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Matlock High Torr &C, 1751 and 1776
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Matlock High Torr &C
The River Derwent runs from the bottom of this Vast Rock whose perpendicular height above the Water is 354 feet
Published Dec 1751 by T Smith

Thos Smith ----
J[ames] Mason Sculpt

An idyllic rural scene on the banks of the River Derwent below High Tor. In the first image, above, a milkmaid is standing close to the riverside track, with three cows on her left and probably her milking pail on the ground to her right. She seems to be talking to a [young] man who is reclining on the ground near her feet. On the track itself is a stooping man with a long stick who is walking away from the pair. He is smoking a pipe whilst leading his donkey. On the far side of the riverbank, between the cows and the young woman, is an entrance to a lead mine. Although it is not easy to see, there is a small house on the hillside on the right which is surrounded by a stone wall. This was part of the property that Thomas Brentnall sold to Samuel Bown in 1790[1]. There is a clearer view of it on Francis Chantrey's 1822 drawing. The cottage was eventually demolished when Tor Cottage (the High Tor Hotel) was built.

A second version of this was published in 1776:

A View of the Rock call'd Matlock high Tor in Derbyshire (1776).

Although both images seem to be from the same original source, there are several differences between the two. The milkmaid, the cows and the man she was speaking to in the 1751 picture have been removed in the second image. The sheep in the left hand field under the Tor have also gone. However, in the middle of the same field is something that could be a place where the lead was smelted. Yet the landscape and the man with his donkey are identical. The narrow trackway from Matlock Bridge into Matlock Bath curves round the right hand side of the river bank, just above the water's edge.

"Further on .... you come to a point of bare rock, from which you look down a precipice of 500 feet absolutely perpendicular ; the river breaking over fragments of the rocks, soars in a manner that adds to the subliminity of the scene. The shore of wood is very noble. From hence, following the edge of the precipice, you come to another point, from whence you have a double view of the river beneath, as it were in another region; to the left the great rock rises from the bottom of a vast wood in the boldest stile[sic] imaginable" (Beauties, 1776).

Enlargements of parts of the 1776 image

Lead mine entrance.
This adit must have provided access to the southern
continuation of Seven Rakes (High Tor Rake)[2].
Detail, showing the Brentnall property that was sold to the Bowns.

Other pages relating to these images:

Chantrey, 1822

High Tor photo

High Tor and
Tor Cottage
(later Tor House)

High Tor
Guest House

High Tor & the

Rock Face

Phoebe Bown
Phoebe Bown

Images from the same book as the second image or in other volumes of the work:

View of
Matlock Bath

Crumford near
Matlock Bath

Read poems about High Tor on Matlock and Matlock Bath: Inspiration of Poets
Henry Moore's engraving of High Tor from his drawing in "Picturesque Excursions From Derby to Matlock Bath, 1818".


1. Etching of "High Torr" from the collection of and © Susan Tomlinson.
2, 3 and 4. A "Copper Plate Cut, neatly engraved" images published in "A New Display of the Beauties of England: or, A description of the most elegant or magnificent public edifices, royal palaces, noblemen's and gentlemen's seats, and other curiosities, natural or artificial, in different parts of the kingdom ..." Published London: R. Goadby, 1773, 1774 in 2 vols. The 2nd ed. published 1776. This engraving from Vol. II. From the collection of and © Ann Andrews.
Information written and researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] With thanks to Colin Goodwyn for his research: "Plot 324 consisted of 20 perches, allocated in Matlock Enclosure Award of 1874 to Thomas Brentnall, and the adjacent plot 323a was of 10 perches, which was awarded to Samuel Bown. Brentnall sold his plot to Samuel Bown on 2 February 1790. The plots are shown on the Award map. This whole area was known as Common Wood and was part of Matlock common land being enclosed by that Act".

[2] Also from Colin Goodwyn.