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Bemroses' Guide to Matlock ... , about 1869*
Eighteenth and nineteenth century tour guides about Matlock Bath and Matlock
From the Black Rocks to the Parish Church

The Bridge at Matlock, Bemrose
Bemroses' Guide
Matlock's Scenery
Caverns, Rocks, Museums, Church
Bath to Dale
Black Rocks to Parish Church
High Tor & Antiquities
Matlock Bank & Riber
Walks & Places of Interest
Mr. Smedley's Hydropathic Establishment
Walker's Museum
Matlock House & Rockside
Royal Cumberland Cavern
Clark Greaves
Radfirth & Stevenson
Midland Railway 01
Midland Railway 02
Further Information
About Matlock
About Matlock Bath
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Engraving of illuminated letter R and showing The Black Rocks
Image scan © 2004 Ann Andrews

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-


-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.

Engraving of Matlock Bath from the Black Rocks, about 1869. You can see Willersley Castle, Cromford Mill, Masson Mill, Matlock Bath Church, South Parade, the Heights of Abraham and High Tor. What a view!
Image rescanned 2008 Ann Andrews
Matlock Bath
from the Black Rocks.

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.


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.


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 of view.

The situation of MATLOCK, like most of the adjacent district, is singularly picturesque, and may be described in the pregnant words of the poet Rogers :-

"The scenery, rock and shrub-wood, Nature's own ;
Nature the architect."

*Transcribed from
'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.
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