PEAK SCENERY or THE DERBYSHIRE TOURIST
by E RHODES
From South Winfield, a walk of about two miles brought us to Crich, one of the most populous villages in the neighbourhood. – It occupies the summit of an immense limestone hill, that overlooks all the eminences around it. On a cliff, near the village, a circular tower has been erected, which serves as a land-mark amongst the hills of Derbyshire. This lofty structure, and the tall spire of the church, make a part of-nearly every landscape in this mountainous district The tower is ascended from within, and from the top of it a view is obtained of a wide extent of country, intersected with roads, rivers, and canals, studded with villages and houses, vales and eminences — in some places bright with sunny fields — in others, dark with masses of intervening wood; the whole presenting to the eye of the spectator ah immense panorama of interesting objects.
As we entered the village, we found the inhabitants in the full enjoyment of one of their most important festivities, and as merry as high spirits and good cheer could make them.
Friendly Societies, or, as they are called here, Sick Clubs are established in every village and hamlet in the Peak of Derbyshire that are sufficiently populous for the purpose; and where they are not, they have a more enlarged operation, and the vicinity is included. The object and the constitution of these societies are so generally understood, that it is useless in these pages to enter into detail on the subject; but in Derbyshire they appear to excite a peculiar interest, and all their annual festivals are held on the same day. When we left Ashover, in the morning, preparations were making for this general holiday. The villagers were collecting together in their best apparel, and decorating their hats and wands of office with ribbons: such was the scene at Ashover. At Crich, where we arrived a little after mid-day, the inhabitants had formed themselves into a regular procession, and were parading the village, accompanied with a band of music. On these occasions each man carries a wand in his hand, which is usually painted with different colours, and adorned at the top with ribbons. The wands of the officers of the society are tipt with gold, and otherwise ornamented, by way of distinction. The people of Crich seemed delighted with the bustle, and all was frolic and hilarity.