William Wordsworth and Grasmere
Posted Jul 31, 2013
William Wordsworth was one of England’s finest poets and the man responsible (along with Samuel Coleridge) for launching what was known as the romantic age in English literature. He moved to Grasmere in 1799 and straight away he fell in love with the village.
Wordsworth in Grasmere for fourteen happy years, firstly in Dove Cottage (which is actually just outside Grasmere, in Townend), secondly in Allan Bank, a larger property in Grasmere, and finally in a house in Rydal, which he moved to in 1813.
Wordsworth sites in Grasmere
Wordsworth was incredibly fond of Grasmere, having moved to it following his time living in Germany which he said made him feel very homesick. To this day, there are a number of sites in Grasmere associated with Wordsworth that visitors can see.
Wordsworth was a fan of the The Swan, the 17th century inn that is still open for business to this day, and he used to breakfast here with Sir Walter Scott, the Scottish novelist, playwright and poet. Wordsworth’s fondness of The Swan is well known, thanks to him including it in his poem ‘The Waggoner’, when he wrote:
“Who does not know the famous Swan?”
This is a line which the coaching inn has taken to its heart, and which can be seen inscribed on the pub.
Dove Cottage is a famous landmark now and is home to The Wordsworth Trust and the museum of his life. The cottage, in which he wrote many of his now famous works, now houses original manuscripts, artefacts and works of art, and allows visitors to step back in time to the place where Wordsworth's creativity was let loose. Visitors are also able to take a stroll in the garden which Wordsworth and his sister created themselves.
Samuel Coleridge, one of the other ‘Lake Poets’, also lived in the cottage for a time.
St. Oswald’s church in the village is home to one of the most famous literary gravestone in the country, with Wordsworth having been buried here in 1850 after his death from pleurisy. Wordsworth’s widow, Mary, is also buried at St. Oswald’s.
Grasmere, and the places inside the village, inspired Wordsworth greatly, and it was here where he wrote much of his famous poetry, including the poem known by school pupils up and down the country: “I wondered Lonely as a Cloud”.
When visiting the village, especially Dove Cottage (which remains largely in the same state as when Wordsworth occupied it), it is easy to see how the peace of the natural surroundings not only allowed Wordsworth to write, but inspired him too. Much of his work was based on the serene surroundings of Grasmere.