Drawing 342: At Caldbeck

Direction of views: Bridge: ESE  Gravestone: W

Notes: The gravestone is easy to find, being near to the church porch.  A picture will be best taken on a sunny morning in Spring, Summer or Autumn, to get sunlight on the stone.   The view of the bridge and church can be found by proceeding beyond the gravestone, to the left of the church.  A thick hedge prevents access to AW’s exact viewpoint.

The gravestone also appears on page 213 of The Outlying Fells.  The view of the church does not appear elsewhere in Wainwright’s published works.

Comments: I first took the picture of the gravestone on slide film in 1978, probably on 25th August, after an ascent of Brae Fell with Peter Messenger: see image 1, and 327 above.

I first visited this scene with my digital camera on 28th December 2014.  I had lost the sketch en route, which in the event didn’t matter, as neither picture was looking its best.  My next visit, or rather visits, were on 14th May 2017, when I photographed the gravestone in the morning (image 2), and the bridge and church late afternoon: images 3 and 4.  Image 3 is taken from about where Wainwright must have stood; image 4 is from the riverbank.  See sketch 283 for more details about that day.

John Peel died on 13th November 1854, aged 78.  He was a rugged man, more than six feet tall, weighing 13 stones, and with piercing blue eyes.  He generally wore a grey coat with brass buttons.  Perhaps not the greatest Cumberland huntsman of them all, his fame was assured by John Woodcock Graves, composer of the famous song “D’yeken John Peel”.  Peel was a remarkable man in many ways – married at dawn by the blacksmith at Gretna Green, he often hunted on the back of a fell pony.  He was a rough man with some unpleasant habits, but he loved his hounds – he had a pack for about 50 years.  A shelter opposite the church was erected in 1939 in memory of John Peel and John Woodcock Graves.

The original stone church was built in 1118, and contains the grave of Mary Robinson “The Beauty of Buttermere”.

The photograph from which the larger sketch was drawn is in the County Archives at Kendal, reference WDAW/4/1/1/2/35.  It is a small square photo, not including the birds, which AW has introduced around the tower as an artistic touch.