On Sunday he went to the Abbey church "a fine pile of building, - but sadly out of repair in some parts: Was much struck with the interior, especially the ceiling, which has a very singular appearance, & is of a very peculiar construction".2nd August 1830 (Monday)
"Walked over to Tittenhanger Green (about three miles from St.Albans)
- The residence of W.Swainson Esq. a gentleman well known for his
various works on Natural History. - saw his collections, which are
chiefly rich in Brazilian Birds and insects".
"Proposed leaving St.Albans early this morning for Derby, - but in
consequence of the general election every where going forwards, - I
could get no place in any of the coaches till 3pm" then he could only
go to Northampton, in an inside seat, forty miles cost him £1. He got
there at 8.30pm "found the town all in confusion in consequence of the
contested election, which had been the cause of serious riots that
morning between the opposite parties. - Shops all shut up; - windows
broken & military out. Took up my quarters at the Angel Inn for the
night, but could get but little rest from the noise&disturbance in
"Was glad to leave Northampton at 2pm for Derby" he noted the changing
geology on the way, sandstone then red marl and rolled quarts pebbles
through Market Harborough and Leicester, in the fields were cattle,
"a large breed having very long horns that bend towards the face". He noted that the hay was still out in many places. Further on he noticed in a village a sign on a door "I Outon, Housebreaker" he humoursly comments "the only instance in which I ever heard of this trade being carried on in so open & avowed a manner" (Demolition).
He arrived at Derby at 10 o'clock at night "& was much annoyed at finding it to be the time of the assizes & also of the races, in consequence of which I with difficulty got a bed. This I procured at the Tiger Commercial Inn:- But indifferent accommodations".
He found Derby "a pleasantly situated town" and counted it's five
churches, the principal one, All Saints "a remarkably neat & elegant
structure with a richly ornamented Gothic steeple that towers above
the adjoining buildings to a height of 180 feet.
A tradition extant that this tower was built at the sole expense of the bachelors& maidens in the town; & that it was formerly the custom when a young women, a native of the place, was married, for the bachelors to ring the bells". He was shown the elegant altar piece painted by Mr. Rawlinson in 1817 and a "very elegant" monument by Chantry, to the memory of a Mr Bateman and his two daughters. He also saw the old pulpit, "taken out of the old Romish Church, - & like wise a curious old tombstone, having the figure of a priest, as large as life, holding up a sacramental cup" the cup bore the date 1400 "it was discovered when the church was rebuilt many years back".
To get away
from the bustle he set off on foot with what he could easily carry,
for Ashborne and Dovedale "about 13 or 14 miles N.W. of Derby", he
collected plants on a ridge about four miles from Ashborne.
at Ashborne at 6pm "took up my quarters at the Wheatchief Commercial
Inn, second rate but one of the principal ones in the place". Ashborne
was a market town "presenting nothing striking in itself. - but
"Set out immediately after breakfast for the celebrated Dovedale,
which lies about 4 miles to the N. of the town". Someone offered him a
lift but he preferred "the independence of being on foot" he went by a
"rocky & highly romantic lane in which he collected a good many
plants. "About halfway is the small village of Mappleton, remarkable
for nothing but a public house of which the sign is a gate with this
inscription under it -
This gate hangs well &hinders none, Refresh & pay, and travel on.
Beyond this, & nearly half a mile from the Dale,
is another public house where resides four old women who get their
livelihood by pileting strangers to the place & shewing the lions,"
they charged from half a crown to five shillings and Jenyns hired one.
She thought his botanical box was for painting, but when it was
explained that he collected plants, she set about this with enthusiasm
and almost forgot her duties.
"Botany soon forgotten by me, amid the highly beautiful and romantic scenery "a valley through which the river Dove winds its way, rolling its waters in a somewhat hurried manner over a pebbly bottom".
This was surrounded by precipitous walls of Carboniferous Limestone && bear on their sides huge masses of rock of every whimsical shape that can be imagined, to which the guides gave as many whimsical names" some were: Old Castle, the Seven Sugar Loaves, "it was near here where poor Dean Langton was killed; our guide did not forget to tell the story, & to point out the stone on which his dead body was laid out, as well as the bush which caught his daughters hair".
Other rocks named "Dove Dale Church & 12 Apostles"
Reynards Hall & Kitchen "very steep & scrambling work to get at them"
and Lions Head, Lion's Den, Sword Rock, Snuffbox and Captain's Hole,
and so on. He liked "The Straits" where the mountains narrow where
there are sometimes stepping stones to cross the river.
Halfway up the Dale they met the party who had offered him a seat in
their car, one gentleman was disappointed by what he had seen. "My
guide seemed much mortified at hearing this, & in rather an indignant
tone whispered to me - she was sure that the man was an American, -
was much amused by her test of a Yankee". He then went on to Bunster
Dale and across the fields to Ilam in Staffordshire "a small ancient
village" here two subterranean streams suddenly rise in the pleasure
grounds of a Mr Port "the grounds and gardens belonging to this
gentleman abound in pleasing walks & commanding prospects, on which
account they are always open to the strangers who are admitted to them
gratis & without paying any fee to the person who shows them" the
attractions included caves and an old secluded grotto that used to be
the favourite retreat of the poet William Congrave, and, in which he
wrote his "Comedy of the Old Batchelor", about the year 1693.
went to Ilam Church "a neat building - the tower covered with ivy"
inside he saw the monuments to the Cromwell family, and in a little
chapel to the N. of the chancel a "very splendid one of modern date in
statuary marble to the memory of a Mr David Pike Watts, who is
represented lying on a sofa reading the Bible to his wife & 3 children
standing by the side :- executed by Chantry ... in this chapel is a
very remarkable echo". He walked back to Ashborne by the road, noting
that their were no stiles here but "two upright stones from 3 to 4
feet high are erected, leaving a slit between them which a man of any
moderate size finds considerable difficulty in squeezing thro'"
was of a very slim build, so if he had problems... In the evening he
visited the church at Ashborne and was struck by a white marble
memorial by Banks, to the six year old daughter of Sir Brooke Boothby
who died in 1791 "perhaps the most beautiful & interesting thing of
the kind in England".
He walked back the 19 miles to Derby, enjoying the views all the way,
everything here was made of stone, walls, gateposts, cottages, and
barns "a proof of its abundance". He dined at Belper "a town chiefly
noted for its extensive cotton mills, belonging to the Messrs.
Strutt, in which between 1200& 1300 find daily employment:- the noise
of the machinery at work heard all over the place, - sounding like a
hard rain. Very elegant church. Walked to Derby in the evening ;- 8
miles further... was glad to find the town in a more quiet state than
when I left it".
"Forenoon wet; - visited Hall's sparworks:- after which weather being
more fair, walked to Little Chester, a small village.. about half a
mile from Derby, supposed to have been formerly a Roman station...
noted two buildings that appeared to be of great antiquity". In the
afternoon he went the other way, sauntering "as far as Swarkeston
Bridge, remarkable for its great length, said to be more than three
quarters of a mile: It crosses the Trent & a number of low meadows
adjoining, - & is in fact a raised road upon arches, more than a
"Went to Kedleston House, the celebrated seat of Lord Scarsdale -
about 3 miles N.W. of Derby; - a splendid mansion, with very costly
apartments, in which are a fine collection of pictures, well worth
being seen: the house stands in a noble park, 7 miles in circumference
It is open to the public every day excepting Sundays between the hours
of 11 & 2."
He set off on foot for Matlock a distance of 17 miles, and passed
through Duffield "in which there appeared to be extensive
manufactories of different kinds", he was told of a small coal mine
about three miles to the east, that produced small coal provincially
called "Slack used in the manufactories" any large pieces used
domestically. "Great numbers of carts and waggons are constantly met
with by the traveller in every part of Derbyshire - laden with these
immense flakes of coal which are piled up on one another & present a
singular appearance to the eye of a stranger; - in consequence of the
heavy drey for the horses on these sandy & very uneven roads, - the
waggons are all provided with a stock of anti-attrition grease. kept
in cow's horn that may be seen hanging from the side of the carriage:-
drivers obliged frequently to stop & apply the mixture to the parts of
the vehicle which suffer most from friction"
The rich pasture land was let for from 5 to 7 pounds per acre "an enormous rental for the times. Nothing can be more interesting than the road from Belper to Matlock; scenery of the most engaging description, & becoming more & more beautiful as one approaches the latter place. Reached Matlock about 4 in the afternoon & took up my quarters at the Old Bath Hotel".
Matlock was "greatly to my taste and liking, whatever others may think
of it". At Matlock Bath he admired the "craggy precipices & cliffs of
limestone" he found the place with its winding walks that wind through
the woods most romantic "they are kept neat for the accommodation of
the public :- these are termed the "Lovers Walks" [view from bridge to the Lovers Walks]. On he went to
Matlock Village where he was struck by the appearance & position of
the church, which stands on the verge of a precipice & is beautifully
decorated with trees". He climbed up a hill called "Riber" where two
years before some stones that were supposed to have been Drudical had
He returned to the "walks" collecting plants and then crossed the river to Matlock Bridge Gate and took the road to the opposite end of the valley, passing the New Bath Hotel "which with the one where I was staying are the only Inns of any note in the place:- Beyond this is a large Cotton Mill belonging to Mr Arkwright, & a little further on - Willersley Castle the residence of that gentleman, who allows his grounds & gardens to be open to the public twice a week, tho' the house itself is not shown" he liked the gardens with its many views "particularly that from the terrace before the Castle".
The fruit gardens impressed Jenyns especially the trained gooseberry
bushes on walls without any leading branches "one or two of the
lateral shoots had reached the enormous length of 39 feet, & shewed an
abundance of fine flavoured fruit".
The gardner took him to some "lofty eminences" named Hay Tor, Wild Cat
Tor or Lover's Leap" from which "the most beautiful prospects present
themselves" of the Dale and the river below. On his return he went to
look at the wooded passage "blasted with gunpowder" into the limestone
called "Scarthin Nick"
He began the day looking at the petrifying wells at Matlock Bath.
Considerable amounts of money were taken by the owners of these baths
by charging entrance, but Jenyns wasn't impressed "the water contains
a good deal of lime in solution which is deposited gradually on any
substance exposed to its influence; - these therefore are only cases
of incrustation & not petrifaction properly so called", it took nine
months to cover an item with the "stony matter". Jenyns then went to
see the "different museums in the place, for the exhibition &sale of
minerals & fancy articles in spar and marble; of these the principal
belongs to Mr Mawe & is well worth seeing" all the exhibitions were
without admission charges or they would be "not likely to attract many
visitors". He went up the steps at the back of the Old Bath Hotel to
see the Dungeon Tor and Fluor Cavern "places possessing no great
interest, tho' much fuss is made about them by the proprietors: indeed
the same remark is applicable to most of the other lions of this
nature in Matlock".
Fluor Cavern "is a natural excavation in the ground of
no great dimensions - whose sides are chiefly formed by crystalized
spar". He went a little up the hill to the Speedwell Mine "into which
I descended: depth not great, only 50 yards" and only recently worked,
he saw narrow veins of lead "the chief produce" with spar and barytes.
He walked on up to the top of Masson Hill [alt. 1076 feet] enjoyed the
view and collected plants, then took the footpath to Matlock Bridge "a
pleasing walk over much broken & rocky ground, interspersed here&
there with wood",and collected some more plants. He crossed the river
and went to the top of High Tor "a remarkably bold & prominent
limestone rock which is said to rise 400 feet above the Derwent"
Jenyns set geologising the face "the upper part is the First Limestone
of Geologists; - &that part of the precipice that is covered with
trees, is the First Toadstone; the rock hence to the river, is the
Second Limestone; I found this rock very hard & with great difficulty
yielding to the hammer; it was white and approaching to crystalline".
At the top more plants caught his attention then made his way back across fields, then via a steep hollow lane to Cromford and on to Bonsal Dale. This he found delightful "the road winds by the side of a broad stream on which are a succession of little cascades; beyond it are high rocks & steep declivities covered with wood & mantling foliage of every description". He sauntered on to Bonsal then returned enjoying every step, to Cromford, and entered Matlock Dale by Scarthen Nick and so to home.
The morning was spent inspecting the medicinal springs, the one at the
back of the Old Bath Hotel was in a cave or grotto, where the water
rushed out into a basin beneath. The water temperature was 68øF., that
of the grotto 64øF. and outside 62øF. He then spent two or three hours
rambling and collecting plants in the Lover's Walks "amid the deep
shade of this romantic retreat", after crossing the river he walked up
the Heights of Abraham, a ziz-zag path, through plantations of trees
with "grand views of Matlock Dale". About half way up he went in
Rutland Cavern and went through a long narrow passage before it opened
out, in all about 100 yards long. In the limestone he saw "toadstone,
galena, & crystals of Carbonate of Lime". At the far end was a small
pool with a few fish put there by the owner a some months before "they
appeared to thrive, tho' it was not easy to say how they supported
themselves; we observed they rose greedily to catch at the tallow
droppings from our candles".
Sunday meant church, he chose divine service in Cromford Chapel" a
small neat building started by Sir R.Arkwright and completed by his
son. "Cromford, being only a Hamlet annexed to Wirksworth, has no
parish church of its own or burial ground. - Yet it is said to contain
near 1200 inhabitants".
Leaving Matlock behind he headed for Bakewell, stopping at the village
of Darley "pleasantly situated on the banks of the Derwent" he admired
the enormous yew in the churchyard "said to be the oldest and largest
in the kingdom. - Stopped to contemplate this venerable tree for a
considerable time, which measures in girth 33 feet. - Darley Church
appears very ancient:- Copied the following epitaph from one of the
In the fields beyond
Darley he noticed that beans and wheat were growing together, he had
not seen that before!
He liked Haddon Hall, "it is the most perfect specimen of an old Baronial Castle now existing: has not been inhabited for 157 years. yet all the rooms remain just as they were formerly, - with the furniture untouched, & the tapestry still hanging to the walls, over which in one apartment, the ivy grows - having gained an entrance by the broken window.
Was shown a splendid state
bed which occupies one of the upper rooms, & is of the richest kind,
the drapery & curtains being of dark crimson velvet& covered with
embroidery". The outer walls and courts were overrun with moss and
lichens, many of these up to ten inches in diameter. He found the
place interesting but a "melancholy picture of deserted antiquity, &
calls up forcibly to ones mind many solemn reflections upon the
silent lapse of time".
After dinner at Bakewell he strolled over to
examine the church and churchyard and he admired the "remarkably
handsome saxon doorway" at the western end, and the "curious old
monuments to the memory of the Vernons and Manners' of Haddon Hall"
all at least 200 years old.
To the south-west of the church was an antiquated tomb, he copied the "whimsical epitaph; - but time will probably soon efface the characters which are now only to be read with great difficulty"Know Posterity, that on the 8th of April in the year of grace 1757, the rambling remains of John Dale were, in his 86th year of his Pilgrimage, laid upon his two wives. -
The night was spent at the "one excellent Inn, the Rutland Arms" a
resort for anglers as the Inn had fishing privileges over the river
Wye and its Trout fishing, the Inn was filled with "rods & tackle, and
a thumbed and dog's eared Izaak Walton [1593 - 1683, The Compleat
Angler] is to be found in most of the rooms".