The Rivers of Staffordshire 1872


BLITHE, (The), a river of Stafford. It rises 3 miles E of Lane-End; and runs about 22 miles south-south-eastward, past Leigh, Chartley, Blithbury, and Kings-Bromley to the Trent, 7 miles above Burton. 

DOVE (The), a river of Derby and Stafford. It rises near Axedge-hill, 4 miles SSW of Buxton; and runs about 40 miles, chiefly southward, partly east-south-eastward, along the boundary of the two counties, to the Trent at Newton-Solney. Its chief tributaries are the Manifold at Thorp-Cloud and the Churnet at Rocester. Its current is never slow, sometimes smooth and solemn, sometimes rapid, impetuous, and even turbulent; and its flanks are so varied and picturesque as, jointly with its current, to render it one of the most beautiful of streams. A narrow, winding, rocky dell in its course, between 2 and 3 miles long, called par excellence Dovedale, 5 miles from Ashborne, displays a series of romantic close views. The large, conspicuous, bare, limestone mountain of Thorp-Cloud, in the form of a truncated cone, is at the entrance. Abrupt vast rocks, and slippery crags, variegated with mosses, lichens, yews, and mountain-ash trees, succeed in rich variety; become increasingly rugged, grand, grotesque, and shaggy; and soon make such near approaches on the opposite sides as to seem to be meeting overhead and shutting up the gorge. In some places they shoot aloft, in isolated masses, to the height of 30 or 40 fathoms, like spires or conical pyramids; in others, they project their scattered and uncovered heads terrifically over the stream, upheld by fragments which appear unequal to sustain the tremendous weight. At one point a portal for the stream is formed on one side by a mighty insulated pillar, on the other by a cliff with conical summit soaring to the sky; at another is a magnificent natural Gothic arch, called Reynard's Hole; at several points are curious caverns; and below the chasm down toward Uttoxeter and beyond, are verdant meadows, followed by bold swelling hills. Cotton lived at Beresford Hall, near the most romantic part of the dale; Izaac Walton luxuriated there in his piscatory pleasures; and Congreve wrote his "Old Bachelor" and his "Mourning Bride" in a grotto on the grounds of Ham Hill. The river is subject to sudden freshets, and makes a rich deposit on the meadows below the dale, insomuch that an old rhyme says, "In April Dove's flood Is worth a king's good." 

HAMPS (The), a stream of Staffordshire. It rises near Upper Elkstone, about 5 miles from the boundaries of Cheshire and Derbyshire; runs south-eastward to a natural tunnel, near Caldon; and, while still underground, unites with the Manifold.

MEES (The), a river of Stafford and Salop. It rises near Blymhill in Stafford; runs about 6 miles north-northwestward, partly on the boundary with Salop, but chiefly within Stafford, to Aqualate meer; traverses that lake; goes about 1 mile thence, past Forton, into Salop; and proceeds about 9 miles, northwestward, south-south westward, and westward to the Tern, at Bolas Magna 

MEESE, or MESE (THE), a rivulet of Staffordshire; running about 9 miles southeastward to the river Sow near Chelsey, 4 miles NW of Stafford. 

SMESTOW (The), a river of the S of Stafford; running to the Stour, 3 miles W of Stourbridge. 

TAME (The), a river of Warwick and Stafford; rising near the boundary with Worcester; and running about 25 miles, mainly north-north-eastward, past Birmingham, Kingsbury, and Tamworth, to the Trent near Alrewas. 

TEAN (The) a river of Stafford; rising near Kingsley; and running about 15 miles southward past Cheadle, and south-eastward past Checkley, to the Dove near Uttoxeter. 

TRENT (The), a river of Stafford, Derby, Leicester, Notts, and Lincoln. It was known anciently as Trivona or Treonta, It ranks, in regard to length of course, the third river of England; and it drains a basin of about 4,000 square miles. It rises on Biddulph moor, on the N border of Stafford, at an elevation of about 500 feet above sea-level, and at a distance of about 154 miles, along its bed, to the sea; it goes southward, past Stoke and Stone, to Shugborough, and there receives the Sow; it goes thence southeastward, past Rugeley, to Kings-Bromley, and there receives the Blythe ; it proceeds thence east-by-southward, past Alrewas, to the boundary with Derby, and there receives the Tame and the Mees; it goes north-north-eastward, along the boundary between Stafford and Derby, past Burton-upon-Trent, to Newton-Solney, and there receives the Dove; it intersects the SW of Derby eastward, past Barrow-upon-Trent, to the neighbourhood of Aston-upon-Trent; it then divides Derby from Leicester east-north-eastward, past Shardlow and Sawley, to the neighbourhood of Attenborough, and receives, in that run, the Derwent, the Soar, and the Erewash; it proceeds within Notts north-eastward to Nottingham, and there receives the Lene; it then goes through Notts eastward, north-eastward, and north-by-eastward, past Shelford, Hoveringham, East Stoke, Newark, and Carlton-on-Trent, to the boundary with Lincoln near Dunham, and receives, in that run, the Dover, the Greet, and the Devon; it divides Notts from Lincoln northward, past Torksey, Littleborough, and Gainsborough, to West Stockwith, and there receives the Idle; it proceeds within Lincoln northward, past Wildsworth, Burringham, and Amcotts, separating the Isle of Axholme from the main body of Lincoln; and it unites with the Ouse at an impingement of Yorkshire, near Alkborough, to form the Humber. It is tidal to Gainsborongh, and navigable for barges to Burton-upon-Trent; it is swept, in its tidal reaches, by a bore, similar to that of the rivers entering the Solway firth and the Bristol channel; and it is extensively used, in these reaches, for the kind of georgical improvement called warping. 

[Description(s) from The Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72) - Transcribed by Mike Harbach ©2020]