E. (Edward) Marston.

Dove Dale revisited, with other holiday sketches; online

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THE LIBRARY
OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES



BOOKS BY THE SAME WRITER.



COPYRIGHT. National and International. Second Edition.
8vo. zs.

FRANK'S RANCH; or my Holidays in the Rockies. 1885.
55. Sixth Edition out of print. A few copies remain of an earlier
edition.

AN AMATEUR ANGLER'S DAYS IN DOVE DALE. is.

and 2j. 6d, [Now out of print.

HOW STANLEY WROTE " IN DARKEST AFRICA."

Crown 8vo. is.

FRESH WOODS AND PASTURES NEW. i6mo. is.

[6s. edition out of print.

DAYS IN CLOVER. i6mo. is. [6s. edition out of print.

BY MEADOW AND STREAM. Pleasant Memories of
Pleasant Places, is. and is. 6d. [6s. edition out of print.

ON A SUNSHINE HOLYDAY. Large paper, 6s. net ; Cheap
Edition, is. 6d.

AN OLD MAN'S HOLIDAYS. Fcap. 8yo. Second Edition,
with Portrait, zs. net. Large Paper Edition, dr. net.

[Out of print.

SKETCHES OF BOOKSELLERS OF OTHER DAYS.

Fcap. 8vo, half parchment, gilt top. With Portraits. 55. net.

SKETCHES OF BOOKSELLERS OF THE TIME OF
DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON. Fcap. 8vo, half parchment,
gilt top. 5$. net.

LONDON: SAMPSON Low, MARSTON AND
COMPANY, LIMITED.



DOVE DALE
REVISITED



DOVE DALE
REVISITED

WITH OTHER

HOLIDAY SKETCHES



BY

THE AMATEUR ANGLER

AUTHOR OF "AN AMATEUR ANGLER'S
DAYS IN DOVE DALE," ETC. ETC.




LONDON
SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON & COMPANY, LTD.

NEW YORK

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
1902



CHISWICK PRESS I CHARLES WHITTINGHAM AND CO.
TOOKS COURT, CHANCERY LANE, LONDON.




70 y Grandchildren
JUDITH AffD ERIC,

and to all my other grandchildren whose names have not
yet appeared in print,

I DEDICATE THIS BOOK.

I think I ought to have dedicated this, in all probability
my last book, to my old friend CLARK RUSSELL, for
he it was who first tempted me into print. I wrote
some letters which appeared in The Fishing Gazette,
and therefrom proceeded in course of time my first
little book, An Amateur Angler's Days in Dove Dale.
/ owe my old friend a debt of gratitude for many a kind
mark of friendship since that time, and not the least for
his having done me the honour of dedicating one of his
charming novels to me; but I am sure he will pardon me
for not dedicating this volume to him, firstly, because it is
not worthy of him, and, secondly, because there would
have been a little tempest among my grandchildren.
"Mind, Grandpa," said pretty Judith, sJiaking her finger
at me "remember!!" The worst of the business is,
there is such a lot of these grandchildren, who, because I
have already printed the names of two or three of them in
my books, consider themselves to be slighted because they
have not had books dedicated to them also ! Why, bless
me, if I were to write a book for every one of them, the
British Museum would hardly hold them ! and, worst of
all, nobody would buy the books if I printed them. I hope
I have solved the difficulty by dedicating this book to them
all in a bunch. A mere list of all their names would
take up a whole page, and the printer won't allow it.

THE AMATEUR ANGLER.



9087-20




NOTE

N bringing these holiday sketches
together, I have added here and
there much new matter. This has
been more particularly the case in
the chapters on the Dove and the Lea. With
that portion of the Dove which extends from
the head of Beresford Dale to Okeover Bridge,
and with that short portion of the Manifold
from its emergence at Ham Hall, after its
long subterranean passage, to its junction with
the Dove, about a mile or so below, I may
claim a fairly intimate acquaintance, chiefly
as regards their angling capacities. I owe my
initiation to the brotherhood of anglers to a
visit of three weeks to Dove Dale, eighteen
years ago. My personal impressions of that
pleasant summer time were recorded in a small



X NOTE

volume entitled " An Amateur Angler's Days
in Dove Dale." I had then reached the
mature age of three score and a little more,
but I was a mere juvenile in the art of angling.
That little volume has long since been out of
print, but for me it is a pleasant coincidence
that my first and my last holiday book should
relate to DOVE DALE that is why I have
called the present volume, which is the seventh
of the series, " DOVE DALE REVISITED."

The river Lea I have no personal ac-
quaintance with, beyond the one day's fishing
recorded herein. I am indebted mainly to that
very pleasant book, " Rambles by Rivers," by
Mr. James Thorne, published by Charles Knight
in 1844, for any information I have gleaned
about that classic stream which was the chief
scene of Izaak Walton's exploits.

THE AMATEUR ANGLER.



CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I. DOVE DALE REVISITED ...... i

From "The Izaak Walton" to the

Walton and Cotton Fishing House,
Beresford Dale.

II. DOVE DALE REVISITED 26

Down the Dales from Beresford and
the Fishing House to the Stepping
Stones, and Farewell !

III. IN THE VALE OF THE WHITE HORSE . 53

The White Horse of Berkshire, its
origin The Scouring Our Pleasant
Quarters May-fly Time Watching a
big Trout Hooked and Lost A pair of
Doves.

IV. A DAY ON THE TEME 71

The old Inn at Leintwardine described
by Sir Humphry Davy The River teem-
ing with Grayling Dry Fly as against
Wet Fly The Downton Castle scenery
described by Sir H. Davy Dr. Johnson's
opinion on Angling Dr. Paley an
Angler.



Xll CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

V. ON THE WYE . . 77

A Morning Drive An Old Man's
Anecdotes An Evening Walk on Good
Friday by the side of the Herefordshire
Wye.

VI. ON THE WYE 84

A Comic and a Tragic Story Chub-
Fishing A Visit to Dorstone and the
Dore in the " Golden Valley."

VII. HUNTING FOR FISHING 94

Fishing in a Wye Preserve Fingerling
Fishing At the Three Cocks Start for
a lovely trout and grayling River ; Bright
Hopes Unlooked-for Disappointment.

VIII. A DAY ON THE LEA 105

Sketch of the Lea from its Source to
its Mouth Izaak Walton at "Thatcht-
House" and Hoddesdon Dr. Johnson at
Luton Hoo Panshanger Oak Bleak
Hall Pollution of the River Our Day's
Fishing.

IX. FISHING IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT . . . 122

Grand Review at Spithead Caris-
brooke Fishing Association Abundance
of Trout Fair Sport A Delightful Day
And a Deluge at Night.




ILLUSTRATIONS

PAGE

WALTON AND COTTON FISHING HOUSE,

BERESFORD DALE Frontispiece

BADGE DUM CAPIMUS CAPIMUR . on title-page

THE IZAAK WALTON HOTEL, DOVE DALE to face 2
ILAM, FROM THE LODGE GATES (THORPE

CLOUD IN THE DISTANCE) ....,, 6
ABOVE THE STEPPING STONES, DOVE DALE

(THE IRON GATE) , 12

ENTRANCE TO PARADISE, ILAM ....,, 14

CROSS AND FOUNTAIN, ILAM ,, 16

ENTRANCE TO DOVE DALE, DERBYSHIRE . ,, 22

NEAR THE LOVER'S LEAP, DOVE DALE ,, 26

IN BERESFORD DALE ,, 38

WOLFSCOTE BRIDGE AND FRANKLIN ROCK,

BERESFORD DALE ,, 40

THE LION ROCK, DOVE DALE .... ,, 42

TISSINGTON SPIRES ,, 50

LEINTWARDINE BRIDGE, ON THE TEME . ,, 72

WARE, HERTS ,, 106

THE OCTOBER HOLE, NEAR HODDESDON,

ON THE LEA ,, no

THE CROWN INN, BROXBOURNE ... ,, 114

ILLUSTRATIONS IN TEXT

THE SOURCE OF THE DOVE 52

THE SCOURING OF THE WHITE HORSE (2 pp.) 56, 57



xiv ILLUSTRATIONS

PAGE

PANSHANGER OAK 109

CHADSWELL SPRING AS IT APPEARED IN 1844. no

THATCHED HOUSE 112

BLEAK HALI 113

NOTE. Some of the Lea and Dove illustrations are
reproduced from the Lea and Dove (looth) edition of
" The Complete Angler." Those on the Lea were taken
by Dr. P. H. Emerson, and those on the Dove by
Mr. G. N. Bankart.





DOVE DALE REVISITED

CHAPTER I

FROM "THE IZAAK WALTON" TO THE WALTON AND
COTTON FISHING HOUSE, BERESFORD DALE

" Grey sky, green trees, a shadowed stream,
A gilded spire-top's distant gleam,
A rod, a reel, a book of flies,
A dozen pleasant memories.

1 ' A homeward trudge thro' mist- wrapt night,
A heart and creel, in common, light ;
Complete content the day has brought it
He fished for pleasure and he caught it ! "

(From The Optimist, by H. J. WISE.)




lines, very aptly sent to me
by a friend, appropriately head
and represent the experiences I
am now about to put on record.
On asking my fair correspondent who Mr.
H. J. Wise is, or was, she replied : " No mere
B



2 DOVE DALE REVISITED

man was ever half so charming ! The lines
were by Hilda Johnson Wise, who died, alas !
Dec. 13, 1899."



The nineteenth century was in the youth of
its old age, and had yet much of its work to
do, and many have been the "choppings and
changings in this mortal life " which it has wit-
nessed since last I visited Dove Dale and " The
Izaak Walton," in the summer of 1884, eighteen
years ago and more. Outwardly the old inn
has experienced no change at all. The old
handsome gateway, with its stone pillars sur-
mounted by the Walton and Cotton cipher, is
just as it was. The cipher is wrongly drawn
by the artist thus :



the first C should have been reversed thus 3.
The cipher is evidently taken from that on the
Fishing House in Beresford Dale, but the
artist forgot to reverse the C, and he seems
also to have trusted to his memory for the date
1666, which has no reference to any particular
event in Walton's life unless it may have been



DOVE DALE REVISITED 3

the Great Fire of London, which, however, did
not reach his residence in Fleet Street (near
the west corner of Chancery Lane) ; the date on
the Fishing House is 1674, which is doubtless
the date of its erection. Walton had left Fleet
Street, as well as his subsequent residence on
the west side of Chancery Lane, a few doors
from Fleet Street, before that period.

It is a pity the old signboard is not perfectly
accurate in this respect, but it sufficiently indi-
cates the proper route for weary travellers to
take from the turnpike road up the coach drive
which winds itself pleasantly through the green
meadow to the door of "The Izaak Walton,"
and lands them comfortably in the tavern where
it is good to be. This is surely the kind of inn
that Shenstone had in his mind when he
scratched these well-known lines on the window
of an inn :

"Whoe'er has travelled life's dull round,
Whate'er his stages may have been,

May sigh to think he still has found
His warmest welcome at an inn."

And our host of " The Izaak Walton " has very
appropriately quoted on his prospectus Dr.
Johnson's reply to Boswell :



4 DOVE DALE REVISITED

"No, sir, there is nothing which has yet
been contrived by man by which so much
happiness is produced as by a good tavern or
inn."

In all these things time has wrought no
change, nor has the interior of the house under-
gone any material alteration, except that as re-
gards its accommodation it has moved prudently
with the times, still preserving much of its
ancient simplicity.

Looking up to it from the Manifold meadows
on a bright afternoon it presents a most charm-
ing and restful picture to the eye, backed up as
it is by the imposing green hill called Bunster.
On its eastern side it looks down upon the green
meadows which descend by a steep grade to the
winding river Dove, and beyond it looks up to
and smiles on the most picturesque of hills called
Thorpe Cloud. The everlasting hills are the
same, the old rivers Dove and Manifold are
just as they were eighteen years ago. " The
Izaak Walton " has the same familiar look ; and
may the time be very far off in the dim and
distant future when the speculative builder shall
turn his greedy eyes upon it with a view to con-
verting the old and unique simplicity of " The



DOVE DALE REVISITED 5

Izaak Walton " into a gorgeous and fashionable
hotel.

"Host. Give me leave to tell you, sir, the
pasturage hereabouts is very fertile, and you
may remember how Mr. Cotton declares ' these
hills breed and feed good beef and mutton.'

" Angler. Aye, and make the best cheese that
goes to Derby market." The River Dove,
Pickering, 1847.

Our hostess of " The Izaak Walton " goes a
step beyond this, for she makes the best butter
in England, and has taken the prize at the
Dairy Show at the Agricultural Hall.

" Dove Dale is the very paradise of gipsy
parties. High-born and accomplished ladies,
with well-bred gallants, and their liveried at-
tendants ; pleasant family parties with heaps of
children ; smiling papas and staid elder daughters
with their most attentive young gentlemen ;
noisy country lots of a dozen youths and red-
cheeked maidens are to be seen every bright
day the summer through. . . . Oh, that we were
young again ! "

When I was last here it was in the bright
summer time ; the place was alive with visitors
coming and going just as described above by
James Thorne in his "Rambles by Rivers,"
fifty years ago and more; now the holiday



6 DOVE DALE REVISITED

season is almost over, and it has the more
business-like look of an anglers' resort. There
are still lingering here some tourists who stay
on account of the salubrity of the climate and
the beauty of the surroundings. Here are
six or seven anglers, enthusiasts who ply the
long-suffering Dove and Manifold with admir-
able care and patience, and with varying success.
The learned professions are fairly represented
just now by a barrister (whom, if I should have
occasion to mention again, I shall designate as
the " Master," on account of his great experi-
ence and his exquisite skill), a parson, a doctor,
a major (a real one, not " Piscator Major "), a
poet, and the humble amateur who pens these
lines.

It would be easy, but it would not be inter-
esting, to become sentimental on the changes
in our own personalities which have taken place
since our last visit; but sentiment leads to melan-
choly, and I came not here to make myself
miserable, but to drive dull care away and be
happy.

All this by way of introduction to the charms
and the beauties of Dove Dale and the attrac-
tions of its lovely river.




o



DOVE DALE REVISITED 7

" The silver Dove, how pleasant is the name 1 "

C. COTTON.

Before entering on my own little excursions
on the Dove I will give a brief account of its
beginning and ending.

From its source to its union with the Trent
the Dove serves as a boundary to the counties
of Staffordshire and Derbyshire; its whole
length is about forty-five miles. The source is
in Axe-edge, not far from the little village of
Dovehead.

The water bubbles up through a little well,
whose sides are protected by a couple of flag-
stones.

" Here springs the Dove \ and with a grateful zest
I drink its waters."

REV. J. EDWARDS.

In Mr. J. P. Sheldon's " Tour of the Dove,
etc.," 1894, he says at Dovehead "they will
find on a stone laid over the spring the mono-
gram of Walton and Cotton which some reverent
hand has carved."

The " reverent hand " I find explained in
"The River Dove," Pickering, 1847, thus:

''Angler. And now by your leave, I'll grave
the two first letters of their names in cipher on
this very stone that is over the fountain.



8 DOVE DALE REVISITED

" Painter. How mean you ?

" Angler. Here are tools . . . so I'll make a
rude copy of the cipher which is over the door
of the fishing house." 1

For some distance from its source it is of
small size and not very picturesque. It finds
its way to Hartington, and thence pursues its
course down the Dales with which I am more
or less familiar, and which piscatorially will en-
gage my attention for a few days. Beyond the
Dales it strays as it lists through broad and fer-
tile valleys. It passes through Okeover to Ash-
bourne, thence past Snelston and Norbury, near
to Uttoxeter, by Sudbury to Tutbury. It passes
Eggington, and opposite Bladon Castle it joins

" The crystal Trent, for fords and fish renowned."

It is not perhaps generally known that the
country is indebted to our charming Dove for
one of its sweetest lyrics : for if Tom Moore
had never resided on its banks the song, " Those
Evening Bells," might never have been written.

I was reminded of the fact by Mr. Joseph

Hatton, who has just published a bright Jittle

^s*

1 This, however, is an imaginary conversation in
Cotton's time, though written in 1847.



DOVE DALE REVISITED 9

book entitled " Cigarette Papers " (Treherne),
in which he says, prettily enough : " Tom Moore
lived a lonely but happy life on the banks of
the Dove near Ashbourne. He set the music of
the local bells to immortal verse."

At the present writing I know not, any more
than you, what each day may bring forth, but I
propose to jot down day by day whatever little
incidents may seem to have any, even very
trifling, interest, for one's life is made up of
little things. I shall have, I fear, much to say
about the weather.

Tuesday, September 3oth. I arrived here in
very discouraging weather a persistent east
wind, frequent sudden showers.

I strolled down in the evening to take a first
glance at the river at the bottom of the meadow
which adjoins the house. There is the identical
pool overhung seemingly by the identical branch
on which it seems but yesterday that I left my
cast and fly. A leatherbat more venturesome
than the trout was attracted by the barbed be-
trayer swinging in the wind, had seized it, and
I found him next morning with the fly still in
his mouth, floating dead on the water, but still
suspended to the branch, hanged and drowned !



10 DOVE DALE REVISITED

Wednesday, October ist. I commenced
angling operations, and never was an adven-
turous old angler more thoughtfully or more
kindly guided and guarded than was I by my
good friend, our host of " The Izaak Walton,"
who is an expert fisherman, knowing most things
about angling. We carried our luncheon with
us, and fished up the Dale as far as my old
acquaintance, Reynard's Cave, which has the
same old look (not possible fully to convey by
photographs). On my last visit I was tempted
to climb up to the kitchen, and thence on to
the top of the hill ; there was no rope to help
me then as there is now, and I was young and
active, having barely turned three score; but
now, although I could just as easily do it le
jeu ne vaut pas la chandelle. We fished all day,
but with no success ; mine host got a brace of
very small trout and I got nothing.

In the smoke-room our various daily adven-
tures were duly discussed, and it was rather
consoling to find that not one of the experts,
these experienced hands, had done much better
than ourselves. That smoke-room is as cosy as
it is old-fashioned, with a large recess in the
window, forming a comfortable seat for three or



DOVE DALE REVISITED II

four people. Above it is a row of a dozen pewter-
plates, polished as bright as silver, and in the
middle is a big bright pewter-dish, kept there as
a reminder of the jolly times of long ago, and
not for use in these degenerate days.

" While broken teacups, wisely kept for show,
Rang'd o'er the chimney, glisten'd in a row."

The Master laid down the law in a big arm-
chair; the Doctor told stories in the window-
seat ; the Parson read interesting bits from " The
Complete Angler"; the Poet was argumenta-
tive and facetious. It was soon fully under-
stood between us that our failure to catch any
fish was due entirely to the weather, and not to
our want of perseverance, of pluck, of energy, or
of consummate skill and knowledge. We all
agreed in this, that there are trout and grayling
both in the Dove and the Manifold, and in the
united rivers, and big ones too, but they will not
be caught until they choose to do so by deigning
to rise at a fly, for we are all dry fly fishermen
here.

Thursday, October 2nd. This was also a cold
and windy day. The Master, the Parson, the
Major, the Doctor, the Doctor's wife, and the
Poet went forth to fish, full as usual of bright



12 DOVE DALE REVISITED

hope, some to the Manifold, others to the Dove.
To the latter went I, and my fidus Achates, the
landlord, went with me, he in waders, I only in
my knee boots. I found myself in much the
same predicament as Painter in the following
scene :

" Painter. Halt, good sir ; you do not expect
me to walk into the river !

"Angler. If you are resolved against it here
you may stay ; for you see how the river washes
the very basement of this perpendicular rock,
and climb you cannot. Come, sir, follow me
bravely, it is but 'a spit and a stride'; or I'll
carry you pick-back." The River Dove.

We wanted to cross the river at a certain
point, and as it was a long way up to the bridge,
he made nothing of taking me on his back, and,
like Friar Tuck and Robin Hood crossing the
river, we must have made a pretty picture,
had one of our young ladies chanced to have
been there with her Kodak. He landed me
safely.

There was a well-known pool where big
grayling lie, but they took little notice of a fair
rise of fly on the water and floating over them.
An occasional rise amid-stream drew my atten-
tion. I soon had fast hold of a big fish and



DOVE DALE REVISITED 13

landed him. Of course I thought I had hold
of a grayling. I fished for a grayling, with a
grayling fly, in a noted grayling hole ; and yet
when I landed my fish he proved to be a lovely
trout, and this, be it remembered, was on
October 2nd.

Mine host and I discussed the various merits
of this fish its lovely complexion, its fat and
beautiful condition, its length, its breadth, its
height, and its weight and the dispute ran high
on some points, I maintaining his weight to be
1 6 oz. at least, and mine host that he was not
more than 12 oz. ; during this long discussion
my lovely trout,

" Cast on the bank, he dies with gasping pains,
And trickling blood his silver mail distains."

JOHN GAY.

We agreed in this, that it is a cruel law which
forbids the taking of trout at such an early date.

Not long afterwards the same thing occurred
again. I fished for a grayling, and again I
hooked what turned out to be a beautiful trout ;
and so it was all the time; we could catch
nothing but pesky trout, when we wanted
grayling.

Sir Humphry Davy was fishing in the Teme



14 DOVE DALE REVISITED

near Leintwardine, in the month of October,
when the following conversation occurs :

"Poiet. I have basketed (to coin a word)
three trouts and six graylings.

"Phys. And I have taken seven graylings. I
caught trout likewise, but not considering them
in proper season I returned them to the river."
Salmonia.

In those early days of the nineteenth century
probably about 1825 the angler was a law
unto himself as regards close time, and the fore-
going conversation shows how that moral law
operated one "baskets" his trout, and the
other returns his to the river.

F. C. Hofland, writing in 1839 in reference
to Dove Dale, says :

"Thirty years since, in company with two
brother artists and anglers, I enjoyed in this
enchanting valley some of the happiest days of
my life. . . . We sallied forth every morning,
carrying with us provisions for the day, and two
or three bottles of Mr. Wood's brisk, light
bottled ale, together with our fishing tackle and
sketching apparatus, and there we spent eight
successive days (Sunday excepted) in alternately
sketching, painting, fishing and rabbit-shooting.
We generally broke our meal at one o'clock in
the day, either at Reynard's Hall, a picturesque
cave in the rocks, or under the shade of the



DOVE DALE REVISITED 1$

alder trees. ... At this period (circa 1809)
fishing in Dove Dale was as free as it had
formerly been to our father Walton and his dis-
ciples, but the water is now strictly preserved
by Jesse Watts Russel, Esq., of Ham Hall."
Angler's Manual, 1839.

Friday, October 3rd, was as usual a very bad
day. I did not fish, but took a walk with my
landlord to see Ham Hall and the lovely scenery
surrounding it.

The village of Ham is well worth seeing. It
is, as Walton says of one of his Lea scenes,
" too pretty to look on but only on holidays."
We saw it on a damp cloudy day it was not
brightened up by a solitary glimpse of sunshine ;
but even under such disadvantages it has a most
attractive appearance. In the midst of the
village stands a very beautiful cross, erected by
Jesse Watts Russell, Esq., to the memory of his
wife. It is in imitation of the Waltham Cross,
elaborately and beautifully carved, and with
statues of excellent workmanship in the niches.
At the foot of the cross flows a fountain of clear
pure water. An inscription in red and black
letters tells of her virtues to whom the cross is
raised, and, in allusion to the fountain, adds
these lines :



1 6 DOVE DALE REVISITED

" Dried is that fount, but long may this endure
To be a well of comfort to the poor. "

Ham Hall is a handsome building in the
Tudor style, with a flag tower, and the grounds
surrounding it are charmingly laid out, bordered
as they are by the river, and above that a most
lovely background of woodland scenery just


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