Grasmere

Grasmere’s position at the hub of the English Lake District, as well as its connections with the Lake Poets, has made it extremely popular as a tourist destination. William Wordsworth, who lived in Grasmere for fourteen years, described it as “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found”

The village is overlooked by the small rocky hill of Helm Crag, more commonly known as The Lion and the Lamb or the Old Lady at the Piano, depending on which side you are viewing it from. These names coming about from the shape of rock formations on the summit.

The A591 connects Grasmere northwards over Dunmail Raise to the Vale of Keswick and in a southerly direction to Ambleside.

Grasmere’s legendary Rushbearing Ceremony has ancient origins. The present day ceremony is an annual event which comprises of a procession through the village with bearings made from rushes and flowers. In this procession there are also six Maids of Honour, a brass band, the church choir together with anyone who wishes to join in by carrying their own decorated rushbearing.

In August, Grasmere holds Grasmere Sports which have been carried out since 1852. This is the main event in Grasmere’s calendar and one of the most popular traditional events in all of the Lake District. Some of the numerous events at Grasmere Sports include Cumberland Wrestling, fell running and hound trails.

The former civil parish was for a time governed by an urban district council before it later became part of the Lakes UDC in 1934. The village is now considered as part of Lakes parish. Grasmere has experienced population decline over the last fifty years.

William Wordsworth resided in Dove Cottage, in the hamlet of Townend, just on the outskirts of Grasmere, from 1799. He occasionally used to breakfast with Sir Walter Scott at The Swan, a delightful seventeenth century coaching inn that is still in use in the village.

In his poem “The Waggoner”, Wordsworth asked the question “who does not know the famous Swan” a line which is quoted on the Swan’s pub sign to this day. In 1808 he sold Dove Cottage to his friend and acquaintance Thomas de Quincey and moved to a much larger house in the village, Allan Bank, where he lived until he moved to Rydal Mount, Ambleside in 1813. He is buried in the graveyard of St. Oswald’s Church, Grasmere, with his wife, Mary and their family.

His sister, Dorothy, is also buried there alongside him. Samuel Taylor Coleridge also passed time at Dove Cottage and is said to have spoken stanzas from his poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” whilst walking across the fells to Grasmere.

Sarah Nelson owned the original shop and was maker of the famous Grasmere Gingerbread, which is a secret recipe. The shop is next to the village centre in a tiny house, which was the village school, alongside the church.

Reference: Wikipedia – under the GNU Free Doc Licence