HACKFALL, in the township of Grewelthorpe, and parish of Kirkby Malzeard, lower division of Claro; 3 miles S. of Masham, 8 from Ripon, 9 from Bedale.
This sequestered and romantic Spot is the property of Mrs. Lawrence. It consists of two deep Dingles, covered on either side with a profusion of wood except in such parts where the naked Scars contribute to vary and improve the view; a small stream running through, is obstructed in various places by upright pieces of stone, and thus forms several artificial Cascades.
The Buildings are Pavilions, covered, with seats, from the first of which is a view of the great Fall, divided into two parts, and, as DAY observes, "rather steals than dashes down rocks richly clad with moss, and possesses a mildness and beauty peculiar to itself;" artificial Ruins, a small octagon Room, built of petrifactions, called Fisher's Hall; a Grotto, situated in front of a Cascade which falls forty feet; a Rustic Temple, on the margin of a sheet of water, in the middle of which there was formerly a Fountain throwing water to a great height: the whole is bounded by a noble Amphitheatre of tall trees, and although too formal for the scenery around, has a pleasing effect. The walks are laid out with great judgement and much taste, which, as you ascend, exhibit several views of Masham Church and Town, &c. but the best views are from Fisher's Hall, which commands the whole of the two Dingles, where they fork from each other with the bottom of each filled with the rapid river Ure, which here "boils and, foams and thunders through." The view is perfectly American, for nothing is seen from it but hanging woods, extensive scars, and water. From the hut on the margin of the Ure, which winds rapidly at your feet, is seen a small Cascade trickling down the hill, Fishers Hall, Mowbray Castle, and at a short distance, the Weeping Rock. The view from Mowbray Point, on the brink of a very high precipice, commands the same woody dells and water as from Fisher's Hall, but overlooks a vast extent of country, enriched with corn, meadows, and groves, a tract of unequalled beauty and exuberant vegetation. In the Building are a handsome dining room, a small drawing room, and a kitchen, none of which are now in use.
On an eminence, not far distant, says Pennant, are to be seen the remains of Mowbray's Castlehill, which are unquestionably Roman; a Square, defended on one side by the steep of the hill, on the other by a dyke and deep ditch on the outside.
[Description(s) edited from various 19th century sources by Colin Hinson © 2013]