A unique insight into the world of one of England's greatest literary figures, William Wordsworth.
Dove Cottage was home to William Wordsworth, a central figure in the romantic tradition of British poetry, from 1799 until 1808. Contained in the cottage in which he wrote his greatest work is a unique collection of manuscripts, books and paintings. The Wordsworth Trust preserves the cottage, as well as the surrounding hamlet, in such a way that visitors will immediately be struck by its inspirational qualities from which Wordsworth drew to produce these works. The cottage, with its oak-panelled hall and floors of Westmorland slate, remains very much as it was when Samuel Taylor Coleridge was a frequent visitor to the home which Wordsworth shared with his sister, Dorothy. Both siblings were particularly active in the cottage’s garden. Visitors will be able to see roses, honeysuckle and scarlet beans clambering up walls as Wordsworth trained them to do, as well as witnessing the wild thyme and columbine which Dorothy imported from the fellside to the garden. This can all be taken in alongside a dramatic view looking up Grasmere valley.
Meanwhile, inside the house 90% of Wordsworth’s working manuscripts are to be found, as well as a visual guide to Wordsworth’s life and circle of friends. This circle included not only Coleridge but also Sir Walter Scott, Sir Humphry Davy and Thomas De Quincey. Consideration of these diverse figures reveals a snapshot of the times through which Wordsworth lived. Stopford Brooke, the founding chairman of the Wordsworth Trust, asked in 1890 ‘why should we not try and secure it (Dove Cottage), as Shakespeare’s birthplace is secured, for the eternal possession of those who love English poetry all over the world?’ Visitors will find abundant answers to this question and will also realise that the cottage stands as an important feature in England’s history and countryside as well as in its literary heritage.