETTE.— "lo read this fine book makes us eager 
to visit every hill and every valley that Mr. Bradley describes with such 
tantalising enthusiasm. It is a work of inspiration, vivid, sparkling, and 
eloquent — a deep well of pleasure to every lover of Wales." 

Devon and Cornwall. By Arthur H. 

Norway. With Illustrations by Joseph Pennell and 
Hugh Thomson. 

DAILY CHRONICLE.—" ?,o delightful that we would gladly fill! 
columns with extracts were space as elastic as imagination. . . . The text 
is excellent ; the illustrations of it are even better." 

Yorkshire. By Arthur H. Norway. With 

Illustrations by Joseph Pennell and Hugh Thomson. 

PALL MALL GAZETTE.— "The wonderful story of Yorkshire's- 
past provides Mr. Norway with a wealth of interesting material, which 
he has used judiciously and well ; each grey ruin of castle and abbey he ' 
has re-erected and re-peopled in the most delightful way. A better guide 
and story-teller it would he hard to find." 

Donegal and Antrim By Stephen Gwynn. 

With Illustrations by Hugh Thomson. 

DAILY CHRONICLE.— " Ch&tmmg. ... Mr. Gwynn makes some 
of the old legends live again for us, he brings the peasants before us as they 
are, his descriptions have the ' tear and the smile ' that so well suit the 
country, and with scarcely an exception he has brought his facts and his 
figures up to date." 

DAILY TELEGRAPH— " K perfect book of its kind, on which 
author, artist, and publisher have lavished of their best." 

Normandy, By Percy Dearmer, M.A. With 

Illustrations by Joseph Pennell. 

ST. /AMES'S GAZET7E.—" A cha.munghoo\i. . . . Mr. Dearmer 
IS as arrestive in his way as Mr. Pennell. He has the true topographic eye. 
He handles legend and history in entertaining fashion."