The ancient Mancunium was a little camp and city of about twelve acres, partly bounded by a tributary of the Irwell known as the Medlock. A ditch on the land-side was still visible in the last century, and considerable portions of the old Roman walls also remained within two hundred years. Many Roman relics have been discovered in the city, and at Knott Mill, the site of the giant Tarquin's castle, a fragment of the Roman wall is said to be still visible. The town in the early Tudor days had a college, and then a cathedral, and it was besieged in the Civil Wars, though it steadily grew, and in Charles II.'s time it was described as a busy and opulent place; but it had barely six thousand people. Cotton-spinning had then begun, the cotton coming from Cyprus and Smyrna. In 1700 life in Manchester, as described in a local guide-book, was noted by close application to business; the manufacturers were in their warehouses by six in the morning, breakfasted at seven on bowls of porridge and milk, into which masters and apprentices dipped their spoons indiscriminately, and dined at twelve; the ladies went out visiting at two in the afternoon, and attended church at four. Manchester was conservative in the Jacobite rebellion, and raised a regiment for the Pretender, but the royalist forces defeated it, captured the officers, and beheaded them. Manchester politics then were just the opposite of its present Liberal tendencies, and it was Byrom, a Manchester man, who wrote the quaint epigram regarding the Pretender and his friends which has been so often quoted:
"God bless the King—I mean our faith's defender! God bless (no harm in blessing) the Pretender! But who Pretender is, or who is King— God bless us all!—that's quite another thing."
It was the rapid growth of manufacturing industry in Manchester that changed its politics, and it was here that was first conspicuously advocated the free-trade agitation in England which triumphed in the repeal of the Corn Laws, so as to admit food free of duty for the operatives, and in the Reform bill that changed the representation in Parliament. That fine building, the "Free-Trade Hall," is a monument of this agitation in which Manchester took such prominent part. As the city has grown in wealth, so has its architectural appearance improved; its school-and college-buildings are very fine, particularly Owens College, munificently endowed by a leading merchant. The Manchester Cathedral is an ancient building overlooking the Irwell which has had to be renewed in so many parts that it has a comparatively modern aspect. Other English cathedrals are more imposing, but this, "the ould paroch church" spoken of by the ancient chroniclers, is highly prized by the townsfolk; the architecture is Perpendicular and of many dates. Until recently this was the only parish church in Manchester, and consequently all the marriages for the city had to be celebrated there; the number was at times very large, especially at Easter, and not a few tales are told of how, in the confusion, the wrong pairs were joined together, and when the mistake was discovered respliced with little ceremony. It was in this Manchester Cathedral that one rector is said to have generally begun the marriage service by instructing the awaiting crowd to "sort yourselves in the vestry."
Some of the public buildings in Manchester are most sumptuous. The Assize Courts are constructed in rich style, with lofty Pointed roofs and a tall tower, and make one of the finest modern buildings in England. The great hall is a grand apartment, and behind the courts is the prison, near which the Fenians in 1867 made the celebrated rescue of the prisoners from the van for which some of the assailants were hanged and others transported. The Royal Exchange is a massive structure in the Italian style, with a fine portico, dome, and towers; the hall within is said to be probably the largest room in England, having a width of ceiling, without supports, of one hundred and twenty feet. Here on cotton-market days assemble the buyers and sellers from all the towns in Lancashire, and they do an enormous traffic. The new Town-Hall is also a fine building, where the departments of the city government are accommodated, and where they have an apartment dear to every Englishman's heart—"a kitchen capable of preparing a banquet for eight hundred persons." The warehouses of Manchester are famous for their size and solidity, and could Arkwright come back and see what his cotton-spinning machinery has produced, he would be amazed. It was in Manchester that the famous Dr. Dalton, the founder of the atomic theory in chemistry, lived; he was a devout Quaker, like so many of the townspeople, but unfortunately was color-blind; he appeared on one occasion in a scarlet waistcoat, and when taken to task declared it seemed to him a very quiet, unobtrusive color, just like his own coat. Several fine parks grace the suburbs of Manchester, and King Cotton has made this thriving community the second city in England, while for miles along the beautifully shaded roads that lead into the suburbs the opulent merchants and manufacturers have built their ornamental villas.
FURNESS AND STONYHURST
The irregularly-shaped district of Lancashire partly cut off from the remainder of the county by an arm of the Irish Sea is known as Furness. It is a wild and rugged region, best known from the famous Furness Abbey and its port of Barrow-in-Furness, one of the most remarkable examples in England of quick city growth. Forty years ago this was an insignificant fishing village; now Barrow has magnificent docks and a fine harbor protected by the natural breakwater of Walney Island, great iron-foundries and the largest jute-manufactory in the world; while it has recently also became a favorite port for iron shipbuilding. About two miles distant, and in a romantic glen called the Valley of Deadly Nightshade, not far from the sea, is one of the finest examples of mediaeval church-architecture in England, the ruins of Furness Abbey, founded in the twelfth century by King Stephen and Maud, his queen. It was a splendid abbey, standing high in rank and power, its income in the reign of Edward I. being $90,000 a year, an enormous sum for that early day. The ruins are in fine preservation, and effigies of Stephen and Maud are on each side of the great east window. For twelve reigns the charters of sovereigns and bulls of popes confirmed the abbots of Furness in their extraordinary powers, which extended over the district of Furness, while the situation of the abbey made them military chieftains, and they erected a watch-tower on a high hill, from which signals alarmed the coast on the approach of an enemy. The church is three hundred and four feet long, and from the centre rose a tower, three of the massive supporting pillars of which remain, but the tower has fallen and lies a mass of rubbish; the stained glass from the great east window having been removed to Bowness Church, in Westmorelandshire. The abbey enclosure, covering eighty-five acres, was surrounded by a wall, the ruins of which are now covered with thick foliage. This renowned abbey was surrendered and dismantled in Henry VIII.'s reign; the present hotel near the ruins was formerly the abbot's residence.
The river Ribble, which flows into the Irish Sea through a wide estuary, drains the western slopes of the Pennine Hills, which divide Lancashire from Yorkshire. Up in the north-western portion of Lancashire, near the bases of these hills, is a moist region known as the parish of Mitton, where, as the poet tells us,
"The Hodder, the Calder, Ribble, and rain All meet together in Mitton domain."
In Mitton parish, amid the woods along the Hodder and on the north side of the valley of the Ribble, stands the splendid domed towers of the baronial edifice of Stonyhurst, now the famous Jesuit College of England, where the sons of the Catholic nobility and gentry are educated. The present building is about three hundred years old, and quaint gardens adjoin it, while quite an extensive park surrounds the college. Not far away are Clytheroe Castle and the beautiful ruins of Whalley Abbey. The Stonyhurst gardens are said to remain substantially as their designer, Sir Nicholas Sherburne, left them. A capacious water-basin is located in the centre, with the leaden statue of Regulus in chains standing in the midst of the water. Summer-houses with tall pointed roofs are at each lower extremity of the garden, while an observatory is upon a commanding elevation. Tall screens of clipped yews, cut square ten feet high and five feet thick, divide the beds upon one side of the gardens, so that as you walk among them you are enveloped in a green yet pleasant solitude. Arched doorways are cut through the yews, and in one place, descending by broad and easy steps, there is a solemn, cool, and twilight walk formed by the overarching yews, the very place for religious meditation. Then, reascending, this sombre walk opens into air and sunshine amid delicious flower-gardens. On the opposite side of the gardens are walls hung with fruit, and plantations of kitchen vegetables. This charming place was fixed upon by the Jesuits for their college in 1794, when driven from Liege by the proscriptions of the French Revolution. The old building and the additions then erected enclose a large quadrangular court. In the front of the college, at the southern angle, is a fine little Gothic church, built fifty years ago. The college refectory is a splendid baronial hall. In the Mitton village-church near by are the tombs of the Sherburne family, the most singular monument being that to Sir Richard and his lady, which the villagers point out as "old Fiddle o' God and his wife"—Fiddle o' God being his customary exclamation when angry, which tradition says was not seldom. The figures are kneeling—he in ruff and jerkin, she in black gown and hood, with tan-leather gloves extending up her arms. These figures, being highly colored, as was the fashion in the olden time, have a ludicrous appearance. We are told that when these monuments came from London they were the talk of the whole country round. A stonemason bragged that he could cut out as good a figure in common stone. Taken at his word, he was put to the test, and carved the effigy of a knight in freestone which so pleased the Sherburne family that they gave him one hundred dollars for it, and it is now set in the wall outside the church, near the monuments.
John of Gaunt, "time-honored Lancaster," was granted the Duchy of Lancaster by his father, King Edward III., but the place which stands upon the river Lune is of much greater antiquity. It was a Roman camp, and hence its name. The Picts destroyed it when the Romans left; the Saxons afterwards restored it, and ultimately it gave the name to the county. King John gave the town a charter, and John of Gaunt rebuilt the fortress, which became indissolubly connected with the fortunes of the House of Lancaster. Though sometimes besieged, it was maintained more for purposes of state than of war, and two centuries ago it still existed in all its ancient splendor, commanding the city and the sea. Lancaster stands on the slope of an eminence rising from the river Lune, and the castle-towers crown the summit, the fortress being spacious, with a large courtyard and variously-shaped towers. The keep is square, enormously strong, and defended by two semi-octagonal towers. This keep is known as "John of Gaunt's Chair," and commands a fine view of the surrounding country and far away across the sea to the distant outlines of the Isle of Man. This famous castle, partly modernized, is now used for the county jail and courts, the prison-chapel being in the keep. In the town several large manufactories attest the presiding genius of Lancashire, and the inn is the comfortable and old-fashioned King's Arms described by Dickens.
ISLE OF MAN.
Let us go off from the Lancashire coast to that strange island which lies in the sea midway between England, Scotland, and Ireland, and whose bold shores are visible from "John of Gaunt's Chair." It stretches for thirty-three miles from its northern extremity at the point of Ayre to the bold detached cliffs of the little islet at the southern end known as the Calf of Man. Covering two hundred and twenty-seven square miles area, its coasts are irregular, its shores in several places precipitous, and a range of mountains traverses the entire island, the highest peak being Snaefell, rising 2024 feet, with North Barrule at one extremity and Cronk-ny-Jay Llaa, or "The Hill of the Rising Day," at the other. Man is a miniature kingdom, with its reproduction, sometimes in dwarf, of everything that other kingdoms have. It has four little rivers, the Neb, Colby, Black and Gray Waters, with little gems of cascades; has its own dialect, the Manx, and a parliament in miniature, known as the Council, or Upper House, and the House of Keys. It is a healthful resort, for all the winds that blow come from the sea, and its sea-views are striking, the rugged masses of Bradda Head, the mellow-coloring of the Calf, and the broad expanse of waters, dotted by scores of fishing-boats, making many scenes of artistic merit. While the want of trees makes the land-views harsh and cold, yet the glens and coves opening into the sea are the charms of Manx scenery, the high fuchsia-hedges surrounding many of the cottages giving bright coloring to the landscape when the flowers are in bloom. It is a beautiful place when once the tourist is able to land there, but the wharf arrangements are not so good as they might be. Once landed, the visitor usually first proceeds to solve the great zoological problem the island has long presented to the outer world, and finds that the Isle of Man does really possess a breed of tailless cats, whose caudal extremity is either altogether wanting or at most is reduced to a merely rudimental substitute.
Landing at the capital, Castletown, it is found that it gets its name from the ancient castle of Rushen, around which the town is built. Guttred the Dane is said to have built this castle nine hundred years ago, and to be buried beneath it, although Cardinal Wolsey constructed the surrounding stone glacis. The keep—into which the prisoners had to be lowered by ropes—and several parts of the interior buildings remain almost entire, but repeated sieges so wrecked the other portions that they have had to be restored. At the castle-entrance were stone chairs for the governor and judges. It was here that the eminent men who have ruled the Isle of Man presided, among them being Regulus, who was King of Man, and the famous Percy, who was attainted of high treason in 1403. Afterwards it was ruled by the Earls of Derby, who relinquished the title of king and took that of Lord of Man, holding their sovereignty until they sold it and the castles and patronage of the island to the Crown in 1764 for $350,000. With such a history it is natural that Castle Rushen should have a weird interest attached to it, and the ancient chroniclers tell of a mysterious apartment within "which has never been opened in the memory of man." Tradition says that this famous castle was first inhabited by fairies, and afterwards by the giants, until Merlin, by his magic power, dislodged most of the giants and bound the others in spells. In proof of this it is said there are fine apartments underneath the ground, to explore which several venturesome persons have gone down, only one of whom ever returned. To save the lives of the reckless would be explorers, therefore, this mysterious apartment, which gives entrance underground, is kept shut. The one who returned is described as an "explorer of uncommon courage," who managed to get back by the help of a clue of packthread which he took with him, and was thus able to retrace his steps. He had a wondrous tale to tell. After passing a number of vaults, and through a long, narrow passage which descended for more than a mile, he saw a little gleam of light, and gladly sought it out. The light came from a magnificent house, brilliantly illuminated. Having "well fortified himself with brandy before beginning the exploration," he courageously knocked at the door, and at the third knock a servant appeared, demanding what was wanted. He asked for directions how to proceed farther, as the house seemed to block the passage. The servant, after some parley, led him through the house and out at the back door. He walked a long distance, and then beheld another house, more magnificent than the first, where, the windows being open, he saw innumerable lamps burning in all the rooms. He was about to knock, but first had the curiosity to peep through a window into the parlor. There was a large black marble table in the middle of the room, and on it lay at full length a giant who, the explorer says, was "at least fourteen feet long and ten feet round the body." The giant lay with his head pillowed on a book, as if asleep, and there was a prodigious sword alongside him, proportioned to the hand that was to use it. This sight was so terrifying that the explorer made the best of his way back to the first house, where the servant told him that if he had knocked at the giant's door he would have had company enough, but would have never returned. He desired to know what place it was, but was told, "These things are not to be revealed." Then he made his way back to daylight by the aid of the clue of packthread as quickly as possible, and we are told that no one has ventured down there since. This is but one of the many tales of mystery surrounding the venerable Rushen Castle.
The Isle of Man derives its name from the ancient British word mon, which means "isolated." Around this singular place there are many rocky islets, also isolated, and upon one of the most picturesque of these, where art and Nature have vied in adding strength to beauty, is built the castle of Peele, off the western coast, overlooking the distant shores of Ireland. This castle is perched upon a huge rock, rising for a great height out of the sea, and completely inaccessible, except by the approach which has been constructed on the side towards the Isle of Man, where the little town of Peele is located. After crossing the arm of the sea separating the castle from the town, the visitor, landing at the foot of the rock, ascends about sixty steps, cut out of it, to the first wall, which is massive and high, and built of the old red sandstone in which the island abounds; the gates in this wall are of wood, curiously arched and carved, and four little watch-towers on the wall overlook the sea. Having entered, he mounts by another shorter stairway cut out of the rock to the second wall, built like the other, and both of them full of portholes for cannon. Passing through yet a third wall, there is found a broad plain upon the top of the rock, where stands the castle, surrounded by four churches, three almost entirely ruined; the other church (St. Germain's) is kept in some repair because it has within the bishop's chapel, while beneath is a horrible dungeon where the sea runs in and out through hollows of the rock with a continual roar; a steep and narrow stairway descends to the dungeon and burial-vaults, and within are thirteen pillars supporting the chapel above. Beware, if going down, of failing to count the pillars, for we are told that he who neglects this is sure to do something that will occasion his confinement in this dreadful dungeon. This famous castle of Peele even in its partly-ruined state has several noble apartments, and here were located some of the most interesting scenes of Scott's novel of Peveril of the Peak. It was in former days a state-prison, and in it were at one time confined Warwick the King-maker, and also Gloucester's haughty wife, Eleanor; her discontented spectre was said to haunt the battlements in former years, and stand motionless beside one of the watch-towers, only disappearing when the cock crew or church-bell tolled: another apparition, a shaggy spaniel known as the Manthe Doog, also haunted the castle, particularly the guard-chamber, where the dog came and lay down at candlelight; the soldiers lost much of their terror by the frequency of the sight, but none of them liked to be left alone with him, though he did not molest them. The dog came out by a passage through the church where the soldiers had to go to deliver the keys to their captain, and for moral support they never went that way alone. One of the soldiers, we are told, on a certain night, "being much disguised in liquor" (for spirits of various kinds appear in the Isle of Man, as most other places), insisted upon going with the keys alone, and could not be dissuaded; he said he was determined to discover whether the apparition was dog or devil, and, snatching the keys, departed: soon there was a great noise, but none ventured to ascertain the cause. When the soldier returned he was speechless and horror-stricken, nor would he ever by word or sign tell what had happened to him, but soon died in agony; then the passage was walled up, and the Manthe Doog was never more seen at Castle Peele.
THE LAKE COUNTRY.
North of Lancashire, in the counties of Westmoreland and Cumberland, is the famous "Lake Country" of England. It does not cover a large area—in fact, a good pedestrian can walk from one extremity of the region to the other in a day—but its compact beauties have a charm of rugged outline and luxuriant detail that in a condensed form reproduce the Alpine lakes of Northern Italy. Derwentwater is conceded to be the finest of these English lakes, but there is also great beauty in Windermere and Ulleswater, Buttermere and Wastwater. The Derwent runs like a thread through the glassy bead of Derwentwater, a magnificent oval lake set among the hills, about three miles long and half that breadth, alongside which rises the frowning Mount Skiddaw with its pair of rounded heads. In entering the Lake Region from the Lancashire side we first come to the pretty Windermere Lake, the largest of these inland sheets of water, about ten miles long and one mile broad in the widest part. From Orrest Head, near the village of Windermere, there is a magnificent view of the lake from end to end, though tourists prefer usually to go to the village of Bowness on the bank, where steamers start at frequent intervals and make the circuit of the pretty lake. From Bowness the route is by Rydal Mount, where the poet Wordsworth lived, to Koswick, about twenty-three miles distant, on Derwentwater.
The attractive Derwent flows down through the Borrowdale Valley past Seathwaite, where for many a year there has been worked a famous mine of plumbago: we use it for lead-pencils, but our English ancestors, while making it valuable for marking their sheep, prized it still more highly as a remedy for colic and other human ills. There are several pencil-mills in the village, which, in addition to other claims for fame, is noted as one of the rainiest spots in England, the annual rainfall at Seathwaite sometimes reaching one hundred and eighty-two inches. The Derwent flows on through a gorge past the isolated pyramidal rock known as Castle Crag, and the famous Bowder Stone, which has fallen into the gorge from the crags above, to the hamlet of Grange, where a picturesque bridge spans the little river. We are told that the inhabitants once built a wall across the narrowest part of this valley: having long noticed the coincident appearance of spring and the cuckoo, they rashly concluded that the latter was the cause of the former, and that if they could only retain the bird their pleasant valley would enjoy perpetual spring; they built the wall as spring lengthened into summer, and with the autumn came the crisis. The wall had risen to a considerable height when the cuckoo with the approach of colder weather was sounding its somewhat asthmatic notes as it moved from tree to tree down the valley; it neared the wall, and as the population held their breath it suddenly flew over, and carried the spring away with it down the Derwent. Judge of the popular disgust when the sages of that region complainingly remarked that, having crossed but a few inches above the topmost stones of the wall, if the builders had only carried it a course or two higher the cuckoo might have been kept at home, and their valley thus have enjoyed a perennial spring.
The Derwent flows on along its gorge, which has been slowly ground out by a glacier in past ages, and enters the lake through the marshy, flat, reedy delta that rather detracts from the appearance of its upper end. Not far away a small waterfall comes tumbling over the crags among the foliage; this miniature Niagara has a fame almost as great as the mighty cataract of the New World, for it is the "Fall of Lodore," about which, in answer to his little boy's question, "How does the water come down at Lodore?" Southey wrote his well-known poem that is such a triumph of versification, and from which this is a quotation:
"Flying and flinging, writhing and wringing, Eddying and whisking, spouting and frisking, Turning and twisting Around and around, with endless rebound, Smiting and fighting, a sight to delight in, Confounding, astounding. Dizzying and deafening the ear with its sound; All at once, and all o'er, with mighty uproar— And this way the water conies down at Lodore."
Thus we reach the border of Derwentwater, nestling beneath the fells and crags, as its miniature surrounding mountains are called. Little wooded islets dimple the surface of the lake, in the centre being the largest, St. Herbert's Island, where once that saint lived in a solitary cell: he was the bosom friend of St. Cuthbert, the missionary of Northumberland, and made an annual pilgrimage over the Pennine Hills to visit him; loving each other in life, in death they were not divided, for Wordsworth tells us that
"These holy men both died in the same hour."
Another islet is known as Lord's Island, where now the rooks are in full possession, but where once was the home of the ill-fated Earl of Derwentwater, who was beheaded in 1716 for espousing the Pretender's cause. It is related that before his execution on Tower Hill he closely viewed the block, and finding a rough place which might offend his neck, he bade the headsman chip it off; this done, he cheerfully placed his head upon it, gave the sign, and died: his estates were forfeited and settled by the king on Greenwich Hospital. Castle Hill rises boldly on the shore above Derwent Isle, where there is a pretty residence, and every few years there is added to the other islets on the bosom of the lake the "Floating Island," a mass of vegetable matter that becomes detached from the marsh at the upper end. At Friar's Crag, beneath Castle Hill, the lake begins to narrow, and at Portinscale the Derwent flows out, receives the waters of the Greta coming from Keswick, and, after flowing a short distance through the meadow-land, expands again into Bassenthwaite Lake, a region of somewhat tamer yet still beautiful scenery.
The town of Keswick stands some distance back from the border of Derwentwater, and is noted as having been the residence of Southey. In Greta Hall, an unpretentious house in the town, Southey lived for forty years, dying there in 1843. He was laid to rest in the parish church of Crosthwaite, just outside the town. At the pretty little church there is a marble altar-tomb, the inscription on which to Southey's memory was written by Wordsworth. Greta Hall was also for three years the home of Coleridge, the two families dwelling under the same roof. Behind the modest house rises Skiddaw, the bare crags of the rounded summits being elevated over three thousand feet, and beyond it the hills and moors of the Skiddaw Forest stretch northward to the Solway, with the Scruffel Hill beyond. Upon a slope of the mountain, not far from Keswick, is a Druids' circle, whose builders scores of centuries ago watched the mists on Skiddaw's summit, as the people there do now, to foretell a change of weather as the clouds might rise or fall, for they tell us that
"If Skiddaw hath a cap, Scruffel wots full well of that."
THE BORDER CASTLES.
At Kendal, in Westmorelandshire, are the ruins of Kendal Castle, a relic of the Norman days, but long since gone to decay. Here lived the ancestors of King Henry VIII.'s last wife, Queen Catharine Parr. Opposite it are the ruins of Castle How, and not far away the quaint appendage known as Castle Dairy, replete with heraldic carvings. It was in the town of Kendal that was made the foresters' woollen cloth known as "Kendal green," which was the uniform of Robin Hood's band.
In the northern part of the county, on the military road to Carlisle, are the ruins of Brougham Castle, built six hundred years ago. It was here that the Earl of Cumberland magnificently entertained King James I. for three days on one of his journeys out of Scotland. It is famous as the home of the late Henry, Lord Brougham, whose ancestors held it for many generations. The manor-house, known as Brougham Hall, has such richness, variety, and extent of prospect from its terraces that it is called the "Windsor of the North." Lord Brougham was much attached to his magnificent home, and it was here in 1860 that he finished his comprehensive work on the British Constitution, and wrote its famous dedication to the queen, beginning with the memorable words, "Madame, I presume to lay at Your Majesty's feet a work the 'result of many years' diligent study, much calm reflection, and a long life's experience." In close proximity to the castle is the Roman station Brocavum, founded by Agricola in A.D. 79. Its outline is clearly defined, the camp within the inner ditch measuring almost one thousand feet square. Various Roman roads lead from it, and much of the materials of the outworks were built into the original Brougham Castle.
The Solway and its firth divide England from Scotland, and this borderland has been the scene of many deadly feuds, though happily only in the days long agone. The castle of Carlisle was a noted border stronghold, built of red sandstone by King William Rufus, who rebuilt Carlisle, which had then lain in ruins two hundred years because of the forays of the Danes. Richard III. enlarged the castle, and Henry VIII. built the citadel. Here Mary Queen of Scots was once lodged, but in Elizabeth's time the castle fell into decay. In the town is a fine cathedral, which has been thoroughly restored. In a flat situation north of Carlisle are the ruins of Scaleby Castle, once a fortress of great strength, but almost battered to pieces when it resisted Cromwell's forces. There are several acres enclosed within the moat, intended for the cattle when driven in to escape the forays that came over the border. This venerable castle is now a picturesque ruin. Twelve miles north-east of Carlisle is Naworth Castle, near where the Roman Wall crossed England. This is one of the finest feudal remains in Cumberland, having been the stronghold of the Wardens of the Marches, who guarded the border from Scottish incursions. It stands amid fine scenery, and just to the southward is the Roman Wall, of which many remains are still traced, while upon the high moorland in the neighborhood is the paved Roman Road, twelve feet wide and laid with stone. At Naworth there was always a strong garrison, for the border was rarely at peace, and
"Stern on the angry confines Naworth rose, In dark woods islanded; its towers looked forth And frowned defiance on the angry North."
Here lived, with a host of retainers, the famous "belted Will"—Lord William Howard, son of the fourth Duke of Norfolk—who in the early part of the seventeenth century finally brought peace to the border by his judicious exercise for many years of the Warden's powers. It is of this famous soldier and chivalrous knight, whose praises are even yet sung in the borderland, that Scott has written—
"Howard, than whom knight Was never dubbed more bold in fight, Nor, when from war and armor free. More famed for stately courtesy."
LIVERPOOL, THROUGH THE MIDLAND COUNTIES, TO LONDON.
The Peak of Derbyshire—Castleton—Bess of Hardwicke—Hardwicke Hall—Bolsover Castle—The Wye and the Derwent—Buxton—Bakewell—Haddon Hall—The King of the Peak—Dorothy Vernon—Rowsley—The Peacock Inn—Chatsworth—The Victoria Regia—Matlock—Dovedale—Beauchief Abbey—Stafford Castle—Trentham Hall—Tamworth—Tutbury Castle—Chartley Castle—Alton Towers—Shrewsbury Castle—Bridgenorth—Wenlock Abbey—Ludlow Castle—The Feathers Inn—Lichfield Cathedral—Dr. Samuel Johnson—Coventry—Lady Godiva and Peeping Tom—Belvoir Castle—Charnwood Forest—Groby and Bradgate—Elizabeth Widvile and Lady Jane Grey—Ulverscroft Priory—Grace Dieu Abbey—Ashby de la Zouche—Langley Priory—Leicester Abbey and Castle—Bosworth Field—Edgehill—Naseby—The Land of Shakespeare—Stratford-on-Avon—Warwick—Kenilworth—Birmingham —Boulton and Watt—Fotheringhay Castle—Holmby House—Bedford Castle—John Bunyan—Woburn Abbey and the Russells—Stowe—Whaddon Hall—Great Hampden—Creslow House.
THE PEAK OF DERBYSHIRE.
The river Mersey takes its sources—for it is formed by the union of several smaller streams—in the ranges of high limestone hills east of Liverpool, in North Derbyshire. These hills are an extension of the Pennine range that makes the backbone of England, and in Derbyshire they rise to a height of nearly two thousand feet, giving most picturesque scenery. The broad top of the range at its highest part is called the Kinderscout, or, more familiarly, "The Peak." The mountain-top is a vast moor, abounding in deep holes and water-pools, uninhabited excepting by the stray sportsman or tourist, and dangerous and difficult to cross. Yet, once mounted to the top, there are good views of the wild scenery of the Derbyshire hills, with the villages nestling in the glens, and of the "Kinder Fall," where much of the water from the summit pours down a cataract of some five hundred feet height, while not far away is the "Mermaid's Pool," where, if you go at the midnight hour that ushers in Easter Sunday, and look steadily into the water, you will see a mermaid. The man who ventures upon that treacherous bogland by night certainly deserves to see the best mermaid the Peak can produce. This limestone region is a famous place. In the sheltered valley to the westward of the Kinderscout is the village of Castleton, almost covered in by high hills on all sides. It was here upon a bold cliff to the southward of the village that "Peveril of the Peak" built his renowned castle at the time of the Norman Conquest, of which only the ruins of the keep and part of the outer walls remain. Almost inaccessible, it possessed the extraordinary powers of defence that were necessary in those troublous times, and here its founder gave a grand tournament, to which young knights came from far and near, the successful knight of Lorraine being rewarded by his daughter's hand. In the time of Edward III. this "Castle of the Peak" reverted to the Crown, but now it is held by the Duke of Devonshire. Under the hill on which the ruins stand is the "Cavern of the Peak," with a fine entrance in a gloomy recess formed by a chasm in the rocks. This entrance makes a Gothic arch over one thousand feet wide, above which the rock towers nearly three hundred feet, and it is chequered with colored stones. Within is a vast flat-roofed cavern, at the farther side being a lake over which the visitors are ferried in a boat. Other caverns are within, the entire cave extending nearly a half mile, a little river traversing its full length. There are more and similar caverns in the neighborhood.
BESS OF HARDWICKE.
One of the great characters of the sixteenth century was Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury, familiarly known as "Bess of Hardwicke," where she was born, and who managed to outlive four husbands, thus showing what success is in store for a woman of tact and business talent. She was a penniless bride at fourteen, when she married an opulent gentleman of Derbyshire named Barley, who left her at fifteen a wealthy widow. At the age of thirty she married another rich husband, Sir William Cavendish, the ancestor of the Dukes of Devonshire, who died in 1557, leaving her again a widow, but with large estates, for she had taken good care to look after the proper marriage settlements; and in fact, even in those early days, a pretty good fortune was necessary to provide for the family of eight children Sir William left her. She next married Sir William Loe, who also had large estates and was the captain of the king's guard, the lady's business tact procuring in advance of the wedding the settlement of these estates upon herself and her children—a hard condition, with which, the historian tells us, "the gallant captain, who had a family by a former marriage, felt himself constrained to comply or forego his bride." But in time the captain died, and his estates all went to the thrifty lady, to the exclusion of his own family; and to the blooming widow, thus made for the third time, there came a-courting the Earl of Shrewsbury; the earl had numerous offspring, and therefore could hardly give Bess all his possessions, like her other husbands, but she was clever enough to obtain her object in another way. As a condition precedent to accepting the earl, she made him marry two of his children to two of hers, and after seeing these two weddings solemnized, the earl led her to the altar for the fourth time at the age of fifty; and we are told that all four of these weddings were actual "love-matches." But she did not get on well with the earl, whose correspondence shows she was a little shrewish, though in most quarrels she managed to come off ahead, having by that time acquired experience. When the earl died in 1590, and Bess concluded not again to attempt matrimony, she was immensely rich and was seized with a mania for building, which has left to the present day three memorable houses: Hardwicke Hall, where she lived, Bolsover Castle, and the palace of Chatsworth, which she began, and on which she lavished the enormous sum, for that day, of $400,000. The legend runs that she was told that so long as she kept building her life would be spared—an architect's ruse possibly; and when finally she died it was during a period of hard frost, when the masons could not work.
Hardwicke Hall, near Mansfield, which the renowned Bess has left as one of her monuments, is about three hundred years old, and approached by a noble avenue through a spacious park; it is still among the possessions of the Cavendish family and in the Duke of Devonshire's estates. The old hall where Bess was born almost touches the new one that she built, and which bears the initials of the proud and determined woman in many places outside and in. It was here that Mary Queen of Scots was held in captivity part of the time that she was placed by Queen Elizabeth in the custody of the Earl of Shrewsbury, and her statue stands in the hall. There is an extensive picture-gallery containing many historical portraits, and also fine state-apartments. The mansion is a lofty oblong stone structure, with tall square towers at each corner, the architecture being one of the best specimens of the Elizabethan Period; on the side, as viewed from the park, the hall seems all windows, which accounts for the saying of that neighborhood:
"Hardwicke Hall, more glass than wall."
The ruins of the old hall, almost overgrown with ivy, are picturesque, but from everywhere on the ancient or on the modern hall there peer out the initials "E. S.," with which the prudent Bess was so careful to mark all her possessions.
The noted Bolsover Castle, which Bess also built, though her son finished it after her death, stands in a magnificent position on a high plateau not far from Chesterfield, overlooking a wide expanse of Derbyshire. The present castle replaced an ancient structure that had fallen into ruin, and was supposed to have been built by "Peveril of the Peak;" it was fortified during King John's time, and traces of the fortifications still remain; it was repeatedly besieged and taken by assault. The present building is a square and lofty mansion of castellated appearance, with towers at the corners built of brown stone; in it the Earl of Newcastle, who subsequently inherited it, spent on one occasion $75,000 in entertaining King Charles I., the entire country round being invited to come and attend the king: Ben Jonson performed a play for his amusement. Lord Clarendon speaks of the occasion as "such an excess of feasting as had scarce ever been known in England before." It now belongs to the Duke of Portland, and has fallen into partial decay, with trees growing in some of the deserted apartments and ivy creeping along the walls. Visitors describe it as a ghostly house, with long vaulted passages, subterranean chambers, dungeon-like holes in the towers, and mysterious spaces beneath the vaults whence come weird noises. When Mr. Jennings visited Bolsover recently he described it as like a haunted house, and after examining the apartments, in which most things seemed going to decay, he went down stairs, guided by an old woman, to the cellars and passages that are said to be the remains of the original Norman castle. A chamber with a high vaulted roof was used as a kitchen, and an ancient stone passage connected it with a crypt; beneath this, she told him, there was a church, never opened since the days of Peveril. Their voices had a hollow sound, and their footsteps awakened echoes as if from a large empty space beneath: the servants, she said, were afraid to come down where they were, excepting by twos and threes, and she added: "Many people have seen things here besides me: something bad has been done here, sir, and when they open that church below they'll find it out. Just where you stand by that door I have several times seen a lady and gentleman—only for a moment or two, for they come like a flash; when I have been sitting in the kitchen, not thinking of any such thing, they stood there—the gentleman with ruffles on, the lady with a scarf round her waist; I never believed in ghosts, but I have seen them. I am used to it now, and don't mind it, but we do not like the noises, because they disturb us. Not long ago my husband, who comes here at night, and I could not sleep at all, and we thought at last that somebody had got shut up in the castle, for some children had been here that day; so we lit a candle and went all over it, but there was nothing, only the noises following us, and keeping on worse than ever after we left the rooms, though they stopped while we were in them." The old woman's tale shows the atmosphere there is about this sombre and ghostly castle of Bolsover.
THE WYE AND THE DERWENT.
These two noted rivers take their rise in the Derbyshire hills, and, coming together at Rowsley near the pretty Peacock Inn, flow down to the sea through the valleys of the Wye, the Trent, and the Humber. Rising in the limestone hills to the north of Buxton, the Wye flows past that celebrated bath, where the Romans first set the example of seeking its healing waters, both hot and cold springs gushing from the rocks in close proximity. It stands nine hundred feet above the sea, its nucleus, "The Crescent," having been built by the Duke of Devonshire; and the miraculous cures wrought by St. Mary's Well are noted by Charles Cotton among the Wonders of the Peak. From Buxton the Wye follows a romantic glen to Bakewell, the winding valley being availed of, by frequent tunnels, viaducts, and embankments, as a route for the Midland Railway. In this romantic glen is the remarkable limestone crag known as Chee Tor, where the curving valley contracts into a narrow gorge. The gray limestone cliffs are in many places overgrown with ivy, while trees find rooting-places in their fissures. Tributary brooks fall into the Wye, all flowing through miniature dales that disclose successive beauties, and then at a point where the limestone hills recede from the river, expanding the valley, Bakewell is reached. Here are also mineral springs, but the most important place in the town is the parish church, parts of which are seven hundred years old. It is a picturesque building, cruciform, with a spire, and is rich in sepulchral remains, containing the ancestors of the Duke of Rutland—who owns the town—in the tombs of a long line of Vernons and Manners. In the churchyard are several curious epitaphs, among them that of John Dale and his two wives, the inscription concluding,
"A period's come to all their toylsome lives; The good man's quiet—still are both his wives."
In this churchyard is also the well-known epitaph often quoted:
"Beneath a sleeping infant lies, to earth whose body lent, More glorious shall hereafter rise, tho' not more innocent. When the archangels trump shall blow, and souls to bodies join, Millions will wish their lives below had been as short as thine."
Three miles below Bakewell, near the Wye, is one of the most famous old mansions of England—Haddon Hall. This ancient baronial home, with its series of houses, its courtyards, towers, embattled walls, and gardens, stands on the side of a hill sloping down to the Wye, while the railway has pierced a tunnel through the hill almost underneath the structure. The buildings surround two courtyards paved with large stones, and cover a space of nearly three hundred feet square. Outside the arched entrance-gate to the first courtyard is a low thatched cottage used as a porter's lodge. Haddon is maintained, not as a residence, but to give as perfect an idea as possible of a baronial hall of the Middle Ages. To get to the entrance the visitor toils up a rather steep hill, and on the way passes two remarkable yew trees, cut to represent the crests of the two families whose union by a romantic marriage is one of the traditions of this famous place. One yew represents the peacock of Manners, the present ducal house of Rutland, and the other the boar's head of Vernon. Parts of this house, like so many structures in the neighborhood, were built in the time of "Peveril of the Peak," and its great hall was the "Martindale Hall" of Scott's novel, thus coming down to us through eight centuries, and nearly all the buildings are at least four hundred years old.
Entering the gateway, the porter's guard-room is seen on the right hand, with the ancient "peephole" through which he scanned visitors before admitting them. Mounting the steps to the first courtyard, which is on a lower level than the other, the chapel and the hall are seen on either hand, while in front are the steps leading to the state-apartments. The buildings are not lofty, but there are second-floor rooms in almost all parts, which were occupied by the household. There is an extensive ball-room, while the Eagle Tower rises at one corner of the court. Many relics of the olden time are preserved in these apartments. The ancient chapel is entered by an arched doorway from the court, and consists of a nave, chancel, and side aisle, with an antique Norman font and a large high-back pew used by the family. After passing the court, the banquet-hall is entered, thirty-five by twenty-five feet, and rising to the full height of the building. In one of the doorways is a bracket to which an iron ring is attached, which was used, as we are told, "to enforce the laws of conviviality." When a guest failed to drink his allowance of wine he was suspended by the wrist to this ring, and the liquor he failed to pour down his throat was poured into his sleeve. A tall screen at the end of the room formed the front of a gallery, where on great occasions minstrels discoursed sweet music, while at the opposite end the lord and his honored guests sat on a raised dais. Here still stands the old table, while behind the dais a flight of stairs leads up to the state-apartments. Stags' heads and antlers of great age are on the walls. Another door opens out of the banquet-hall into the dining-room, the end of which is entirely taken up with a fine Gothic window displaying the Vernon arms and quarterings. This room is elaborately wainscoted. The royal arms are inscribed over the fireplace, and below them is the Vernon motto carved in Gothic letters:
"Drede God and Honour the Kyng."
An exquisite oriel window looks out from this room over the woods and grounds of Haddon, the recess bearing on one of its panels the head of Will Somers, who was Henry VIII.'s jester. The drawing-room, which is over the dining-room, is hung with old tapestry, above which is a frieze of ornamental mouldings. A pretty recessed window also gives from this room a delightful view over the grounds.
The gem of Haddon is the long gallery or ball-room, which extends over one hundred feet along one side of the inner court: the semicircular wooden steps leading to this apartment are said to have been cut from a single tree that grew in the park. The gallery is wainscoted in oak in semicircular arched panels, alternately large and small, surmounted by a frieze and a turreted and battlemented cornice. The ceiling is elaborately carved in geometric patterns, and the tracery contains the alternating arms and crests of Vernon and Manners: the remains are still visible of the rich gilding and painting of this ceiling. In the anteroom paintings are hung, and from it a strongly-barred door opens upon a flight of stone steps leading down to the terrace and garden: this is "Dorothy Vernon's Door;" and across the garden another flight of steps leading to the terrace is known as "Dorothy Vernon's Steps." It was the gentle maiden's flight through this door and up these steps to elope with John Manners that carried the old house and all its broad lands into the possession of the family now owning it. The state bedroom is hung with Gobelin tapestry, illustrating AEsop's fables: the state bed is fourteen feet high, and furnished in green silk velvet and white satin, embroidered by needlework, and its last occupant was George IV. The kitchen and range of domestic offices are extensive, and show the marvellous amount of cooking that was carried on in the hospitable days of Haddon; the kitchen has a ceiling supported by massive beams and a solid oak column in the centre; there are two huge fireplaces, scores of stoves, spits, pothooks, and hangers, large chopping-blocks, dressers, and tables, with attendant bakehouses, ovens, pantries, and larders; among the relics is an enormous salting-trough hollowed out of one immense block of wood. Beyond the garden or lawn, one hundred and twenty feet square, extends the terrace, planted with ancient yews, whose gnarled roots intertwine with and displace the stones. This terrace extends the full width of the outer or upper garden, and gives a charming view of the southern front of the hall.
More romance hangs about Haddon than probably any other old baronial hall in England, and it has therefore been for years an endless source of inspiration for poets, artists, and novelists. Mrs. Radcliffe here laid some of the scenes of the Mysteries of Udolpho. Bennett's "King of the Peak" was Sir George Vernon, the hospitable owner of Haddon. Scott has written of it, a host of artists have painted its most attractive features, and many a poet has sung of the
"Hall of wassail which has rung To the unquestioned baron's jest: Dim old chapel, where were hung Offerings of the o'erfraught breast; Moss-clad terrace, strangely still, Broken shaft and crumbling frieze—— Still as lips that used to fill With bugle-blasts the morning breeze."
But, unlike most baronial strongholds, the history of Haddon tells only the romance of peace, love, and hospitality. It came by marriage into the possession of the Vernons soon after the Conquest; one of them, Sir Henry Vernon of Haddon, was appointed governor of Prince Arthur by Henry VII. His grandson, Sir George Vernon, lived in such princely magnificence at Haddon that he was known as the "King of the Peak;" his initials, "G. V.," are carved in the banquet-hall. Around his youngest daughter, Dorothy, gathers the chief halo of romance. The story in brief is, that her elder sister, being the affianced bride of the son of the Earl of Derby, was petted and made much of, while Dorothy, at sweet sixteen, was kept in the background. She formed an attachment for John Manners, son of the Earl of Rutland, but this her family violently opposed, keeping her almost a prisoner: her lover, disguised as a forester, lurked for weeks in the woods around Haddon, obtaining occasionally a stolen interview. At length on a festal night, when the ball-room was filled with guests summoned to celebrate the approaching nuptials of the elder sister, and every one was so wrapped up in enjoyment that there was no time to watch Dorothy, the maiden, unobserved, stole out of the ball-room into the anteroom, and through the door, across the garden, and up the steps to the terrace, where her lover had made a signal that he was waiting. In a moment she was in his arms, and rode away with him in the moonlight all night, across the hills of Derbyshire, and into Leicestershire, where they were married next morning. It was the old story—an elopement, a grand row, and then all was forgiven. Sir George Vernon had no sons, and his daughters divided his estate, Haddon going to Dorothy, who thus by her elopement carried the famous hall over to the family of Manners. Dorothy died in 1584, leaving four children, the oldest, Sir George Manners, living at Haddon and maintaining its hospitable reputation. Dying in 1679, his son John Manners, who was the ninth Earl of Rutland, became the master of Haddon, and "kept up the good old mansion at a bountiful rate," as the chronicler tells us. He kept one hundred and forty servants, and had so many retainers and guests that every day the tables in the old banquet-hall were spread as at a Christmas feast. The earl was raised to the rank of duke, and his son John, Duke of Rutland, known as the "Old Man of the Hill," died in 1779, since which time the family have not used the hall as a place of residence, having gone to Belvoir in Leicestershire. Its present owner is the sixth Duke of Rutland, Charles Cecil Manners, and the descendant of the famous Dorothy. There are few places, even in England, that have the fame of Haddon, and it is one of the chief spots sought out by the tourist. The duke maintains it just as it existed centuries ago, with the old furniture and utensils, so as to reproduce as faithfully as possible the English baronial hall of his ancestors.
Below Haddon Hall the valley of the Wye broadens, with yet richer scenery, as it approaches the confluence of the Wye and Derwent at Rowsley, where the quaint old Peacock Inn, which was the manor-house of Haddon, bears over the door the date 1653, and the crest of the ducal House of Rutland, a peacock with tail displayed. Ascending for a short distance the valley of the Derwent, which washes the bases of the steep limestone hills, we come to Chatsworth. In sharp contrast with the ancient glories of Haddon is this modern ducal palace, for whose magnificence Bess of Hardwicke laid the foundation. This "Palace of the Peak" stands in a park covering over two thousand acres; the Derwent flows in front, over which the road to the palace is carried by a fine bridge. From the river a lawn gently slopes upward to the buildings, and the wooded hill which rises sharply behind them is surmounted by a hunting-tower, embosomed in trees. A herd of at least a thousand deer roam at will over the park, and have become very tame. Chatsworth is a brownish-yellow building, square and flat-topped, with a modern and more ornamental wing. Its front extends fully six hundred feet, and in parts it is of that depth. The estate was bought in the sixteenth century by Sir William Cavendish, who built the original house, a quadrangular building with turrets, which was greatly extended by his wife. It was used as a fortress in the Civil Wars, and was considerably battered. The first Duke of Devonshire about the year 1700 rebuilt the mansion, employing the chief architects, artists, designers, and wood-carvers of his time, among them Sir Christopher Wren. In the grounds, not far from the bridge over the Derwent, is the "Bower of Mary Queen of Scots." There is a small, clear lake almost concealed by foliage, in the centre of which is a tower, and on the top a grass-grown garden, where are also several fine trees. Here, under guard, the captive was permitted to take the air. In those days she looked out upon a broad expanse of woods and moorland: now all around has been converted into gardens and a park. Entering the house through a magnificent gateway, the visitor is taken into the entrance-hall, where the frescoes represent the life and death of Julius Caesar; then up the grand staircase of amethyst and variegated alabaster guarded by richly-gilded balustrades. The gorgeously-embellished chapel is wainscoted with cedar, and has a sculptured altar made of Derbyshire marbles. The beautiful drawing-room opens into a series of state-apartments lined with choice woods and hung with Gobelin tapestries representing the cartoons of Raphael. Magnificent carvings and rare paintings adorn the walls, while the richest decorations are everywhere displayed. Over the door of the antechamber is a quill pen so finely carved that it almost reproduces the real feather. In the Scarlet Room are the bed on which George II. died and the chairs and footstools used at the coronation of George III. On the north side of the house is another stairway of oak, also richly gilded. In the apartments replacing those where Mary Queen of Scots lived are her bed-hangings and tapestries. There is an extensive library with many rare books and manuscripts, and a sculpture-gallery, lined with Devonshire marble, containing many statues and busts, and also two recumbent lions, each nine feet long and four feet high and weighing four tons, and carved out of a solid block of marble. The final enlargement of Chatsworth was completed about forty years ago, when Queen Victoria made a state visit and was given a magnificent reception by the Duke of Devonshire.
The gardens at Chatsworth are as noted as the house, and are to many minds the gem of the estate. They cover about one hundred and twenty-two acres, and are so arranged as to make a beautiful view out of every window of the palace. All things are provided that can add to rural beauty—fountains, cascades, running streams, lakes, rockeries, orange-groves, hothouses, woods, sylvan dells—and no labor or expense is spared to enhance the attractions of trees, flowers, and shrubbery. From a stone temple, which it completely covers, the great cascade flows down among dolphins, sea-lions, and nymphs, until it disappears among the rocks and seeks an underground outlet into the Derwent. Enormous stones weighing several tons are nicely balanced, so as to rock at the touch or swing open for gates. Others overhang the paths as if a gust of wind might blow them down. In honor of the visit of the Czar Nicholas in 1844 the great "Emperor Fountain" was constructed, which throws a column of water to an immense height. The grounds are filled with trees planted by kings, queens, and great people on their visits to the palace. The finest of all the trees is a noble Spanish chestnut of sixteen feet girth. Weeping willows do not grow at Chatsworth, but they have provided one in the form of a metal tree, contrived so as to discharge a deluge of raindrops from its metallic leaves and boughs when a secret spring is touched. The glory of the Chatsworth gardens, however, is the conservatory, a beautiful structure of glass and iron covering nearly an acre, the arched roof in the centre rising to a height of sixty-seven feet. In this famous hot-house are the rarest palms and tropical plants. It was designed by Joseph Paxton, the duke's head-gardener, and, enlarging the design, Paxton constructed in the same way the London Crystal Palace for the Exhibition of 1851, for which service he was knighted. Besides this rare collection of hot-house plants, the famous Victoria Regia is in a special house at Chatsworth, growing in a tank thirty-four feet in diameter, the water being maintained at the proper temperature and kept constantly in motion as a running stream. The seed for this celebrated plant was brought from Guiana, and it first bloomed here in 1849. Some fifty persons are employed in the gardens and grounds, besides the servants in the buildings, showing the retinue necessary to maintain this great show-palace, for that is its chief present use, the Duke of Devonshire seldom using it as a residence, as he prefers the less pretentious but more comfortable seat he possesses at Bolton in Yorkshire. North of Chatsworth Park, near Baslow, on top of a hill, is the strange mass of limestone which can be seen from afar, and is known as the Eagle Rock.
MATLOCK AND DOVEDALE.
Retracing the Derwent to the Wye again, the valley of the latter is open below for several miles, and then as Matlock is approached a mass of limestone stretching across the valley seems to bar all egress, and the river plunges through a narrow glen. The bold gray crags of the High Tor rise steeply on the left hand, and the gorge not being wide enough for both river and railway, the latter pierces a tunnel through the High Tor. The river bends sharply to the right, and the village makes a long street along the bank and rises in terraces up the steep hill behind. These are the "Heights of Abraham," while the pretty slope below the High Tor is the "Lovers' Walk." Matlock is beautifully situated, and its springs are in repute, while the caves in the neighborhood give plenty of opportunity for that kind of exploration. The Derbyshire marbles are quarried all about, and mosaic manufacture is carried on. It was near Matlock that Arkwright first set up his cotton-spinning machine, and when fortune and fame had made him Sir Richard Arkwright he built Willersley Castle for his home, on the banks of the Derwent. The valley of the little river Dove also presents some fine scenery, especially in the fantastic shapes of its rocks. The river runs between steep hills fringed with ash and oak and hawthorn, and Dovedale can be pursued for miles with interest. One of its famous resorts is the old and comfortable Izaak Walton Inn, sacred to anglers. In Dovedale are the rocks called the Twelve Apostles, the Tissington Spires, the Pickering Tor, the caverns known as the Dove Holes, and Reynard's Hall, while the entire stream is full of memories of those celebrated fishermen of two centuries ago, Walton and his friend Cotton.
Before leaving Derbyshire the ruin of Beauchief Abbey, which gave the name of Abbey Dale to one of the pleasant vales on the eastern border of the county, must not be forgotten. It was built seven hundred years ago, and there remains but a single fragment of this famous religious house, the arch of the great east window. Singularly enough, under the same roof with the abbey was built an inn, and at a short distance there is a hermitage: the hermit's cave is scooped out of a rock elevated above the valley and overhung with foliage. We are told that a pious baker lived in the town of Derby who was noted for his exemplary life: the Virgin Mary, as a proof of his faith, required him to relinquish all his worldly goods and go to Deepdale and lead a solitary life in Christ's service. He did as he was told, departed from Derby, but had no idea where he was to go; directing his footsteps towards the east, he passed through a village, and heard a woman instruct a girl to drive some calves to Deepdale. Regarding this as an interposition of Providence, the baker, encouraged, asked where was Deepdale; the woman told the girl to show him. Arrived there, he found it marshy land, distant from any human habitation; but, seeking a rising ground, he cut a small dwelling in a rock under the side of a hill, built an altar, and there spent day and night in the Divine service, with hunger and cold, thirst and want. Now, it happened that a person of great consequence owned this land—Ralph, the son of Geremund—and coming to the woods to hunt, he saw smoke rising from the hermit's cave, and was filled with astonishment that any one should have dared to establish a dwelling there without his permission. Going to the place, he found the hermit clothed in old rags and skins, and, inquiring about his case, Ralph's anger changed to pity. To show his compassion, he granted the hermit the ground where the hermitage stood, and also for his support the tithe of a mill not far away. The tradition further relates "that the old Enemy of the human race" then endeavored to make the hermit dissatisfied with his condition, but "he resolutely endured all its calamities," and ultimately he built a cottage and oratory, and ended his days in the service of God. After his death, Ralph's daughter prevailed upon her husband to dedicate Deepdale to religious uses, and he inviting the canons, they built the abbey. We are told in Howitt's Forest Minstrel of the wonder caused by the construction of the abbey, and also how in later years the monks became corrupted by prosperity. A place is shown to visitors where the wall between the chapel and the inn gave way to the thirsty zeal of the monks, and through an opening their favorite liquor was handed. The Forest Minstrel tells us they
"Forsook missal and mass To chant o'er a bottle or shrive a lass; No matin's bell called them up in the morn, But the yell of the hounds and sound of the horn; No penance the monk in his cell could stay But a broken leg or a rainy day: The pilgrim that came to the abbey-door, With the feet of the fallow-deer found it nailed o'er; The pilgrim that into the kitchen was led. On Sir Gilbert's venison there was fed. And saw skins and antlers hang o'er his head."
STAFFORD AND TRENTHAM.
The rivers which drain the limestone hills of Derbyshire unite to form the Trent, and this stream, after a winding and picturesque course through Midland England towards the eastward, flows into the Humber, and ultimately into the North Sea. Its first course after leaving Derby is through Staffordshire, one of the great manufacturing counties of England, celebrated for its potteries, whose product Josiah Wedgewood so greatly improved. The county-seat is Stafford, on the Sow River, not far from the Trent Valley, and on a high hill south-west of the town are the remains of the castle of the Barons, of Stafford, originally built a thousand years ago by the Saxons to keep the Danes in check. This castle was destroyed and rebuilt by William the Conqueror; again destroyed and again rebuilt by Ralph de Stafford in Edward III.'s reign. In the Civil Wars this castle was one of the last strongholds of King Charles I., but it was ultimately taken by Cromwell's troops and demolished, excepting the keep; a massive castellated building of modern construction now occupies its place. The river Trent, in its winding course, forms near Trentham a fine lake, and the beautiful neighborhood has been availed of for the establishment of the splendid residence of the Duke of Sutherland, about a mile west of the village, and known as Trentham Hall. The park is extensive, the gardens are laid out around the lake, and the noble Italian building, which is of recent construction, has a fine campanile tower one hundred feet high, and occupies a superb situation. The old church makes part of Trentham Hall, and contains monuments of the duke's family and ancestors, the Leveson-Gowers, whose extensive estates cover a wide domain in Staffordshire. Trentham, which is in the pottery district and not far from Newcastle-under-Lyme, was originally a monastery, founded by St. Werburgh, niece of AEthelred. She was one of the most famous of the Anglo-Saxon saints, and some venerable yews still mark the spot where her original house stood, it being known as Tricengham. These yews, said to have been planted about that time, form three sides of a square. The religious house, rebuilt in William Rufus's reign, was given, at the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII., to his brother-in-law, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and it afterwards came into possession of the Levesons. From the marriage of a daughter of Sir John Leveson with Sir Thomas Gower sprang the family of the present ducal house of Sutherland, the head of it being created Marquis of Stafford in 1786 and Duke of Sutherland in 1833. The present duke is the third who has held the title, his mother having been the daughter of the Earl of Carlisle—the famous Harriet, Duchess of Sutherland. The old Trentham Hall was built in 1633, being rebuilt and enlarged by Sir Charles Barry about fifty years ago.
TAMWORTH AND TUTBURY.
Staffordshire contains some famous places. In the eastern part of the county, bordering Warwick, is the ancient town of Tamworth, standing upon the little river Tame; this was originally a fortification built for defence against the Danes, and its castle was founded by Marmion, of whom Scott writes,
"They hailed Lord Marmion, They hailed him Lord of Fontenaye, Of Lutterward and Scrivelbaye, Of Tamworth tower and town."
Tamworth is also Shakespearian ground, for here Richmond halted on his march to Bosworth Field, and made a stirring address to inspire his forces for the coming combat. In later years Tamworth sent Sir Robert Peel to Parliament, and his bronze statue adorns the market-square; the ruins of the ancient castle are almost obliterated, and the present castle is upon higher ground, its architecture being of various periods. Tutbury Castle, of which little is left but a straggling mass of ruins, stands on an eminence overlooking the Dove, and crowns a ridge of red sandstone rock: it was a great stronghold, founded by John of Gaunt, covering several acres, and was demolished after the Civil Wars. This castle, like so many other famous places, was also one of the prison-palaces of Mary Queen of Scots; although the castle is destroyed, yet near by is its parish church of St. Mary, founded by Henry de Ferrars in the reign of William Rufus, and known then as Ferrars Abbey: its west end is one of the most perfect Norman fronts remaining in England, and it has been carefully restored. Tutbury is known for some of its ancient customs, among them the annual bull-running. A minstrel band, after devotions and a long sermon in the abbey, had an excellent dinner in the castle, and then repairing to the abbey-gate demanded the bull; the prior let the bull out, with his horns and tail cut off, his ears cropped, his body greased, and his nostrils filled with pepper to make him furious. The bull being let loose, the steward proclaimed that none were to come nearer than forty feet, nor to hinder the minstrels, but all were to attend to their own safety. The minstrels were to capture the bull before sunset, and on that side of the river, but if they failed or he escaped across the stream, he remained the lord's property. It was seldom possible to take him fairly, but if he was held long enough to cut off some of his hair it was considered a capture, and after a bull-baiting he was given to the minstrels. Thus originated the Tutbury bull-running, which ultimately degenerated into a scene of wild debauchery, often resulting in a terrible riot. The Duke of Devonshire, when he came into possession of Tutbury, was compelled to abolish the custom. About six miles from Stafford is Chartley Castle, dating from the Conquest, and belonging to the Earls of Chester and Derby, and subsequently to the famous Earl of Essex, who here entertained Queen Elizabeth, and afterwards planned the plot for which she signed his death-warrant. This castle has been many years in ruins: it had a circular keep about fifty feet in diameter, and the present remains are chiefly the fragments of two round towers and part of a wall twelve feet thick, with loopholes constructed for shooting arrows at an attacking force. Queen Mary was also imprisoned here, and a bed said to have been wrought by her is shown in the village. This unfortunate queen seems to have had more prisons and wrought more needlework than any other woman in Britain.
Alton Towers, the superb home of the Earl of Shrewsbury, is also in Staffordshire, and is one of the famous seats of England. The estate stands on the Churnet, and the house and grounds are on one side of its deep valley. The present mansion, a modern Gothic structure, was built about fifty years ago on a rocky plateau overlooking the valley. An extensive park surrounds the mansion, and there are several entrances. Of these Quicksall Lodge ushers the visitor to a magnificent approach known as the "Earl's Drive," extending three miles along the valley of the Churnet, and having its natural advantages increased by the profuse distribution along the route of statues, busts, and ornamental vases. Another entrance is from the railway-station, where is a lodge of great beauty, from which the road, about a mile in length, gradually ascends to the eminence where the mansion stands. The approach by both roads is fine, and through the intervening foliage the Towers open upon the view—rich in spire, dome, and gable, and with their fair proportions enhanced by the arcades that adorn the house and the antique stone setting that brings out the majesty of the Gothic architecture. The gardens of this fine place are beautiful, their extent being made apparently greater than in reality by the artificially-formed terraces and other resources of the landscape artist. The grounds are most lavishly ornamented with statuary, vases, temples, and fountains, while gardening is carried to perfection. There is a grand conservatory, containing a palm-house and orangery. From the top of an elaborate Gothic temple four stories high there is a fine view, while the Flag Tower, a massive building with four turrets, and six stories high, is used as an observatory. There is a delightful retreat for the weary sightseer called the Refuge, a fine imitation of Stonehenge, and Ina's Rock, where Ina, king of Wessex, held a parliament after his battle with the king of Mercia. The picturesque ruins of Alton Castle and convent are in the grounds, also the ruins of Croxden Abbey and the charming Alton Church, which was of Norman foundation. The castle existed at the time of the Conquest, and the domain in 1408, through the marriage of Maude Neville to John Talbot, was brought into the possession of the present family. Talbot having been afterwards made the first Earl of Shrewsbury. This was the famous English warrior who was so feared in France, where he conducted brilliant campaigns, that "with his name the mothers stilled their babes." He was killed at the siege of Chatillon in his eightieth year. It was the sixth Earl of Shrewsbury who married Bess of Hardwicke and made her fourth husband. It was the fifteenth Earl of Shrewsbury who erected the present magnificent structure, with its varied turrets and battlements, for his summer residence, where before stood a plain house known as Alton Lodge. Upon his tomb, in memory of the wonderful change he wrought in the place, is the significant motto: "He made the desert smile." The nineteenth earl is now in possession.
Westward of Stafford is the land of the "proud Salopians," Shropshire, through which flows the Severn, on whose banks stands the ancient town from which the Earls of Shrewsbury take their title. We are told that the Britons founded this town, and that in Edward the Confessor's time it had five churches and two hundred and thirty houses, fifty-one of which were cleared away to make room for the castle erected by Roger de Montgomery, a kinsman of William the Conqueror. The Norman king created him Earl of Shrewsbury long before the present line of earls began with John Talbot. Wars raged around the castle: it was besieged and battered, for it stood an outpost in the borderland of Wales. It was here that Henry IV. assembled an army to march against Glendower, and in the following year fought the battle of Shrewsbury against Hotspur, then marching to join Glendower. Hotspur's death decided the battle. The Wars of the Roses were fought around the town, and here Henry VII., then the Earl of Richmond, slept when going to Bosworth Field; and in the Civil Wars King Charles had Shrewsbury's support, but Cromwell's forces captured it. The town is on a fine peninsula almost encircled by the Severn, and the castle stands at the entrance to the peninsula. Only the square keep and part of the inner walls remain of the original castle, but a fine turret has been added by modern hands. In the neighborhood of Shrewsbury are the remains of the Roman city of Uriconium, said to have been destroyed by the Saxons in the sixth century. Shrewsbury has always been famous for pageants, its annual show being a grand display by the trade societies. It is also famous for its cakes, of which Shenstone says:
"And here each season do those cakes abide, Whose honored names the inventive city own, Rendering through Britain's isle Salopia's praises known."
The great Shrewsbury cake is the "simnel," made like a pie, the crust colored with saffron and very thick. It is a confection said to be unsafe when eaten to excess, for an old gentleman, writing from melancholy experience in 1595, records that "sodden bread which bee called simnels bee verie unwholesome." The Shropshire legend about its origin is that a happy couple got into a dispute whether they should have for dinner a boiled pudding or a baked pie. While they disputed they got hungry, and came to a compromise by first boiling and then baking the dish that was prepared. To the grand result of the double process—his name being Simon and her's Nell—the combined name of simnel was given. And thus from their happily-settled contention has come Shrewsbury's great cake, of which all England acknowledges the merit.
BRIDGENORTH AND WENLOCK ABBEY.
Following down the Severn River from Shrewsbury, we come to Bridgenorth, an ancient town planted on a steep hill, full of quaint houses, and having an old covered market where the country-people gather on Saturdays. The lower part is of brick, and the upper part is black-and-white-timbered, but the human love for what is old and familiar is shown by the way in which the people still fill up the old market-house, though a fine new one has recently been built. The most prized of the old houses of this venerable town is a foundry and blacksmith shop standing by the river; it was in this house that Bishop Percy, author of the Reliques, was born. On the promontory of sandstone, which steeply rises about one hundred and eighty feet above the river, the upper part of the town is built, and here are the ruins of Bridgenorth Castle, which stood in an exceptionally strong situation. The red sandstone predominates here, but not much of it remains in the castle, there being little left excepting a huge fragment of the massive wall of the keep, which now inclines so much on one side from the settlement of the foundation as to be almost unsafe. This castle was built eight hundred years ago by the third and last of the Norman Earls of Shrewsbury: it was held for King Charles in the Civil Wars, and underwent a month's siege before it surrendered, when the conquerors destroyed it. Bridgenorth is the most picturesque of all the towns on the Severn, owing to the steep promontory up which the houses extend from the lower to the upper town and the magnificent views from the castle. The communication with the hill is by a series of steeply-winding alleys, each being almost a continuous stairway: they are known as the "Steps." A bridge with projecting bastions crosses the river and connects the higher with the lower parts of the town, thus giving the place its name.
About twelve miles south-east of Shrewsbury is the village of Much Wenlock, where there are remains of a magnificent abbey founded by the Black monks, and exhibiting several of the Early English and Gothic styles of architecture, but, like most else in these parts, it has fallen in ruin, and many of the materials have been carried off to build other houses. Portions of the nave, transepts, chapter-house, and abbot's house remain, the latter being restored and making a fine specimen of ecclesiastical domestic architecture built around a court. An open cloister extends the entire length of the house. There are beautiful intersecting Norman arches in the chapter-house. There are some quaint old houses in the town—timbered structures with bold bow-windows—and not a few of them of great age. Roger de Montgomery is credited with founding Wenlock Abbey at the time of the Norman Conquest. The site was previously occupied by a nunnery, said to have been the burial-place of St. Milburgh, who was the granddaughter of King Penda of Mercia. This was a famous religious house in its day, and it makes a picturesque ruin, while the beauty of the neighboring scenery shows how careful the recluses and religious men of old were to cast their lots and build their abbeys in pleasant places.
The most important of all the castles in the middle marches of Wales was Ludlow, whose grand ruins, mouldered into beauty, stand upon the river Tame, near the western border of Shropshire. It was here that the lord president of the Council of Wales held his court. Its ruins, though abandoned, have not fallen into complete decay, so that it gives a fine representation of the ancient feudal border stronghold: it is of great size, with long stretches of walls and towers, interspersed with thick masses of foliage and stately trees, while beneath is the dark rock on which it is founded. It was built shortly after the Conquest by Roger de Montgomery, and after being held by the Norman Earls of Shrewsbury it was fortified by Henry I.: then Joyce de Dinan held it, and confined Hugh de Mortimer as prisoner in one of the towers, still known as Mortimer's Tower. Edward IV. established it as the place of residence for the lord president of the Council that governed Wales: here the youthful King Edward V. was proclaimed, soon to mysteriously disappear. From Ludlow Castle, Wales was governed for more than three centuries, and in Queen Elizabeth's time many important additions were made to it. The young Philip Sidney lived here, his father being the lord president; the stone bridge, replacing the drawbridge, and the great portal were built at that time. In 1634, Milton's "Masque of Comus" was represented here while Earl Bridgewater was lord president, one of the scenes being the castle and town of Ludlow: this representation was part of the festivities attending the earl's installation on Michaelmas Night. It was in Ludlow Castle that Butler wrote part of Hudibras. The castle was held for King Charles, but was delivered up to the Parliamentary forces in 1646. The present exterior of the castle denotes its former magnificence. The foundations are built into a dark gray rock, and the castle rises from the point of a headland, the northern front consisting of square towers with high, connecting embattled walls. In the last century trees were planted on the rock and in the deep and wide ditch that guarded the castle. The chief entrance is by a gateway under a low, pointed arch which bears the arms of Queen Elizabeth and of Earl Pembroke. There are several acres enclosed, and the keep is an immense square tower of the Early Norman, one hundred and ten feet high and ivy-mantled to the top. On its ground floor is the dungeon, half underground, with square openings in the floor connecting with the apartment above. The great hall is now without roof or floor, and a tower at the west end is called Prince Arthur's Tower, while there are also remains of the old chapel. The ruins have an imposing aspect, the towers being richly clustered around the keep. This famous castle is now the property of Earl Powis.
The town of Ludlow adjoins the castle, and on approaching it the visitor is struck by the fine appearance of the tower of the church of St. Lawrence. The church is said to be the finest in Shropshire, and this tower was built in the time of Edward IV. Its chantry is six hundred years old, and belonged to the Palmers' guild. Their ordinances are still preserved, one of which is to the effect that "if any man wishes, as is the custom, to keep night-watches with the dead, this may be allowed, provided that he does not call up ghosts." The town is filled with timber-ribbed, pargetted houses, one of the most striking of these being the old Feathers Inn. The exterior is rich in various devices, including the feathers of the Prince of Wales, adopted as the sign perhaps in the days of Prince Arthur, when the inn was built. Many of the rooms are panelled with carved oak and have quaintly moulded ceilings. It is not often that the modern tourist has a chance to rest under such a venerable roof, for it is still a comfortable hostelrie. The ancient priory of Austin Friars was at Ludlow, but is obliterated.
In the neighborhood of Ludlow are many attractive spots. From the summit of the Vignals, about four miles away, there is a superb view over the hills of Wales to the south and west, and the land of Shropshire to the northward. Looking towards Ludlow, immediately at the foot of the hill is seen the wooded valley of Hay Park: it was here that the children of the Earl of Bridgewater were lost, an event that gave Milton occasion to write the "Masque of Comus," and locate its scenes at and in the neighborhood of Ludlow. Richard's Castle is at the southern end of this wood, but there is not much of the old ruin left in the deep dingle. At Downton Castle the romantic walks in the gardens abound in an almost endless variety of ferns. Staunton Lacey Church, containing Romanesque work, and supposed to be older than the Conquest, is also near Ludlow. But the grand old castle and its quaint and venerated Feathers Inn are the great attractions before which all others pale. What an amazing tale of revelry, pageant, and intrigue they could tell were only the old walls endowed with voice!
We are told that in Central Staffordshire churches with spires are rare. The region of the Trent abounds in low and simple rather than lofty church-towers, but to this rule the cathedral city of Lichfield is an exception, having five steeples, of which three beautiful spires—often called the "Ladies of the Vale"—adorn the cathedral itself. The town stands in a fertile and gently undulating district without ambitious scenery, and the cathedral, which is three hundred and seventy-five feet long and its spires two hundred and fifty-eight feet high, is its great and almost only glory. It is an ancient place, dating from the days of the Romans and the Saxons, when the former slaughtered without mercy a band of the early Christian martyrs near the present site of the town, whence it derives its name, meaning the "Field of the Dead." This massacre took place in the fourth century, and in memory of it the city bears as its arms "an escutcheon of landscape, with many martyrs in it in several ways massacred." In the seventh century a church was built there, and the hermit St. Chad became its bishop. His cell was near the present site of Stowe, where there was a spring of clear water rising in the heart of a forest, and out of the woods there daily came a snow-white doe to supply him with milk. The legend tells that the nightingales singing in the trees distracted the hermit's prayers, so he besought that he might be relieved from this trial; and since that time the nightingales in the woods of Stowe have remained mute. After death the hermit-bishop was canonized and Lichfield flourished, at least one of his successors being an archbishop. St. Chad's Well is still pointed out at Stowe, but his Lichfield church long ago disappeared. A Norman church succeeded it in the eleventh century, and has also been removed, though some of its foundations remain under the present cathedral choir. About the year 1200 the first parts of the present cathedral were built, and it was over a hundred years in building. Its architecture is Early English and Decorated, the distinguishing features being the three spires, the beautiful western front, and the Lady Chapel. The latter terminates in a polygonal apse of unique arrangement, and the red sandstone of which the cathedral is built gives a warm and effective coloring. Some of the ancient bishops of Lichfield were fighting men, and at times their cathedral was made into a castle surrounded by walls and a moat, and occasionally besieged. The Puritans grievously battered it, and knocked down the central spire. The cathedral was afterwards rebuilt by Christopher Wren, and the work of restoration is at present going on. As all the old stained glass was knocked out of the windows during the Civil Wars, several of them have been refilled with fine glass from the abbey at Liege. Most of the ancient monuments were also destroyed during the sieges, but many fine tombs of more modern construction replace them, among them being the famous tomb by Chantrey of the "Sleeping Children." The ancient chroniclers tell bad stories of the treatment this famous church received during the Civil Wars. When the spire was knocked down, crushing the roof, a marksman in the church shot Lord Brooke, the leader of the Parliamentary besiegers, through his helmet, of which the visor was up, and he fell dead. The marksman was a deaf and dumb man, and the event happened on St. Chad's Day, March 2d. The loss of their leader redoubled the ardor of the besiegers; they set a battery at work and forced a surrender in three days. Then we are told that they demolished monuments, pulled down carvings, smashed the windows, destroyed the records, set up guard-houses in the cross-aisles, broke up the pavement, every day hunted a cat through the church, so as to enjoy the echo from the vaulted roof, and baptized a calf at the font. The Royalists, however, soon retook Lichfield, and gave King Charles a reception after the battle of Naseby, but it finally surrendered to Cromwell in 1646. Until the Restoration of Charles II. the cathedral lay in ruins, even the lead having been removed from the roof. In 1661, Bishop Hacket was consecrated, and for eight years he steadily worked at rebuilding, having so far advanced in 1669 that the cathedral was reconsecrated with great ceremony. His last work was to order the bells, three of which were hung in time to toll at his funeral; his tomb is in the south aisle of the choir.