Sunday, 21 July 2019

The Death of Constable Thomas Nicholson of Ambleside, 1845

Thomas Nicholson was a saddler and auctioneer of Ambleside. He was baptised in 1813 in the county of Westmorland, although his age varies slightly, dependant on which documents are viewed. He was the son of Joseph Nicholson and Agnes Nicholson (nee Coward). Joseph was Ambleside's first postmaster and Agnes was a bookseller. The post office was on  Agnes was appointed Postmistress in 1839, and in 1841, Agnes is recorded as a widow in the census, so most likely Joseph died in 1839. Their eldest daughter Hannah, took over as the bookseller. 
Little is known of Thomas's early life, although on Thursday 3rd December 1835 he married a 21 year old Dorothy Fleming of Spring Cottage, Rydal, at that village. They would go on the have four children together. Agnes was baptised in 1836, Joseph was baptised on 10th June 1838, Dorothy was born in the last quarter of 1840, and Elizabeth who was born in the 2nd quarter of 1843.
The first advertised auction sale that is known to have been run by Thomas was to take place at the house of Mr. Stalker at the Salutation Hotel, Ambleside, on Wednesday and Thursday, 18th and 19th April 1838. It was the effects and furnishings of a lady who was leaving the area. He continued to advertise auctions of premises and their contents, usually sold at venues in local inns and hotels, throughout his life. Although the date of his appointment as the Ambleside constable is unclear, he first appeared in the Westmorland Gazette as a constable in a case where the shop of a Mr. Davidson had been burgled in Ravenglass, near Whitehaven on the night of 19th May 1843. Silver watches, cutlery and other articles had been carried off and suspicion fell on two men who had purchased trifling goods the day before. Mr. Davidson was a member of a 'Prosecution Association' who secured the services of a Mr. Wilson (one would assume the Parish Constable). He pursued the men to Ambleside and obtained the assistance of Constable Thomas Nicholson. Following contact with the head of Kendal Police, Mr. Frederick Grossmith, a search of the town which proved to be fruitless, and both men returned to The Duke William Inn, Staveley, for refreshments.

The former Duke William Inn, Staveley.


Once there they were told that two males carrying bundles were recently seen on the Underbarrow road. With a quickly gathered posse, they came up to both men near The Punch Bowl, Underbarrow. One managed to escape and it was said that the drunken state of the constables had led to some confusion. That said, both had earlier finished their pursuit and had only come across the information, after the hunt at Kendal was concluded, so there was some excuse for their condition. Mr. Wilson had gathered the property and Nicholson with others escorted their prisoner to Staveley, but continued drinking, now it the company of their detained man. In the drunken confusion of his captors he himself escaped, never to be found again, despite the assistance of Mr. Grossmith, who was called out. The papers were indignant, quoting other recent escapes from other constables, questioning whether the authorities ever considered supplying 'proper instruments of security' to the constables of the area.
On 7th March 1844 Thomas gave evidence, at the Salutation Hotel to a Commission which was under the hand and seal of the Bishop of Chester. The Reverend William Sewell was accused of 'drunkenness, intemperance, intoxication, scandal, and other scandal and evil report'. The case centred upon the conduct of the reverend after a meeting regarding the affairs of the town, at The Salutation on 23rd December 1843. He was then reported as being intoxicated and arguing with others about a scandal of ill-using his wife and children, who then were no longer living with him and lived now in Bowness. Other witnesses gave evidence, one who had been present after the meeting concluded was Thomas Nicholson. He stated he had been in the Reverend's company and saw him drink only a gin and two glasses of wine, refusing other drink. Most witnesses said that the reverend was a sober man by temperment and had been so that night. The conclusion of the Commission was that the reverend had been sober that night, but it was sufficient to admonish him over his previous conduct in his public and private life; the matter was then dropped.
Through the rest of 1844 and 1845 Thomas appeared at court with a number of minor cases of driving more than the statutory two horses and carts on the turnpike road to Grasmere. There was another case of someone not having his name on the side of his cart, contrary to the law, other cases were of people being drunk and disorderly in Ambleside, witnessed by Constable Nicholson and Mr. Grossmith, and another of a 'potter' riding his cart without reins.
The most notable and tragic case he was involved with was at the Ulverston Magistrates Office on Thursday 30th January 1845, where Inspector Davidson preferred a charge against the Hawkrigg family of Skelwith Bridge for concealing the child delivered to Mary Hawkrigg. Constable Winter had attended Skelwith Bridge on hearing such reports and took the family into custody. Mary then led him, the inspector, and constable Nicholson of Ambleside, to the place where the child had been interred in a wood near their house. She said it was living when born but died the following day, about six weeks previous. The body of the child was found wrapped in a cloth and 18 inches under the ground. An inquest had been held at Hawkshead and following the result, the magistrates dismissed the proceedings against all the Hawkrigg family.
The next incident was a further tragic one, although not one where Thomas was on duty, but it would lead to his untimely death; with the circumstances being given to the coroner's inquest held at The Royal Oak, Ambleside, on Thursday 18th September 1845. On Tuesday 16th, William Atkinson a bobbin-maker, and John Workman, a husbandman of Elterwater, were making their way in Mr. Atkinson's gig to the Keswick wrestling when he was overtaken  by Thomas riding a horse, just past the toll bar at Grasmere. Thomas stopped, said he was tired and he and Workman swapped positions. The latter found that the horse rode well. They parted from Thomas at Keswick and at 7:30pm were making their way back to Ambleside, with others. Just past the toll bar outside Keswick they were again passed by Thomas who was galloping horse and he appeared intoxicated. He spoke as he passed, but was soon out of sight. Mr. Atkinson's view was that the horse would have acted quietly on its own, had it been allowed to, and it had no vice about it. Four miles outside of Keswick near the other side of 'Noddle Fell' in the Vale of St. John, they found Thomas lying in the road with the horse about three hundred yards away. (*Author - I assume Low or High Rigg, with Naddle Beck below; there are other known references for 'Naddle Fell') He was bleeding from the nose and couldn't stand on his own. He was placed in their gig and they made their way to Wythburn for 8pm where they had refreshments. Thomas had roused in the gig and said he wanted to be at home. They told the inquest that Thomas got out of the gig at Wythburn, but did not speak or have anything to drink. John Love was a tailor at Ambleside and was at Wythburn when the gig had arrived. Having heard of Thomas's plight had gone out to assist him into the premises and found him fallen out of the gig, with his thigh tangled in the reins and his head dangling to the ground.
They later arrived at Ambleside around 10pm and he was taken to his home. All believe Thomas was just drunk. He asked for his hat which had fallen behind the gig horses hind legs. William Fell, the surgeon, was called and on examination found blood also coming from Thomas's ear. He then felt a severe and extensive bruise on the top of his head and diagnosed a skull fracture. Thomas died at 12 noon on the Wednesday.
So passed Ambleside's constable, albeit not a death on duty, so would never feature in the National Police Roll of Honour. The death was still the passing of an Ambleside notable. 
Crime however never ends and Ambleside still needed a constable. At the end of the Petty Sessions of 8th October, John Longmire was sworn in as the replacement officer for the late Constable Nicholson.
Dorothy remarried a tailor called William Coward, at least 7 years her junior, in 1847. They went on to have four children together, before she died in the first quarter of 1854, aged 38, which was the same quarter as her last child, so likely died in or associated with the birth. William Coward died in 1856, so all the children were orphaned. Some remained with family and others were displaced as far afield as boarding schools in Cheltenham. Agnes, the first born of Thomas and Dorothy, was educated at Casterton servants school, near Sedbergh. This had recently opened in 1838 and was for 100 poor girls who were clothed, lodged, and educated for either  employment in service, or the teaching profession. 
 Thomas's mother Agnes died on 29th March 1862, still at Ambleside Post Office. She was 83 years old and in her earlier years William and Dorothy Wordsworth knew her and Joseph well. Dorothy wrote that she and William used to attend the Post Office late at night. Joseph and Agnes would get up from their beds and allow them to sit in the parlour and alter letters they had earlier posted, before they were sent off in the morning. One would assume it was William, concerned the poem was still not to his liking, and altering again before it was finally posted.

(C)opyright





Friday, 12 July 2019

The Low Bridge Inn closure at Kentmere.


The Low Bridge Inn closure, Kentmere.

A popular and endurance testing Lakeland walk is The Kentmere Horseshoe. It starts at Kentmere village, taking in Yoke, Ill Bell, Froswick, Thornthwaite Crag(The Beacon), Mardale Ill Bell, Harter Fell, Kentmere Pike, and Shipman Knotts. It can be done the other way around, and makes a change to those who have walked it a number of times. You park up near the church or hall for a small fee, if early enough to get the limited parking places. If not, there is a field near Low Bridge in the village where parking is allowed on days named by notice, again for a minimal fee. This is accessed right at the bridge and on the opposite side of the road, near the Kentmere village side, is a house called Low Bridge.

Low Bridge, Kentmere, and the house of the same name.
What most walkers do not realise this house was The Low Bridge Inn. It should not come as a great surprise, when you think of it logically. It is a long valley, with habitation near the top, or head. It has a pass which accesses the Mardale valley, where a pub was also at the valley head, indeed it is difficult to think of a populated valley where there is not an inn to service the community and traveller.
 Despite having held a licence for over 300 years it shut in 1887. What happened to it? All local inns of the time would serve a community in more ways than just ale and/or a room for the night, and The Old Bridge Inn of Kentmere was no exception. 
On Tuesday 30th October 1838 the inn was the scene of a triple inquest following the deaths of a father and son, and another man, all three dying on the fells.
On 30th December 1847 it was the place of an inquest on the death by burning of six year old Elizabeth Hunter, of The Head, Kentmere. Her clothes had caught fire at 5pm on Tuesday 28th as she reached for a stick; her mother Mary (wife of William) was out feeding the family pig when the tragedy happened and the child died that night. The verdict was Accidental Death.
On 9th May 1850 it was the meeting place for the reading over and executing of the Award of the Commissioner for the Kentmere Common Fields Inclosure. Notice was given by the Kendal Land Surveyor, Mr. C. Webster. In September 1854 he also advertised the premise and Corn Mill for letting. It must have been a Mr. W. Philipson who became the tenant of the owner Miss. Susannah Sharp, as The Kendal Land Surveyor once again advertised the premise for letting, now in the possession of Mr. Philipson, for a decision on 17th December 1859.

The view back towards Staveley and the mouth of the remote Kentmere Valley.
The view to Kentmere from Garburn Pass to Troutbeck
Like many country inns, especially those remote ones, it was the venue for the annual sports day for the valley. Such a day was 29th June 1860 when it played host to the Kentmere Sports, of hound dog trailing, boys running, and this was followed by wrestling which consisted of 6 rounds.
Unfortunately a few can always spoil it for the many and the inn suffered from some disorder. On 31st May 1879 a James Gilpin was drunk and quarrelsome on the premises, refused to leave on request, and was then evicted. He returned with an axe, smashing into the door and broke a window with his fist. He was found guilty and fined. The landlord Thomas Hall, came in for some criticism from the Magistrates bench for not giving his evidence in a straightforward manner. As a landlord the two groups of people you do not want to fall out with are, the police and the magistrates, both having great sway on the issue of your licence to serve alcohol.
The 16th April 1880 saw it return to the venue of an inquest, this time over the body of a 52-year-old quarryman called William Sharp, who lived at Kentmere flag quarry and was killed the previous day. He had been crushed by a two-ton piece of rock in the quarry that he and witness John Ridding, of The Nook, Kentmere were ‘bringing down’ from the roof. Despite the quarry using some inherently dangerous practices while blasting to bring down rock, and the manger not being aware of any inspection scheme by a government inspector, the verdict was only one of Accidental Death.
The 11th October 1880 saw the premises once again return to disorder with John Airey and James Thompson Jackson being found to be drunk on licensed premises. Neither appeared at court and were found guilty on the evidence of Constable Johnston and fined 10s and 13s 6d respectively. Next at the petty sessions was Edward Sarginson, the landlord of the premises. He and his wife had been away that day and the premises had been left in the charge of a servant girl. However, he still had a vicarious liability and was fined 49s and his licence endorsed. Matters were not boding well and the cumulative effect of disorder was mounting.
Matters seemed to quieten but local people can have objections many years later, especially if part of a temperance movement and/or a church. There was also a Temperance Hotel in the village, located only on the other side of the narrow river and must have suffered, or been disturbed by any alcohol infused disorder, when miners, quarrymen and farmhands had just been paid.  Many incidents of local disorder and rowdiness would go unreported, being such a remote licensed premise with no immediate method of communication with the police.


The former Low Bridge Inn with the Temperance Hotel behind, as seen from Kentmere Church.

On 10th September 1887 at the adjourned Brewster's Sessions at Kendal Mr. F. W. Watson applied for a renewal of the licence in consequence of a change in the tenancy. He pointed out that there had been a licensed premise there for 300 years, the owner and tenant were both respectable people. He stated that there had been no complaint of disorder against the premise and it was a centre for tourists, anglers, and sportsmen alike. A Mr. Woolcott submitted a petition of objection, saying there were only 174 residents, of which 77 were children, and only 15 adult inhabitants did not sign the petition which objected to the renewal. It was further said that the licence was now unnecessary and the premise was a fruitless source of sin. After two hours deliberation the Magistrates Bench refused the application. 
It was then said that a strenuous appeal would be made against the refusal. This decision not to renew the licence had been based on the discretionary power of the licensing magistrates being as absolute in the renewal as it was in the granting of one. They had refused it not on the grounds of disorder, though those reasons were put forward, but on the grounds of: firstly the wants of the neighbourhood, secondly there no longer being a need for a licensed premise in the village of Kentmere, and thirdly the inability of the police to supervise such a remote inn. It was later to become known as the Sharp-v-Wakefield and others(Justices of Westmorland) case.
The matter was taken before the Justices at the court of Quarter Sessions on the grounds that under the Licensing Acts of 1828 (9 Geo. IV., c. 61), 1872, and 1874, the magistrates did not have jurisdiction to refuse a renewal on the grounds stated, but the decision was upheld. At the Queens Bench Division on Monday 30th April 1888 before Justice's Field and Wills the decision was again upheld following an earlier hearing. Justice Field said the matter relied upon the Act of 1828 and he could not find by either legislation or construction by judges on statutes(*Author - I take this to refer to case law), that anything had limited the wide discretion of the magistrates. Section 9 of the act said they had full power to decide, touching the granting, withholding, or transfer of any licence, and also to decide on the fitness of the person. So long as the power was not exercised corruptly or arbitrarily, the magistrates and Quarter Session Justices were correct and the appeal was dismissed - with costs. 
The implications of this decision for a small and isolated country inn were recognised as having a far wider impact across the area and nation as a whole. The local papers questioned what this might mean for other isolated inns at Ambleside, Bowness, Windermere, Grasmere, Langdale, Hawkshead, Troutbeck, etc.
Although the late tenant of the Low Bridge Inn had not been a member of the Westmorland Licensed Victuallers Association, such were the implications for their members that they decided to take the matter further, with the support of other like organisations around the country. Another Public House, The Swan Inn at Middleton, near Kirkby Lonsdale, was also seen to be under similar threat. It had opened to supply the workers needs, whilst the nearby railway was built and following the recent death of the tenant the ratepayers of the area were conducting a similar petition for closure, as the Kentmere residents had done.
On Saturday 15th December 1888, before The Master of the Rolls, and Justices Fry and Lopes, the Sharp-v-Wakefield and others case was heard by the Court of Appeal, but the rulings were unaltered. They decided again that so long as the power was exercised judicially then the power of the magistrates was absolute. They also agreed that the wants of the neighbourhood and the remoteness for police supervision were matters for the courts to take full account of. 
It was announced in April 1889 that the Licensed Victuallers decided to take the matter forward to the House of Lords, the highest court of the land, such was the importance of the decision on many rural communities. Hope was expressed since the Solicitor General was of the view that the magistrates did not have the discretion as exercised in the Low Bridge Inn case. The concern again was the loss of a livelihood for the licensee and the loss of an amenity to the locality. The Wasdale Head Hotel was one such premise quoted as at real risk by this decision.
The Kendal Otter Hounds met on Thursday 8th May 1890 at Stramongate Bridge. The River Kent was followed to its source, but without any success. At the conclusion many followers proceeded to the Low Bridge Inn, forgetting the circumstances of the famous licensing case. 
In March 1891 the matter was before The Lord Chancellor and Lords Bramwell, Herschell, Macnaghten, and Hannen, at the House of Lords, who reserved judgement. Finally, on the morning of Friday 20th they announced their decision. The appellant had based their appeal on the grounds that the original legislature had never intended to entrust the magistrates with a discretion so wide as to cause such injustice. The Lords again disagreed and upheld the decisions of the earlier courts.
So ended one of the oldest Liquor Licenses, The Low Bride Inn, in the County of Westmorland, whose memory would pass into relative obscurity. The premise in modern times is a house bearing the relic name of Low Bridge, perhaps in homage to its former purpose.
Thankfully it did not act with the impetus for the Temperance Movement for the closure of other mentioned remote inns and hotels, the Wasdale Head Hotel, perhaps being the most notable example. 
In a modern age, wouldn't it have been refreshing though, at the end of a long hot summer's walk around the Kentmere horseshoe, to have sank a pint of fine ale at the public house; or would that desire now impact too greatly on one of the quietest occupied rural valley communities of Lakeland? I think the jury will always be out on that one for many years to come.
Susannah Sharpe died aged 76 in the Kendal registration area, her death being announced across the nation in newspapers, including the 30th December 1995 edition of the Edinburgh Evening News. The papers referenced the famous licensing case that was lost in the remote valley and hamlet of Kentmere, which for a brief spell in time, occupied the minds of the nation in a debate on the closure of inns by magistrates. The Cumberland Pacquet and Ware's Whitehaven Advertiser said that the case had cost the Licensed Victualler's Association £7,000, but since their unsuccessful attempt to challenge the original decision there had been a number of cases where magistrates had decided on other closures but challenges had since been launched, and won, in the higher courts. That caveat that the magistrates had to act judicially provided an added check to ensure that any decision was fair with regard to the needs of all in the community, itself a check on the Temperance Movement. The Swan Inn at Middleton still provides for the community and tourists visiting the Kirkby Lonsdale area to this day.

(C)opyright

















Thursday, 11 July 2019

The tragic deaths of Thomas Gillespie, his son Thomas, and John Huddlestone. Kentmere 1838


The tragic deaths of Thomas Gillespie, his son Thomas, and John Huddlestone. Kentmere 1838

Thomas Gillespie was a 50-year-old Woodreef who lived at Bank (or Bankhog) House (*now a barn), Kentmere Hall, with his wife Mary and their children, on the estate of Christopher Wilson of Rigmaden. (A modern equivalent to a Woodreef/reeve is a Woodland Ranger.) One of the children was 14-year-old Thomas, and on the night of Friday 26th October 1838, they were joined by 44-year-old John Huddlestone, a tailor and bachelor, of Staveley.

Kentmere Hall

He stayed the night with them and in the morning, they set off together with the Gillespie family terrier to go fishing at Hayeswater Tarn, which was approximately six miles away, towards Hartsop village, in Patterdale, with the intention of returning that evening.

Hayeswater (Tarn), with the modern dam now removed and returned to the original level of 1838.

The weather worsened and even in the sheltered Kentmere valley it was described as a terrible day, with the water higher than could be remembered. The winds were strong, with snow was now falling, and the conditions were expected to be far worse on the high surrounding fells. Even those with an intimate knowledge of the mountains would have found the severe weather very challenging and there were no places of shelter on the fell tops. When they did not return that night Mary began to slip into a terrible state of anxiety. As Sunday progressed and there was still no sign of them, she sought out another resident, Reginald Sharpe and told him of her plight. On Monday morning he went with Henry Hogarth and a dog, over Garburn Pass, then through Troutbeck Park, to Kirkstone, and descended into Patterdale.

Kentmere from Garburn Pass.

They enquired all along the route to no avail, but at Hartsop they were told a man and a boy had gone into Mr. Gelderd’s house, The Kings Arms, in a very wet state. With their spirits temporarily lifted they went there only to find that they were not the Gillespie family. They then set off for Hayeswater, but a search there also revealed no clue of the missing party’s whereabouts. They then checked Hayeswater Gill that feeds the Water from Thornthwaite Crag, but to no avail. By now time was advancing and they were despairing of finding the party. On the high route back to Garburn Pass along the fells and near Glad Grove Gill, they were met by a small terrier dog which had ran out barking at their own. They immediately recognised the terrier as being the Gillespie family dog.

The hills to the west of Kentmere, left to right - Yoke, Ill Bell, Froswick and the path to Thornthwaite Crag. Glad Grove Gill is to the right of Froswick. 

They quickly went into the gill and found all three dead. Mr. Gillespie was lying on his back and his face upwards, his son was lying between his father’s thighs, leaning on the left one with his arms entwined around it; he had a piece of oatmeal in his mouth. Mr. Huddleston was lying a few yards away, face down. Both men had flasks of rum on them, Mr. Gillespie’s was part consumed and Mr. Huddlestone’s was empty. It was now 5pm and the two searchers were forced to leave the bodies, taking only the terrier back with them to Kentmere. The next morning, they returned with other residents and brought the three bodies back to the village and the grieving Mrs. Gillespie.

An inquest was held at the Low Bridge Inn on Tuesday 30th October, before the coroner Mr. R. Wilson Esquire. It could only be conjectured that the three were returning to their native Kentmere valley via the high route and had become overtaken by the inclement weather and had sought what shelter they could in the gill. The had become benighted, had fallen asleep and starved to death in the cold conditions. A verdict of ‘Found Dead’ was returned.


Mary was now a grieving widow and had five other children to care for, three of whom were very young. Local gentlemen began a subscription for her, and the local Westmorland Gazette paper encouraged their readers to donate generously, the Bank of Westmorland being the place where donations could be sent or deposited. Although no final amount was advertised, a meeting was arranged to take place at 10:30am on 28th March 1839 at the bank, to decide on the best method of apportioning the money subscribed.

It is unclear what happened to the Gillespie family but there is no record of them living in the valley in the census of 1841.

Such a tragedy touches a community at a very personal level, the subscription was one form of the community’s expression of grief and humanity. Another was displayed in the form of words of a poetic nature, where that greater expression was openly displayed in the 8th December 1838 edition of the Westmorland Gazette, the full article being:

ORIGINAL STANZAS, On the three unfortunate persons, Huddlestone, Gillespie and bis son, who perished amidst a snowstorm, and were found lying dead beside each other on High-street hill, betwixt Kentmere and Ullswater, October 1838.

----------------

Reader, hast thou ever been

Amidst that wild, stupendous scene,

Mountainous High-street and its rock-pil'd height

Of shelving cliffs and precipices bare,

The eagles stronghold and the foxes’ lair

Whose rav'nous cries the timid sheep affright,

Re-echoed from the gloomy caverns there.

Pleasant it is in Summer's opening prime,

The craggy sides of this said hill climb,

And from its, summit see the ardent beam

Of morning light o'er eastern landscape stream;

Magnificent the view—

Wood, water, hill and dale.

And the green-pastur'd vale,

By the sun's bright rays tinged with a golden hue.

Here, stretching far away,

a dimly-purpled gray,

The distant mountain-peaks enthron'd in clouds;

And, closer still at hand,

Shepherds and flocks a joyous band,

Bask in the shade, that from the heat them shrouds.

Woe to the traveller, in winter time

Doom'd this hill's bleak hill’s ridge to climb,

’Midst mists and drizzling rain,

And gusts of wind which roar amain:-

The pelting storm sweeps by, -

Who his dang'rous way could wend,

Through deathly perils without end.

No hand to guide, no friendly shelter nigh;

Many have tried

To thread the murky gloom and perilous maze

Of the hill-path, and far from human gaze

 Have droop'd and died!

Weary and faint, they sat them down,

To rest on the steep hill side,

The eagle from his nest had flown,

On the tempest-wind to ride.

Ah! who shall stay the raging storm,

Ye hapless, death-doom'd men;

The snow-cloud drifts its awful form,

To whiten cliff and glen.

The angry sleet show'ring fast,

How can ye onward go!

The swollen stream is hurrying past.

And the boiling torrents flow.

Now bid farewell to hearth and home,

In vain you gaze around—

Poor souls! to you no help will come,

None hear that wailing sound.

“O had we never ventured here,” –

Methinks you thus might say,

“Our bones had found some other bier.

Than in snowy shroud to lay: -

“And who shall list our dying groan,

Save the wild birds shrieking nigh;

No friend to soothe the struggling moan,

And close the sunken eye.

"A cold, cold hand is on our heart,

Its blood will soon congeal;

Yet, ere we thus from life depart

Together let us kneel:-

“Tho bootless is all human aid,

And sad our destiny,

Father! On Heav’n our hope is stayed,

We lift our pray’rs to thee!

“Since, life must end at thy command,

Resign'd we yield our breath:"—

Then, clasp'd together hand in hand,

They calmly sunk in death.

And now the tempest-storm o'er,

The wind is hush'd and still:

Although the gushing torrents roar,

Down High-street’s rugged hill.

And over Hartsop’s village bright,

The golden sunbeams shine,

Hayswater tarn gleams with the light-

But hark! - that piteous whine.

The shepherd hies him on apace,

Towards his faithful Tray;

Three dismal forms he soon can trace,

Stiffen’d and cold as clay.

And some who shall say in Kentmere vale

What sorrows there is known,

When yonder widow hears the tale—

She's husbandless and lone!

And for her sake, her children's too,

Shall pity’s tears not flow,

And charity their sufferings view

And gentle aid bestow!

M.

--------------------------------

The sad incident is now over 180 years old, but still touches the modern soul, not sanitised by the passing of time. Local people and tourists alike have a common interest in leisure on the Lakeland fells, just as the three men had in 1838. It is not believed any headstones were erected, certainly none remain. With the Gillespie's not staying in the valley and Mr. Huddlestone having no descendants to remember his passing, it had slipped from the memory of the community. I have spoken with two local historians who were unaware of the tragedy. Kentmere is a close community and I am sure in now being reunited with this piece of history, tragic as it is, they will be keen to reflect on the passing of the three, and also feel great sympathy for the plight of Mary Gillespie and her five remaining children.

©opyright

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Reverend James Jackson Memorial Cross - The Patriarch of the Pillarites


The Patriarch of the Pillarites


The Reverend James Jackson 1796 to 1878






While researching fell history on the internet  I came across an article in The Fell and Rock Climbing Club Journal of 1907, page 40, which referred to 'The Patriarch of the Pillarites', which was the title assumed by the Reverend James Jackson of Sandwith, Whitehaven. He had given himself that name following his fascination with being an octogenarian, coupled with his burning desire to climb Pillar Rock, in the Ennerdale Valley. He achieved this and wanted to continually repeat this feat on an annual basis, which was to lead to his death. Other climbers erected a temporary iron cross, then later had the nearby rock carved with his initials and the year of his death. Any walker of the lake district with an interest in the histories it generates knows of the rock carving of a cross to the Scafell tragedy of September 1903, where four climbers fell to their deaths, which altered the techniques of mountaineering in lakeland. I was fascinated to question why with two such high profile incidents occurring, why was the Scafell carving so well photographed, yet the Pillar one had no image on the internet whatsoever? This was despite a great variety of articles on 'The Patriarch'. Intrigued I set out to find the cross and to try and add far more detail on Reverend James Jackson's earlier life as the pastor of Rivington, Lancashire, assisted by a visit to his church there. Over the last few years I have came back to this story and can now add that detail, so adding to the history of the English Lakes.

****************

James Jackson’s place of birth has long been unclear to people writing informative internet explanations of his life. He was born at Kendal on 12th April 1796 and baptised there on 26th August of that year. His parents were Robert and Agnes Jackson and James had an elder brother called John who was born on 10th June 1794 at Kendal, baptized on 14th August of that year. 
Nothing further is known of any other family members, it appears these were the only children of Robert and Agnes. 
His early childhood remains a mystery, beyond a mention at an inquest following his death that he was educated at both Appleby and St. Bees. It was then recorded that he joined the army and served in the Napoleonic war of 1815.
James’s life begins to be better documented when he chooses the church as his calling in life and on 16th July in 1820 the Lord Bishop of Chester held an ordination ceremony at Windermere (Bowness) where 14 Priests were ordained, and nine Deacons appointed, with 500 children being later confirmed. Previous to the Ordination ceremony an excellent speech on the duties and responsibilities of the Christian Minister was given by one of the candidates for Priests Orders. The lesson was ‘2 Cor., c, vi, v, 4 – “In all things approving ourselves as the Ministers of God” ’; the candidate was James Jackson, who would be 24 years of age when appointed.
The Reverend Jackson was to become the Minister for Rivington, near Chorley, Lancashire. He married a Susanna Thorpe at the Parochial Chapel of Rivington on 8th September 1835 and the officiating Minster was a J. Whittaker. Both James and Susanna are recorded as ‘of this chapel’; she was born there, and her parents died before she was 16 years old; Susanna would have been married at the age of 19 and married a man 20 years older than her. Although it may turn a head in more modern times, he would be of some standing in the community, in constant employment and financially secure. The union would have been of mutual benefit to both. The two witnesses were Timothy and Ann Lightoller, although Ann was illiterate and was only capable of making her mark: ‘X’.  It is believed the Jacksons had two children. Agnes was the first born in 1836, baptised on 10th June at The Chapel, Rivington and grew into adulthood, surviving beyond both her parents. Franklin Rawdon Jackson was the second born in the second quarter of 1838, but he died aged one on 5th November 1839 and was buried at Rivington.

In these early years there appears no insight into his character, beyond him being a man of the cloth but intriguingly there was an incident at Rivington where at four o’clock on the morning of 25th June 1837 the Reverend was woken by the noise of men shouting outside the vicarage, then the sound of a stone rolling down the roof was heard by him. He looked out the window and saw two men withdrawing from his porch.

The Vicarage at Rivington, home of the Reverend Jackson.

 He may have been a man of the cloth, but he also had a family to protect and was an ex-soldier. He went out and confronted them, the main antagonist refused to give his name, so the reverend seized his cap resulting in the man threatened to kick him. The two were Thomas Bouch and Charles Thompson. That assault appears to have happened as both appeared before the magistrates. Bouch was there for a breach of the peace and assault, one presumes the threatened kick on the brave reverend. Bouch was ordered to find sureties and ordered to pay costs of 14s 6d. Thompson was before them for being drunk only and ordered to pay costs of 5s 6d. This could have started as a drunken prank with any resident of Rivington as the victim, or jealousy at this particular man’s standing in the community. Another possibility is that the reverend was not liked by all members of the community and greater insights into his character will later become apparent, making this scenario certainly well worth consideration.
There was the mundane reporting of local weddings in the family columns of local papers, naming the reverend as the officiating clergy, but life took on the ordinary existence of a pastor.
On Monday 31st July 1843 a half yearly meeting was held at The Swam Hotel, Bolton, by the proprietors of the Bolton and Preston Railway. Present was the Reverend James Jackson of Rivington, who asked for a point to be explained whether the first act was to be revived or the tram road and canal were to be filled in and converted to a rail line, and what the cost of each would be? Clearly, he kept an interest in local politics, on behalf of his parishioners.
In April 1847 he is listed as a contributor to ‘The Cobden National Tribute Fund’ where he donated £1 to the fund. £60, 692, 3s 10d was the national total to this point. Richard Cobden was a British Statesman and economist who advocated free trade and non-interventionism both during and after the efforts to abolish the Corn Laws and he believed them to be the solution to world prosperity and peace. It was given the title of Cobdenism and still forms a debate to this day in political and economic circles. Clearly the Reverend also had a viewpoint on world politics and economics.
In February 1850 he assisted another parishioner at court in the settlement of a claim on an old lady’s estate, where she had promised him money for assistance, he gave her on the death of her husband. It was through the assistance of Reverend Jackson that the money was awarded.
Another insight into his interests, perhaps through retirement, was that in July 1856 he appeared as a witness at a case where a Thomas Latham was claiming £50 following the death of a neighbour, Mrs. Alice Marsh. He had assisted her husband following a robbery in January 1850, staying with him for over 2 months. Following the husband’s death, he went on to assist the lady, who then gave him a note promising him £100 on her death. He came across objections from a relative, Robert Eatock, and the amount was arbitrated to £50, which Mr Latham agreed to. There was an allegation that Latham had plied Mrs. Marsh with raw rum, a quantity of 10 gallons was suggested and denied.  Even that was not paid, so Latham took the matter to court. One of the witnesses he called was the retired Reverend James Jackson, of Rivington, who had been present on 3rd March 1853 when Mrs. Marsh had said that: ‘Tom ought to have it.’ The Judge found for the plaintiff, quoting the corroboration by the Reverend as sufficient evidence. Clearly his status and reputation spoke volumes to his credibility as a witness to events.
 There were however two very well documented events in Reverend James Jackson’s life, both made famous by none other than himself and the first was to occur at Rivington. The weather cock of the church blew down in high winds and required re-seating on the spire. The ‘steeplejacks’, most probably local builders, declined the job which must have disheartened the reverend. That fulfilling this parish need was refused and by professionals must have been beyond the pale to him, so he seized the article from them and climbed the steeple, replacing the cock on it’s spire in service to the local community. The placing was in his own words a two-handed job, but there it stands to this day as a testament to his brave, (some would say foolhardy) feat.



The Church at Rivington

The weathercock
Some locals were in awe, others aghast that their pastor had taken such an unnecessary risk to his life. It was said by James that in the short walk back to his residence he had formed the feat into words in his own mind, this being a short poem, or ditty:


“Who has not heard of Steeple Jack,
That Lion-hearted Saxon,
Though I am not he, he was my sire,
For I am Steeple Jackson.”

On Saturday 6th September 1856, by virtue of a charter granted by Queen Elizabeth I, at the request of Bishop Pilkington (who founded Rivington School), a meeting was convened at the Chapelry at Rivington where the ‘dwellers and remainers’ were allowed to vote in their next reverend. This followed the resignation of James Jackson after 33 years of pastoral service to that community. Of the two candidates that were put forward, the Reverend Thomas Sutcliffe of Blackburn gained 75 votes, the Reverend Thomas Crossfield of Stafford gaining 45 votes. There was some legal objection on the matter, it’s basis being whether the occupiers of Belmont had any right to vote, yet Mr. Sutcliffe was duly appointed to replace James Jackson.
James then surfaced at Broughton-in-Furnace living at a house called Broom Hill on New Street. John, his older brother by two years, was the inn-keeper at The Kings Head Hotel in Broughton-in-Furnace. When at that address James came into possession of a Celtic artefact of the ‘perforated or wedge-shaped class’ which was dug up near Broughton Tower during the construction of the Coniston Railway. It was 9¾ inches in length, 3 inches breadth, 2 inches thick and weighed just over 2lbs. He is known to have been there on 7th August 1861. Around August 1863 however, he purchased the house at Summer Hill, Sandwith, near Whitehaven, for £455. It is here he resided with both his wife and daughter for the rest if his life.
The Reverend, now in retirement at Whitehaven, appears to have been a man of art, for on 28th April 1863 he was a member of the Art Union of London. Listed in the London Evening Standard were members entitled to select a work of art of different values. ‘Reverend J. Jackson, Whitehaven,’ was in the 10 shillings category.
Art was not his only interest and in June of 1866 the Whitehaven Industrial Exhibition took place and was advertised as guaranteed to take the interest of the mineralogist, botanist, with steam engines to further captivate the interest. Many inventions were exhibited; so many that only a passing comment could be made to each and their inventors. One exhibitor was: ‘Rev. J. Jackson, Sandwith - economic ball and socket double truss.’ Because it got the same rudimentary mention as all the other inventions, it is unclear what its engineering purpose was.
It was while at Sandwith that another event occurred that gave some insight into his character. It was reported long after his death that the reverend had taken to law and ruined a poor man who had enclosed a trifle of garden land. The implication would seem to be one of a particularly unchristian view, by a well off former minister bringing to ruin a poor villager.
It was also whilst he was at Sandwith that the feats of endurance he was to become renowned for occurred, both in his stamina, bravery, and risk taking. If this Reverend was anything, he was a self-publicist, but there is no reason to ever doubt the tales he would tell to show these qualities. He was also opinionated, sometimes to his own detriment. He was to write a series of letters to George Seatree a well-known climber and president of the Fell and Rock-Climbing Club, and these letters were a further insight into this retired reverend character.
He told Seatree:
 ' . . . during my lengthened and varied and still robust existence I have been beneath the Falls of Niagara. I have sung " God Save The King " in the hall of St. Peter's. I have ascended Vesuvius in the eruption of 1828. I have capped Snowdon in Wales, and Slieve Donard in Ireland, and nearly all the high hills in this district, many of which I can see from my residence. It only remains for me to mount the Pillar Rock, and then I may sigh for something else to conquer.'
With reference to Pillar Rock, one feat brought some adverse reaction to James Jackson’s stated view. In the letters it was commented on how the brothers, Edward and Thomas Westmorland had ascended the rock in the company of their sister. ‘N.Y.Z.’ wrote in to the paper expressing that he had read the story with ‘incredulous amazement’, believing they must have ascended Pillar Mountain, not the rock itself. This view was based on N.Y.Z's simple belief that it was beyond the capabilities of a woman. However, that same month Mr. Seatree and Mr. Stanley Martin made the ascent and found their names on the top. Reverend Jackson then admitted he had written the doubting letter and now accepted the truth of the account. The Westmorland’s were reported to have always held this slur on their character against James Jackson.

The Westmorlands
In the course of the letters the Reverend enquired of Mr. Seatree what equipment he had used to ascend the rock; spikes, ropes etc.? He asserted his powers of endurance by stating:

‘To give you some idea of my powers of endurance, I will briefly say that Oct. 1st, 1864, I walked 46 miles in 14 ½ hours, Oct. 4th, I walked 56 miles in 18 hours; and on Oct. 7th, 60 miles, my crowning exploit, in 19 hours 50 minutes. The last mentioned was to Keswick and back, via Whitehaven and Cockermouth.’

In 1875 he attempted to ascend the rock in company but had to concede to only a partial success and had been benumbed by the cold. They did not achieve the summit but were satisfied they had gained the correct route. He wrote to Seatree and said he hoped before the summer was too far advanced, he expected to vindicate the title of ‘Patriarch of the Pillarites’ he had given to himself. He wrote to Seatree dated 1st June 1875 and informed him he had achieved the summit and returned unscathed to his home. He said he would send an account for publication for 10th June Whitehaven News.

Reverend James Jackson photograph recording his passion with Pillar Rock.
Although climbing Pillar Rock had become a goal in his life, which he achieved, his fascination with it would eventually lead to his death.
On Saturday 4th May 1878 the Coroner Mr. John McElvie, held an inquest at Wasdale Head. Giving evidence was William Ritson, farmer and owner of the Hotel. He said that he had known the Reverend for ten to twelve years; he had arrived on the Tuesday afternoon and had set off at 5am on Wednesday with the intention of climbing Pillar Rock. When he did not return, he sent two men to look for him. They were John Jenkinson, a labourer of Burnthwaite, and Isaac Fletcher of Wasdale Head, to look for him but they returned and had been unsuccessful. They went again on Friday, finding his body in Great Doup. His watch had stopped at three o’clock, albeit undamaged; £2 gold, 10s 6d in silver, 4d copper along with other articles were found on him. There was also a bottle which contained a verse, on the cork was ‘Rev. J. Jackson, Sandwith’, evidently meant to be placed on the rock, once ascended. The verse was as follows:

‘Two elephantine properties are mine,
For I can bend to pick up pin or plack;
And when this year the Pillar Rock I climb,
Four score years and two’s the howdah on my back.

Date of the third ascent, May 1, 1878.”

Of course, the only thing the jury could do was to find that death was the result of an accident. His two sticks were found nearby, one 40 yards above him and the other 100 yards below.
Whilst awaiting the inquest the terribly disfigured body had been placed in an outhouse of the Inn.
The funeral took place at St. Bees, which is very near to Sandwith.

The Grave


A close-up of his name on the headstone.
A couple of years after his death two veteran mountaineers, Mr. F. H. Bowring and Mr. J. Maitland, both contemporaries of the Patriarch, built a cairn and placed an iron cross on the spot where the Reverend Jackson had been found, but the winter storms carried both away. On August 16th, 1906, a more lasting memorial was completed. Another veteran, Mr. C. A. 0. Baumgartner, the oldest living Pillarite, having ascended the Rock so far back as 1850 in conjunction with Mr. J. W. Robinson and Mr. Seatree, had the initials "J. J." and the date " 1878" chiselled on to the nearest suitable rock to where the body was found, by Mr. (George) Benson Walker, marble mason, Cockermouth. Taking advantage of the day set apart by Mr. Robinson, (of Robinson's cairn fame) one of Cumberland's foremost cragsmen, for his hundredth ascent of the Pillar Rock, an opportunity was found to have the work done. Mr. Robinson, Mr. Walker, and Mr. Seatree were accompanied by Mrs. Robinson, Miss Cleeve, Tasmania, and Miss A. E. Seatree. Mr. Walker found the rock to be very hard, but in a few hours an effective memorial of the old clergyman was inscribed which nothing short of an earthquake should destroy.
An earthquake certainly has not destroyed the memorial, but the coupled effect of time and weather has etched into the numbers and initials, making them all but indistinct from the rough rock face. The cross that accompanies the lettering is still clear to see and the one’s fingers can read the letters, that the eye can hardly see.

The cross to Reverend James Jackson. Hollydog applying some perspective.

The Cross in close-up
I knew he had fallen in Great Doup, but after four searches I was still unable to locate the inscription. Through a former work colleague, who is also a Mountain Rescue team member, he was able to ask some fellow climbers. Steve Reid, the owner of Needle Sports at Keswick, was able to assist, and I thank him greatly for that help. He had located this elusive memorial and manged to pass me greater detail on its location.  A further visit finally located the writing, along with the cross. Crosses are carved in the landscape to commemorate the passing of a notable human being and this deserves to be known further afield, especially after 141 years.






Postscript: On his death Reverend Jackson left effects to the value of £10,000 in his probate, with the executors of his will being his daughter Agnes, and his niece Elizabeth Jackson. His wife Susannah died on 25th January 1883, aged 66 years. Both she and Agnes are buried in the same grave. Agnes had married a William Pettigrew (who was 20 years younger than her and an Irish born farmer's son) in 1885 and died a widow on 21st February 1905, leaving effects of the value £1,464 16s 5d, to Miss Ellen Berry and Ernest Lamb, who was a draper.

******************

**I have previously published this account, and other new material, for public knowledge. I did so in the expectation that anyone wishing to further expand that public knowledge would do so by highlighting this original account, and then adding new information they discover themselves, as I have above. Sadly I am aware of one site that has repeated a large section of an account of another all but forgotten lakeland memorial to two boys that drowned and making out it was new, despite his following my many new lakes history accounts. I was asked by a person writing a book for Wasdale MRT for the generation of funds to assist that worthy cause. I gladly agreed to its use and he stated he would reference my original account. Such a stance by the latter is an honourable one; I hope the former person reflects on his conduct and no longer copies my work and then makes out he has found a new lakes history; that is dishonourable and diminishes him.**



(C)opyright

For further reading on the letters, this is the link. It may only be of interest to climbers or lakes historians: 
https://scafellhike.blogspot.com/2019/06/a-series-of-letters-by-reverend-to.html






Monday, 24 June 2019

A Series of Letters by Reverend James Jackson to George Seatree




LETTERS
WRITTEN BY
THE REV JAMES JACKSON
OF SANDWITH, WHITEHAVEN,
TO MR. GEORGE SEATREE AND OTHERS
DESCRIBING HIS
Wonderful Octogenarian
Mountaineering and
Climbing Exploits in
Cumberland
1874 – 1878

Re-printed from the “Penrith Observer,” November and December, 1906
R. SCOTT, Printer, Penrith.



REV. JAMES JACKSON – The Patriarch of
the Pillar Rock.
Photograph by J. Reay, St. Bees.


























A SERIES OF
LETTERS
WRITTEN BY
THE REV JAMES JACKSON
OF SANDWITH, WHITEHAVEN,
TO MR. GEORGE SEATREE AND OTHERS
DESCRIBING HIS
Wonderful Octegenarion
Mountainering and
Climbing Exploitrs in
Cumberland
1874 – 1878

Re-printed from the “Penrith Observer,” November and December, 1906
R. SCOTT, Printer, Penrith.












The publisher is indebted to Dr. J. H. Taylor
Salford; Messrs. Abraham, Keswick: and Mr.
J. Reay, St. Bees, for kind permission to use
their photographs.











PILLAR ROCK, ENNERDALE
General View of North-West Face.






The Patriach of the
Pillar Rock.
In his most recent lecture at Penrith, on the rock climbing in Cumberland and other places, Mr. George Seatree showed a portrait of the late Rev. James Jackson, Sandwith, and told of some of the remarkable feats performed by the veteran in the way of mountaineering. It is nearly thirty years since the Patriarch met his tragic death, and not many are left that can say they knew him well. Mr. Seatree, however, not only had that privilege – for such indeed is a true description – but he enjoyed a long correspondence with Mr. Jackson, extending over about four years. Mr. Seatree has very kindly placed the letters at my disposal, and believing that they will be of general interest, but particularly to those who love our Lakeland fells, I have made some extracts. In 1873, Messrs, Edward and Thomas Westmorland, of Penrith, and four other friends, had a long ramble on the fells in the very heart of the Lake District, and in the following summer sent a ‘rhythmical account’ of it to the “Whitehaven News,” where it was published. The versical narrative is too long to be given here – it would occupy a column – but, as Mr. Seatree explained in his lecture, the verses included a statement of how a lady – Miss Westmorland – had climbed to the top of Pillar Rock. “N.Y.Z.” wrote to the paper that he had read the story “with incredulous amazement.” Happily, in the same month Mr. Seatree and Mr. Stanley Martin had both found their way to the top of the Rock, and so the former was able to not only corroborate but to amplify the assertion of his fellow-townsmen. Mr. Jackson thereupon threw aside the non-de plume, admitted that he wrote the doubting letter, and made the amende honourable.
Thus Mr. Seatree and Mr. Jackson began a correspondence which clearly gave each a great amount of pleasure. The first letter of which notice need be taken was dated September 25th, 1874, and included the following passages:
Many, many thanks for your prompt notice of my Pillar letter published yesterday in the “News,” and for your kind promise of sending when out a copy of the local paper containing an account of your wanderings. Your letter was really redolent of courtesy, and to an old tramp like myself was quite refreshing. When your letter arrived I was just folding up a short letter for the “News” of next week, in which I complained that the word “unmistakable,” used and spelled alike both by you and myself, had in my own case been corrected but not amended by the insertion of and “e,” and thus might expose me to the taunt of knowing more of topography than I did of orthography……. I am personally acquainted with Mr. Waugh and had the honour of entertaining the Lancashire Poet at my house when I lived at Broughton-in-Furness. Will you kindly say when you next write whether you used any and what appliances – as spikes, ropes, &c., when you ascended the Rock? To give you some idea of my powers of endurance, I will briefly say that Oct. 1st, 1864, I walked 46 miles in 14 ½ hours, Oct. 4th, I walked 56 miles in 18 hours; and on Oct. 7th, 60 miles, my crowning exploit, in 19 hours 50 minutes. The last mentioned was to Keswick and back, via Whitehaven and Cockermouth. As the season for rambling is nearly over, I may perhaps beguile some dull or rainy day by giving a brief account of my lengthened and varied and still robust existence. I have been beneath the falls of Niagara. I have sung “God Save the King” in the ball of St. Peter’s. I have ascended Vesuvius in the eruption of 1828. I have capped Snowdon and Slieve Donard in Ireland, and nearly all the high hills in this district, many of which I can see from my residence. It only remains for me to mount the Pillar Rock, and then I may sigh for something else to conquer.
In his next letter a fortnight later, the veteran was planning a visit to the Rock during the same Autumn, as he felt himself in “excellent walking trim and think my limbs may be more supple now than in the spring of next year.” He continued:
 Now a word as to Mickle Door (vulg. Mickle Duer), proper pronunciation Mickledore. I went three times to the connecting ridge before I found the right way from the Pikes to Scaw Fell. In fact, I ascertained that there were three ways of ascending or passing from the Pikes to Scaw Fell – one by a gully on the Eskdale side, which I once took; another by the Lord’s Rake on the Wasdale side, and the usual pass which commences about 10 or 20 yards from the ridge on the Eskdale inclination. My rambles have all been solitary, and often my experience dearly bought. On a third visit to Mickle Door I found the passage as stated above. It commences with a cleft which just admits you sideways – then you gain at some height above a flat portion of rock and observe that someone has cut for you a toe step, and Nature provided you with a cleft for the insertion of the fingers of your right hand. This is the critical point. Your fingers might slip, and the fall might be fatal. Will Ritson’s remedy is “a narrow tooth in the crack.” I did without one, and fortunately succeeded. I have read your graphic description with much interest. I have no doubt you and your friend are the first who have mounted by the way you describe. I have looked at it wistfully myself, but I did not venture. My visits to Scaw Fell and the Pikes have been so many and from different points that it would appear a story without an end. I will just state that I once accompanied two brother clergymen up the pass at Rossett Gill. The elder tramped without breaks, Highland fashion – a young curate from Manchester was beaten to a standstill. I (the patriarch of the party) had to insist on carrying the young man’s luggage, and only obtained it by threatening that I would carry him too. I arrived at Angle Tarn long before my companions. In the “News” of October 8th there will be found a letter from me, not on the subject of “dizzy heights,” but containing what I consider a valuable suggestion in the interest of the dalesmen of Wasdale Head; perhaps you may find time to pursue it. I have lunched in three counties at once, and then Crinkle Crags, Bowfell, and Bowfell Chains have been under my foot. I almost shudder at the recollection.
A little later Mr. Jackson acknowledged a gossip from Mr. Seatree, for whose descriptive powers, nerve, daring in mounting the rugged rocks, and tenacity of purpose he had “nothing but good words.” In the Penrithian he confessed he had a formidable rival in pedestrian endurance. He then goes on to describe the steps he took towards securing a walk with Henry Lancaster, “one of the Stylites,” from the Anglers’ Arms at Ennerdale on an October morning when the lake was raging like a little sea, and the hills were invisible in the mist, and so the trip had to be abandoned. Then Mr. Jackson shows another side of his character:
 When incumbent of Rivington I replaced a heavy copper weather cock which required both hands to lift to the turning point, and which seemed so perilous in the eyes of a gazing rustic as to make him feel sick at the sight, which produced on the way to the parsonage the following impromptu epigram:
Who has not heard of Steeple Jack,
That Lion-hearted Saxon?
Tho’ I’m not he, he was my sire,
For I am Steeple Jackson!
If under your guidance I should succeed in reaching the top of the Rock you will have an opportunity of crowning me with parsley fern or heather as “The Pedestrian Patriarch of the Pillarites,” for in April 1875, I shall have entered my eightieth year.
 Next year the programme began early, and in April the Patriarch asked Mr. Seatree for some information as to the route the Penrith party followed. On the 20th the old gentleman, being disappointed in getting company, drove to Ennerdale – a journey of 2½ hours – sailed up the lake, and by noon with his driver, was at the altitude of the Rock.
-----------------------------------------------
Gbe patriarch of tbc
pillar IRocfc,

In his recent most interesting lecture at Penrith, on Rock Climbing in Cumberland and other places, Mr. George Seatree showed a portrait of the late Rev. James Jackson, Sandwith, and told of some of the remarkable feats performed by the veteran in the way of mountaineering. It is nearly thirty years since the Patriarch met his tragic death, and not many are left who can say they knew him well. Mr. Seatree, however, not only had that privilege for such indeed is a true description but he enjoyed a long correspondence with Mr. Jackson, extending over about four years. Mr. Seatree has very kindly placed the letters at my disposal, and believing that they will be of general interest, but particularly to those who love our Lakeland fells, I have made some extracts. In 1873 Messrs. Edward and Thomas Westmorland, of Penrith, and four other friends, had a long ramble on the fells in the very heart of the Lake District, and in the following summer sent a " rhythmical account" of it to the " Whitehaven News," where it was published. The versical narrative is too long to be given here it would occupy a column but, as Mr. Seatree explained in his lecture, the verses included a statement of how a lady Miss Westmorland had climbed to the top of the Pillar Rock. "X.V.Z." wrote to the paper that he
had read the story " with incredulous amazement." Happily, in the same month Mr. Seatree and Mr. Stanley Martin had both found their way to the top of the Rock, and so the former was able not only to corroborate but to amplify the assertion of his fellow-townsmen. Mr. Jackson thereupon threw aside the nom de plume, admitted that he wrote the doubting letter, and made the amende honourable.
Thus Mr. Seatree and Mr. Jackson began a correspondence which clearly gave each a great amount of pleasure. The first letter of which notice need be taken was dated September 25th, 1874, and included the following passages:
Many, many thanks for your prompt notice of my Pillar letter published yesterday in the " News," and for your kind promise of sending when out a copy of the local paper containing an account of your wanderings, lour letter was really redolent of courtesy, and to an old tramp like myself was quite refreshing. When your letter arrived I was just folding up a short letter for the " News" of next week, in which I complained that the word " unmistakable," used and spelled alike both by you and myself, had in my own case been corrected but not amended by the insertion of an " e," and thus might expose me to the taunt of knowing more of topography than I did of orthography. ... I am personally acquainted with Mr. Waugh and had the honour of entertaining the Lancashire Poet at my house when 1 lived at Broughton-in-Furness. Will you kindly say when you next write whether you used any and what appliances as spikes, ropes, &c., when you ascended the Rock? To give you some idea of my powers of endurance, I will briefly say that Oct. 1st, 1864, I walked 46 miles in 14 hours; Oct. 4th, I walked 56 miles in 18 hours; and on Oct. 7th, 60 miles, my crowning exploit, in 19 hours 50 minutes. The last-mentioned was to Keswick and back, via Whitehaven and Cockermouth.
As the season for rambling is nearly over, I may perhaps beguile some dull or rainy day by giving a brief account of my lengthened and varied and still robust existence. I have been beneath the falls of Niagara. I have sung " God save the King" in the ball of St. Peter's. I have ascended Vesuvius in the eruption of 1828. I have capped Snowdon in Wales and Slieve Donard in Ireland, and nearly all the high hills in this district, many of which I can see from my residence. It only remains for me to mount the Pillar Rock, and then I may sigh for something else to conquer.
In his next letter a fortnight later the veteran was planning a visit to the Rock during the same autumn, as he felt himself in "excellent walking trim and think my limits may be more supple now than in the spring of next year." He continued:
Now a word as to Micklce Door (vulg. Mukle Duer), proper pronunciation Mickledore. I went three times to the connecting ridge before I found the right way from the Pikes to Scaw Fell. In fact, I ascertained that there were three ways of ascending or passing from the Pikes to Scaw Fell one by a gully on the Eskdale side, which I once took; another by the Lord's Rake from the Wastdale side, and the usual pass which commences about 10 or 20 yards from the ridge on the Eskdale inclination. My rambles have all been solitary, and often my experience dearly bought. On a third visit to Mickle Door I found the passage as stated above. It commences with a cleft which just admits you sideways then you gain at some height above a Hut portion of rock and observe that someone has cut for you a toe step, and Nature provided you with a cleft for the insertion of the fingers of your right hand. This is the critical point. Your fingers might slip, and the fall might be fatal. Will Ritson's remedy is " a narrow tooth in the crack." I did without one, and fortunately succeeded. I have read your graphic description with much interest. I have no doubt you and your friend are the first who have mounted by the way you describe. I have looked at it wistfully myself, but I did not venture. My visits to Scawfell and the Pikes have been so many and from different points that it would appear a story without an end. I will just state 1 once accompanied two brother clergymen up the pass of Rosset Gill. The elder tramped without breeks, Highland fashion a young curate from Manchester was beaten to a standstill. I (the patriarch of the party) had to insist upon carrying the young man's luggage, and only obtained it by threatening that I would carry him too. I arrived at Angle Tarn long before my companions. In the "News" ol October 8th there will be found a letter from me, not on the subject of "dizzy heights," but containing what I consider a valuable suggestion in the interest of the dalesmen at Wastdale Head; perhaps you may find time to peruse it. I have lunched in three counties at once, and then Cringle Crags, Bow Fell, and Bowfell Chains have been under my feet. I almost shudder at the recollection.
A little later Mr. Jackson acknowledged a gossip from Mr. Seatree, for whose descriptive powers, nerve, daring in mounting the rugged rocks, and tenacity of purpose he had "nothing but good words." In the Penrithian he confessed he had a formidable rival in pedestrian endurance. He then goes on to describe the steps he took towards securing a walk with Henry Lancaster, "one of the Stylites," from the Anglers' Arms at Ennerdale, on an October morning when the lake was raging like a little sea. and the hills were invisible in the mist, and so the trip had to be abandoned. Then Mr. Jackson shows another side of his character:
When incumbent of Rivington I replaced a heavy copper weather cock which required both hands to lift to the turning point, and which seemed so perilous in the eyes of a gazing rustic as to make him feel sick at the sight, and which produced on my way to the Parsonage the following impromptu epigram:
Who has not heard of Steeple Jack,
That lion-hearted Saxon?
Tho' I'm not he, he was my sire,
For I am Steeple Jackson!
If under your guidance I should succeed in reaching the top of the Hock you will have an opportunity of crowning me with parsley fern or heather as "The Pedestrian Patriarch of the Pillarites, " for in April 1875, I shall have entered my eightieth year.
Next year the programme began early, and in April the Patriarch asked Mr. Seatree for some information as to the route the Penrith party followed. On the 20th the old gentleman, being disappointed in getting company, drove to Ennerdale a journey of 24 hours sailed up the lake, and by noon with In.- driver was at the altitude of the Rock. " Either thro' misdirection or mis-understanding" the twain went astray for two hours, and found many rocky lions in their path ere they got to the base of the Pillar, near to a niche mentioned by Mr. Seatree:
We found our way across it and climbed for some distance without difficulty until we came to a sloping bank of heather. Here I was inclined to try the cleft on the left hand, but my companion wishing to look round the rock on the right we drove some spike nails into the rock, and he had an opportunity of satisfying himself that the route was far from inviting in that direction. We were, however, both so thoroughly exhausted by our previous efforts that I determined to be content with our partial success and come again some other day to complete our work, for we were satisfied that we were on the right track and had no doubt as to our ability. We had two coils of rope, each 17 or 18 yards long, and several iron spikes. We left four spikes in the rock, but not the ropes. On returning we ascended to the summit of the mountain, thence to the Windyeat, and by Gillerthwaite to the Boat House. We got home safe but both very weary; yet next morning I was neither stiff, sick, nor sorry, and my companion has since told me that he did not begrudge the journey. . . . Before summer is far advanced I hope to tell you that the Patriarch of the Pillarites has been on the Rock and vindicated his claim to the title. I wrote to William Ritson to ask if any of the dalesmen had yet ascended by the east side, and his reply is in the negative. Did I ever tell you I was on- flirting with some ladies in your neighbourhood, but I made no impression on them? You will not wonder at this when I tell you the ladies were Long Meg and her Daughters!
The Patriarch had not long to wait ere he attained his ambition, for he wrote the following most interesting letter on June 1st, 1875:
Yesterday was the last day in May, and a proud day it was for me, for I succeeded in gaining the summit


From a Photograph by Messrs. Abraham, Keswick.
PILLAR ROCK, EAST SIDE.
Showing the route the Patriarch would climb by.

of the Pillar Rock, and of returning unscathed to my home, and am now writing in a very comfortable condition of mind and body. I will not here give you any particulars on the subject, as I shall send an account for publication in the " Whitehaven News" of the 10th of the month. I content myself for the present with sending you the enclosed card written in Greek at home this day without spectacles, a copy of the one left on the Rock. The translation is not a part of the card left and was written with "specs" on nose. As you may think the card worth preserving as a souvenir of a very verdant old gentleman, I have given it a covering of liquid glue, i.e., shellac in solution. Our route was without doubt the very route by which you and your friend ascended. We noticed the letters " G.S." and the initials of what we supposed were those of your companion, cut on the summit of the Rock. I am sorry to say the bottle is in very bad condition and should be replaced by a new one on the first opportunity and an oaken receptacle provided for it. The things left by me on the Rock will be minutely described in the newspaper. The following is the translation of the parchment to be found inside the bottle: " Jacobus Stylites with John Hodgson ascended the Pillar of Rock on the last day of the fifth month in the year of our Lord 1875. Written on the summit without spectacles, and the card rolled up and put in the bottle."
The next letter to Mr. George Seatree is dated June 22nd, 1875. Mr. Jackson mentions ascents made by three persons from Cleator, and seven from Lamplugh and Sandwith, all within a few days of each other. The seven were all on the Rock at the same time, and one of them was a lady. He added:
Therefore, to the names of Miss Barker and Miss Westmorland must be added the name of Mrs. Ann Crears among the Pillarites. If I were an artist I would sketch the Rock both from an eastern and a western point of view, and then have it lithographed. Can you give any hint how this may be done? Your surmise that a visitors' book would be required to supersede the bottle is likely soon to be a desideratum then " un fait accompli."
Two days later there was another gossip from the Patriarch, enclosing some verses which he had written. Mr. Jackson disclaimed being a poet, though admitting himself to be a facile rhymer. The verses refer to the ascent of Mrs. Crears and her six male friends mentioned in the previous letter:
The Pillar smiled a sober smile,
When on his dizzy height,
Last day of May there proudly stood
An aged errant Knight!
But on the twentieth day of June,
His laugh was loud and long;
For never since his birth had been
On his top, so large a throng!
Two Johns, two Joes, Tom, Will, and Ann,
Were there a wondrous eight!
And the feat is now recorded by
The aged errant Knight.
To each the Pillar Patriarch gives
His hand and greets with joy;
In proof, to each he sends the lines
Of that wonderful Old Boy.
In youth he went to fight the French.
For King George upon his Throne;
And now he lives in health and peace
In his own cottage home.
When man, he wrote in small p.p.*
Expression of his charge;
But now he writes in age P.P.**
But they're in letters large.

June 23rd, 1875.

* Parish Priest, with a small living,
** Patriarch of the Pillarites, with more than competence.
The Rev. J. Jackson was an inveterate maker of puns, and they crop up in the most unexpected places. On June 28th he perpetrated several of them in the following amusing letter to Mr. Seatree:
Will you kindly convey when convenient the enclosed " Souvenir from December to May," which I respectfully offer for the acceptance of Miss Westmorland. If my penmanship had been on an equality with my pedestrianism, the offering might have assumed a more artistic and neater appearance. But pen, ink, and time united to mar the production. . . . You have read of that mad Macedonian whom victories never satisfied. If I may compare small things with great I should say that my idiosyncrasy is akin to his, though of a more harmless' nature. True to my motto, ' Stare nescio," I have been cogitating. What next? Shall I go to the Giant's Causeway, or to Staffa, and bring home a basaltic specimen for my rockery? Or shall I foot it from Maiden Kirk to John O' Groat's? Or, as I have a large balance at the bank, shall I girdle the globe, or as my fund of strength and daring is not exhausted, shall I ascend the Pillar Rock from the west under the guidance of Henry Lancaster? This is certainly practicable, and I may say in some measure desirable, for as yet I have no right to claim jurisdiction over the Pillarites as a whole: I am, perhaps, the acknowledged Patriarch of the eastern division of the Order, but some one in the western division may dispute my claim. If the ascent could be effected in the following fashion it would afford a very sensational picture for the mountaineers of canny Cumberland. Let us in fancy see, on some fine day well suited for the work, the aged knight preceded by his squire. Henry of Lancaster, winding their way up the western side of the Rock, finally gaining its summit, and to the wonder of all are met on the top by May and her brothers! Here on the dizzy height would be a realistic union between May and December the happy pair could descend by the eastern route, and the brothers of the lady might give wings to the event by writing an Epithalamium, i.e., "Carmen nuptiale." This may appear to some mere midsummer madness, but it is not the craze of feebleness. It may never happen that May and December are in Union on the Rock. but it is possible if not probable that the octogenarian may reach the summit from the west. " Nous verrons." The imagination is in my brain; it remains for me to give
" To airy nothing
A local habitation and a name."
University men have long been leaders in rock climbing and mountain rambling in Cumberland, and it is particularly interesting to learn how a Senior Wrangler, who afterwards became famous for his feats, came to make his ascent of the Pillar Rock. The next letter is dated September 17th, 1875:
I have received your photo and return my best thanks. As you conduced by example and by friendly directions to the final success of my ascent to the summit of the Pillar Rock. I think it will not be an inappropriate conjunction if I place side by side in one frame the photographs of the Pioneer and the Patriarch. You may perhaps be surprised when I tell you that in addition to my own, yours makes the sixth photo of Pillarites now in my possession. It happened in this wise. A gentleman of the name of Maitland having read of my mountain pranks and having heard that I had capped the Rock and had been photographed since the event, solicited, from Wastdale Head, my assistance in procuring the two portraits. I at once complied with his request and received from him in return a very beautiful photographic group of six persons, namely, Mr. Maitland and two daughters, and his friend Mr. Butler, daughter, and son. The group was taken last year at Ambleside, but it was not until this year that five of the six have become Pillarites. Some of them have been up twice. On the first occasion Mr. Maitland was accompanied by two girls and four others of the masculine gender, one of whom was the Senior Wrangler and Smith's Prizeman of his year, and assisted Mr. Maitland in hauling up the " Lassies." On the second occasion the party of four was Maitland and son and Butler and son. On intimating to Mr. Maitland. who is now in Keswick, my desire to procure a sketch or photograph of the Rock, though he despaired of finding a photo-artist bold enough to mount the hill, he very kindly sent me a pen and ink sketch made by his son, and that you may form some idea of the work I send you a tracing of it. I assure you that the original is a very neat artistic production. But it is not the point of view which I should select. If you should meet an artist on tramp you might try to coax him for a sketch, or rather two - one from the east and the other from the west, and then we might have the two lithographed for the benefit of future tourists. The Wrangler has been up four different routes. Mr. Maitland is now 60 and has been in the habit of spending several months in each year amongst the mountains. He enumerates the following ascents: Scawfell 17 times. Great Gable 18. Skiddaw 21, Helvellyn 14. Red Pike 20, Grassmoor 17, Bowfell 4, Langdale Pikes 9, Pillar Mountain 7, Steeple 6, &c. He seems more of a mountain maniac than either you or myself. In fact, the sum total of his ascents is enough to take away one's breath! I have suggested to him that he should assume the designation of " Maitland of Many-mounts." If you have not seen the Roman Station on Hardknot and the Shires' Stones, or rather Stone, for it is not three -but one with three faces they are worth your attention. I once was at the three- faced stone and sitting upon the top I enjoyed the unique felicity of dining in three counties at once! . . . The keeper of the lighthouse at St. Bees Head informed me the other day that when he was 17 (he is now twice that age) he and four others ascended the Rock, and their route was the same as the one known to us both, i.e., up the sloping-faced rock and along the narrow ledge.* Some fine day after April 12th. 1876, I hope to be in a condition to again ascend the Rock and clinch the claim I have this year made to the title of the Patriarch of the Pillarites. In the meantime it will give me great pleasure to receive whenever convenient some account of your summer rambles, and if you should visit Shires' Stone, and then ascend Wrynose, on over Crinkle Crags, Bowfell, Bowfell Chains, Eskhause, Great End, Scawfell Pike, and from Mickledoor descend to Wastdale Head (a route which I once travelled), you will sleep without rocking.
* Now think of Will Ritson and ye dalesmen knowing nothing of this route, and Ritson saying, " It may be possible to go the route you mention, but I very much doubt it." I believe the Wrangler's name is Richard Pendlebury; if you have access to the 56th volume of the " Illustrated London News," at page 225 you will find a portrait of the gentleman, and a full account of his very brilliant scholastic and collegiate career. I knew the grandfather of the man, and believe his father was at the Grammar School of Rivington, and I have also seen him. The above was written with a quill pen, but at last it played me so many dirty tricks that I threw it aside in disgust and conclude with a steel one.
Writing at some length on September 28th Mr. Jackson said:
Your letter from Wastdale was received on ye 26th, a day of storm and gloom which your welcome missive made more than endurable, for anything concerning the Pillar and its rugged Rock produces in me an effect as exhilarating as the veritable mountain air. Then ye terms of your letter were personally most gratifying, and the announcement that you were able to tell me that Miss Kate Calvert was now enrolled under the Patriarchal Banner was more than an antidote for sun obscured and rainy blasts. Besides, the Westmorland group was a most welcome and desiderated enclosure. Indeed, so much so that I determined not to part with it unless you assured me that it was not possible for you to procure another in its stead. But to obtain condonation for this breach of trust I enclose the photos of myself as First Student of St. Bees Coll. and Patriarch of the Pillarites, together with two tracings of the Rock from Mr. Mainland's sketch, in hopes that the Westmorland’s will in exchange for them be pleased to give you another card of their very interesting group to supply the place of the one you kindly sent for my inspection. And if your friend Miss Calvert would favour me with a photograph of herself it would give me much pleasure to send to her address my two portraits and a tracing of the Rock in return for her kindness. The portrait of the First Student enlarged in a beautiful oval frame, 24in. by 30in., executed in London by the Woodbury type was delivered to me by Mr. Reay on the 22nd inst. . . . The patriarchal frame will as time goes on, opportunity offers, and kind friends hold the Patriarch in remembrance, be surrounded by kindred spirits, young men and maidens, with good heads and stout hearts, who have fearlessly done what many bearded men in their prime have turned their backs upon in dismay. . . . Mr. Reay informed me that the students of ye College were making arrangements to have the enlarged portrait painted there. More than 50 years ago a full-length portrait life size, of the first Doctor Ainger was placed in the College Lecture Room. To this I subscribed.
Mr. Seatree's last letter from the Rev. J. Jackson in 1875 was dated December 9th, and again he was full of the unique photographic groups he was getting together, and their association with the Pillar Rock. The following are some extracts from the letter:
Yours of the 7th, in which you kindly permit me to retain the group sent only for my inspection was received yesterday. In return I send for your acceptance a copy of the Maitland and Butler group. . . . Well, I am sorry there are some natures to which nurture never sticks; yours and mine are not in that category. Before long I have a few matters to communicate to you, but I reserve them for stormy weather when I cannot get abroad. I will content myself with saying for your due understanding of the groups that Mr. Maitland is seated stick in hand his two daughters are standing behind; Mr. Butler is seated staff in hand his daughter in Alpine costume to his left seated with staff in hand; her boy brother on the ground near Mr. Maitland. All in the group are Pillarites and owe allegiance to the Patriarch except the lady with the white hat. I yesterday made glad the heart of my neighbour Mrs. Crears - the third in the order of female Pillarites - by presenting her with a copy of the Maitland and Butler group.
Then we come to 1876, a year which had much of interest for the Patriarch. On January 23rd he wrote to Mr. Seatree a very long letter from which the following extracts are taken:
I have again been corresponding with Mr. Maitland, who kindly furnished me with some sketches made by Mr. Dymond in 1866 of the Pillar Rock and Scawfell from Mickledoor (vulg: Meckledure), and also of the Lord's Rakes, &c.; but these artistically are very inferior to the sketch made by young Maitland. . . . Amongst the matters communicated to Mr. Maitland I sent an account of the individual ascents of the Pillar Rock made in 1875, as known to me, as follows:
1. Strangers from Keswick names unknown 2
2. Self and John Hodgson 2
3. C. W. Dixon, Walcock, and Hugh McDonall 3
4. Mrs. Crears, my neighbour, and 6 others 7
5. Rothery, Robinson, and 2 others 4
6. Seatree and Friend with 2 strangers 4
7. Westmorlands, 2 males and 2 females... 4
8. Maitlands, Butlers, Pendlebury, Senior Wrangler, &c 7
9. Maitland, 2 of the above party, and young Butler 4
10. Seatree and Miss Galvert 2
11. Maitland, Bowring, a barrister, 2nd son of I. B., &c 3
12. Mr. Maitland has enabled me to add other 4
The female Pillarites are:
Miss A. Barker in 1870; Miss Westmorland in 1874; then in 1875 we have the following six:
Mrs. Crears, two Misses Westmorland, Miss Maitland, Miss Butler, and Miss Calvert.
Mr. Jackson goes on to supply some information which is of greater value now than was the case thirty odd years ago, because in all probability to-day it would have been impossible to obtain such historical refutation of Wordsworth's suggestion:
In one of Mr. Maitland's letters he says that Mr. Dickinson, of Red How, Lamplugh, informed him (in a letter) that a young Bowman, of Mireside, in Ennerdale, was found dead at the foot of the Pillar Rock 100 years ago. If you have got Edwin Waugh's " Seaside, Lakes, and Mountains of Cumberland," you will find at page 31, on the authority of Wordsworth's poem " The Brothers," something confirmatory of the story. I read " The Brothers," but the name and circumstances of the parties do not correspond. The name in the poem is Ewbank; they were the last of their race. On the death of their grandfather they were thrown upon the charity of the people of the dale. The Bowmans for generations have been and are in the class of substantial "statesmen." Now as Patriarch of the Pillarites I was jealous of the reputation of the Rock and was unwilling that it should be burthened with a catastrophe of which it might be guiltless. I therefore wrote to Mr. John Bowman, of Mireside, to inquire if there was any tradition in his family of such a fatality having happened to some juvenile branch a century ago. This is his answer: "Rev. Sir, the name of the man who lost his life on the mountains of Ennerdale was John Bowman. It was not the Pillar Rock from which he fell, but from a rock about one mile higher up the dale. Yours truly, John Bowman." To my first inquiry an old woman who had lived at Ennerdale Bridge replied that she had never heard of the Pillar Rock until she was told that I had been on the top of it, and the reply from a lady who had known the Bowmans for fifty years was that she had never heard of such a fatality in the family. The fact appears to be this the poet had heard that there had been a fatal fall from a rock on the Ennerdale mountains, but all the rest is "airy nothing," to which the poet's pen has given "a local habitation and a name.'
Having personally had some adventures including that of being lost on Whiteside, I read with great pleasure the Patriarch's description of his visits to one of the most beautifully situated though least known of our easily accessible mountains. I would recommend readers to peruse the following paragraph when they have a map at hand, so as to do full justice to the old gentleman's feats, for it is a long step from Sandwith to Crummock foot:
I have now been three times on the top of Grassmoor. I think I have not told you anything about the two first, and I am sure I have not hitherto said anything about the last July 17th, 1874 was a red-letter day. I rose at midnight, left home 12-20, reached the summit of Banna Fell, near Flantern [Floutern] Tarn 5-20. near Crummock 6-40, at Buttermere 7, Bannerdale 7-40, left at 8, on the summit 10-2, down again 11-25, at Ullock Station 2-45, where I had to wait for train to Moor Row until 6 no house of refreshment near. Home 8 p.m. a day of 20 hours!
July 16th, 1874, I again took train from Moor Row to Ullock, walked thence to Lanthwaite Gate, and made the attempt on the Whiteside side of the Gill, but having no proper directions to the Gill Head I crossed the beck at the sheepfold, and gained the cairn on the top; but was sorely tried by the effort needed for the task. In descending I came to the Gill Head and saw at once where and how I had missed the way and took a note of it for future guidance. However, I did not descend by the Gill, but went over Wanlop Top, and to Whiteless Pike before I commenced a downward course. After a good cup of tea, hospitably afforded by Mrs. Robt. Pearson, of Lanthwaite Gate, I got to Ullock, thence by train to Moor Row, and home in good time.
The excursion on the 1st of November in 1875 was signalised by my third ascent. There was an early walk to Moor Row, the train to Ullock, thence the walk to Lanthwaite Gate. I had determined to find the route by the Gill Head, and succeeded, but it required an effort, for the east wind was dead against me in the Gill. But I overcame the opposition, and after a little chat with Farmer Banks, who knew Mr. Maitland, I went on to the dubs where the water sheds in different directions, i.e., to Rannerdale, and to Lanthwaite. From this point 15 minutes' walkable ground lies between it and the cairn of stones on the summit. The ungenial state of the atmosphere excited my sympathy for the brave men now in the Polar regions. The wind was charged with a frozen vapour,


Photograph by J. Reay, St. Bees.

rebuked my temerity and attempted to unbonnet me for presuming to defile with my hob-nailed shoes the hoary carpet which it had spread on its own Grassmoor. After tapping the pole, I descended with ease and haste, and found myself in a state of genial warmth before I arrived at Lanthwaite Gate.
That the "vis vitae" is still strong within me you will easily believe from the following brief time table. On the 1st of November 1875, in the most jubilant spirit, I rose at 4 a.m., left home at 5, was on tip toe 12 hours four of which were taken up with the ascent and descent of the mountain and absent from home 15 hours, and was neither sick nor sorry next morning, for at 8 a.m. I merrily walked three miles out and three miles in to recover a small bag which had no value but a sentimental one, which a little misadventure had caused me to leave on the top of a thorny hedge, which I was obliged to climb in order to gain a practicable homeward path; for I had attempted in the obscurity of the night to thread my way by a field foot-path and became bewildered. This vain attempt must have cost me half-an-hour of needless toil.
I have made two copies of Mr. Dymond's note sent to me by Mr. Maitland, and send the one enclosed for your acceptance. Perhaps you will think with me that it is a curiosity and not without interest to the lofty Order to which we belong. When Mr. Dymond in 1866 penned the note, the feminine and patriarchal era had not begun; therefore we must not wonder that so small a number as 20 in the aggregate are allotted to the 40 years preceding I say 40 years assuming that the ascent of Cooper Atkinson was made in the year 1826, and no previous ascent is recorded. We are now in the year 1876, and I am happy to say that I am still able to describe myself in two words " Senex Juveniles " words of pregnant meaning, - and I have no intention of allowing the year to be a fallow-field but rather a year of Jubilee. My great object will be to gain a more accurate knowledge of the Pillar Rock than I have at present, and if I gain any additional light on the subject I will not hide it under a bushel, but let it shine before others.
I was highly delighted the other day on learning from the grocer with whom I deal in Whitehaven that a tradesman of his acquaintance with artistic proclivities had made a large sketch of the Pillar Rock, and which was framed and glazed in his dwelling house. I shall respectfully solicit the favour of inspecting, and in due time you shall hear of it. My first ascent of Grassmoor was on the 7th of July 1874. The day after there might have been a strange coincidence, for Mr. Maitland was on the summit on the 8th; thus, the future Patriarch of the Pillarites and his heir-apparent might have met! Mr. Maitland is proud of the designation.
The Patriarch's copy of Mr. Dymond's description of the Pillar Rock is too interesting to be passed over. In his communication to Mr. Jackson, Mr. Dymond said:
The Pillar Rock is severed into two distinct portions by a chasm 6 feet wide with inaccessible walls. The smaller [in bulk] and less lofty of these two portions stands between the main rock and upward slope of the mountain. The larger portion is partially severed by a cleft floored with a steep slope of grass. To ascend you pass the chasm just mentioned and cross a small sloping slab of slate by means of a shallow horizontal crack in its surface. This is the most dangerous feat in the ascent, as the slab terminates at its foot in a precipice. You then immediately begin to escalade the rock, making use of some of the horizontal shelves to get round its right hand face, which you must do without ascending too high. Arrived in view of the cleft, wriggle round (a business which seemed to me the worst feature in the whole climb) as well as you may, off the rock on to the green floor on the cleft, which like the slab before mentioned, also runs down to a precipice. You climb this slope up into the narrow throat of the cleft, where your way is barred by a fallen rock jammed in. A bit of tugging will, however, raise you over this, and then you easily run up to the top. This rock has one peculiarity. Its descent is at least as easy as its ascent.
N.B. - A guide desirable. Will Ritson never did it. Two Alpines spent two hours in vain attempts to find the way up. One in four pedestrians might do it, but no object is gained by doing it, except the reputation of having accomplished it. Twenty people have done it. Five views ascending the Screes thro' Hawl Ghyll. The Lord's Rakes on Scafell. width 5 to 20, floored with screes swarming with garnets. The ascent cannot be steeper than the "angle of repose" of such loose materials, namely, about 45 degrees. C. W. DYMOND, 1866.
Writing again to Mr. Seatree on January 18th, 1876, the Patriarch gossiped pleasantly about other things, his Penrith friend having recently been lecturing about his adventures in the vicinity of Niagara, a district with which the veteran had also more than a passing acquaintance. He said:
On the 11th inst. the newspaper and Rambles were duly received, for both of which I return my best thanks. Under date the 13th inst. I wrote to Mr. Maitland intimating that he was at liberty to retain what I had sent only for his perusal, and it is very likely that as he was furnished by me with your address, and contemplated writing to you, he may have done it before this comes to hand. Under the circumstances in which your paper on Niagara was read, you were doubtless limited to time, or instead of confining yourself to the present you might have revealed something of the past and uplifted the veil of the future. You might have told your audience that there was a time when, though there might be rapids, the falls were not, and that 30,000 years have been required for devouring time to disintegrate the shale and crush down its limestone bed from Queenstown Heights to their present locality, and that in 90,000 years more the falls of Niagara may be things of the past, and that Lake Erie as Ontario had done in times long ago, might recede from its present bounds and would be deprived of one of its greatest wonders.
In reference to the following,
" And the rainbow lays its gorgeous gems
In tribute at thy feet,"
though I have noted in my journal the word " rainbow" I am not quite certain that it was the inverted Bow that I saw at Niagara; but I have a lively recollection of seeing the wonder at Rochester on the Genesee Falls in 1827. You allude to the Table Rock, but it is not the same over which my legs dangled fifty years ago. That shelf has fallen. I went beneath the Falls and saw the green water above me; you say nothing of this feat. 1 wonder whether it is now practicable.
I think in my last letter to you I stated that I had heard of the existence of some sketch or sketches of the Pillar Rock made by a Whitehaven gentleman. I have seen the same, but they are not sufficiently individualised for my purpose, or I would have asked the owner's permission to submit them to the photographers.
Though in the gossip just quoted Mr. Jackson said nothing about his plans for the future, it was impossible that such a topic could be ignored for any length of time, and so on April 3rd he wrote as follows to Mr. Seatree:
On the 12th of this month I shall have completed my lengthened span of eighty years. Now, as I feel " pretty bobbish," I contemplate spending a considerable part of my birthday on and about the Pillar Rock. My plan is this. On the 11th I shall train it to Seascale, thence walk via Gosforth to Wastdale Head, and lodge for the night at Ritson's. On the 12th I shall be up betimes and quietly wend my way to the Rock, either with or without a dalesman, for a ladder rope which I shall take with me makes me feel very independent in the matter. If the exigencies of business will permit it, I shall be glad of your company; if not on this occasion another opportunity will be afforded to you of meeting me, when I have arranged with a photographer to take the Rock both from the east and west, and also from the south. The last point being very near to the object, the Patriarch will appear staff in hand on the summit, where perhaps you might desire to appear as one of his supporters; and though London is a long way off, Mr. Maitland might appear as the other. I am in Whitehaven to-day, and shall see Mr. Brunton, the artist, on the subject. The ascent of the Pillar Rock in April, even by an octogenarian, seems to me a very tame affair compared with the ascent of Mont Blanc in January of this year by a lady. I think we should both of us bow very low in the presence of such a heroine. Don't you think so?
That is the last letter from the Patriarch which Mr. Seatree has preserved. It would seem that circumstances caused Mr. Jackson to postpone his ascent for three weeks, but on May 6th he wrote from his house, at Summer Hill, Sandwith, to the " Whitehaven News" the following account of his exploit:
I trust you readers will hold me guiltless of any undue assumption when I say that they may wait many a day before they see it again recorded that another full-blown octogenarian, on the 4th day of May, or any other day, all alone in his glory, between eight and nine a.m., has stood upon the Pillar Rock, having ascended and descended, without mortal eye or aid being near, and was able to say in his house on the next morning that he was neither sick, sore, nor sorry. Before I give a few particulars of this feat, I will first state that on the 18th ult. I walked to St. Bees, trained to Seascale, then walked via Gosforth to Wastdale Head, and the next morning, full of hope and vigour, began the ascent by the Black Sail Pass. But here the mist closed in upon me, and I was literally mistified. I have coined the word as more applicable to my condition than the word mystified found in the dictionaries. Then there was rain, then large flakes of snow, and as I trod the summit of the Pillar Mountain I had to knock the snow-pattens from my feet. I succeeded at last in gaining a glimpse of the Rock, but as my hands were smarting with cold (though I am a bold man, I am not wanting in discretion), I at once perceived that under such adverse circumstances it would be worse than folly to attempt to overcome the gigantic difficulty I came single-handed to encounter. I therefore decided on making a descent by the Wind Gap, the Black Crag, and the Steeple; then, turning to the left, to pass by Scoat Tarn, down Bowderdale, and so gain the road by the lake. But when I emerged from the mist I was at the head of Mosedale, and not of Bowderdale. The last-named has not an inviting surface, but it has nothing so bad as the Screes of Mosedale. These have left a disagreeable impression on my memory, for the muscular exertion required to retard my descent left a soreness which made me uncomfortable for several days. However, I reached Ritson's at 1-15 p.m., then tramped the thirteen miles to Seascale, which I reached in time for the 6-24 train to St. Bees, with the reflection that if my foresight had been as good as my aftersight I should have waited for the month of May. This month came with a rising barometer, and full of promise. So, I trusted the favourable indications, and the 3rd and 4th days of the month required for my work fully atoned for the mist and the snowstorm which in April had left my labour without the desired result. From St. Bees I went by rail to Seascale. thence on foot to Wastdale Head, reaching Ritson's at 5 p.m. Early to bed, early I rose; and after a cold breakfast I unlocked the door, and was on my way to the Pillar Mountain at 4-20 a.m. The summit was reached at 7-30 a.m. The descent of 400 feet to the Rock was effected before eight, when I stood in the presence of this awe-striking and picturesque freak of Nature. After duly surveying the route I had to pursue, I was soon at the rock with the transverse nick which has to be traversed; then I scrambled to the sloping rock, which is about six yards in extent, and may be called the pons asinorum of the climb. Into this rock I drove a spike, on which, by the means of my staff. I raised the loop of a rope ladder with four rungs, hanging it on the spike; as an additional security a hand-rope was also attached to the same point; and with these appliances I gained, without slip or injury, the narrow heath-covered ledge. About six yards is the horizontal extent of this ledge, when you have again to mount upwards for 20 yards. Here I left my staff with its point in the ledge below, and its top just visible to indicate the precise place to which I should go in my downward course. With ungloved hands I grasped the rugged rock, and in five or six minutes I stood proudly on the summit, and a second time asserted my claim to be the Patriarch of the Pillarites. Whilst on the rock I ascertained, by means of a string to which a small plummet was attached, that the depth of the chasm which separates the rock from the mountain was 16 ½ yards. My next task was to leave some proof that the old juvenile had been there. I saw no bottle and had prepared no card had there been one. So, I took a small pocket knife, and with it made four successive scores on the western side of the higher staff; and then, descending to the lower one, performed the same operation on its eastern side. To the untutored cragsman these whittlings might have no meaning, but be regarded as the work of some mischievous boy; whilst, if some intelligent person, let us say the Senior Wrangler and Smith's Prizeman of his year (he has often been upon the Rock), had seen the marks, he at once would say, " These marks have a meaning they are repeated on both staffs to draw attention they are four in number ; and viewed through the hieroglyphical lens the four scores may mean 80 years, which is the age of the Senior Scrambler, alias the Patriarch of the Pillarites, and this is the record he has left." If he so spoke, the wandering (Edipus would have been right in his divination. I will now briefly state that the descent was made in safety, and that, too, without the aid of the rope ladder; for I discovered a practicable path parallel to the ladder, and only a yard or two from it. I observed this in my ascent, and even hesitated whether I should avail myself of the appliance I had with me. I was again on the top of the mountain at 10-15 a.m., and at Ritson's by 12-10. After a slight refreshment I was driven in a trap to the Strands, then walked to Drigg, reached St. Bees by rail, and was at Summer Hill by 7-30 p.m.
If you have space I should be gratified by the insertion of the lines below not because they have any poetical merit, but because they are a truthful description of the feelings and the powers of a man old in years, but young in deeds and daring.
AN OCTOGENARIAN'S SOLILOQUY ON HIS VISIT TO THE PILLAR ROCK, MAY 4TH, 1876.
A word with you, good Father Time,
I know your motto's " Tempus fugit";
But fold your wings, and trip with me,
And listen whilst on foot we trudge it.
You brace my nerves, you oil my joints,
You care for liver, heart, and bellows;
My laboratory too, you tend;
To me you're Prince of all good fellows.
Decades in number eight have passed
Since first you heard me feebly wailing;
Roe-footed now o'er hills I bound,
And lo! alone the Rock I'm scaling!
The summit gained, in joy I stand,
Greeting the rocks and rocklets near;
Then at the base, in thankful mood,
I muse upon a climb next year.
Let all who pleasure find in toil,
To find it long, this maxim borrow;
Four-score, with Nature's laws observed,
May neither labour be nor sorrow.
These laws from none are ever hid,
They're written fair on Nature's page,
And with attention may be read
"By saint, by savage, and by sage."
And now comes the last sad story of how the Rev. James Jackson paid for his temerity with his life. How the accident happened can never be known, because the Patriarch was alone; indeed, as will have been gathered from the letters already printed, he had a passion for wandering about the mountains without a companion guides would have been useless, because he knew more than they could tell him. All that is known is contained in a newspaper report of the inquest, dated Thursday, May 9th, 1878. The inquiry was held on Saturday, May 4th, at the Wastwater Hotel before Mr. J. M'Kelvie, the district coroner, the Rev. George Pigot, vicar of Wastdale, being the foreman. It was a pathetic coincidence that "Auld Will" Ritson should have been the principal witness. He said he had known Mr. Jackson for ten or fourteen years. Deceased had told him he was 82 years of age. Mr. Jackson went to his house Wastdale Head Hotel on Tuesday evening, April 30th, and was then in his usual health and spirits. The veteran left about five o'clock on the Wednesday, telling Mr. Ritson he was going on the Pillar Rock if it was not misty. If it was misty he would go back and stop another night. He had two poles, and a bag containing ropes, of which he intended to make a ladder. As Mr. Jackson did not return that night, Auld Will sent a party to search for him next day. They did not succeed that day, and so returned to the vicinity of the Rock on the Friday. The Tuesday was rather misty sometimes. Another witness, John Jenkinson, labourer, Burnthwaite, who did not know Mr. Jackson, was one of those sent out by Ritson, told the jury how the searchers found the dead body about mid-day at a place called Great Doup, about 400 yards from the Pillar Rock. The dalesmen found he had apparently fallen down a very steep place, 200 or 300 yards high. They found some hair on a rock about 100 yards above the body, which led them to conclude that he had fallen on that with his head. He was lying on his left side, with his arm underneath. A part of his head and face were knocked away, and otherwise he had suffered terrible injuries. Mr. Jackson's watch had stopped at three o'clock. This witness produced the watch, 2 in gold, 10s. 6d. in silver, and 4d. in copper, and other articles. He also showed to the jury a bottle containing a memorandum which Mr. Jackson had intended to deposit on the Pillar. When further interrogated Jenkinson said he could not tell how the old gentleman fell from the height. Isaac Fletcher, labourer, of Wastdale Head, who was also sent out with Jenkinson. gave some additional information, showing that they found one of deceased's sticks about 100 yards above where they found the body, and the other stick about 40 yards above that.
The writing in the bottle to which the witness referred was as follows:
Two elephantine properties are mine,
For I can bend to pick up pin or plack,
And when this the Pillar Rock I climb.
Four score and two's the howdah on my back.
P.P. Date of the third ascent, May, 1878.

On the cork of the bottle was " Rev. J. Jackson, Sandwith." Of course, the only thing the jury could do was to find that death was the result of an accident.
Another sad coincidence was the arrival of Mr. Seatree at Wastdale Head without knowledge of any accident, when all that was left of his aged correspondent were the terribly disfigured remains occupying an out-house of the inn awaiting the coroner's inquiry.
A couple of years after his death two veteran lovers of the Lake Mountains, Mr. F. H. Bowring and the late Mr. J. Maitland contemporaries of the Patriarch built a cairn and placed an iron cross on the spot where the old gentleman was found, but the winter storms which rage round Pillar Fell and sweep down the savage corries of Great Doup, carried both away. On August 16th, 1906, a more lasting memorial was completed. Mr. C. A. 0. Baumgartner, another veteran lover of the Fells the oldest living Pillarite, having ascended the Rock so far back as 1850 in conjunction with Mr. J. W. Robinson and Mr. Seatree, had the initials "J. J." and the date " 1878" chiselled on to the nearest suitable rock to where the body was found, by Mr. Benson Walker, marble mason, Cockermouth. Taking advantage of the day set apart by Mr. Robinson, one of Cumberland's foremost cragsmen, for his hundredth ascent of the Pillar Rock, an opportunity was found to have the work done. Mr. Robinson, Mr. Walker, and Mr. Seatree were accompanied by Mrs. Robinson, Miss Cleeve, Tasmania, and Miss A. E. Seatree. Mr. Walker found the rock to be very hard, but in a few hours an effective memorial of the old clergyman was inscribed which nothing short of an earthquake should destroy.
And so we leave the Patriarch of the Pillarites in his last sleep, with a grateful thought for all he did in the interests of British rock climbing, but deeply regretting that his enthusiasm should thus so tragically have robbed Cumberland of its Grand Old Man of the Mountains.
NORTHERNER,
The following short article which appeared in the "Liverpool Daily Post and Mercury" on September1st, 1906, under the title of "Cumberland Rock Climbing, will be of interest in connection with the letters in the preceding- pages:
Some recent achievements in connection with the well-known Pillar Rock, in Cumberland, have great interest for the widespread and cosmopolitan fraternity of mountain and crag climbers.
Mr. J. W. Robinson, of Brigham, selected the 16th of last month for the accomplishment of his hundredth ascent of that famous crag. Mr. Robinson is regarded as the pioneer of Cumber- land rock climbing. With the exception of one only, each of the various ascents, some fourteen in number, is familiar to him, and he has climbed at all seasons of the year and in all weathers.
The exception referred to is a new climb up the north-west face, one of extreme difficulty and danger, the credit of first accomplishing which is due to Messrs. Botterill, of Leeds, Dr. Taylor, and Mr. Oppenheimer, who successfully achieved it in June last.
Mr. Robinson, on his hundredth ascent, was accompanied by Mrs. Robinson, Miss Cleeve, Mr. George Seatree, of Bootle, an ardent and enthusiastic Cumberland cragsman of the older school, Miss A. E. Seatree, Mr. R. Lamb, &c., and in addition to the pleasure of the climb itself, the party had a special object of a most interesting nature. It was to establish a memorial to the Rev. J. Jackson, formerly vicar of Rivington, Lancashire, whose extraordinarily extended climbing record was tragically closed whilst approaching the Pillar Rock in May 1878. Mr. Jackson was then eighty-two years of age. The late Mr. John Maitland, himself a well-known " Pillarite," interested himself at that time in the erection of an iron cross and stone cairn at the spot where Mr. Jackson's body was found. Winter storms, however, having carried away the memorial, Mr. Robinson and party, including Mr. Benson Walker, of Cockermouth, a marble mason, made a halt on their journey and waited whilst Mr. Walker cut in the face of the rock a cross with the initials "J. J.," and the date 1878, thus forming a memorial of the deceased clergyman which nothing short of earthquake will destroy.
Judging from an interesting series of letters written by this wonderful octogenarian climber to Mr. Seatree, and still in that gentleman's possession, he must have been the most remarkable pedestrian and mountaineer that ever rambled over his beloved Fells. At the summit of the Pillar Mr. Robinson and party performed a pleasant little ceremony. It was to deposit under the cairn a zinc box containing a visitors' book, which it is hoped will be allowed to remain, though past experience gives no satisfactory assurance.
Receptacles for records, and the records themselves, the "Carlisle Journal" laments, disappear very mysteriously. The first that was deposited was left by L'eutenant Wilson, R.N., of Troutbeck, in 1849. That was a bottle, and it was replaced in the early seventies by a tin box, by Mr. Dismore, of Liverpool, who was afterwards killed on Grib Coch. The curse which Mr. Dismore recorded in the visitors' book against him who should dare to remove it saved the records from molestation for some years, but in 1889 they vanished. One or two climbers took the precaution to copy the most interesting of the records, and there is in the possession of one gentleman a copy of all the entries between May 27th, 1882, and September 4th, 1886. This was the period when Mr. Haskett-Smith and Mr. Robinson were

Photograph by Dr. J. H. Taylor, Salford,
PILLAR ROCK. NEW NORTH-WEST CLIMB,
First ascended in June 1906.
systematically exploring the Rock, and there are numerous references to their accents.
On August 23rd two young Liverpool climbers, Mr. Robertson Lamb and Mr. Collinson, with Mr. Steeples, of Birmingham, and Mr. Haughton, of Southampton, succeeded in making the second successful ascent of the new north-west route to the summit of the Pillar Rock. The achievement was a very notable one, inasmuch as the climb was undertaken when the rock was in the worst possible condition owing to recent heavy rains. Mr. Lamb led throughout, and it speaks well for his nerve-power, care, and skill as a cragsman that he carried the party so successfully to the summit.
The nature of the difficulties encountered can be appreciated from the fact that the ascent of this 450ft. of almost vertical crag occupied upwards of four hours.
Three ropes, 80ft. each in length, were used and required. The most severe part of the climb is a 45ft. very open chimney, hard to negotiate owing to the scantiness of holds, and dripping wet on this occasion.
After laborious and trying work Oppenheimer's Chimney a very interesting finish was reached. It took the party all their time to surmount the chock stones of this chimney, though this part of the climb would have been easy enough but for the severe work already undergone.
The greeting of friendly voices waiting to hail the quartette on the summit was a welcome sound to them all.
In Mr. Lamb's view, this climb is one of the most difficult in the Cumberland mountain district and ought not to be attempted except in the best of weather conditions, and only by experienced and reliable parties.
Mr. Lamb is quite in the front rank of the younger generation of climbers. He is one of the very few who have scaled the difficult Devil's Kitchen ascent in Wales, and one of the hardest gullies on Sgurr-nan-Gillean, Skye, last year succumbed to his efforts, being the first complete ascent ever made.
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY

Los Angeles
This book is DUE on the last date stamped below.


Form L9-40m-7,'56(C79084)444


LIBRARY

IFORKL4

LOS ANGEL;

This is the link to the blog I have done on the life and death of Reverend James Jackson: https://scafellhike.blogspot.com/2015/02/a-lost-lakeland-memorial.html