button to main menu   West's Guide to the Lakes, 1778/1821

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Page 294:-
An essayist, in the provincial paper of this country, speaking of this place, says, 'It forms a picture such as the canvas never presented; it embraces a variety so distributed as no pencil can ever imitate. No designer in romance ever allotted such a residence to his fairy inhabitants - I had almost said, no recluse ever wooed religion in such a blessed retirement.' - 'The genius of Ovid would have transformed the most favoured of his heroes into a river, and poured his waters into the channel of the Liza, there to wander by the verdant bounds of Gillerthwaite - the sweet reward of patriotism and virtue.'
Gillerthwaite is not, however, an island, though almost as much contrasted in the landscape as land with water. It is a patch of enclosed and apparently highly cultivated ground, on a stony desert of immeasurable extent; for the mountains on each side of it are the most barren in their aspect, and continue that appearance till their heads mix with the horizon. There are two decent farm-houses on the inclosure, and, from the serpentine tract of the valley, no other habitation of man is visible.
From Gillerthwaite, the road already briefly described (and which a very little industry might make convenient for most occasions) leads towards the pride of the valley, once the seat of power and splendour, of which some faint remains are yet to be traced. The place here alluded to is How-hall, a mansion formerly of some note. The estate, by purchase, came into possession of the Senhouses, and is now the property of Joseph Tiffin Senhouse, Esq. of Calder-Abbey.- The following inscription, in Saxon characters, is yet visible over the principal door of How-hall:-
'This house was built, A.D. 1566, by William Patrickson, and Frances his wife, daughter of Sir Thomas Swinburn, one of the privy counsellors to King Henry VIII.'
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