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Dolly Trebble - told by Sabine Baring-Gould in The Book of Dartmoor

S. (Sabine) Baring-Gould.
A book of Dartmoor

DOLLY TREBBLE
The view from this is beautiful. Proceeding half a mile a ruined cottage is reached, where the stately Yar Tor may be seen to advantage. This ruin is called Dolly's Cot.

Dolly, who has given her name to this ruin, was a somewhat remarkable woman. She lived with her brother, orphans, by Princetown when Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt settled at Tor Royal. She was a remarkably handsome girl, and she seems to have caught the eye of this gentleman, who located her and her brother in the lodge, and then, as the brother kept a sharp look-out on his sister, he got rid of him by obtaining for him an appointment in the House of Lords, where he looked after the lighting, and had as his perquisite the ends of the wax tapers. As fresh candles were provided every day, and the sessions were at times short, the perquisites were worth a good deal.

However, if the brother were away Dolly had another to watch over her, one Tom Trebble, a young and handsome moorman, who did not at all relish the manner in which Sir Thomas, Warden of the Stannaries, hovered about Miss Dolly.

But a climax was reached when the Prince Regent arrived at Tor Royal to visit his forest of Dartmoor. The Prince's eye speedily singled Dolly out, and the blue coat and brass buttons, white ducks tightly strapped, and the curled-brimmed hat were to be seen on the way to Dolly's cottage a little too frequently to please Tom Trebble. So to cut his anxieties short he whisked Dolly on to the pillion of his moor cob and rode off with her to Lydford, where they were married. Then he carried her away to this cottage — now a ruin — on the Dart, to which led no road, hardly a path even, and where she was likely to be out of the way of both the Prince and his humble servant. Sir Thomas.

In this solitary cottage Tom and Dolly lived for many years. She survived her husband, and gained her livelihood by working at the tin-mine of Hexworthy, where one of the shafts recently sunk was named after her.

The candle- snuffer realised — so it was said — a good fortune out of the wax taper-ends, and never returned to Dartmoor.

Dolly lived to an advanced age, and even, as an old woman was remarkably handsome and of a distinguished appearance.

It is now difficult to collect authentic information concerning her, as only very old people remember Dolly. She was buried at Widdecombe, and aged moor folk still speak of her funeral, at which all the women mourners wore white skirts, i.e. their white petticoats without the coloured skirts of their gowns, and white kerchiefs pinned as crossovers to cover their shoulders.

The distance is between six and seven miles. Dolly was borne to her grave by the tin-miners, and followed not only by the mine-workers, but by all the women of the moorside, and all in their white petticoats ; and as they went they sang psalms.

From Dolly's Cot the hill can be ascended to ' The Seven Sisters," seven conspicuous old Scotch pines, whereof one has lost its head. Thence a road is reached that takes a visitor back to Dartmeet by Brimpts.