The Gentleman's Magazine Library> This page
The Gentleman's Magazine Library, 1731-1868
English Topography Part III Derbyshire - Dorsetshire
Gents Mag Library
The Gentleman's Magazine Library Index
Next Page
Previous Page
Editor's Preface
Index of Names

[Page 36]


[1794, Part I., p. 297.]
If you think the enclosed sketches of a remarkable perforated rock in Dovedale will be acceptable to your readers, they are very much at your service. Fig. I is a view of the entrance of a cave called Reynard's Hall, as seen through the arch. Fig. 2 is a view of the arch from the inside of the cave; at about twelve yards from

[Page 37]

this is another cave, called Reynard's Kitchen. See the plan of these caves at Figs. 3 and 4.

The many Druidical remains that are to be met with in the Peak afford reason to suppose that this sequestered and romantic valley would not escape the notice of the Druids; the projecting and high-pointed rocks, the caves, the once venerable oaks, were well suited for the performance of their solemn rites. The approach to the cave, through the arch, which appears partly to be formed by art, has a striking effect, and I think it is not improbable that these caves might have been the habitations of the principal Druids of that district; and if the tops of these cliffs were to be closely examined, I do not doubt but that sufficient Druidical remains would be discovered to confirm my opinion.

Yours, etc., H. R.

[1794, Part II., p. 807)
The engraving (Plate II. ) is a view near the entrance of Dovedale, from Ashbourne, in Derbyshire. The ground begins to rise at the above place. Thorpe-cloud and its majestic brethren are conspicuous for many miles round, but are seen to most advantage from the Wirksworth road to Ashbourne. The singular shape of the Cloud, detached from all the surrounding hills, aided by the barrenness of the whole, composes rather a gloomy landscape. It is, perhaps, rather worthy of remark why Nature has thus, in many spots, denied its bounty, and separated, almost by a line, luxuriant verdure from bleak desolation. The contrast in this neighbourhood is particularly marked. Nothing can exceed the richness of the grounds round Ashbourne. Every eminence produces variety. Yet I cannot help thinking much of the beauty of the place is lost, in some instances, by the wretched taste of whitening churches and houses for objects. ... I am not quite certain whether I am right in the orthography of Thorpe-cloud, as I write it merely from the remembrance of the words as they were pronounced; if I am not, some of your correspondents will oblige me by setting the matter right, and giving the origin of the name. The hill has much the appearance of a volcano-a perfect cone, separated from the chain by the Dove, which makes an elbow at the base of it. A very good road has been carried for some distance up the dale by a gentleman whose name has slipped my memory. Very few places that I have seen present so dreary an aspect as the commencement of Dovedale. This, perhaps, was heightened by my being alone; for my only visit to this place was in the year 1790, when totally unacquainted with the country and its inhabitants. To my shame I have frequently been at Ashbourne since, but never at Dovedale. It was, unfortunately for me, a wet uncomfortable season, and after many attempts I reached the spot represented in the print. The very singular shape of the cone and

[Page 38]

those pointed rocks induced me to draw them; no doubt had I advanced I should have been amply gratified by a more variegated scene. My propensity to climb the tremendous sides of the hills was totally damped by hearing the horrid catastrophe of the Dean, and lady ; a false step is irrecoverable on those steeps.


[1823, Part I, p. 603.]
The river Dove, so emphatically described by Cotton as "princess of rivers," was the spot where he and his friend Walton delighted to lie and angle for trout, and where Cotton, in 1674, erected "a small fishing-house," dedicated to anglers. It is thus described in the notes of the "Complete Angler," edit. 1784, p. 21 :

"It is of stone, and the room in the inside a cube of about 15 feet; it is paved with black and white marble. In the middle is a square black marble table, supported by two stone feet. The room is wainscoted, with curious mouldings up to the ceiling; in larger panels are represented in painting some of the most pleasant of the adjacent fences, with persons fishing; and in the smaller, various sorts of tackle and implements used in angling. In the further corner, on the left, is a fire-place, with a chimney; and in right, a large beaufet, with folding-doors, whereon are the portraits of Mr. Cotton, with a boy servant and Walton, in the dress of the time ; underneath is a cupboard, on the door whereof are the figures of a trout and also of a grayling, which are well pourtrayed."

But little care having been taken of this highly-distinguished "fishing-house," I am sorry to say it has fallen to ruin. When the well known and amiable Rev. Dr. John Evans, of Islington, visited this house, the inscription, half filled with moss, was almost obliterated. "I clambered" (says Dr. Evans*) "through the window with difficulty ; but of the interior decorations, alas ! no traces were to be found." Yet the person who accompanied him as a guide informed him that the "little building" (as he termed it) was in his remembrance enriched with those rural decorations described above, and that persons were in the habit of visiting it from a considerable distance, even from Scotland.

The scenes on the banks of the Dove are not less romantic than that of any river in England. It rises among hills near the points where the three counties of Stafford, Derby and Chester meet; it has much the quality and appearance of Welsh rivers, which flow from a mountainous origin. The beautifully sequestered dell of Dovedale, † embosomed among bold projecting precipices, whose lofty tops are covered with trees, is situated not far from its source. Emerging from its hollow bed, under the pyramidal mountain of

[Page footnote]
* "Juvenile Tourist," third edition (1810), p. 218.
† See views of Dovedale in vol. lxiv., pp. 297, 807, 1073.

[Page 39]

Thorpe-cloud, it receives the Manifold, which receives the Hamps. Increased by the accession of these rivers, the Dove passes beneath a long picturesque bridge, situated in a most romantic spot, about a mile above the village of Ashbourne, one of the most delightful in England, whether we regard the charms of its situation, or the select society by which it is inhabited. From thence the river runs along in a winding direction through a narrow valley, agreeably diversified by a variety of elegant seats and hamlets. Meandering round the base of the hill on which the celebrated ruins of Tutbury Castle present themselves, it soon after falls into the Trent. From the great declivity of its channel, the water flows with uncommon rapidity, and in some places it dashes precipitately over rugged rocks, shaded with foliage. In others it is distinguished by gentle cascades.

S. T.


[1795, Part I., p. 477.]
Fig. 1 in Plate III. is copied from an old brass in the church at Dronfield, Derbyshire, on which are eight Latin lines, in the old black letter, in memory of John Fanshawe, of Fanshawe Gate, and Margaret, his wife, and seven of their children, one of whom died in 1580. The arms, crests, and figures are not disposed on the stone as they stand in the plate. I accidentally omitted to note their relative situations when I rubbed them off, and therefore thought it better to place them as they are than arrange them wrong. I shall add nothing farther at present relating to Dronfield, as I purpose, with your permission, at a future opportunity to describe the road from Chesterfield to Dronfield.


[1819, Part 1., p. 305.]
The neat market-town of Dronfield, in the hundred of Scarsdale, county Derby, is pleasantly situated in a valley remarkable for its salubrity. It is distant 6 miles north-north-west from Chesterfield, and 155 miles from London. The number of houses in 1811 was 271, of inhabitants 1,343. There was no church here at the time Domesday Book was compiled, but one was probably erected soon after the Norman Conquest, by one of the family of Brailsford, who early possessed the advowson. Henry de Brailsford bestowed the benefice on the neighbouring abbey of Beauchief. It was appropriated to that monastery in 1399, and a vicarage endowed in 1403.* Very soon after this regulation was erected the present handsome chancel (see Plate II.), which for beauty and grandeur is exceeded by few parochial churches. It is remarkable that this chancel is

[Page footnote]
*A copy of the Ordination is given by Dr. Pegge, in his "History of Beauchief Abbey."

[Page 40]

more lofty than the nave. All the fine tracery which once, no doubt, ornamented the east window has been barbarously removed.

The church is a handsome Gothic structure, 132 feet long, with a spire.

In the south aisle is an ancient monument to Sir Robert Barley, of Dronfield Woodhouse. In the chancel are memorials of the families of Fanshawe, Burton, Barker of Dore, Morewood of Hallowes, Rotheram, etc.

Dr. Pegge supposed that the rectory of Dronfield was granted to the Fanshawe family. The rectorial tithes have lately been sold to the several landowners. The vicarage, which in 1730 was augmented by Queen Anne's bounty, is in the gift of the Crown.

Henry Fanshawe, Esq., Remembrancer of the Exchequer, founded a free school* here in 1579.

The classics have not been taught here for many years. The school, which is open to boys of any parish, is conducted on Dr Bell's system. General Fanshawe, an officer in the Russian service, is the present patron of the school, as representative of the founder.

J. P. M.


[1792, Part I, p. 13.]
Duffield is a neat little town in Derbyshire, four miles from Derby, in the turnpike-road to Wirksworth ; the approach to it finely diversified with Cultivation, gentle rises, and fine prospects of the river Derwent meandering through delightful meadows. The church is faithfully represented in the annexed drawing (Plate II.). At this town was formerly a castle, and near it a forest, belonging to the family of Ferrers.† The bridge, of which I also send you an exact drawing, is some little distance from the main street of Duffield, and near the church. It is the road from Derby to Chesterfield, passing Higham, etc. There are three pointed arches of considerable height. The river at this place may be about 120 feet wide, very rapid, and, a little above shallow and stony. Here may be said to commence that long chain of rocky hills, of which Matlock, Dovedale, etc., make so conspicuous a part. From the bridge the hill is composed of loose stones and sand, and so steep and difficult of ascent that it is impossible for horses to drag the loaded coaches which pass that way, it is therefore common for the driver to request the passengers to alight; and I think it must be considerably above a mile that we walked before it became sufficiently level to take to the coach. This road must ever remain so, as the soil will ever subject it to

[Page footnote]
* The Orders for the government of the School are printed in Mr. Carlisle's "Endowed Grammar Schools."
† See Camden, vol. ii., p. 306; from a communication of Mr. Mander to the Society of Antiquaries, 1763

[Page 41]

gullies from the rain rushing down, Indeed, this part of the county is greatly improved of late, by enclosing and fertilizing many of the hills, which formerly presented nothing but stones and heath. Near this place is Winfield manor, a fine old ruin.

Yours, etc., J. P. MALCOLM

[1792, Part I., p. 201.]
I return you the drawing (Plate I.) of Duffield bridge, near Derby, of which an account was given in page 13. There were at the time of the Norman Conquest a church and priest at Duffield. The present church is dedicated to St. Alkmund, and once belonged to the collegiate church of Our Lady, in the Newark at Leicester. It contains little worth notice, except an altar-tomb of Sir Roger Minors and his lady; and when I saw the church last there was water in it to the depth of two feet, owing to a flood which had deluged the neighbourhood.



[1795, Part II., p. 826.]
The village of Eckington lies a few miles to the east of Whittington, so famed for the scene of the revolution in 1688. It is of considerable size, and the rectory is one of the richest in Derbyshire. The Rev. Christopher Alderson, LL.B., is the present incumbent, to whom his successors will be much indebted for the elegant improvements he has made at the rectory; which vies with many of the best houses in the country for real taste in its decorations. Mr. Alderson is very happy in disposing pleasure-grounds, and has been, I am told, employed at Frogmore. Some specimens that I have seen deserve much praise, particularly at Ford House, Derbyshire. He has made as much as he could of the confined limits at Eckington, as will be seen in some degree by the print accompanying this (see Plate II.). Facing the house there is a pretty piece of water, across which he has thrown a handsome bridge, and at one end placed a rustic temple. The church is a good old building, clean, and in repair. It has been much improved by a handsome organ, put up by Mr. Alderson. There are no monuments worthy the attention of an antiquary in Eckington Church. It is in the gift of the Crown.

Yours, etc., J. P. MALCOLM.

Hardwicke Hall.

[1797, Part I., p. 280.]
Hardwicke Hall is a grand object in so many points of view, that I have been tempted to present it to your readers (see Plate II.).

Hardwicke was built in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and

[Page 42]

possesses all the features of sublimity that we attach to the fanciful and well-painted edifices of our best romances.

It belongs to the Duke of Devonshire, and is situated in the vicinity of Chesterfield and Mansfield.

"The state apartments, fitted up by the Countess of Shrewsbury for the reception of the Queen of Scots, and on account of the designed visit of Queen Elizabeth, remain in their primitive state," with the original furniture, to this day, and deserve to have a large and accurate account preserved of them, as a means of conveying to the curious, in times to come, an exact idea of the ancient style of living, and of the manners of that peculiar age."*

There are many ancient portraits in a long and magnificent gallery ; but the house appears almost too large for our modern mode of living.

The brasses marked Fig. 2 are those described by R. G. in vol. lxiv., p. 15, from Chesterfield Church.

Yours, etc., J. P. M.

Hault Hucknall.

[1799, Part I, p. 449.]
As you have lately given us in your entertaining miscellany some curious specimens of ancient churches, I have sent you a drawing (Plate I.) of Hault Hucknall Church, in the county of Derby, which, I think, has evident marks of its great antiquity. The entrance appears to have been at the west end, over which, in a semicircular compartment, are some disproportionate figures in rude sculpture (Fig. 2), which probably refer to some passage in Scripture. Those below, which are on a blackish stone, were undoubted intended to represent St. Michael and the Dragon. The position of the tower is very remarkable, being at the east end. May not this be one of the few ancient stone churches built by the Saxons? At least, I should imagine it was erected soon after the Norman Conquest. There is nothing remarkable in the inside except the monument of the famous old Hobbes. On a black marble slab is the following epitaph:

"Condita hic sunt ossa THOMÆ HOBBES, Malmesburiensis qui per multos annos servivit duobus Devoniæ comitibus, patri et filio. Vir probus, et famâ eruditionis domi forisque bene cognitus. Obiit anno Domini, 1679, ætatis suæ 91."

The living is a vicarage, in the gift of the Duke of Devonshire, and formerly belonged to the Abbey of Croxton, in Leicestershire, and afterwards to the Priory of Newstead. The parish includes the hamlets of Rowthorn, Stanesby, Astwood, Arstoff, and Hardwicke.

The church is about a mile from Hardwicke Hall, where the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire generally spend two or three months in the autumn with great hospitality. The house is in every respect

[Page footnote]
* Mr. King, in Archæologia, v., 361.

[Page 43]

comfortable; and the duchess has of late very judiciously placed all the family pictures in the long gallery, which greatly adds to the respectability of that fine old mansion.

H. R.


[1793. Part I., p. 105.]
Kedleston Church (see Plate I.) is a rectory, dedicated to All Saints. The building is more remarkable for the astonishing load of ivy hung upon its walls than for size or beauty of design. It is surrounded by Lord Scarsdale's noble mansion and offices, and has been the place of sepulture for his ancestors for many ages. A number of monuments, some ancient and decayed, and others quite modern, adorn its mouldering walls. There are in the pavement, near the altar, two massive pieces of oak (circular) with rings to lift them. They excited my curiosity, and Lord Scarsdale's servant obligingly lifted them. They closed two Gothic circles; at the bottom of one was a head of stone in chain-armour, in the other a female with drapery folded round the head. There is no inscription near that may lead to who they were, though, no doubt, some of the Curzons. Whether it was a fancy of the designer of the tomb, or that the pavement may have been raised, is now not to be discovered. I have never seen anything of the kind before. Another ancient tomb of the Curzons in this church, on which are the effigies of the persons it was intended to commemorate, with bas-reliefs of their children - as is common on numberless altar-tombs - has given rise to I know not what vulgar tradition of the lady's having had a number of children at a birth, and one dropping somewhere and being lost. I do not contend that I am quite correct in the particulars of this wonderful story, though it has been repeated to me almost every time I mentioned the church when in Derbyshire. The two modern monuments, I think, were designed by Mr. Adams, the architect. They are large, of statuary marble, and beautifully sculptured. Those are near the altar: The old tombs are in a kind of chapel, formed of .the south transept of the cross, in which shape the church is built.

Yours, etc., J. P. MALCOLM

Elsewhere on this web site

Ault Hucknall Parish Church