Guide to Matlock ... , about 1869*
|Eighteenth and nineteenth century
tour guides about Matlock Bath and Matlock
From the Black Rocks to the Parish Church
| p.36 THE RETURN TO MATLOCK
Returning from WIRKSWORTH
to MATLOCK BATH, opportunity may conveniently be taken, by passing
along the road towards Cromford, to ascend the celebrated BLACK
ROCKS, collectively called STENNIS or STONNIS - a popular corruption
of stonehouse - a mass of grit stones, "dark ponderous,
and sublime," surmounted by waving clusters of old pine-trees.
From the summit of these Rocks there is a really magnificent
prospect of wondrous beauty which the author of "Peak Scenery"
regards as the finest in the county, and in flowing raptures
exclaims - "I stood on the top of Stonnis - masses of rock
lay scattered at my feet - a grove of pines waved their dark
branches over my head-far below, embosomed in an amphitheatre
of hills, one of the finest landscapes that nature anywhere
presents was spread before me. The habitations of men, some
near and others far apart, were scattered over the scene; but
in the contemplation of the woods and rocks of Matlock-Dale,
the windings of the Derwent, the pine-crowned Heights of Abraham,
and the proud hill of Masson, they were all forgotten; the struc-
p.37 MATLOCK PARISH
-tures of man seemed nothing amidst the beauty of grandeur of the works of God."
Lower down, about half-a-mile nearer Cromford, there is
another enjoyable eminence, known as FOX CLOUD, whence a
view of the country, less comprehensive but equally beautiful,
may be obtained. The route to Matlock-Bath is remarkably
pleasant and suggestive for throughout its entire course
the contemplative mind, tuned to harmonious meditations on
the wonders of creation, may find at each step.
" Tongues in trees,
Books in the running brooks, sermons in stones,
And good in everything."
Should the tourist be disposed to stayawhile at MATLOCK- BATH,
there is no place where more agreeable accommodation can be found
for a lengthened residence, and none from which excursions to
the adjacent districts can be made with greater pleasure and
convenience. Nor is any locality richer in natural curiosities,
places of modern interest, or historic remains of antiquity.
The drive to the Parish Church of
MATLOCK (proper), which is nearly two miles distant
from Matlock-Bath, passes the prominent rock known as the HIGH TOR,
and through a tract of country which exhibits to advantage the
peculiar scenery of this romantic dale. The village is pleasantly
situated, partly in a valley and partly on the side of a hill
on the eastern banks of the river Derwent, a little way from
the main road, At its entrance is a neat stone bridge, at a
short distance from which, on the verge of a romantic rock,
the Church dedicated to St. Giles raises its grey turret, shrouded
by trees of luxuriant foliage. The building is an old embattled
structure, having an ancient tower with pinnacles whimsically
sculptured with grotesque gurgoyles.
| p.38 MATLOCK CHURCH.
The interior consists of
a nave, aisles, and chancel; the roof is arched, and covered with
paintings, consisting of the four Evangelists and other scriptural
and allegorical subjects. From the cross-beams of the Church are suspended
some funeral garlands, which it was the custom - now obsolete here
- to deposit on the burial of young maidens, in accordance with a
practice thus noticed by Washington Irving, as prevalent in remote
villages. " A chaplet of white flowers is borne before the corpse
by a young girl, nearest in size, age, and resemblance, and is
[The engraving, FUNERAL GARLAND
IN MATLOCK CHURCH, is elsewhere on this site.]
afterwards hung up in the church. These chaplets are sometimes
made of white paper in imitation of flowers, and inside of them
is generally a pair of gloves. They are intended as emblems of
the purity of the deceased, and - the crown of glory which she
has received in heaven."
The allusions to the custom of laying "garlands on the hearse"
are very frequent in the writings of the old poets.
| p.39 THE HIGH TOR
The Church contains no ancient monument of note,
unless we may so designate that of Anthony Woolley, proprietor
of Ryber Hall, who died in 1578, and Agnes his wife; although
the records of the manor date back to the time of the Norman Conquest.
A handsome Independent Chapel, in the Gothic style; with a spire,
has just been built, and forms a pleasing object from many points
The situation of MATLOCK, like most of the adjacent district, is singularly
picturesque, and may be described in the pregnant words of the poet
"The scenery, rock
and shrub-wood, Nature's own ;
Nature the architect."
'Bemroses' Guide to Matlock, Bakewell, Chatsworth, Haddon Hall,
&c' by John Hicklin, Third Edition, pub Bemrose and Sons,
London (no date, but about 1869).
Reproduced here with the very kind permission and help of Sonia Addis
Smith, whose book this is from
OCRed and images scanned by Ann Andrews, 2001 - 2004.
|The following may also be
Photographs, Postcards, Engravings and Etchings