Guides Index> "Days in Derbyshire"> This page
Hall's "Days in Derbyshire", 1863*
Eighteenth and nineteenth century tour guides about Matlock Bath and Matlock
Chapter the Sixth. Via Gellia, Stonnus, and Fox Cloud.
pp. 56-59

The Villa, an illustration in Days in Derbyshire
"Days in Derbyshire"
Next Page
Previous Page
Also see
About Matlock
About Matlock Bath
Find a Name

The Rutland Arms & Fairview Terrace

Masson Mill from Harp Edge, about 1900

In Via Gellia, Matlock Bath, 1903

The Pig of Lead Inn, Via Gellia, Matlock Bath, 1903

stonnis or black rocks

Illuminated letter A

[A]gain we quit Matlock Bath - this time by the south - for one of the prettiest rambles in England. In a previous chapter we mentioned Masson-mills, the Rutland Arms, and a cluster of cottages. Between those cottages Mr. Newbold's law-offices ascend an ancient road - probably as ancient as any in the Peak, and in its day as useful. It then goes along Harp Edge, forming a fine natural gallery there ; crosses over near to the Corn-mill, where Cromford ends in the Bonsall road, and where it has been somewhat trespassed upon by private interest ; and resumes its course through the fields towards Middleton and Wirksworth. At present we follow it only to the other side of Harp Edge, looking down as we go, upon Masson-mills, the foaming weir, Wild Cat Tor, Willersley (which may be truly proud of being seen from this walk), Scarthing-rocks and meadows, the bridge and church of Cromford, the lovely knolls and slopes on the way to Lea and Crich, and Crich-stand and church closing the distant scene - the Derwent curving beautifully right below us, much in the form of a letter U.

Some attempts have been made to stop this road, this "old line of rural liberty", but have not succeeded, and it is to be hoped they never will be renewed. Independently altogether of the exquisite views it commands, the road is very useful to foot passengers, many of whom on their way to work would have to go nearly half a mile round if it were stopped. If we are to be conservative of one right, let us be equally so of another. I do not think there is a man in England who would go farther round than myself to avoid an injurious trespass. I bless God for those laws and customs which have prevented estates from being divided and subdivided, as they otherwise might have been, till there was not an ample park or open range in the whole island. I believe that one of our statesmen was greatly misunderstood, when he was ridiculed for the noted couplet in which he prayed that whatever else might perish in England, ancient rights and privileges might remain. Let them remain : but let this be remembered, that property never more safely ensures respect for its own rights that when it sets a noble example of respect for the rights of the public. An old foot-path is a right as sacred to the public as is soil on each side of it to the private owners, and ought no more to be interrupted or duly narrowed than the land to be invaded. And now having vindicated our "right of way" let us use it on our ramble. As the road by Harp Edge winds along, almost every step we take gives us such a different grouping of objects as not only to startle but to entrance the gazer - presenting in one quarter of a mile a greater variety of landscape than many miles would give in the most picturesque neighbourhood I have elsewhere seen.

Descending the other side of the Edge, we have a view of the Corn-mill, with its mossy wheel and dashing water-fall ; but instead of passing over thither, we turn to the right, and by a little enquiry find our way to Bow Lea-side. This Bow Lea, so named in ancient times from its form - has latterly been most illogically corrupted to "Ball-eye". Had it been "Eye -ball" there would have been less reason for criticism ; there is no reason whatsoever for calling it "Ball-eye". But never mind the name ; we will rest upon its green and flowery pasture, while the song of birds and the wild bees hum chime with the sweet murmur of waters coming up from below ; and with a landscape so lovely, clothed as it were with a mantle of peace - that chain of bright ponds pouring one into another and rocks and trees forming a background so romantic - let us dream that we are lingering a little on our way to paradise. The most conspicuous rock before us is called Slin Tor - possibly a contraction of Slidden Tor - a name its appearance would somewhat justify. Half hidden by the foliage were many romantic crags we passed on Harp Edge ; and yon rocks opposite might be fancied the petrified surf of another wild wave of such scenery. Old lead-mines, with their thatched coes and primitive scenery, abound in each direction ; the road to Bonsall winds far blow us like "a mathematical line", and just by crossing the heights along the path we have described, then lingering here, the wanderer may feel himself the tenant of a little world apart, which he would be loth to leave but for the chance of some day coming again, - and perhaps when the tints of autumn or the frost of winter have changed without obliterating the quiet beauty of all around.

The bridle-road we are on passes away by a group of yews, where formerly stood a dwelling called the Hermitage, and where even yet are some remains of a garden - a scene about which linger some curious traditions - but we descend to the main road, and take our way by it to Bonsall, passing spots that would make the Londoner feel as if he were in a foreign land. How Swiss-like this little wooden erection by the babbling stream ! Even Simons's old fashioned paper mills and the other works we pass detract little or nothing from the wild and primitive air of the vale ; while the mines and quarries considerably add to it.

And now we arrive at Bonsall village - the sign of "The Pig of Lead", bearing a bald picture of that plain but ponderous article, staring us in the face as we enter. It is a very homely house ; but we have often had good and sweet refreshment there. Bonsall is one of those ancient little towns that boast of "once" having had a market, and the market-cross remains. A very striking and picturesque old house is standing near - no doubt a place of some note in days gone by ; the Church is a pretty object with its tapering spire ; mansions and several superior cottages smile from their pleasant positions as we wander about ; and a rivulet flows down the street, supplying the inhabitants with water and a joke. It is said that a rustic from Bonsall being once sent to a great house in London, on some errand requiring a special messenger, the servants made game of his homely appearance and language, asking him from what part of the world he came ; on which he replied, with an affected air of importance, "from Bons-all," laying great stress upon the closing syllable."Bons-all" said they, "where is that ?" "What !" he responded - " you, so clever as you are, and have never heard of Bons-all - a place that can boast of a hundred-and-fifty marble bridges !" Having by this piece of fun made them feel sufficiently abashed for their ignorance, he next won their goodwill and respect for his wit, by telling them of the stream that runs down the street, crossed at almost every house by a door- step of Derbyshire marble - thus forming his hundred-and-fifty marble bridges !

Many are the sweet rural nooks and pleasant walks about Bonsall ; but we return to "the Pig of Lead" and proceed up the Via Gellia - so called from the Derbyshire family of Gell, through part of whose ancient estates it runs. It is many a year since I first traversed the Via Gellia, on an early summer morn, companion of kind, impulsive Dan Shipley, who volunteered to be my guide, and of the wild rivulet which runs down between Middleton Wood and Bonsall Leas, from Grange Mill and Ryder Point, and receives a beautiful natural waterfall from Dunsley -spring by the way. In May these haunts abound with "lilies of the valley," which people come immense distances to see. In autumn, it is enriched with abundance of wild-fruit and foliage of every hue ; and in winter with frost-work of the rarest forms, - especially at the cascade from Dunsley-spring, which throws off "angel's wings" all along its descent from the brow of the hill to the little
Swiss cottage at its foot, - for "angel's wings" was the name my little friend, Wille Pratt, (now dead, poor boy, ) bestowed on them one cold winter-day, as he tried to sketch me the scene, while a young mountain-maiden stood by and applauded his effort with her dark, speaking eyes.

On arriving at Ryder Point Toll-gate, the rambler, if he has time, may stroll on towards Grange Mill, turning off to the marvellous calcined rocks, and cave, and curiously hewn chair, on Brassington Moor; or up, through a beautifully shaded lane, to Hopton Hall and Carsington. But lacking time for that, let us wind up this steep road that leads to Middleton-by-Wirksworth, pausing often and turning to ponder on the scenery around. What bright eyes have I seen gleaming - what subdued exclamations heard - of those round whom spread the wild and thrilling prospect, as they slowly climbed this winding road ! How throbs my soul as I think now of those who last accompanied me there - two of my friends, one so artistic, the other so psychological - and above all, she of whom I have since had to sing -

The Autumn days come round again ;
The hedges redden in the lane ;
The leaves grow golden on the tree.
And golden memories glow in me.

Yes, Autumn comes, but where art thou,
My loved and loving Sarah, now ?
'Tis but twelve months since we were wed.
And three months they have call'd thee dead.

Yet dead thou seemest not to me,
But living still in all I see :
Ev'n Nature thy dear form doth take
And look more lovely for thy sake !

Yon lake's deep blue, that mocks the sky,
Hath caught expression from thine eye,
Where oft I've read such depth of love
As could but come from Heaven above.

Yon hill with sunshine on its brow
Is not more noble than wert thou ;
And all the landscape borrows grace
From the sweet beauty of thy face.

And in those sounds so soft and low,
That with the light winds come and go,
It makes my drooping soul rejoice
To hear the music of thy voice.

Whence, too, these yearnings of the heart,
That form of life the truest part,
But that thy spirit comes to mine,
And upward points to joys divine ?

Much beauty have I seen on earth,
And much have known of human worth,
But human worth to me hath grown
More worthy, since I thine have known.

Then, Sarah dear, die not to me !
But live thou still in all I see.
In all I hear, or feel, or love,
Around, within, below, above -

That I may come, in that bright day
When all things false have pass'd away.
All wrongs forgiving and forgiven,
To be with Christ, and thee, in Heaven.

And now we have gained the shoulder of the hill, let us look once more around us before we quit the scene. Mine-hillocks, almost as thick as mole-hills, show how the country has been burrowed for lead in ages past, and yet are the miners burrowing and throwing out the results of their labours still. The Via Gellia winds below, and many a road winds down into it from the uplands, with such graceful curves as tell how even roads may help to beautify a rugged country. Yon waterfall, from Dunsley-spring, waves white and brightly down the opposite steep, and sends its voice to us across the deep vale. In one direction, the pastures spread away so far, as to make us feel, while they fade at last into union with the sky, the meaning of those familiar words, "the wide, wide world," - a lone farm there, somewhere else a remnant of dusky moorland, and now and then a dash of woodland, making isles in the else universal green of the landscape. To linger here, but for one new brick house, would be like living in times far back, there is something at once "so old and yet so new" about the scenery. It seems as if the pastures could only just have been rescued from the waste ; yet among the names of places are Ibol, Aldwark, and Grange, bespeaking British, Saxon, and Norman occupation. Nor is this feeling of antiquity much lessened as we come away through the large village of Middleton, with its rough-built houses, some of them in ruins, scattered among the groove-hillocks all over the hillside. As the birth-place of my warm-hearted mother, a chapter of whose romantic history is embodied in "The Peak and the Plain," this village may probably have faster hold of my feelings than it otherwise would ; but I love to linger among its grey old homes, to climb its steep and winding lanes, to talk with the simple people about their ancient traditions and curious mining customs, and to sympathise with their regrets, their humble hopes and pleasures.

"Let not ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys and destiny obscure,
Nor grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the poor."

I can remember when there were scarcely half-a dozen trees in all this place, and not a single corn-patch to be seen ; and as nearly all the income of the people depended on the scanty pasturage and their irregular "gets" in the mines, they had necessarily to be very simple and frugal in their lives. Yet were they peculiarly clean in their habits, honest in their dealings, and hospitable to a degree that sometimes tried their humble means to the utmost stretch. But the times have greatly changed even here. A church, several chapels, parsonage, and school, with here and there a house of a superior cast, gardens made the most of, trees waving in odd places, and now and then a small corn-field, have changed the aspect of the whole place since the old coach from Derby went through it, and across the deep Via Gellian Valley, to Manchester. How the coach ever got at all across such a rugged country, is a mystery it would require our skilful old friend Burdett to unravel - yet even he, though one of the best whips in England, once had his leg broken in driving on a much easier road since made through the Peak.

From Middleton we walk to Middle Peak, and thence look down into the peaceful valley of Wirksworth - the town clustering round its quaint and ancient Church, the pastures, dotted with mines and rural homes, spreading up to the hamlet of Bolehill and the wooded heights of Barrel Edge, (or Barrow-ledge - which ought it to be ?) Returning thence, we come along the road towards Cromford - first examining the stupendous rocks, so curiously perforated by old mines, above which Middle Peak rises. Or we can, if you prefer it, walk along the High Peak Railway, until we come to the foot of the Black Rocks, sometimes called collectively Stonnus - a corruption of Stone-house. This mass of grit-stones, viewed from any point, is very impressive - dark, ponderous and sublime. Some of its component blocks are like the hulls of large dismantled ships ; many of them have a resemblance to other familiar objects, natural or artificial ; the highest of them project the furthest ; and the whole is picturesquely surmounted by a waving plume of old pine trees. We climb to the top, and gain one of the finest views in Derbyshire. Rhodes, in his "Peak Scenery," seems to regard it as the finest. That is a matter of taste ; but, without doubt, it is one worth going any distance to see. Rhodes says of it - "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 structures of man seemed as nothing amidst the beauty and grandeur of the works of God."

I once lodged for about six weeks in one of the little cottages in the fields below ; and during the whole of that time never looked up in fine weather without seeing somebody on the top of Stonnus enjoying Rhodes's prospect. But there is a sort of little Stonnus below, about half a mile nearer to Cromford, called Fox Cloud, which though not commanding quite so wide a prospect, seemed to me to have one equally, if not more beautiful - looking many of the prettiest objects of the landscape in the face, instead of frowning down upon their heads. Resting there and musing, the scene so touched me on some occasions that I could not help rhyming about it. Here is the commencement of one of those little essays : -


Warm was the day on high Fox- Cloud ;
Bright was the blue sky o'er me ;
Behind frown' d Stonnus dark and proud,
And Matlock smiled before me.
To Willersley, that, like a queen,
Her summer state was keeping.
The Derwent came from valleys green,
And at her feet was weeping.

Bold Masson rear'd his royal crown
O'er all beside to heaven ; -
A king is Masson, looking down;
On mountains six or seven -
Protecting well his queen below
When wintry storms have found him -
His girdle, clouds ; his turban, snow ;
His guards, the wild rocks round him !

But winter lour'd not near him now :
Its chillness all forgetting.
The peasant upon Riber's brow
His harvest- scythe was whetting ;
The cottagers on Cromford Moor -
(So named, though moor no longer,
But pasture to the very door) -
Ne'er felt the sunshine stronger.

Bonsall's dim spire was hid in green ;
E'en Middleton, so hoary.
It bleakness lost in that warm scene
And shared the summer's glory ; -
While river-murmurings, deep below,
With woodland breathings blended ;
And natural music, soft and slow, -
A summer hymn, - ascended.

All, all was summer round me there :
Rich summer blooms were peeping
Among the verdure everywhere,
With, fragrance all things steeping ;
Until the drowsed and sated sense
Its charms no more could number,
So in that pleasant exigence
Resign'd itself to slumber.

Now it will happen oft that when
The sense is most suspended,
The spirit's ever wakeful ken
Will farthest be extended :
'Twas thus that mine, as there I lay
On that sweet bed of heather.
Went back through many a bygone day.
And brought this dream together : -


The morning twilight of an early world -
Darkness before it ebbing like a tide ;
Great rocky mountains over mountains hurl'd,
As though just launching on the prospect wide.
Then poised and anchor' d by the Almighty Guide
Where most for use and beauty they might rest ;
While waters forth began to gush and glide,
And vegetation strove to weave the vest ;
With which, in length of time, the peopled scene was drest:

Thus, hill and vale, crag, river, wood and wild.
In contrast, yet in harmony, were spread
On every hand below, or upward piled, -
Lessons of love, and reverence, and dread.
By man through long, long ages to be read ;
Till fitted for that bright and perfect day
When - every need for types material fled -
His soul, relit by a diviner ray.
Itself shall symbolise the Lord to whom we pray.


Hunter and warrior, here he comes ! a form
Brown' d by the sun and batter'd by the storm ;
A spear his weapon, and a skin his vest ;
His home a cave, hewn in the mountain's breast.
His mate, more melancholy if less wild,
Bearing upon her back their unclad child,
Through the woods gliding, cautiously and slow,
They pick the scanty fruitage as they go.
At length upon the river's brink they part.
For, lo ! his eye tracks far the startled hart,
And with a shout, a bound, its mazy flight
He follows fast, and keeps it still in sight.
As first the dale they scour, then climb the hill,
'Neath the bright, burning noonday panting still ;
And on the morrow he returns to tell
How twilight and his spear together fell
Upon his prey, remote, by some lone forest well !

While robed and bearded, on his rock sublime,
The hoary personation of old Time,
High-priest of Nature, with uplifted hands
To invocate her, now a Druid stands ;
As o'er the wide land, gathering as they go.
His votaries meet upon the plain below ;
And while his fires at eventide ascend,
In one acclaim their countless voices blend,
Then wait till morning from the horizon's verge.
Not without spiritual meaning, may emerge -
Eloquent emblem in that twilight age
Of holy tidings, when the world's new morn.
Shedding its beauty over history's page,
Should past and future with its rays adorn !


Next with his signals guiding far
Proud legions on to deeds of war.
The Roman, see, on Riber[1] standing
And all the country thence commanding ;
While Nature's children pass away,
And leave him undisputed sway !

The hunter hies him to his grot ;
The Druid on the rock is not,
But where his fires were wont to blaze
Another priest, to men-made gods,
In other language prays.

Yet, once again, a change - and lo !
The Roman even himself, must go ;
While Dane and Saxon scatter wide
Each remnant of his power and pride.


The reign of ALFRED - England's greatest king -
Perhaps her only one worth calling great !
Is it not beautiful to see him bring
A long-spoil'd country to so blest a state,
That tyranny, and want, and fear forgot,
Sweet peace and piety possess the cot !

The peasant in the valley tills the soil,
His crop from all marauding feet secure ;
The miner climbeth to his upland toil,
Knowing protection for his treasure sure ;
The maiden milks, the mother plies her wheel :
How could they else than blest and loyal feel ?

Thou grand old Monarch ! Oak o' er all the trees !
Thou Alp among the hills of history !
Proving that, spite of battle and of breeze,
Good ruling need not be a mystery.
O, that mankind could only learn of thee
How loyalty is one with liberty !

Well - thus far, or somewhat farther, I had got with my reverie, musing on the long centuries through which the district flourished much as Alfred left it - save when disturbed by the wars of the Roses and the Commonwealth, in which some of my own ancestors had won and lost. And then I dreamed of the changes wrought in turn by Arkwright and others - the former bringing a tribe of people from the Highlands of Scotland, with their household gods and some of their cattle, to settle in the valley below, as the revolutions of his spindles revolutionised the character of the whole neighbour-hood. I thought of his standing one day watching the motion of a great wheel, and saying that every time it went round he was a guinea richer; and of his meeting some objection to his family on the score of its want of antiquity, by quietly and wittily saying that "Noah was the first Ark-wright." But at this stage of my dream the shriek of the railway engine, "the horse with its long white mane," as it came up the valley and shot through the tunnel on its way to Rowsley, roused me to think of the still farther progress making in all things, and that I, too, ought to be doing something better than basking there, in such busy times, spinning idle rhymes.

The walk down from the neighbourhood of these rocks, through a succession of little cottage-crofts, to Cromford, is almost as delightful as the view from their top. It is doubtful if Willersley Castle is anywhere seen more in harmony with the surrounding country than from some of the pauses on this path - showing the good judgment with which Sir Richard Arkwright removed the huge rock that pre-occupied its site, to give it a position at once distinguished and retired. And any one wishing for an idea of what was once the more general character of this region, has only to go a little farther, across the Wirksworth-road, to find himself on another hill as rugged, as barren, and as clustered over with groove-hillocks as this is now covered with luxuriant herbage and cheered with pastoral life. In the steep mile between Cromford and Middleton there must be, one would think, at least a thousand such relics of olden mineral industry.

But to me, I think, about the most picturesque object in all this landscape was my eccentric old landlady - Jenny Wildgoose[2] - not the first name she had borne, for she had been thrice married, and was now again a widow. Poor old Jenny ! on my first inquiring for her, to ask about the lodgings, she cried out, before seeing me, - "Whu wants me ?" A stranger, I answered, wanting lodgings. "Hech, mon ! whu are ye ? let's hae a look at ye !" Well, was my reply, I'm a man at present somewhat lonely in the world, wanting a home, and a kind old mother who will be very good to me, and accept a little kindness in return : dare you take me in ? "Hech, mon alive ! I'm ber just a puir lonely old body mysen, and know what it is both to want kindness and gie it : dun ye stay out o' neets, and come home drunk ? " “Oh, no ! there's not much danger of that, for I'm there or thereabout a teetotaller : what are your terms ?" Six shillings a week, and find yersen, and they're two o'th nicest rooms i' aw Darbyshire ; and aw've got some 'oth' nicest picturs in em, and th' best collection o' minerals yo'n e'er seen; an aw'n got th' front door made up to keep awth' beggars and riff-raff out ; an th' finest rose-tree up th' house-end y'n ever seen ; a good garden, an' the best milk frae th' nicest cow i' aw'th neighbourhood." And I soon found myself in a room with a floor charged with chronic dampness and rheumatism ; a pile of mineral specimens on the mantel-piece, large enough for a museum, but without much arrangement ; pictures on the walls daubed by a former lodger, whom she described as one of the greatest artists ; a bad atmosphere caused by the permanent closing of the door ; and in the sturdy little old woman herself a strong opinion that she was a sort of duchess out of place, and that she was descended from one of the most ancient and distinguished families in Britain. In short, everything connected with her, immediately or remotely, had something superlative about it ; and she was wont to assert with great confidence and gravity that, if she "had her reets," she would be a person of very high rank and fortune, and "able to visit Mrs. Arkwright with a carriage and four." According to her own account, her maiden name was Talbot; she was born at Linlithgow, and was one of the bonniest lasses in Scotland ; she had first, while very young, married a man from Cromford, a soldier in a marching regiment, "one o' th' finest lads that were ever seen," and had gone with him to Ireland where they staid some time. They afterwards came to reside here, among his native scenes, when he had the misfortune to be killed by the machinery in one of the cotton mills. She then married another man, who according to her description must have been a strange compound of Wesleyanism and worldliness, with whom she was very unhappy, but of whom, and of the people who had tried to reform him, she had learnt abundance of religious phraseology. He in turn died, and then she was married to a very old man of the name of Wildgoose, "the kindest of them all," but who shortly left her, as I then found her, a widow once more. "Hech, mon alive!" she exclaimed, "I've had a world o' troubles - a world o' troubles !" And in what, I asked, have you found consolation through them all ? "Why," she replied with the most candid tone and serious look imaginable, "in reading th' Bible and Scott's and Cooper's novels !"

I staid with the poor old woman about six weeks, occasionally rambling out, enjoying the scenery and some of the homely but intelligent society of the neighbourhood, sometimes writing and getting her - a concession of which she made much capital and interest of obligation - to let me ventilate the room by opening the front door, for she seemed to have a positive horror of ventilation. But at length the time for my departure came, nor did I leave that old cottage by "the Cloud," without regret : for, whether by sunlight or moonlight, or when the stars alone gave dim visibility to surrounding objects, it was certainly one of the loveliest spots I had ever dwelt in ; and the old woman said that I should never find another equal to it. She also assured me on parting, seventy years old as she was, that she should yet arrive at her proper position and affluence, and would then be very happy to allow me to come sometimes as a visitor ! Thanking her for her condescension, I left her - it was on the 3rd of August, 1849 - and gave her at parting the following very simple scrap of verse : -

"Old cottage on the mountain's breast -
The widow's and the wanderer's rest !
The wanderer leaves thee still to roam,
The widow finds thee still a home.
When all their toils and cares are past,
May both find Heaven their home at last !"

Well - I had left the place scarcely more than three months, when a young and friendly acquaintance with whom I had had many a kindly joke about Jenny's eccentricities and pretensions, wrote me that she was really expected to come immediately, by the right of heirship, to immense estates, which would place her in the very position to which she had always said she was entitled ! In fact, a barrister of high standing, who had been consulted, was so sanguine as to offer her a handsome sum certain, and take all the risk of consequences, if she would give up the rest to him. But this she declined.

A few years afterwards I was going through Cromford. It was on the day of a great horticultural show at the schoolroom, and there among the company was poor Jenny. We were of course very pleased once more to crack a joke together, which we did on her assuring me, in her old exultant tone, that a prize had just been awarded to her for "some of the finest parsley in England." But Jenny, said I, have you got your estates yet ? "Hech, mon alive ! no, not quite ! There's only a little whipper-snapper of a child, a weakly thing of about nine years old, between me and possession ; but I think he wunna live long, an' then I shall come to 'em !"

Alas, alas, for all poor Jenny's hopes ! A few years more had passed away, and I was again on Fox Cloud with my scientific and philanthrophic friend, Dr. C. T. Pearce. From the Cloud-rocks we went into the old woman's chamber, and there she lay, with no ambition left, but calling upon the name of the Great Healer of us all, for the only consolation she could now hope to receive in a lingering death by cancer in the breast ; - while "the little boy of nine years old" had grown up to promising youth-hood, with every prospect of enjoying the long-looked-for estates. - Such, and others still more strange, were among the vicissitudes of Jenny Talbot, the soldier's lassie from Linlithgow, and who soon after that visit breathed her last, on the edge of Fox Cloud. Often, while lodging with her, I told her that some day I should write her history, when her general reply was "Hech mon alive ! it's sae wonderful, if it wor ber aw told, it' ud mak one o'th' finest bukes as ever wa' written ; but there's mony a thing in it I shanna tell you !"

Gresley's Bonsall Cross

*Transcribed by Ann Andrews in March 2020 from:
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.
With my grateful thanks to Ray Ash who provided photocopies for me to OCR.
Image scans © Ray Ash collection with the wood engravings of The Black Rocks near Matlock Bath at the top of this page and the one of Bonsall Cross at the bottom, both by J. Gresley, © Ann Andrews collection.
Intended for personal use only.

Additional notes:

[1] There was a footnote at the bottom of the page, in which Hall notes that "There are still Remains of a Roman Station on Riber".

[2] Jenny (Jane) Wildgoose can be found in a number of Derbyshire records. Her first husband was possibly William Holmes as there is a record of a child baptised to them in Cromford on 1 Aug 1802. She married Benjamin Pidcock of Wirksworth at Matlock on 16 Apr 1804 and their son, Benjamin, was christened at the Wesleyan Chapel on 8 Oct 1816. He and his wife were living with Jenny in Cromford in the 1841 census. Her third husband was Richard Wildgoose of Cromford, whom she married on 8 Nov 1824 at Wirksworth. Richard was buried at Wirksworth, aged 58, on 6 Feb 1834. The announcement of her death was published in the Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal on 11 December 1857: Wildgoose. — At Moor-side, Cromford, the 2nd inst, Mrs. Jane Wildgoose, aged 81.