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Bemroses' Guide to Matlock ... , about 1869*
Eighteenth and nineteenth century tour guides about Matlock Bath and Matlock
The High Tor and Antiquities

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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p.39 [continued] THE HIGH TOR.

The HIGH TOR, which is unquestionably one of the grandest objects in Matlock Dale, is, close to the Railway Station, and is a majestic rock of stupendous grandeur, towering to the height of 396 feet, and presenting to the surrounding country a massive rampart of extraordinary beauty and sublimity, whose lofty summit reaches to the clouds, and whose base is washed by the rushing waters of the Derwent. It is, as Mr. Croston well describes it, "a vast and imposing mass of limestone, with a bold convex front, lifting its precipitous height more than three hundred and fifty feet above the vale below. The sloping base is covered, for a considerable way upwards, with a dense tangle of underwood, hazels, honeysuckles, wild roses, and brambles; from the midst rises a profusion of trees of different kinds: the elegant mountain ash, the pale drooping willow, the gnarled and knotted oak, and the delicate pensile birch, mingling their leafy branches in a density of luxurious verdure; beneath which the graceful Derwent glides along, frequently hidden by the overhanging trees,


that fling their broad leafy boles over its sparkling waters, subduing the dazzling brilliance with their sombre shade; at times it becomes impetuous and even turbulent, as, wasting its strength in whitened foam, it dashes over the rocky fragments that impede its course; then again it subsides into a rippling current, and carols merrily, like a talkative companion, by the side of the wayfarer." The upper portion of the High Tor, for more than one hundred and fifty feet, presents one vast mass of naked perpendicular rock, indented with rents and fissures, from between which peep out tufts of grass, and shrubs, and flowers, with here and there a few stunted trees, that seem to have sprung spontaneously from the openings. Seen in all aspects, the High Tor is grand and impressive, but in the glimmer of the broad moonlight it is unspeakably beautiful and picturesque. Opposite to this majestic rock, the river is spanned by a little wooden bridge, which leads to the HIGH TOR GROTTO. The roof and sides of this really natural excavation are encrusted with a profusion of crystallizations of calcareous spar, chiefly of the scalon dodecahedron and double pyramid or dog-tooth shape. When lighted up by the guide, the effect of these natural crystals, glittering like rarest gems, is peculiarly brilliant. There is no cave which can be examined with more ease and comfort, and there is none, which from the splendour of its minerals, and the character of its construction, can be inspected with greater interest and satisfaction. Near the extremity, the path gently descends, the roof becomes lower, and a clear pool of water is reached, beyond which the rocks close in, and further progress is obstructed. The tunnel of the railway passes through the High Tor, and the effect of the rolling of the train, as heard in this grotto, resembles the rumbling reverberations of distant thunder.


The grounds of the High Tor have been latterly enclosed and laid out for public walks; so that the summit of the stately rock is now approachable with great ease and enjoyment. The approach is reached by crossing the railway bridge, turning to the left, and then passing under the line on the right, when the Entrance Lodge will be seen to the left of the roadway.

Before leaving Matlock, however, we must not omit to mention, for the information of inquiring archaeologists, who are desirous of tracing the footsteps of the ancient invaders of Britain, that some vestiges of their settlements have been found in this locality.

A Roman pig of lead, 17½ inches long, and 20½ at bottom, weighing 173 pounds, was found on Matlock Moor , in the year 1787. The following. inscription appears in raised letters on the top :


Another, weighing 126 pounds, was found on Cromford Moor, near Matlock, in the year 1777, having the following inscription in raised letters on the top :


A third was found near Matlock in 1783, weighing 84 pounds, 19 inches long at the top, and 22 at the top, and four and a half at the bottom, inscribed thus :


Various erroneous conjectures have been formed respecting some parts of these inscriptions, especially the LVT., which have arisen from their having been inaccurately copied. In the third inscription this occurs more at length, LVTVD, and is unquestionably a contraction of Lutudarum, the Roman station mentioned in Ravennas next to Der-


ventione, and which there is great reason to suppose was the present town of Chesterfield. This last-mentioned example of Roman antiquity was presented by Mrs. Adam Wolley to the British Museum, where that found on Cromford Moor is also deposited.

Resuming our railway route, we pass from Matlock-Bath Station, through the High Tor Tunnel, cut in the solid rock; emerging from which, the scenery is exceedingly pretty and diversified, although cut up, as it were, by natural effects, into a series of miniature landscapes.

Engraving of Matlock Bath : High Tor Tunnel (about 1869)
Image Scan Ann Andrews, rescanned 2008
High Tor Tunnel Matlock Bath

*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.
The following may also be of interest
Lead Mining
High Tor & Railway Station, Matlock Bath, 1862 - another vignette engraving
Matlock Bath Station and High Tor
Matlock Bath : Midland Express Passing Through the Station
Matlock Bath's Last Station Master