|Darley Dale, Oaker Hill (One Tree Hill), 1900-10
William Adam, writing in 1840, described how Oaker, or Oker,
Hill attracted attention because it appeared to have a solitary
tree on its summit though closer inspection revealed that
there were actually two trees on the hilltop. Adam quoted
a poem written by William Wordsworth which tells the story
of two local brothers:
" '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 mingle. - Eternity!" - WORDSWORTH
Timothy Spencer Hall made a similar observation to Adam in
"We spoke just now of Oaker Hill: what an interesting
feature in the landscape it is, with its beautiful peak, and
its coronal of trees - two trees, but at many points of vision
so united that no one could imagine them two".
A few years later, in 1868, James Croston wrote of the brothers:
"The top of Oker (sic) Hill forms a sloping plateau
of some extent; near the southern verge are two sycamore trees,
which are said to have been planted by two brothers, who, separating
here, resolved that they would part for ever. The tradition
states that such was the case, for each taking a different
direction, they never met again".
Both Hall and Croston quoted from the Wordsworth sonnet.
The photograph above, probably taken between 1900 and 1910,
shows just one tree remained, also confirmed by the late Leonard
Potter. The picture
still belongs to the Potter family, whose ancestors lived in
a Georgian house below the hill at the beginning of the twentieth
century. The image also shows a close up of a dry-stone wall,
a method of wall building commonly used in Derbyshire.
Oker (or Oaker) Hill with the hamlet of Oaker at its foot.
Four young boys were paddling in the river.
Of the properties in the hamlet, the house immediately
below the tree is almost certainly
Baslow Cottage where the web mistress's great aunt lived
in the late 1940s.
The picture below is part of a multiview card in the Matlock section of this
Go to card
1. Photograph of One Tree Hill, Darley Dale kindly donated by
Denis Potter © 2004..
2. "Oker Hill and R. Derwent, near Matlock". Published
by C. Colledge, Stationer, Matlock [before 1918 and probably
before 1911]. Unused.
3. Part of "Matlock". Published by The Loca-Vu Photo Co., Fargate,
Sheffield. Not posted
Written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
With my grateful thanks to Ray Ash for providing the quotations
from Hall and Croston. Intended for personal use only
 Adam, W. (1840) "The Gem
of the Peak" London; Longman & Co., Paternoster
 Hall, Spencer Timothy (1863) "Days
in Derbyshire ..." With sixty illustrations by J.
Gresley (artist), Dalziel Brothers (illustrators). Simpkin,
Marshall and Co, Stationers' Hall Court, London, and printed
by Richard Keene, All Saints, Derby.
See the transcript
of the Matlock and Matlock Bath section
elsewhere on the site.
 Croston, James (1868) (2nd Ed) "On
Foot Through the Peak; or a Summer Saunter Through the Hills
and Dales of Derbyshire", Manchester: John Heywood,
141 & 143, Deansgate. London, Simpkin, Marshall & Co.
transcript of the Matlock and Matlock Bath section elsewhere
on the site.
 Notes of his boyhood memories
made by Leonard Potter, aged 74, owned by Denis Potter.