William Wordsworth is synonymous with the Lake District. As well as being born in Cockermouth, he also lived in three homes around Grasmere and Rydal, and his grave can be found in St Oswald’s churchyard in Grasmere.
Wordsworth (a man formed by nominative determinism if ever there was one), was born in 1770. Both his parents died before he was fifteen and he and his siblings grew up with various relatives. His first poems were published in 1793. He and fellow poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge collaborated on ‘Lyrical Ballads’ in 1798, a book that was generally thought to signal the start of the Romantic movement.
In 1799, Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy moved to Dove Cottage in Grasmere in the Lake District. And it was here he wrote his most famous poem, ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’ in 1804, inspired by a trip to nearby Ullswater.
In 1813, he and his family moved to Rydal Mount where he remained there until his death in 1850. His later work isn’t considered as good as his earlier poetry, but he was still made poet laureate in 1843.
He’s buried in Grasmere, along with his wife, sister, brother, and children. It’s marked by a simple headstone, without the epitaph you might expect from his status as a great writer. Next to the church is the “Wordsworth Daffodil Garden”, with a path created by sponsored stones from around the world, and planted with daffodil bulbs (sadly over when we visited).
Wordsworth loved the Lake District. The natural world was a formative part of his growth as an artist and is found in many of his poems. The wild and diverse landscape of the Lake District provided great inspiration to him, so it’s no surprise he settled here. It is a stunning area, with high fells, wandering sheep, still Tarns, and of course the deep, ever-changing lakes. If you are a fan of Wordsworth or the Romantic era, it should definitely be on your list of places to visit.
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