Billeder på siden

incredible, with a patience and firmess that must excite admiration. At length, however they were on the point of leaving the place, and retiring to Clairvaux, where St. Bernard was about to assign them one of the granges of his Abbey. At this juncture Hugh, Dean of York falling sick, ordered himself, and all that he had to be carried to the monastery of Fountains, and and being very rich, his wealth brought great relief to the house."

From this period, this band of brothers began to flourish; and by subsequent grants and donations, were soon enabled to erect a dwelling, equal, if not superior, to any one then in the kingdom, and which ultimately became one of the most splendid and magnificent establishments.

The history of this Abbey would of itself form a volume. Suffice it to say that after the gradual improvement of several successive centuries, in riches, in honours and in magnificence, it shared the fate of all similar establishments, and was on the 26th of November, 1540, with all its revenues and possessions surrendered into the hands of the reigning monarch, King Henry the VIII,

As a picturesque object, the ruins of Fountains Abbey can have no superior. It is frequently compared with that of Melrose, in Scotland, though it has not yet met with an artist or a poet to celebrate its appearance by moon-light. Gothic buildings are always seen with more interest by the pale light of the luminary of night, than in the glare of day; a softness, an indescribable, harmony pervades the whole, and renders beauty doubly beautiful. This is well noticed by Walter Scott, whose expressive lines will as aptly apply to Fountains as to Melrose laying aside the locality of the Tweed.

"If thou wouldst view fair Melrose aright,

"Go visit it by the pale moonlight;

"For the gay beams of lightsome day

"Gild but to flout, the ruins gray.

"When the broken arches are black in night,

"And each shafted Oriel glimmers white;

"When the cold light's uncertain shower,

"Streams on the ruined central tower;

"Whea buttress and buttress alternately,

"Seem framed of ebon and ivory;

"When silver edges the imagery,

"And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die;

"When distant Tweed is heard to rave,

"And the owlet hoot o'er the dead man's grave;

"Theu go-but go alone the while

"Then view St. David's ruined Pile;

"And horae returning soothly swear,
Was neve: scene so sad and fair."



Continued from Page 97.

"O! Land of Cakes, how much mine eyes,
"Delight to see thy mountain's rise;
"Thy rocks how fancy loves to climb,
"So wild, terrific and sublime !"


Pursuing the road from Eyam, through Middleton Dale, towards Tideswell, the picturesque taveller perceives with regret the diminution in the interest of the scenery he has so lately passed. Leaving the smelting mill and the old mines near the head of the dale, he suddenly emerges from a confined road to an open common, whence some of the peak hills appear to rise in the distant horizon. Here no chearing object appears in view. Nature displays little of her loveliness, and one wide waste, or recently inclosed tract is all the eye has left to dwell upon; and to render the landscape still more appalling, about a quarter of a mile from the road towards the left, is the heart sickening picture of a man hanging in chains.

Why exclaims to himself, the humane passenger, Why are these things permitted? In an age which boasts of its humanity, its refinement, its civilization; an age of sentiment and feeling; of extensive benevolence, and of charity unbounded; ought we to expect a sight like this? Among Barbarians, such things might be tolerated, but in a land of Christians, of a people whose tenets should teach them not to punish one person for the crime which another has committed, nor to carry the spirit of revenge beyond the grave, such things ought not to be tolerated. For who is punished by it? Not the guilty convict, but his relations; not the wretch who has already surrendered up life to the offended laws, but his heart broken parents, his brothers, his sisters, his wife or his children. The wretch here gibbetted deserved his death; he had robbed and murdered a poor old woman, who kept the adjoining bar, and had afteward conducted himself with the greatest unfeeling and barbarity; but that this mother should not be able to open her door, his father till his field, or his brothers drive the team without beholding a son or a brother quivering in the air, and waving with every wind, cannot be necessary; as it can only plunge the arrow of unhappiness till deeper into the bosom of those who are already too unhappy. Justice though blind, ought not to be destitute of compassion.


A small market town about seven miles from Buxton, has little beauty to recommend it, if we except its church, a structure of rather singular architecture well worthy the attention of the traveller.

The situation of Tideswell is dreary in the extreme. Surrounded on every side by naked hills, in some parts open, uncultivated, and barren; in others intersected by limestone walls, it does not possess one chearing prospect. Nor is the appearance of the town itself better than that of the adjoining country; it displays every where an air of sombre poverty, unpleasing to a resident, and to a traveller disgusting. This town seems once to have formed part of the domain of William Peverel, from whom it descended to King John, and by his daughter to one of the Staffords whom she married. It afterwards belonged in succession to the Meurills, the Cromwells and the Eyres, by the representative of which last family it was sold to the Duke of Devonshire.

The Church was erected in the fourteenth century, before which it had a chapel, which with Hope Church, found bread and beer for the Canons of Lichfield. Thomas Foljambe who lies buried in the chancel appears to have done much towards its erection, and Thurstan de Bower and his wife whose effigies are on a tomb in the South Transept, are said to have at their own expence built the transept. It is dedicated to St. John the Baptist, the living is a Vicarage and the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield are the patrons.

Tideswell was formerly chiefly inhabited by mines, but since the introduction of the Cotton business, the miners have been much on the decline, and it is now chiefly supported by weavers and spinners in that branch of trade.

The Free School found by Pursglove, once a Bishop, is at present under the management of the Viear the Rev. Mr. Browne, a gentleman whose laboursas the calculator of the Nautical Almanack are well known wherever a Brtish ship can sail.

The road from Tideswell to Buxton, is a continued series of hills and dales, of craggy rocks and narrow vallies. Now displaying a prospect extensive and sublime, where mountain rises on mountain, and hills appear to crown each other, till their rugged forms dissolve by distance into ether; and now confined betwixt two craggy precipices, the eye finds an indescribable beauty in the gurgling rill that waters the narrow vale, and the plants that tint the enormous masses of limestone, with all the varied colours of vegetation. For whether confined or extended, the views of the Peak are ever pleasing to the eye of taste, always interesting to the Artist, or the admirer of Nature's Pencil: they cannot be adequately described, to be appreciated they must be seen.

"These beauties rugged Peak, thy highlands yield,
"Beauties cublime, unknown to lowland field."

[ocr errors]

If the Editor of the Norhern Star, conceives the following observations on a singular assemblage of Rocks, and Druidical reliques, on Stanton moor in the County of Derby, to be agreeable to the plan of his work, by inserting them in Number 3, he will much oblige.

A. F. A.


This singular assemblage of gritstone rocks is situated near the west end of the village of Birchover on the edge of what is called Stanton-inoor. Perhaps Derbyshire does not exhibit an object on so small a scale, so replete with curiosity, or which would more forcibly arrest the interest of the visitor. Seen at a distance it presents the appearance of a rude and rugged pile of massy rocks, preserving some thing in its contour of the form of an irregular cone or rather conoid, on the apex of which is a rude column, surmounted by a standard and weather vane. Among the horizontal interstices of the rock, appear several embattled walls, and gothic windows, the whole intermixed with foliage of various kinds, and forming to the fancy the real effect of some ancient monastery, or the abode of some such band of recluses as we often read of in Italian stories.

Nor is this resemblance confined to the distant view, for on examination we find several natural caverns, hollowed into regular apartments, and fronted with embattled walls; they have a communication with one another either by a long gallery or by flights of rude steps. Two or three distinct terraces, apparently once used as gardens are furnished with rude seats and fronted with a parapet and on one of the highest stones is carved an arm chair for three persons to sit on. Rock basins of various sizes are seen on the summits of the stones.

One of the greatest curiosities of this singular pile is a large stone nearly appoaching in form to that of a lemon resting on the smallest point in a cup formed in the rock for its reception and which a few years ago was so nicely poised as to be moved by the application of the smallest force; it is however immovable, being in the year 1799 thrust from its equipoise by a company of young men from Birchover. Most of the rocks of this pile may be shaken with little vlolence.

That this singular mass is not the work of Nature, there are many reasons for believing; but for what purpose our ancestors might think it neccessary to undertake such a work we can form no conception, it may perhaps be the most reasonable to refer it to some Druidical rite, as the country around abounds in remains, by our most learned antiquaries attributed to Druidical origin.


Is another rugged mass of gritstone rocks about a quarter of a mile from the Roo-Tor rocks, and like that owes a great part of its formation to he mai

industry. Many of the massy stones on its summit have been rocking stones or, as they are here provincially termed "tottering stones," though now nearly immoveable; yet one which is supported on two pointed stones is easily set a rocking. This has been supposed by Antiquarians to have once been a rock idol, but gross indeed must be the ideas of mankind, when an enormous boulder, poised by art in such perfect equilibrium as to totter with a sudden gust of wind, became the object of adoration; one would at least conclude, that to posses so great a mark of distinction, it should have borne some resemblance toa fancied being, but this is a stone on which the chissel has never made impression, and which in its shape is too amorphous to be reconciled by the most luxuriant imagination to the imitation of any animated being.


Form the brow of a steep hill about a mile North West of Rootorr. These have every appearance of having been exclusively the work of Nature. Like the other rocks in the neighbourhood, the summit of Crowcliffe abounds with Rock-basins of various size and shape. The interstices of the stone are filled up with flourishing shrubs, and the steep hill below the Torr has yet some resemblance of a forest; and it it is indeed more than probable, that a few centuries ago the luxuriant oaks that then overgrew the slope, would hide from view all the torr, except its summit, presenting a scene beautiful in the extreme, and offering in its bosom an asylum to the wretched wanderer or oppressed outcast.

That this rock has actually been the residence of some such being, it affords indubitable proof; for on the top of the slope under the canopy of impending crags, is a small cavern fashioned into the form of a square apartment, on one side of which is a crucifix boldly carved in relief, and not despicably executed, on the right of which is a niche, as if for an offertory. The entrance of the cave has apparently been a regular arch, but of late years one part of the rock has fallen in. The fire place is very visible, and the place which the poor hermit chose to spread his pallet upon, appears very distinctly, even the hole in which he fastened rods for the support of his pillow, are very perfect.

This Anchorite seems to have possessed no small share of ingenuity, for the rock is morticed to receive the ends of the paling which closed his caves and supported the little wicket which gave him entrance; and a channel is cut in the rock above the arch to guide the drippings of the water from the entrance of his cell; a wall too was built at the extremity of a small plain in the front of his dwelling, to enclose his garden, and the way to the whole was along a winding path scarcely visible, and totally inaccessible to every being, but a human one. The wall was taken down perhaps a hundred years ago to build a cottage on the spot, where at present in the front of the hermitage, a good modern farm house now stands.

This Hermitage affords a rich treat to the curious tracer of ancient eustoms, and perhaps throws more real light on the life of a recluse, than most

« ForrigeFortsæt »