button to main menu  Camden's Britannia, edn 1789

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Page 144:-
  Windermere lake

"Ther is a very great lake or mere, whereof part is under the edge of Furnes felles called Wynermere wath (q. water), wherein a straunge fish called a char, not sene else there in the country as they say [x]."
  Winander mere.
Winander mere is 15 miles long by one broad, 90 feet deep in the middle, in other places 132 feet, and its greatest depth opposite Ecclerigg crag 222 feet [y], the bottom smooth horizontal slate rocks. Before storms it has a current in the opposite direction to that point whence the wind comes. The holm or island in it reckoned to Westmorland contains above 30 acres, and has a good house on it, where sir Christopher Philipson lived 1705 secreted from creditors. Mr. English began a house there which was finished by Miss Curwen, since married to John Christian, esq.
The char which abounds in the cold Lapland lakes is found in Winander mere, Llyn Quellyn at the foot of Snowden, and Llynberis, and in certain lakes of Merionethshire and Scotland. In the 2d and 3d of these the copper works have entirely destroyed the fish. The largest and most beautiful are taken in Winandermeer, distinguished into the case, the gelt or baren, and the red char. Some slight variety in these three. The former spawn about Michaelmas, chiefly in the river Brathy, which has a black stoney bottom, and are in highest perfection from May through the summer. The gelt char spawn from January to March, and keep in the smooth sandy parts of the lake, are taken from the end of September to the end of November, and are esteemed more delicate for the table, especially potted. The spawning season of the Westmorland chars agrees nearly with that of the Welsh ones, which from their colour are called torgoch or red belly, the other two being paler. The Snowdon chars are smaller and paler [z]. The division of the counties Lancaster and Westmorland is through the middle of this lake.
At the head of the lake, and level with it, not far from Ambleside, is a Roman fort, single ditch, 396 feet by 240 the shortest side next the water, in which have been found Roman antiquities, though its name cannot be ascertained [a].
All the isles or holmes in Winander mere are in Westmorland, and all the fishing belongs to Apelthwaite in Winander mere parish in the said county, and all the tithe fish to the rector thereof, who has a pleasure boat on the lake and a prescription of so much a boat in lieu of the said tithe. The abbot of Furness by gift of William de Lancaster baron of Kendal, had formerly two boats on it [b]. See more of it in Westmoreland.
[x] Lel. VII. 63
[y] West's Guide to the Lakes, p.59-76.
[z] Pennant Zool. 3. 256-261, Tour 1769, p.35.
[a] West's Furness, xxxix. See Camden in Westmorland.
[b] G. in Westmorland.
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