"Ilam, nearly five miles NW by N of Ashbourn, and twelve miles ESE of Leek, is a small secluded village, picturesquely seated in the vale of the Manyfold, and within half a mile of its junction with the deepest, narrowest and most romantic part of Dovedale. Its parish contains only 244 inhabitants, and about 2300 acres of land, including the hamlets of Rushley, one mile NW, and Castern and Throwley, on opposite banks of the Manyfold, about half a mile from each other, and one and a half miles NW of Ilam. Castern Hall belongs to F Hurt, Esq, and Throwley Hall to S Crompton, Esq, but both are occupied by farmers, though the latter is a large ancient mansion, formerly occupied by the Meverels, and afterwards by the family of Oliver Cromwell. Jesse Watts Russell, Esq, owns most of the parish, and is lord of the manor. He resides at Ilam Hall, a large and elegent mansion, in the Tuscan and Gothic styles of architecture, with towers and turrets, erected on the site of the old hall in 1821, by the present owner, who purchased the estate from the late John Port, Esq, father of the present vicar.
The diversified and magnificent scenery around Ilam Hall must be seen to be truly appreciated, and for the convenience of the tourists who come here to appreciate the wonders of nature, Mr W Waterfall, about 20 years ago, established the Izaac Walton Hotel, at the junction of the vales of Manyfold and Dove, and near the hills of Bunster and Thorpe Cloud. "
[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]