button to main menu  Clarke's Survey of the Lakes, 1787

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Page 63:-

book 2
  chapter 2

  Derwent Water



Lake, -- Lord's Island, -- Pocklington's Island, -- Lodore, -- Water-Fall, -- Eve's Cragg, -- Regatta, -- Poetical Descriptions of the Regatta, -- other Curiosities in the Neighbourhood of the Lake, -- Dr Brownrigg's, -- Sentiments of Different Authors.
KESWICK is a small town, without any remarkable buildings, the poor's house excepted, which shall be hereafter described: it has a pretty good weekly market on Saturday, and three annual fairs; of these the chief is on the second day of August, commonly called Morlan, or Magdalen Fair, being on the day of St Mary Magdalen old stile. The inhabitants about this time usually expect a flood; this they predict in these most wonderful poetic lines,

"Morlan fluid
Ne'er did guid."
This town carried on formerly a very considerable trade in leather and blankets, which are made here: the leather business is much declined, but the blanket and linsey manufactory flourishes at present.
The chief advantage which Keswick possesses is derived from its romantic situation: This has induced several of the nobility and gentry , in particular Lord William Gordon, and Joseph Pocklington, Esq; to purchase lands in the neighbourhood: it likewise draws, every summer, vast numbers from all parts of the kingdom to visit the many natural curiosities in its neighbourhood. As most of the lands adjacent to the Lake belong to Greenwich-Hospital, it is impossible for many of those who would wish for purchases to meet with land: this is the more to be lamented, as the distance of this place from the metropolis renders these lands much less valuable to the hospital than they might be; and from a very natural cause, viz. that where a multiplicity of hands are to transact any business, there will ever be a door open to peculation; of which I shall hereafter give a most glaring instance.
  Crow Park
  Lord's Island

The road to the Lake lies by Crow-Park, (see plate VI.) which was covered with wood thirty-five years ago: the trees were all oak, about 17 yards high, of a most proportionable thickness, and so equal in height, that when in full leaf their tops appeared as close and smooth as a bowling-green: so close indeed did they grow, that many persons now alive have gone from one side of the wood to the other among the branches of the trees without ever coming to the ground. This, with the wood upon Lord's Island, and several other places, was sold by the governors of Greenwich Hospital, A.D. 1749, to a Mr Marthas, or Mathews, of Greenwich, for 7000 pounds: It was advertised to be sold in London by inch of candle; but these trusty guardians of public treasure, the governors, contrived to exclude every bidder, except their minion Mr Mathews above mentioned; thus this valuable wood was almost literally given away. The purchaser had ten years allowed to cut down the timber; and accordingly employed one Joseph Dawson to cut it for him. Dawson begun his work on the 1st of May 1749, and before the end of the year returned to his employer L.1800 clear; the second year he returned nearly the same sum; he then sold the remainder to the merchants at Whitehaven, but the sum it sold for has always been kept a profound secret. It is worthy of remark, that the merchants of Whitehaven thought themselves so injured by the manner in which Mathew's purchase was smuggled to him, that they brought their action against the governors of the Hospital, but were nonsuited.
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