photo by binaryape

Located in a serene setting to the west of Windermere and east of Coniston Water is Hawkshead. Hawkshead is just north of Esthwaite Water. It is also part of Furness thus making it an integral part of old Lancashire but its administrative policies are now governed by Cumbria.


The township of Hawkshead was initially owned by the monks of Furness Abbey. It was essentially ruled by the monasteries. The Colthouse which is close by derives its name from the stables owned by the Abbey. During the medieval times Hawkshead was the centre of wool trade. The Monasteries were dissolved in 1532 and since then Hawkshead has been a market town. King James I granted the first market charter to this town in 1608. Archbishop Edwin Sandys of York established the first Hawkshead Grammar School in 1585. This was only after he successfully petitioned Queen Elizabeth I to establish a separate governing body for the town of Hawkshead.

During the 18th and 19th centuries Hawkshead gained fame through the literary personalities that inhabited this town. The famous poet William Wordsworth was educated in the local grammar school and Beatrix Potter lived close by. She was later married to William Heelis, a local solicitor.

Traditional farming is still carried on in Hawkshead. The town looks frozen in time with its serene atmosphere, alleys that elude a lot of character, overhanging gables and a series of medieval squares. It is a must visit for those tourists looking to savour the countryside of England. William Wordsworth eloquently describes this town in ‘The Prelude’. The National Park was opened in 1951 and since then the tourism industry has begun to flourish.

The majority of the land in and around the town is owned by the National Trust. The National Trust Property is called Hawkshead and Claife.

Source: Wikipedia – under the GNU Free Doc Licence