Extract from Pigot's Commercial Directory of Derbyshire 1828-9
Descriptions transcribed by Heather Faulkes © 1999
MATLOCK village and parish, in the hundred of Wirksworth, is 144 miles from London, 42 from Manchester, 34 from Nottingham, 14 from Ashbourn, and rather more than 3 from Wirksworth.
The village is most delightfully situated, partly in a valley and partly on the side of a hill, on the eastern banks of the river Derwent, and at a short distance from the main road: it is chiefly built of stone, and at its entrance is a neat stone bridge; at some distance from which, on the verge of a most romantic rock, and upon a precipice almost perpendicular, stands the church, shrouded amidst trees, whose luxuriant foliage spreads over the face of the grey rock: the building is an ancient erection, with a square tower and arched roof, the interior of which is covered with paintings taken from various scripture subjects. In many parts of the church-yard the graves are cut out of the solid rock. The dean of Lincoln is patron of the living.
Four fairs for cattle are held here in the year, viz. February 24th, April 2nd, May 9th and October 25th. The population of the parish of Matlock, in 1821, was 2,920.
MATLOCK BATH, about a mile and a half s.s.w. from the village, is seated in a valley, amidst scenery of unparalleled grandeur and variety. The appendiges of picturesque beauty are here so happily united, that they cannot fail in raising those indescribable associations invariably attending a mind attuned to the contemplation of such sublime scenes; which to delineate, the powers and variations of the pencil must be employed, as alone adequate to the task; for:
Expression's varied flowers are far too weak-
Let fancy paint what language cannot speak:
View Abram's Heights, th' High Torr, and Lover's path,
And hail elysium when at Matlock Bath.
To enter into a particular description of the petrifying well and of the various articles of fancy produced here, and to do justice to the general interest, would form a little volume. An exhibition of the manufactures peculiar to this place, and a variety of other articles is established called "the Royal Museum", which is open free to the public, under the able and obliging conduct of Mr. John Mawe: a library and news' room have also lately been added.
The principal bath is called the Fountain Bath, at the foot of the Heights of Abraham, and may be known by a fountain playing in the garden. There is a delightful sail up and down the river, for which purpose boats are kept, and may been frequently seen proudly gliding with a freight of beauty and fashion. There are two hotels, and numerous lodging-houses, where every accommodation is afforded to the visitors resorting to this enchanting place.
The diseases to which the Matlock waters are perculiarly salubrious are, glandular affections, rheumatism, obstructions from biliary concretions, and all those complaints that are promoted or increased by a relaxed state of the muscular powers. Amongst the natural curiosities are, lunar rainbows, which are not unfrequent here, Smedley cavern, &c. The eminences deserving attention are, the High Torr, 350 feet above the level of the neighbouring country; Masson hill, and the romantic cliff forming the boundary of the dale.
BONSALL is a considerable village, in a parish of the same name, about two miles from Cromford and four from Wirksworth, principally seated on a very high hill, where is the church, a neat plain building, in the same patronage as that of Matlock. In 1821 the number of inhabitants in the parish was 1,396.
DARLEY, a parish, partly in the hundred of Wirksworth and partly in the High Peak hundred, contains a small village, situated five miles from Matlock, in a rich and beautiful valley, upon the banks of the Derwent, and upon the road from Matlock to Bakewell.
The church has a square tower, in which are five bells, and in the church-yard is a yew tree, an object of considerable attraction from its immense bulk, its thick foliage, and the great extent of its spreading limbs; it is surrounded by a stone bench, which at once serves as its protection, and a resting place for the traveller, who may seek shelter beneath its friendly shade, impervious alike to the "scorching noontide ray", or the "pelting of the pitiless storm".
In 1821, 1,176 was the number of inhabitants in the parish.
[From Pigot's Commercial Directory of Derbyshire 1828-9.
This page was created by Heather Faulkes on 6th May 1999, and is reproduced on GENUKI with permission]