which consists of the villages of Crich, Fritchley and Whatstandwell


W. Adam

Thank you to George Wigglesworth for bring this book to our attention.

Transcribed by Peter Patilla


Only pages relevant to Crich Parish have been transcribed.




THIS little book originated entirely in the fact stated at the commencement. Seeing that a stranger was so impressed with the dales through which he was led ; and committing the first rough sketch of our route to the inspection of a friend of mine, I was induced to continue it ; and now it is completed, I can only say I carefully went over every step of the ground to make my notes, in order to give those precise directions and that information so needful to the stranger, artist, angler, or tourist, who may be pleased to take a summer's ramble over Derbyshire.

I should add that I have been much encouraged in the prosecution of the work, by the number of copies ordered by my friends and the public, I may say without solicitation ; and I here beg to tender them my most grateful thanks, and hope it may meet with their approbation, and that of the public generally.

Matlock, 1861


very good fishing, providing he has obtained permission from the Messrs. Strutt to do so. Near Ambergate the Shining Cliff commences, called so, we believe, from the great number of beech trees that once existed here ; and some still remain, which give to the wood a bright appearance, compared with the character of woods in general. The gritstone now begins to rise in lofty cliffs, profusely covered with luxuriant foliage.
Some of the finest oaks in the kingdom, lofty and very straight, have grown on this cliff. The railway, after sweeping across the valley, passes through the east end of the cliff by a cutting and a very short tunnel ; then crosses the river and road by a viaduct to Ambergate station. We pass under this and immediately obtain a remarkably fine view up the valley for some miles, confined within lofty hills, rich in hanging woods and water. Crich Chase bounds the right, and the shining cliffs and hills above it, the left of the valley. The old bridge leading to Alderswasley, the seat of Francis Hurt, Esq., occupies about the middle of the view. The whole of this property belongs to this gentleman, who has kindly placed the right of fishing at the disposal of Mrs. Burley, landlady of the Bull's Head inn, two miles higher up at Hotstandwell Bridge (Whatstandwell), to whom all parties must apply for permission. This lady has long managed one of the most comfortable and beautiful little inns in the kingdom, and most pleasantly situated, too, to the Derwent : good rooms, delightful views of the scenery, and comfortable quarters.
But we have shot a-head. The toll-bar here is placed at the cross roads leading from Ripley, Buckland Hollow, &c., which join the main road at this point ; and being also close



to the confluence of the Amber river with the Derwent, we presume it was called Ambergate, and hence the station above was so denominated. Here is the junction of the Midland line with that of Matlock, Buxton, and Manchester. A series of lime kilns will be observed near by, first established by the late Mr. Robert Stephenson. The limestone is brought down from Crich Cliff, where it is quarried, and by a tram- road from thence. Thousands of tons are despatched annually from these kilns. The quarry at Crich is of great extent, and worth a visit. About fifty men are employed, and many tons of the limestone are despatched into Staffordshire, as a flux for the iron ore daily, besides that required for the kilns.

Hitherto the scenery of the Derwent partook only of an ordinary character -, but now it assumes an aspect of beauty and power. The hills rise on each side to a great height, and are almost everywhere covered with dense woods, of every variety of trees common to an English climate, as we have already stated. Here is the noble oak peculiarly developed, in almost straight lines, instead of the crooked, and very lofty ; the beech, elm, lime, sycamore, larch, and pine, seem to thrive with equal vigor ; and it is the angler, who is plodding his way by the lonely stream, that can see to the best advantage, and enjoy these rich and splendid woods. From the old bridge already named, the banks are easily accessible on both sides of the river, and the fishing usually excellent. This continues for full two miles and a half up to Hotstandwell Bridge. On the way the stranger will pass the "Forge" belonging to Mr. Hurt, and may have the


pleasure of seeing how easily the huge hammer can mould the rude piece of pig iron into malleable bar iron, fit for the use of the blacksmith. Many other things are done here. The pig iron is brought from Morely Park, a coal district near by, where it is converted into the " pig " from the clay ironstone (a carbonate of iron) ; and in this Mr. Hurt has a large interest.

Over the hills to the south about a mile, situated in a lovely valley, is the fine mansion of Mr. Hurt, whose ancestors have held this splendid property for some centuries. On the left, high up on what is called Crich Car, may be seen a beautiful Gothic house (Elizabethan), just built by the Misses Hurt, the sisters of Mr. Hurt of Alderwasley, This may be observed from the railway.

Approaching Whatstandwell Bridge, the river, road, railway, and canal, are brought into close proximity, and at the bridge it required considerable engineering skill and care to carry the railway through. But here we are at the pretty inn, where, in a nice room with its bow window overlooking the river, an old friend of our own, now gone to his glorious rest, delighted to take up his quarters for the night on his periodical tours north from Derby. This is a nice fishing station, and the visitor will find all he may wish for at the inn. The landlady, Mrs. Burley, has long been well known as especially careful of the wants of her visitors. Here the main road is crossed by the old road from Wirksworth to Alfreton. It takes up the hill by Crich, then by South Wingfield Manor House to Alfreton. The present bridge was, we believe, built on the



formation of the present road down the valley in 1822. It is a plain substantial structure, of two arches. Here is a station on the line for the accommodation of the town of Crich and neighbourhood, and here, too', are the celebrated stone quarries belonging to Mr. Sims, where thousands of stone troughs, millstones, and stones for building purposes, are sent to all parts of the kingdom. They are of great extent, and some fine calamites cannseformis (ancient reeds), are sometimes found.

On passing the bridge we find the lodge-gate to Mr. Hurt's house, a pretty little structure covered with ivy. The road now winds by the side of the river for upwards of three miles, and is full of picturesque beauty and grandeur. The valley narrows so much as only to leave room for the road and river, which is at a considerable depth below. The Wirksworth road takes up to the left. We now soon come to a toll-bar, beyond which is an extensive gritstone quarry, now unworked, the fragments of which are strewed in all directions, and piled up to a great height; amongst which a mountain stream comes tumbling down with great force, rushes under the road, and forms a fine cascade, as it dashes down the rude cliff to the Derwent. This would form an excellent subject for the pencil. About one hundred yards up on the left may be seen the tall chimney of the Messrs. Milne's smelting works, that a stranger might wish to visit. From hence we have a commanding view of Crich Cliff and Stand, from the top of which, on a clear day, Lincoln Cathedral can be seen.
This lofty conical hill has been thrown up by volcanic agency, during which action it has burst through the gritstones of


considerable thickness, and forced some of its members or beds to stand completely on end, that is, raised the horizontal or slightly inclined beds to a perpendicular position. This cliff has proved the richest mineral field for lead ore in the county, and it is still very productive. Below, on the opposite side of the river, the angler will find the level, or sough, which drains the water from the mines on the cliff. A mining coe stands on one side of the opening, and if a stranger wished he might go up by boat under the cliff, or he may amuse himself by picking up interesting bits of spar that have been washed down during floods.

At the Wakebridge Mine, which is on the lowest part of the western margin of the cliff, they have a powerful engine to lift their water into this level. It is 500 feet to the level from the top of their working shaft, and they are 60 feet below this ; hence the pump road is 560 feet long. They are now driving to the north, in hope of falling in with a rich lode of ore. It has been exceedingly rick The Gingler Mine, on the south of the cliff, belonging to the same proprietors, is still productive, and has been in continual work for many years. The Old End, to the north of the cliff, is now at a low ebb. On the road from the Wakebridge Mine to Holloway, there are some of the most beautiful and commanding views of any in the county.*

Almost opposite to Crich Sough mining coe occurs the Cromford Moor Sough, throwing its powerful stream of warm water into the Derwent. This Sough is three miles in length,
* See " Gem of the Peak," sixth Edition, p. 188.


young gentlemen, and lastly, the pretty little cottage of the resident engineer of the Matlock line. Opposite to these are two neat villas, with highly ornamental grounds, one the residence of the Rev. Mr. Shepperd, and the other of Mr. Blackwell. Here we will take the stile on the left through the field, and the footpath will lead us by the back of the next flour mill (Mr. Oldfield's) and the seminary for young ladies, nicely situated, carried on by Miss Bromley. Soon we are led across the busy stream, and arrive at what is termed locally, the "Bump" Mill, where cotton wicks of all kinds are manufactured on a large scale, belonging to Messrs. Radford.
The resident proprietor, Edward Radford, Esq., one of the presiding magistrates, has a handsome house and grounds just above on the slope of the hill. The stream which drives the machinery here is a tributary of the Lums, called Tansley Brook, which, a mile up, is pressed first into the service of a flour mill, then one for wood-turning, and lastly, before reaching this, it sets in motion two tape mills belonging to Mr. Hackett.

The walk to Tansley village is very pretty. But we must turn up this narrow and romantic dell, overhung with rich foliage, and a clear and beautiful stream rushing close to our side. And first we come to Mr. Farnsworth's bleaching works, and just above are Mr. Garton's, who bleaches the cotton thread for Arkwrights, &co., and has besides a manufactory for Dutch lead, the same as the works we noticed under the High Tor. But now we must ascend a few steps higher, and see on the right how the stream comes leaping and foaming down the massive and perpendicular rocks of the


grit. The fall is about thirty feet, rugged and stern in the shade, but when the sun is on it, you might at times catch a glimpse of the lovely tints of the rainbow reflected from its spray. Then it is a beautiful sight, and all the accidents attendant on it add to its beauty and interest.

Mr. Garton has a very nice villa nestled under the cliff above on the left, with beautiful grounds well sheltered, being backed by a wood of pines. The bleak moors are high up on our right. Before concluding this part we cannot help remarking on the terrible effects produced by this stream, when swollen into a mighty torrent, on the night of the 25th of June, 1835, when George the Fourth died. That ever- memorable night, when the whole heavens seemed crashing and rending to atoms a scene, alternately every instant of intense light, and profound darkness, that might be felt this little stream, swollen into a mighty torrent, thundered along, carrying everything in its course near it. Walls and bridges were all swept away throughout its course. In Matlock Town the gardens were completely destroyed, and many of the heaviest stones were carried by the force of the torrent to considerable distances. So much for the power of water in its terrible strength. But of how much utility is this little busy stream in its gentleness, in turning so many mills, giving employment to so many busy hands, and thus in many ways contributing its quota of benefit to the well-being of man. Although it is deficient in what the angler is in search of, viz. trout and grayling, to the artist it is of considerable interest, for the scenery of this romantic spot has been said to be worthy of the pencil of a Salvator Rosa.


Some good fishing may be had in the Amber throughout the park, and close by Oakerthorpe is South Wingfield station, so that the traveller has every facility to visit this interesting locality.

On ascending the road leading to Buckland Hollow, we find on our right Castle Hill, over which passed an old Roman road from Chester Green, near Derby, to York. They also formed, as was their custom, an encampment on this bold hill, which commands a view of the valley and of the country around for many miles. To the southwest Crich cliff and stand appear, the church with its lofty spire, and the village lying a little below it. "From hence the eye can range northward along the bold sweep of hills and moorlands, with the rich valleys below them, stretching as far as Chesterfield, while to the eastward it commands a view of nearly all the undulating hills of the coal fields. There could not have been a better spot chosen to overawe the tribes of ancient Britons who inhabited this district. But this hill has been distinguished at no very distant period in our own history, for Sir John Gell, of Hopton, commanding the troops of the Parliament in 1644, placed his cannon on this hill, to breach the walls of Wingfield Manor, when he took it from the Royalists. But all traces of these warlike operations are perfectly obliterated, the hill being now covered with rich pastures.

There is little more to observe from hence to Buckland Hollow, about three miles distant. The road, a very good one, nearly follows the course of the stream. We pass a


wire and a corn mill on the left of the road, and at the cross roads a very pretty octagon chapel, with domical lantern, has been built by the Wesleyan Methodists. The road to the left leads to Ripley, and the right to Ambergate.
A little onwards, to the left on the latter road, is a villa, pleasantly situated, the residence of E. C. Strelley, Esq. This, with the large premises connected with it, was once the great depot of the Messrs. Wheatcroft and Sons, carriers, before railways came into fashion; the Cromford canal passes the back of the premises. The residence of the only remaining son, David Wheatcroft, Esq., is nicely situated in the extensive park below. In about three hundred yards we come to the extensive marble and stone works established by the "Wheatcrofts some years ago, where they manufacture chimney-pieces, slabs for side tables, columns, vases, &c. The Hopton stone, from the celebrated quarries on Hopton moor, about twelve miles off, is sawn into slabs for landings, floorings, &c., it is also cut into blocks and moulded for ornamental staircases. The machinery is driven by steam power. The firm has built a number of very comfortable cottages close by for their workmen. These are decidedly worth a visit en passant.

The railway, the embankment of which may be seen to the right, passes out of Wingfield Park by a short tunnel into the Hollow, and on towards Fritchley, where it passes over the Amber, and immediately sweeps under the Cromford canal, then along a high embankment supported by strong retaining walls, the narrow space and the high road requiring this, then through a deep cutting of the lower


end of Crich chase, and is soon by a viaduct again over the river at Ambergate station, a little below which the river Amber is lost in the waters of the Derwent. Such were some of the engineering difficulties to be overcome in the short space of a mile. The road passes under the canal, close to the rails, and a road takes to the right a little on, leading under the rail to Bull-bridge, Fritchley mill, and Crich, while ours lay along the valley and round a head-
land to Ambergate. Thus we have finished another of the Derbyshire fishing streams; one more remains to be done.

Home | Old Books Index