Famous poet and author, William Wordsworth was born on 7 April, 1770 in a fine Georgian house in Cockermouth, which was owned by Sir James Lowther.
The River Derwent flowed past the back garden of the house, and was a wonderful place for young William Wordsworth to grow up and explore with his siblings, Richard, Dorothy, John and Christopher.
Most of Wordsworth´s childhood was spent in Cockermouth and Penrith, where his mother came from. William and his sister Dorothy attended infant school in Penrith between 1776 and 1777. His mother died when William was only 8 years of age, and his father died when he was 13.
As a young boy, William attended Cockermouth School.
In 1800, the Wordsworth family met Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey while staying in Dorset. The trio became great friends, and William introduced them to the Lake District, visiting Temple Sowerby, Grasmere and Wasdale Head.
Dove Cottage and Allan Bank
During one of their visits, Wordsworth came across Dove Cottage, formerly an old inn called the Dove and Olive Branch.
William and his sister, Dorothy moved into the cottage in 1799. Dorothy became the budding poet´s secretary, and was a major part of his life during his time in the Lake District. William married Mary Hutchinson in 1802. The couple had 5 children.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey moved into Greta Hall in Keswick, and formed strong working and personal bonds with William and his family. Southey was Poet Laureate from 1813-1843, and lived in Keswick for 40 years.
Thomas de Quincey was a permanent guest at Dove Cottage, and the entire family moved to Allan Bank in Grasmere, in 1808 as it was a larger residence. They stayed at Allan House, along with friend and poet, Samuel Coleridge, for two years and then moved to the Old Rectory, which was described by the poet as ´cold and damp.´ Wordsworth´s two youngest children died in the house.
Dove Cottage is now open to the public, and is one of the Lake District´s most famous attractions. Visitors flock to the house from all over the world, and the poet´s former residence retains much of its original character and charm.
In 1813 the family moved to Rydal Mount, where William and Mary stayed until their deaths in 1850 and 1859.
William purchased the Rash field nearby with the intention of building a house. The house never materialised, and the land is now known as ´Dora´s Field.´ During his time at Rydal Mount, in 1820, William published the ´Guide through the District of the Lakes.´ In 1842, he became Poet Laureate, and resigned as Distributor of Stamps for Westmorland.
St Oswald´s Church, Grasmere
In 1850, at 80 years of age, William caught a cold while out walking in the countryside, and died on 23 April, St George´s Day. Both he, and his loyal wife Mary, who died nine years later, have a simple tombstone in the churchyard of St Oswald´s Church in Grasmere, one of the most visited literary shrines in Europe.
Wordsworth wrote over 70,000 lines of verse, perhaps the most famous poem being ´I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.´ The poet was inspired to write the verses by an event in April, 1802, when out walking with his sister Dorothy around Glencoyne Bay, Ullswater. William and his sister happened across a ´long belt´ of daffodils.
If you are planning a trip to the Lakes, why not book into the Windermere Tranquil Retreat for a taste of luxury?