Report of Prince's Tour
Moses Bowness
Susan Premru
Moses Bowness
Ambleside’s first Photographer    Active 1856-1894

The Westmorland Gazette                                                                                                                16th &  23rd  May 1857                                  





(Both weeks combined with small repetitions cut for reproduction in this site)


His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales has been making a secret stay in Craven  and proceeded by the 2.10 train on the North Western Railway to Lancaster, en route for Windermere.


His Royal Highness’s presence in the train had leaked out and considerable curiosity was manifested at Oxenholm by the passengers.  The party then proceed via the Kendal and Windermere..


On arriving at Windermere terminus the whole party set off on foot to Bowness, and took up their quarters at the Royal Hotel, without its being known that the party was so distinguished in rank, but it was not long before suspicions were afloat that someone of higher grade than usual was a guest at the Royal.


His Royal Highness, who wore a grey cap, brown shooting-jacket, and plaid trousers, took a survey of the village, and a walk to the shores of the lake the same evening, and also purchased some fishing tackle Etc at Mrs Belcher’s Bazaar. Next dayHis Royal Highness honoured Armstrong’s museum with a visit, where he purchased several articles and asked many questions about the specimens in the Collection. The party then took their departure up the lake in a pleasure boat hired from The Head, and to the great curiosity of some to sail in the same boat that double fares have already been paid for the use of the craft. The boat henceforth will be m arked on the stern with the Prince’s feathers and motto Ich Dien.


Seven ponies from the Royal Hotel, with which the party intended making the tour of the lakes and mountains were dispatched to Waterhead, Ambleside, under the care of James Robinson, as guide to the party, to be in readiness when they landed


Tuesday morning the Prince and his fellow tourists lunched at the Salutation Hotel, Ambleside. There was a considerable concourse of spectators when His Royal Highness and party mounted their ponies for their departure, but the curiosity naturally manifested was accompanied by proper deference – the people keeping at a respectful distance, and taking off their hats, which the Prince acknowledged with his usual courtesy.


His Royal Highness and party arrived at Grasmere on Tuesday (week), about four p,m., and went on to the Exhibition of Fine Arts, by Messrs. Pettitt, where his  Royal Highness purchased a painting of Grasmere valued at twenty guineas. After leaving the exhibition they went to see the Rydal Falls, from thence round by Fox Howe to Langdales and back by Red Bank. On Friday the Prince and his party ascended Helvellyn on ponies by Grisedale, and came down by Wythburn, where they took refreshments, and then went across the mountain into Borrowdale. His Royal Highness and party stayed a day longer at Grasmere than was originally intended. Before leaving Mr Moses Bowness took photographs of the royal party in a group in three different styles.


From the Prince’s Diary we learn that the day was very fine and therefore the photographs were very successful– so far the only mention of satisfaction found on record from one of Moses’s sitters.!


From Wythburn they diverged into the mountain track which was followed to Watendlath, from whence the proceed to the Lowdore Hotel which had been fitted up specially for the occasion, and where the travellers took up their quarters for the night. The town’s band was in attendance and played some favourite airs, for which mark of respect the performers were liberally rewarded, and afterwards treated to a substantial supper.


Inquiry being made of the attendants of the hotel for the best guide through the district, they recommended Mr C. Wright whose intimate acquaintance with the mineralogy, geology and botany of the district render him an invaluable attendant on an intelligent traveller. On Saturday morning Mr Wright escorted his Royal Highness and party from the Lodore down the lake. On arriving at the foot of Crowpark hundreds of people were found assembled, all evincing the greatest anxiety to get a sight of their future monarch. In order to show their respect the company took off their hats, a compliment which the Prince duly acknowledged by gracefully lifting his cap. From there the party proceeded to Keswick where they paid a visit to Mr Wright’s museum of rare plants and fosils, and carefully inspected the entire collection.


The next place of interest to which the Prince was conducted was the pencil manufactory of Messrs Banks, Son & Co. His Royal Highness was here accompanied by Mr. C.L. Wood, son of Sir Charles Wood, First Lord of the Admiralty, and the Hon. G.H. Cadagon (not Lord Cadagon, as was erroneously stated). These two young gentlemen are about the same age as the Prince, who was also attended by Col, Cavendish, F.W. Gibbs, Esq., his tutor and Dr Armstrong, his medical attendant. They were received by Mr Banks who conducted them through the premises and explained the different processes in the manufacture of pencils. Before leaving the works, his Royal Highness ordered a number of pencils to be made specially for himself and his attendants, with their names stamped upon them, and forwarded to Buckingham Palace. When it was known that the distinguished visitors were at the pencil works, large numbers of the town and neighbourhood quickly assembled in the vicinity. The entire space for nearly 200 yards from the mill was crowded, and when the  Prince made his appearance for the purpose of departing he was met with the most deafening and prolonged cheering. Lifting his cap in a graceful manner, first to Mr Banks and then to the company, his Royal Highness departed. This recognition of the loyalty of the crowd drew forth a renewed burst of applause. Before leaving the mill the Prince directed a gratuity of £2 to be given to the work people.


The Prince and party them proceeded to the Royal Oak Hotel. After lunch the ponies were ordered and the Prince and his party took their departure by the mountain track to Patterdale, at which place they arrived soon after five o’clock and stayed at Mr. Geldard’s family hotel all night. On Sunday the Prince attended Devine service at the parish church and then visited the grounds at the Hall. He left Patterdale on Monday about one o’clock and went by way of Pooley Bridge (where the royal party lunched) to Lowther Castle where he was shown through the several apartments. From there to Brougham Hall. . Brougham Castle to view the ruins and round by Carlton. to Penrith where all the juveniles and a great part of the adult population were assembled to welcome his arrival.

At seven o’clock the royal party arrived at The Crown Hotel; the Prince very politely returned the many salutations with which he was greeted during his progress from the Bridge Lane to Mr. Dixon’s house, where, after dismounting and entering his house he returned to the door and gracefully acknowledged the honour done him. A splendid collation had been prepared for the royal party by Mr, Dixon, and a little after eight they started for the North by train. By this time the crowd had become so large that it was with difficulty that a passage could be made to the station. The sight of the Prince entering the railway omnibus was the signal for a long round of vociferous cheers, and the cortege was followed to the station by hundreds of the juvenile population. The Yeomanry Band played during his approach to the town, the flag fluttered on the old church steeple, and the bells rang merry peals; the face of nature was decked in more than ordinary loveliness, and altogether the scene will not be forgotten at Penrith.

(From a Grasmere Correspondent)


It would have done the heart of his royal mother good to see the quiet worship her son received from the old residents of this valley. He had scarcely arrived ere a boat was in requisitioned, and a short row landed the Prince upon the island which lay

“Like and emerald set in crystal”

Towards evening a game of cricket was decided upon, where the corner field leading down to our dear Old Church was the spot chosen, and here every one, high or low, saw “the little grey cap”, and watched its processor take the first innings. At night the cannon at Mr. Brown’s Lake Hotel, was fired repeatedly.


Next day the ponies were early in demand, and the distinguished party began the ascent of Fairfield; the day was particularly fine, and the blue hills of bonny Scotland were plainly seen over the great Skiddaw. Many eager eyes in the valley were strained upon the slope of the mountain watching the grey cap in its descent, its owner leading his pony.

During the evening it was discovered that the Prince’s sketch book was left behind on the top peak, and although one of his companions suggested that he should copy his sketches if the book was lost, still mine host of the hotel, always anxious to please, determined  to recover it if possible. Men were sent in search of the strayed sketch book, and several days passed ere it was given up as lost, most probably blown over the crags of Deepdale, or Rydal Head. In the evening the Prince stood upon Rydal Mount, a glorious prospect before him, with Lake Windermere stretching away in the distance, behind him the Great Nab Scar. A short walk brought them to the Upper and Lower Falls, Rydal Park.


Next day an intimation was sent to the Grasmere artists, Messrs. Alfred and George Pettitt that the Prince and party would visit their pictures of English Lake Scenery. It was while loitering about their gallery that his eye fell upon a view from the Wishing Gate, (by Mr. Alfred Pettitt) showing the island with sheep Much amusement was shown by the Prince as he recognised the well known spot, and he selected it as a reminder of his stay. We believe this to be the Prince’s first picture purchase. Much satisfaction was expressed with the quality of the paintings, and the good taste displayed by the artists in their selections.

Rain having fallen another visit was paid in the afternoon to the Rydal Waterfalls, returning by Pelter Bridge, Foxhow, Loughrigg Tarn, Thrang Slate Quarries in the Langdales, and over Red Bank to Grasmere.  Next morning being Friday, after four day’s stay in Grasmere which Mr Brown of the Lake Hotel considers a great compliment, they again mounted their ponies and started for the mighty Helvellyn. The rain had ceased, the clouds high in the azure threw faint shadows across the hills, and never was day more glorious. As the ascent continued the valley lost its hard lines, and lay at rest exposing its secret charms in out of the way rocks and crevices. There lay quiet Easdale with its towering amphitheatre of hills, its sparkling brook, many green knolls and oak woods; in the centre of the group a perfect gem stood Batterlip How, its foliage showing all the glories of brilliant spring; further on the calm lake with its island and dark fir trees, backed by Loughrigg and Silver How the smoke ascending in a lazy mood from the almost hidden houses of the gentry. The Lion and Lamb and the ancient women seated in cosy familiarity on Helm Crag then Easdale Tarn, Elterwater, and Coniston Lake supported in their turn by Landale Pikes, Scawfell, Crinkle Crags, and Widderlamb.


“Now the glad sun from his ethereal throne

    Rains down the mid-day glory of his beams”


All these combined make up as grand a picture of English lake scenery as Prince, poet or painter could wish

to look upon, and not to be forgotten in a season.


End of Gazette report


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