William Thomson.

A tour in England and Scotland, in 1785 online

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fary, as many fatal accidents have happened
from the damp air, and fometimes explofions
which have deftroyed many of the people
who wrought in thofe mines. I could have
wiflied to enter this fubterraneous paffage
myfelf, but was told that there were no people
at work, and that the air was fo foul, that it
would be too dangerous. The boats which
go through this fubterraneous navigation,
are of two fizes : the fmallefr, two and an
half feet wide, and twenty feet long ; the
largeft, five feet broad, and fifty feet long,
carrying about twenty-five tons of coal.
The miners receive from twenty pence to
three (hillings a day, according to the quan-
tity of coals they dig, aad they work only
eight hours. I am told that 250 tons of


( 44 )

oals are brought out in a clay ; and that
above 300 men are conftantly employed in
this bufmefs. After the coals come through


this fubterraneous pafTage, they are carried
to Manchefter and other towns, in the fame
boats. Sometimes they are put into larger
ones, and conveyed to all parts of the coun-
try j to Warrington, to Runcorn, and, by
the Merfey to Liverpool.

Return to Manchefter by the canal, jn thp
fame boat, which carries at leaft fixty paf-
fengers, and is perfectly commodious and
convenient, having two cabbins in it, for the;
accommodation of different clalles of people ;
and it is fo Veil regulated by the Duke, that
no improper company can go in it, as he
has given orders to the boat-mafter to return
them their money, and to fet them on fhore,
provided any of the pafiengers are guilty of
improper conduct.

Friday, the 3d of June. Leave Manchef-
ter, and go by the Duke of Bridgewater's
canal twenty- five miles, to Warrington.


( 45 )

This canal is very wide, and capable of
conveying boats of five feet draught of
water. Thefe boats are about fixty feet
long, and ten feet broad. Sleep at War-
rington, a large and well built town. The
principal manufacture carried on here, is
that of canvafs. The original maker of
.crofs-bows firft refided in this town, and the
.fame bufinefs is ftill carried on by fome of
his family.

Saturday, the 4th of June. Leave War-
rington, and go to Liverpool, through Pref-
jcott, a neat little town, commanding a beau-
tiful view of a veiy rich and well cultivated
country. This profpedt is bounded on the
ibuth-weft by the Welch mountains, which
appear very high and rugged. Liverpool is
a town well known for its maritime enter-
prize and extenfive commerce. The old
part of the town is ill built, and the ftreets
rather narrow. Great additions have been
lately made to it, and many elegant houfes


( 46 )

are erected in its neighbourhood. Here are
fourteen building yards, and three of the
in oft commodious and complete bafons for
receiving fhips I ever faw. Thefe bafons are
capable of holding near 400 vefTels, from
500 tons downwards ; and can, if neceilary,
receive any friip, as there is twenty feet wa-
ter at the dock gates. Here are alfo two
dry bafons at low water, by which the fhips
enter from the river, and go into the in-
ner bafons, where they are conftantly kept
a-float, and can be completely laden, and go
to fea without anchoring in the river.
Thefe bafons are furrounded with excellent
ware-houfes, and fpacious keys for landing
the goods. In fiiort, I will venture to affert,
that Liverpool is the moft complete com-
mercial fea-port in Great Britain. All the
works juil mentioned have been completed
by the Corporation, who are very rich ; and,
I make no doubt, confidering its extenfive
commerce, but they have an ample intereft


< 47 )

for the money they have fo laudably ex-

The Duke of Bridgewater has a dock and
ware-houfe here, where the vefFels which
come through his canal are repaired. In
Liverpool there are five churches, and about
70,000 inhabitants. The Duke of Rich-
mond has creeled a fort at the weft end of
the town, which appears to be an ufelefs pro-
fufion of the public money ; for the entrance
into the river is fo intricate, that it is almoft
impoflible for the enemy to annoy the town.
On the eail fide of Liverpool is a terrace,
commanding a delightful view of the town,
the river, and all the neighbouring country.
This place is called the Mount, where there
is a very good inn.

Monday, the 6th of June. Leave Liver-
pool, and go to Ormjkirk, by the Wigan
canal, a diftance about twenty-five miles.
Several boats are kept on this canal for the
convenience of parTengers, but they are by-

( 48 )

v no means fo well regulated as the boats on
the Duke's canal ; for we were witnefFes of
much diforder, and very improper conducl,
which mure make thofe vehicles very un-
pleafant to females. This canal muft have
been made at much lefs expence than the
Duke's, as the country through which it
paries is very level, and not interfered by any
confiderable rivers. The bridges are made
of wood, and turn on a centre, by means of
a circular iron, and iron wheels. Thefe
bridges are constantly out of repair, and are
attended with confiderable expence. The
Wigan canal was intended to have been
carried to Leeds ; and accordingly, the coun-
try was furveyed, and the level traced for
this purpofe. But an hill, near Whatley,
I am told, is an infurmountable obflacle to
the accomplifhment of this project. This
canal, I have been informed, does not, at
prefent, return upwaids of two per cent, to
the proprietors. The chief article that is
carried on it, is coals.


( 49 )

From Ormfkirk go in a poft chaife to
Prefton : the country between which places
is low and fandy. This tract affords not
any ftriking profpecl ; but it is well cul-
tivated, and appears to be good grazing
ground. Prenron is a very old town, fitu-
ated on an eminence, commanding a pleafing
profpecl: all around it, but more particularly
from that point from whence you view the
feat of Sir Harry Hough ton, on the banks
of the river Kibble, which winds prettily
round the eminence on which it is fituatcd,
and the diilant hills in the weft craven of
Yorkfhire bound the view.

Tuefday, the 7th of J une. Leave Prefton,
and go on to Gaiitang. The road between
thefe places is exceedingly good ; the coun-
try well cultivated; much pafture land, but
little corn ; and no timber, all the trees be-
ing cut off by the weflerly winds. Dine at
Lancafter, an old and ill built town, and the
ftreets very narrow. The caftle, which is fi-
tuated on an eminence that commands the^
D town,

( 5 )

town, was built by Agricola ; and, though
it bears all the marks of antiquity, yet feema
to be in a perfe6l ftate. This is now the
county jail, which we vifited, and were hap*
py to find the prifoners well lodged, and
kept clean. Lancafter has been a place of
confiderable trade, but feems now on the
decline. The view from the caftle is very
extenfive, but by no means pleafant.

Wednefday, the 8th of June. Sleep at
Hornby. About three miles from Lancafter,
enter the vale of LonfHale, which is very
beautiful. On the right is a barren ridge of
mountains; in the middle runs the river
Loon, through rich and fertile meadows ;
and on the left the hills are covered with hang-
ing wood y the whole form ing a moft delightful
and charming view. The village of Horn-
by is fmall, and the houfes are very indiffe-
rent. Near the town is a very old caftle,
belonging to Mr. Charteris, from whence
there is a moft beautiful profpect of three
rivers, the vale, and diftant barren mountains.


The caftle is now uninhabited, and falling to
ruin. Leave Hornby, and ride by the fide
of the river Loon, to Kirby-Lonfdale, the
moft picturefqe, perhaps, and delightful
ride in Britain. Kirby-Lonfdale is a neat,
well built little town, fituated on an emi-
nence 5 and the river Loon runs clofe beneath
it, through a rich and well cultivatd vale.
The adjacent and lower hills are finely covered
with wood; and behind thefe, high and crag-
gy mountains areprefented to our view, def-
titute of trees, and of every kind of vegetation
or verdure. The contrafl between the bold
and barren rocks, on the one hand, and the
verdant woods and luxuriant vale, on the
other, heightens the rude majefty of the for-
mer, improves the fwelling foftnefs, and
the richnefs of the latter, and on the whole,
forms the moft delightful view I ever beheld.
Thurfday, June 9th. From Kirby-Lonfdale
proceed to Kendal, fituated on the river Ken,
a town of confiderable extent and of great
D 2 anti-

( 52 )

antiquity. A great number of people are
employed here in the manufactures of cotton
and woollen cloths, a great part of which
is carried to Liverpool, from whence it is
exported to the Weft Indies and to Guinea.
This town abounds with tanners.

To the north-earl of Kendal, on an high
eminence, which, in the fouthern and eaftern
parts of England, would be called an hill,
are the ruins of a very old caftle, with a
deep ditch around it, of a circular form, and
veiy fpacious within ; its diameter being
near 150 yards. Three bridges are built
over the river. The low land in the neigh-
bourhood of Kendal is fertile, but it is fur-
rounded by barren mountains and craggy

Leave Kendal, and pafs through a country,
than which one more barren, hilly, and
dreary, cannot be imagined. Ride to Bow-
nefs. About a mile from this place we dif-
mount from our horfes, and afcend an hill
covered with rude and craggy rocks, which


( 53 )

commands a view that exceeds all defcription.
From this point is feen the greater part of
the Windcrmerc Lake, and ten iflands. On
the largeft of thefe there is an houfe, built
in a circular form, at prefent belonging to a
Mr. Chriftian, who purchafedboth illand and
houfe for 1,700!. This ifland is not only
beautiful in itfelf, from a variety of grounds,
and clumps of trees, but it is fo happily (itu-
ated as to command a view of many of the
enchanting objets on this lake. The other
iflands are much fmaller than this, but have
a charming effec~l from being richly adorned
with wood. The margin of this lake is fur-
rounded with rich meadows, fertile hills, and
beautiful woods, with perpendicular preci-
pices, and oki yews and hollies growing out
of the fiflures of the craggy rocks j all of
them fo curioufly mixed and interfperfed, and
reflecting their images fo accurately and fo
clearly in the ti anfparent expanfe below, that
it would be difficult to conceive how nature
Jicrfdf could form a more captivating fcene.
D 3 From

( 54 )

From different points of view, thofe natural
beauties fhew themfelves in different fhapes.
Some of the abler! pens have been employed,
and the imagination of the poet has been
racked, to give a defcription of this beautiful
difplay of nature ; but language is unable to
convey the emotions that this fcene excites,
even with the aid of the moft faithful pencil,
Therefore, whoever wimes to have a juft
conception of Windermere Lake, and its fur-
rounding beauties, muft view them on the

Friday, June loth. Crofs the ferry from
Bownefs, and walk to Hawks-head, about
four miles diftant. This village is fituated
at the upper end of Eftwait- Water, which is
about two miles in length, and half a mile
broad, furrounded with fine woods and fer-
tile meadows. At the upper end of this
piece of water is a good houfe, called Bel-
mount, commanding a view of the whole.
In the afternoon we went to the head of
Coniflon Lake, but a thick fog coming on


( 55 )

fuddenly, we were deprived of the plea-
fure of feeing it, and obliged to return to
Bownefs bv Amblefide and Low-wood Inn :


but the fame fog which prevented us from
feeing Conifton Lake, hindered us alfo from
feeing the adjacent country.

Saturday, June i ith. Leave Bownefs, and
ride to the fouth end of Windermere. The
road is exceedingly good, and carried within
a quarter of a mile of the lake, from one
end to the other, fometimes through delight-
ful woods, where, for a fhort time, the water
and fur rounding hills are hid from your
view j but the water and oppofite fhore now
and then appearing, as you advance, through
the trees. Sometimes you ride over fertile
and beautiful vales, and frequently under
high mountains, whofe cliffs hang over the
road. There is not any part of this ride,
which is continued for fourteen miles, that
is not highly piclurefque, and fitted to afford
the mofl foothing ideas and exquifite gra-

D 4 Return

( 56 )

Return by Bownefs, and go to Low-wood
Inn to dinner. This inn is fituated about
two miles from the north end of the lake,
clofe upon its banks, and commands a pro-
fpecl of all the upper part of the lake, and as
far down as Windermere Ifland, with feveral
of the fmaller iilands around it. But from
this point they are fhut in with the furround-
ing head-lands, and lofe their infular appear-
ance, by which the beauty of the profpecl is
confiderably diminifhed.

Sunday, June i2th. Having met with a
difappointment in our attempt to fee Co-
niflon Lake on Friday, and being determined
to have a view of all the beauties which this
extraordinary country affords, we ride to
Conifton in the morning, which is at a dif-
tance, from Low-wood Inn, of nine miles.
The road is not very good, but the far-
rounding fcenery is fo intcrefling, that we
had but little time to look down. After
riding about feven miles, we got to the top
of an hill, from whence Conifton Lake is


( 57 )

to be feen in its full extent. It is a beautiful
fheet of water, (unrounded by rich meadows.
The lower parts of the adjacent mountains
are well covered with wood. There is,
however, by no means fuch variety in the
fccncry here as in Windermere, The hills
;ie a more regular appearance in their
fummits, and reach, in general, to the wa-
ter's edge in a more gentle defcent. The
want of iflands, too, is a great deficiency.
Conifton Lake fliould be feen before Winder-
mere, as it certainly has great beauties,
though by a comparifon with Windermere,
they are confiderably leflened. The north
end of Conhlon Lake is very bold and (hik-
ing : and here we admire the fituation of
Coniflon-Hall, on an eminence, and fur-
rounded with fine hanging woods, with rich
pafture land below, reaching to the edge of
the lake. Behind and above the hall, feveral
mountains rife with tremendous majefly,
craggy, bleak, and barren ; from the bofoni
of one of which a cataract iflues, which, in


Wet weather, muft add confiderably to the
grandeur of the fcene.

Return to Low-wood to dinner, and in the
evening walk to the upper end of Winder-
mere. About two miles up in this ro-
mantic vale, is a houfe belonging to Sir
Michael Le Fleming, called Rydal-Hall. In
this vale runs the river Rothay, winding
through beautiful woods and verdant mea-
dows, till it falls into the lake. On each
fide of the river are flupendous, black, and
barren rocks. Clofe by Rydal houfe is a wa-
ter-fall, where Sir Michael Le Fleming has
built a fmall houfe, in a moft fequeflered and
convenient fpot for enjoying it. The fall is
jndeed nothing extraordinary, as it does not
exceed twelve feet : but the noife of the wa^
ter, and the dark (hade of the trees around,
form a gloomy fcene, which fills the mind
with a pleafing melancholy.

Monday, June i3th. Leave Low-wood
Inn, and ride through Amblefide to Kefwick,
a fmall village, at the head of Windermere


( 59 )

Water. Pafs by Sir Michael Le Fleming's
feat j and, at the diftance of a quarter
of a mile, enjoy a charming view of Ry-
dal-Water, in which are feveral beautiful
illands ! A little further on is Rydal-Pafs,
from which you look down upon a fmall
lake, called Grafsmere, in a mod fertile vale,
furrounded by mountains. A few miles
from hence is Thirl mere, or Thirl- Water, a
delightful lake, extending through a vale
about four miles long. Near the middle of
this lake, a promontory extends from each
fide, and confines the water to the fize of a
fmall river, over which is a ruftick bridge.
Afcend an high hill, from whence there is a
moft tremendous view of a deep and difmal
glen, through which we parted, and afcended
another mountain, where the eye is delighted
with the enchanting view of Kefwick-Vale,
the nobie lake of Dei-went- Water, and part
of Baflenthwaite. This vale in circum-
ference includes about twenty miles, and the
land is exceedingly fertile.


f 60 )

Dine at' Kefwick, a neat little town, fitu-
ated at the north end of the lake. The af-
ternoon was fpent in rowing about upon this
beautiful fheet of water, which is three miles
long, and one and an half wide. Four
iflands, called Pocklington's, Lord's, St. Her-
bert's, and Rapfholm, add greatly to the
beauty of this water. Some are covered
with verdant turf j others are planted with
various trees. On Pocklington's Ifland is an
elegant modern-built houfe, the ground about
>vhich is laid out with much tafle. After
having viewed the magnificent profpecls
around this lake, from different flations, the
rugged and perpendicular rocks of Barrow-
dale, and the verdant bofom of SkiddaWj re-,
turn to our inn at Kefwick, and,

On Tuefday the 1/j.th, ride to the top of
Skiddaw, which I believe is computed to be
about 1,000 or 1,100 yards perpendicular
from Der went- Water. This mountain is by
no means difficult of accefs, and is covere/d
with grafs, which gradually grows coarfer


as you afcend, till you come within a quar-
ter of a mile of its fummit, where it is very
fleep, and where the atmofphere is fo ratified,.
as to prevent vegetation. The whole top of
the mountain is covered with a loofe brown.
jdaty flone, upon which it is difficult to walk.
On reaching the fummit, we were deprived
.of having the view we expected, of the fur-
rounding country, which in clear weather
muft be very extenfive ; but unfortunately at
this time, all the diftant objects were ob-
fcured by a thick haze. Return to Kefwick.

Wednefday, the 1 5th. Go in a boat to the
upper or fouth part of the lake, and vifit the
romantic regions of Barrowdale, where there
is fuch. a mixture of tremendous and beau-
tiful fcenery, as perhaps no other fpot on
earth can exhibit. To defcribe the com-
ponent parts which form the wonderful
whole, would require the genius of Thomfon
or Salvator Rofa.

In this vale is a remarkable mine, where
an abundance of mineral earth, or hard {hm-

( 62 )

tling ftone, is found, which we call black
lead, and which is fold for ten ihi] lings per
pound. This is faid to be the only mine of
the fame kind in Europe. It is opened once
in five or feven years, and a fufficient quan-
tity taken out to anfwer all the purpofes to
which it is applied for that period of time.

Through the vale winds the River Der-
went, which forms the lake, and afterwards
pafles into BafTenthwaite- Water. After hav-
ing fpent the morning in this delightful vale,
return to an houfe called Low-dore Inn,
which is fituated clofe by a celebrated fall of
water, called by the fame name. The ca-
taract falls from a vail heighth, through a
large chafm, from one craggy precipice to
another, until it is loft in the lake. After
heavy falls of rain, this natural exhibition
mufl be tremendous. Return in the even-
ing, with reluctance, to Kefwick.

After viewing this elyfium, which affords
the greateft gratification to every traveller,
we could not avoid indulging one melan-

( 63 )

choly reflexion that the defcendants of the
anticnt proprietors fhould ftill be deprived
of their birth-right. The liberality of the
Britifh parliament has been nobly exercifed,
in returning the forfeited eftates in Scotland.
It is to be hoped, that the fame benevolence
will be extended to the family of Radcliff.

Thurfday, June i6th. We ride to Ulls-
Water, at the diftance of fifteen miles, a
great part of the way over a dreary moor,
and the country round very barren. In this
moor we were caught by a violent hail ftorm.
Being entirely expofed, we were obliged to
turn our horfes backs to the ftorm, and to
ftand ftill till it pafled over ; for the hal-
ftones were fo large, that it was impofiible
to face it. Dine at Pulobridge, a very bad inn,
where we could not get any beds. Go on
five miles, and fleep at Penrith.

On Friday I7th, return to Ulls-Wa-
ter. Ride on the fide of the lake, five miles,
to Lyulph's Tower, an houfe lately built by
Lord Surrey, (now Duke of Norfolk) in


( 64 )


form of a caftle, for the accommodation of
his friends, and thofe who go to fee the lake.
The conftruclion of this houfe is very whim-
fical. It has two circular turrets. In the
centre, which is flat, is an enormous win-
dow, which ferves to light feveral rooms
within the turrets, which are large enough
for bed-rooms. The outfide of the building
is quite in the ftile of an old caftle; and viewed
from the water, has a very pretty effect.
Leave our horfes at Lyulph's Tower, and go
to the upper end of the lake in a boat. Re-
turn to the tower to dinner, which was a
very decent one, and recommended by a very
kind reception. After dinner, walk about a
mile from the tower, up a dale, where there
is a cafcade. This fall is much fuperior to
any that I have feen in this country, being
fifty feet, and having a greater body of water
in it.

Ulls-Water is fixty fathom deep, and in
many places very fteep. It is about ten
miles long, and nearly three miles broad, and


( 65 )

has more the appearance of a lake than
any of the others, as you can look over,
at one view, a greater expanfe of water.
Like the others, it is furrounded by high
mountains and perpendicular rocks ; and,
in many places, are yews, holly, and birch,
apparently growing out of the folid mafs of
flone : fome young, and in a flourifhing con-
dition ; others worn out with age. On the
banks of the lake there is a great deal of paf-
ture, and fome arable land. There are fe-
veral good houfes here, fituated fo as to com-
mand moft beautiful views. The land alfb
round the lake is well wooded. But in general,
Ulls- Water is by no means fo well adorned
with wood as the other lakes, particularly
Windermere. At the upper end, however,
there is a remarkably fine wood, reaching
from the water's edge nearly to the furnmit
of the mountain, which is, at leaft, one thou-
fand feet high. This wood confifts of holly,
birch, yew, and oak ; and though none of
E the

( 66 )

the trees are large, it neverthelefs makes a
beautiful appearance. At this end of the
lake there are three little iflands, or rather
rocks, covered only with a few fhrubs ; and
at the fartheft extremity is a little village,
called Patterdale, furrounded by fine wood
and rich meadows. A river runs through
this village, which falls into the lake. In an
old ruinous houfe there lives a mifer, who
calls himfelf the King of Patterdale.

In the evening we return by water, to the
fouth end of the lake, which is adorned by a
beautiful hill, belonging to Mr. Haflel, called
Dunmallet. This hill is covered with a va-
riety of trees, and the different fliades of
green have a pleafmg effect. Sleep at Pen-
nth. Between this place and Ulls- Water,
the country is well cultivated, and enriched
by feveral gentlemen's feats, with large plan-
tations about them > among which are the'
antient feats of the Earl of Surrey and Lord
Lonfdale : the former called Grey-Stock
Park, the latter Lowther-HalL


( 6; )

Saturday, 1 8th June. Penrith is a neat
well built little town. On an eminence are
the remains of an old caftle. The church is
a very handfome and fpacious building. In
the church-yard there are two very remark-
able flones, about eight feet high, and fif-
teen feet afimder, with three very curious
ones between, put edgeways, and joined at
the top. This, I foppofe, has been the bury-
ing place of fome antient warrior ; but the
antiquarians have not been able to decypher
the inscription, or to trace the antiquity of
the monument. On an high hill, to the
north of the town, {lands a watch-tower, or
beacon, built entirely of ftone, which com-
mands a very diftant view of all the country
round, and was formerly intended to give the
alarm of the approach of an enemy. To the
north-eaft is a range of very high mountains,
called Crofs Fells, or the Britiih Alps, on
which the fnow, in large quantities, is very
vifible. In fome places, I am told, it- re-
r.iains all the year round. Dirje at Penrith,
E 2 and

( 68 )

and ride to Carlifle in the evening. The
country between thefe two towns is very ca-
pable of cultivation, and actually undergoing

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