Raines, Francis Robert. [MS] A Tour Through Some Parts of Derbyshire 1829.
8vo. 120pp. 8vo. Notebook bound in half brown leather, spine rebacked, boards rubbed and scuffed, solid, tight and strong. Green endpapers, a little faded in spots, with a couple of armorial labels to the front pastedown, and the addition of some ink notes tipped in at front and rear giving some insight into the redoubtable Canon Raines “An indefatigable labourer in the antiquarian field.” So indefatigable in fact that he has a 150 plus volume collection of manuscript observations, journals and diaries at Chethams Library in Manchester, an institution so august and venerable that it proudly bears the title of “The Oldest Public Library in The English Speaking World.” having been founded in 1653, a year which brought us the tender mercies of Oliver Cromwell and the mystifying popularity of The Compleat Angler. If Chetham’s thinks highly of Canon Raines, I am certainly inclined to do so myself. The Tour Through Derbyshire is not so much a journal or diary as a complete account, arranged in chapters, impeccably composed and embellished with more than 20 pages of sketches, some in ink, some in pencil and still others in vivid watercolour, well executed, according to Raines’ account by his “young friend George Shaw”, who was his companion on the tour. Subjects covered include Peveril’s Peak, Buxton, Hag Tor, Haddon Hall and a number of other dramatic vistas that took our artists’s fancy. There’s some minor toning and offsetting here and there, but the Tour is essentially clean and bright. Canon Raines is unsurprisingly, something of a modest chap, and the two prologue pages tipped in before Chapter I are basically an apology for the rushed and ragged state of the MS to follow and stating “One week gave birth to the volume”, “The book is composed of ‘broken arches and fallen columns’ - mere fragments picked up during a walk, and arranged in the order in which they were found.” The prologue ends with a quote in Greek from Damon: “I solicit no praise, but I wish to avoid unmerited censure.” Having catalogued a number of broken arches and fallen columns, I’m pretty certain the Canon has little to worry about. A walking and horse drawn tour that covers virtually all the high points of Derbyshire, physical, historical, anecdotal and otherwise, placed in context with erudition and charm, illustrated throughout.