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Barons take part with king Henry 313 Grey, of Codnor
329 Barons refuse to pay taxes
John repents signing the Charter . 317 Jews seized and hanged
332 Anthony Bec, bishop of Durham 341
Confederacy of the barons . 320 Ralph de Cromwell
Other barons of Derbyshire 343
Escape of prince Edward
Confederacy of the barons
Flight of the King and the Spencers 353 Grey de Wilton
Preliminary observations. Situation, extent and boundaries of Derbyshire. Surface and natural
appearance. Ridges of mountains; valleys; caverns; springs; rivers, brooks and standing waters. Particular descriptions of the most remarkable natural features of the county. Notices of interesting scenery. Climate; winds ; rain ; peculiar diseases ; health ; longevity.
DERBYSHIRE is an inland county of England ; and, whether we consider its agricultural and mineral productions, or its rising importance in manufactures and commerce, we shall find it entitled to be ranked high among the wealthy and industrious districts of our island. Perhaps its central position and its numerous natural advantages ought to have claimed for it, long since, a pre-eminence in the home-trade of the kingdom, but it must be recollected that the facilities of internal navigation are of modern invention, and that, in their infancy, they could not be expected to encounter the difficulties presented by a mountainous region. Sheffield and Nottingham, at the very borders of this county, and Birmingham, at a short distance from its western confines, were more open to those improved means of communication. But while the manufactures of these neighbouring towns found their way to the seaports, and became branches of our foreign commerce, the natural energies of Derbyshire were not inactive. There were found in this district those inventive faculties which create the highest manufacturing powers, and then go on to perfect the powers they create. The fabrics of silk and cotton are indebted to Derbyshire for the most simple, yet most prolific combinations of machinery; and, we may add, that in the prudence and humanity which nourish manufactures into real strength, and render them blessings to both the capitalist and the operative, Derbyshire is not exceeded by any other part of the British Empire.
The rising and increasing trade and manufactures of this county do not, however, constitute its most prominent objects of interest. Nature here incites the topographer to scientific investigations, and calls upon him for picturesque descriptions. She, here, unfolds much of her own antiquities, in comparison with which the crumbling fragments left by the earlier generations of mankind as intimations of their existence, their pride and their superstitions, are recent and trivial. In those subjects of awful admiration, which elevate at times the apparently humble science of Geology to poetic sublimity, there is scarcely a district of the globe more abundant. The Peak of Derbyshire with its surrounding region, distinguished by limestone and basaltic*
The limestone of Derbyshire is divided into four beds, by intervening beds of basaltic amygdaloid. Bakewell's Geology.
strata, enriched with mineral veins and characterised by determinate formations, affords the scientific student a series of instructive facts, while it astonishes him with the mighty order and regularity of stratification which the disorderly and irregular disruptions around him have brought to view. The simple yet bold sketch of the origin of the earth which Whitehurst has delineated, and which subsequent geologists have endeavoured to fill up and perfect rather than to remodel, had its conception in his study of the stratification of Derbyshire.-With respect to the picturesque or scenic interest of the northern portion of the county, we may, with Mr. Rhodes, * justly extol “the graceful and long-continued outline,” and “the breadth of light and shadow" presented by the mountainous ridges, while in the dales and valleys, “especially those through which the Derwent, the Dove, and the Wye meander, the eye is enchanted with brilliant streams, well cultivated meadows, luxuriant foliage, steep heathy hills and craggy rocks."
In the rank and influence of its landed proprietors and aristocracy, Derbyshire equals the proudest county in the realm. The histories of their families connect themselves frequently with the wars, the feuds, the public or patriotic counsels, and all the transactions, whether foreign or domestic, of the kingdom. This portion of the labours of the topographer embraces much of the antiquities of the county. The actions of illustrious individuals are sometimes alluded to in their armorial bearings, sometimes intimated by their monuments, and are sometimes to be sought for in ancient records: but our oldest histories are unconnected chronicles of monasteries, and it is seldom that, in these documents, the affairs of either the barons or the citizens form more than a doubtful line or two of detail. The spirit of research has indeed been well directed during the last sixty or seventy years. It has done much towards the elucidation of the least luminous of former ages, and the studies of the antiquary are daily extending and correcting the pages of the historian.
The population of every portion of the civilized world is necessarily divided into classes, diversified by condition, situation, pursuits and occupation, but with interests more or less blended with the interests of each other. In Derbyshire this diversity may be considered more than usually great in proportion to the number of inhabitants and extent of territory. Labour is here as varied as the aspect of the county. The lead, the iron, the coal and other mines, together with the marble and stone quarries, employ a part of the people in pursuits which have, again, their subdivisions: some of these are even distinguished from the rest by peculiar customs and long established laws, and each of them imparts some variety of character to its neighbourhood. The agriculture, too, of the south of the county differs materially from that of the sterile moun. tains and abrupt though fruitful valleys of the north. The tenure of the lands, the occupation of farms, and the regulations of servitude are various in different places. The inhabitants of towns and villages have also their diversities : certain trades prevail more in one district or town than in another; while manufactures are to be found in all their gradations, from the stocking loom to the foundry and the silk or cotton mill. Here, then, we have a wide and varied assortment of the characteristics of human industry and of the combinations of human interests, the contemplation of which cannot but be pregnant with utility. It is in this survey that we claim for our labours the attention of the statist, the politician, and the man of business. On every subject connected with the human condition in the present state of society, and in the progress of that condition from barbarism and vassallage to civilization, the County of Derby will, in its past and present history, afford matter of important information and serious reflection.
DERBYSHIRE lies nearly in the centre of South Britain, or of that portion of the United Kingdom called England and Wales. A point may be taken within it, near the intersection of the 53° north parallel with the western meridian of 1° 40', which will be halfway between Berwick-upon-Tweed and the Isle of Wight, and equally distant from Foulness on the coast of Norfolk and the coast of Caernarvon. Like most inland counties, its boundaries are rather arbitrary than natural; yet, on the west, it is separated from Staffordshire by the river Dove and
Peak Scenery, Sect. 1.
part of the Trent. On the north-west it is divided from Cheshire by the Goyte and the Etherow. On the northern border, which separates it from the West Riding of Yorkshire, some portion of the eastern head and branches of the Derwent, the Sheaf, and the Rother
be traced. Between Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, on the east, we find the source and part of the Meden, with the whole course of the Erewash. This county extends southward, beyond the Trent, about ten miles, where it is irregularly bordered by Leicestershire, without any trace of a natural demarcation, except a portion of the course of the Mease.
The most northern point of Derbyshire is in north latitude 53° 27' near the springs of the Etherow and the Trough, which in many maps is named the Wrongsley. The most southern extremity lies in north latitude 52° 38', at a small common bordering on the Measham Road, known by the name of No-man’s-land : a spot, the possession of which has been disputed by the four neighbouring counties of Leicester, Stafford, Warwick, and Derby. The farthest projection to the east is at west longitude from Greenwich 1° 13'; it is at a place called by some writers, the confluence of the Brooks,* near Worksop. Westward, the farthest projection is in west longitude 2° 31}' at the junction of the Goyte and the Etherow. The direct length of the county between the above-mentioned points may be estimated at about 56 miles, and its width is rather more than 33 miles.
The form of the county is extremely irregular ; and it is remarkable, that, on its borders, there are no fewer than eight places, where three counties meet at one point. This is occasioned in two instances by a considerable detached part of the county being bounded on three of its sides by Leicestershire, and on the fourth by Warwickshire. The other triple-junctions with the neighbouring counties may be easily discovered by a reference to the map.
The surface of Derbyshire is more unequal and irregular than any other portion of England of similar extent. The superficial measurement has been estimated at 972 square miles or 622,080 statute acres. About two thirds of the whole county consists of pasture and arable land ; the remainder of mountainous regions, moors and commons.
The elevations of land at the north-western extremity of the county are considerable, and mongst them are those mountainous tracts which give the district called the High Peak, its celebrated Alpine character. The highest of the eminences in that district are Axe-edge, Kinderscout, and Blakelow-stones. The Great Axe-edge, which is the highest point of a line of lofty hills, extending across the boundaries of the county into Staffordshire, rises near Buxton : its height above the sea has been calculated at about 1875 feet.f Kinder-scout rises in the north-western angle of the Peak: its height has not been accurately ascertained. Pilkington says that this mountain “is generally supposed to have a greater elevation than any other eminence in the county;" but, in the opinion of Farey, Blakelow-stones, situate still farther north, and in which the west-end branch of the Derwent has it source, is the highest, and Axe-edge the lowest of these three distinguished elevations.
The mountainous ridges which intersect the northern part of the county, and which descend more or less and are lost in the southern plains, where they form gentle brows, and pleasingly diversify the more level aspect of the county, merit particular attention. From them, with their deep and romantic valleys and caverns, Derbyshire derives much of that peculiar interest which causes it to be spoken of and frequented by the curious and intelligent of all nations. Farey enumerates forty-one “ridges or ranges of high land, in and near to Derbyshire ;” and when it is considered that these ridges are the waterheads of all the rivers and brooks that flow, either within the county or its neighbourhood, that intelligent author seems to have reason for his expectation, that that part of his labour may afford even a stranger a clear idea of the general surface and features of the county. Our limits oblige us to confine our observations to a few of the principal ridges within Derbyshire: from these others branch out in lines of declining elevation.
See Farey. + This is the statement of Mr. Farey : the height according to Whitehurst is 2100 feet above the town of Derby : both these calculations differ from the Trigonometrical Survey mentioned in page 8.