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Ashbourne: Poems about a Derbyshire Town
A Genealogy and Local History Resource on The Andrews Pages web site
Four poems.
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Two rhyming epitaphs from the mid-seventeeth century and two short pieces from the early nineteenth century.


Since that pale death, hath stopt the breath,
   Of Learned William Wain,
Friends and Allies, dry your wet eyes,
   To Weep it is in vain.
He's in the Dust, where all men must,
   Ere long interred be,
Whilst he liv'd here, he did appear,
   A Learned man to be.
Of judgement great, tho not so neat,
   In words, as many are,
But for his parts, in learned Arts,
   With most, he might compare.
Yet they can tell, that knew him well,
   He was not puff'd with Pride,
Nor soared high, ambitiously,
   But humbly liv'd and dy'd.
And in his Grave, as in a Cave,
   This learned Rabby lies,
Where he must stay, till that great day
   That Christ shall say arise.
Then Learned Wain, must rise again,
   From dusty earth and clay,
To judgement just, (as all men must)
   And after live for aye.



Here lies inter'd, one that deserv'd,
Great Honour, Praise and Fame,
Who comely was, and did surpass,
Most of her Noble Name.
In liberallity, and Hospitallity,
This Lady did delight,
Muses rise, do not despise,
Her praises to indite,
Yea ring her knell, her praises tell,
She humble was, though great,
Her comly parts, and humble heart,
Her prayses may compleat.
A comly Creature for form and feature,
Proper and tall of stature,
Noble hy Birth, lies in the earth,
Death conquer'd comly nature.
This Flower was, cut down like Grass,
Which flourished many a day,
She quit the Stage, in her old age,
Grimm Death, took life away.
God call'd for her, she made no stir,
But yielded patiently,
She knew full well, none need her tell,
All mortal men must die.
To Rich and Poor, respect she bore,
She did no sort despise,
She patiently did live and die,
And so she clos'd her eyes,
Now in the Dust (as all we must)
Ere long interred be,
This Lady is, Lord bring to Bliss,
Her whole Posterity.

The poet Edward Manlove was a lawyer and the Steward of the Barmote Court for the lead mines within the Wapentake of Wirksworth in the seventeenth century. He is probably best known for a lengthy rhymed chronicle published in 1653, the 'Liberties and Customs of the Lead Mines --- composed in meeter', for the use of the miners. He lived at Ashbourne, and would have known the subjects of his poems, but was buried at Wirksworth on 13 Nov 1671.

George Canning, later to be British Prime Minister, visited the Boothbys at Ashbourne Hall:[3]

"So down thy hill, romantic Ashbourne glides
The Derby Dilly carrying three insides ;
One in each corner sits and loyys at ease,

With folded arms, propt back and outstretched knees ;
While the pressed bodkin, pinched and squeezed to death,
Sweats in the midmost place and scolds and pants for breath."

The Derby Dilly was the Derby Diligence, a stage coach which plied the route between Manchester and London - via Ashbourne. Canning's poem described what it was like inside the carriage, travelling downhill into the town, on one of his visits. J. D. Firth was later to say this road to Derby "climbed a fearful hill". It was a hill so steep that they had to cut another, less steep[3]!.

Tom Moore[4]

Those evening bells ! Those evening bells !
How many a tale their music tells
Of youth and home and that sweet 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 darly 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.

Tom Moore lived in a cottage at Mayfield for about four years. whilst there he wrote Lalla Rookh, a "fantasy oriental splendour". It is widely believed that Ashbourne's parish church inspired the lines. He worshipped at St. Oswald's between 1813 and 1819.

More poems about places in Derbyshire:
Matlock & Matlock Bath: Inspiration of Poets is a large anthology about the former spa of Matlock Bath and hydropathy centre of Matlock.
Poems about Bonsall.


[1] Llewellynn Jewitt, (ed.) "The Reliquary" Vol. I, p.58. William Waine can also be found on List of the Vicars of Ashbourne's parish church.

[2] Llewellynn Jewitt, (ed.) "The Reliquary" Vol. 3, p.103. Anne Cokaine was the daughter of Sir John Stanhope of Elvaston, wife of Thomas of Ashbourne and Pooley and the mother of Sir Aston Cockayne

[3] Firth, J. B. (1908) "Highways and Byways in Derbyshire", MacMillan & Co., London, p.66. It came from "The Love Triangles", a satire on Darwin's "Love of the Plants".

[4] The first line of Moore's poem was quoted in many newspapers. Much rarer was finding the whole poem! The poet appears to have lived at the cottage at intervals between the years 1813-1817 (Hobson, (1839) "The history and topography of Ashbourn, the valley of the Dove : and the Adjacent Villages" ...

Related pages:

St. Oswald's Church, exterior

St. Oswald's Church, in

QEGS, Old School

Ashbourne is mentioned in the following on-site transcripts:

Derbyshire's Parishes, 1811, Parishes A
The Gentleman's Magazine Library, 1731-1868. See p.5 under Public Edifices and Seats.
Also: The Gentleman's Magazine Library, 1731-1868, p.7 History, p.10 Eminent Natives.
Also: The Gentleman's Magazine Library, 1731-1868, p.11-12.

The Wolley Manuscripts, Derbyshire section

William Gregory's poems © Susan Tomlinson collection.
Page designed and researched by and © Ann Andrews, whose grandmother was born in the village.