Mr Wordsworth paid a visit

William Wordsworth came home when actors from the Theatre by the Lake paid a visit to Rydal Mount.

The cast of the play William Wordsworth, with director Michael Oakley, were invited to the house which features prominently in the production.

And John Sackville, who plays the title role, was filmed sitting on Wordsworth’s original sofa and reading the poet’s most famous work, Daffodils.

The visit was arranged by Peter Elkington, the curator of Rydal Mount, which was Wordsworth’s home for most of his life and is still owned by the Wordsworth family.

Among the actors were Emma Pallant, who played Wordsworth’s sister Dorothy, Rosalind Steele (Mrs Coleridge), Amiera Darwish (Sara Hutchinson), and Olivier award winner Joseph Mydell (George Beaumont).

Also there were the three youngsters from Borrowdale School who had taken turns to play Wordsworth’s son Thomas: twins Tom and Oscar Pye-Kendall, and Theo Fulton.

Young thomas's

The group was given a tour of the house and gardens, and invited into Wordsworth’s dining room for a cream tea.

cream tea

on the sofa

“For oft, when on my couch I lie,   In vacant or in pensive mood”: John Sackville reads from Wordsworth on the poet’s sofa


Rydal Mount takes centre stage in world premiere

We were thrilled to see the world premiere performance of Nicholas Pierpan and Michael Oakley’s William Wordsworth at Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake.

The play follows the struggles for creative expression in the poet’s life, his stormy relationship with Coleridge, and the death of his children, before moving to his beloved home for the rest of his life, Rydal Mount. It was here that he found both peace and inspiration, and we are open every day for you to visit the house he loved and the gardens where he began an ongoing process of natural landscaping.

The review here gives more details:

William Wordsworth is at Theatre by the Lake until April 22. Details:

And you can watch a trailer for the show here:

doras daffs

Daffodils from Wordsworth’s garden, and cream tea, for Mothers’ Day

A Mothers’ Day treat with a difference is being offered at Rydal Mount near Ambleside.

A family group of up to six people can book the dining room at the former home of the poet William Wordsworth for an afternoon cream tea on Sunday March 26.

The exclusive offer is being made on a first-come, first-served basis and guests need to arrive by 3.30, but the table must be booked in advance. Guests will be able to look round the house and gardens, and will receive a complimentary Rydal Mount booklet. The mother in the party will be given a bunch of daffodils from Wordsworth’s garden and a copy of the Daffodils poem.

dining room

Rydal Mount is the house where Wordsworth lived for most of his life, and from where he published the definitive version of arguably the world’s most famous poem, Daffodils.

The curator, Peter Elkington, said that Wordsworth often referred to mothers in his poetry and was interested in the concept of maternal passion and the love of a mother for her child.

“He illustrates the power and importance of this through various poems, including The Thorn, The Mad Mother, and The Complaint of a Forsaken Indian Woman,” said Peter. “These three poems all deal with a solitary mother and Wordsworth’s wonder at the mother-child relationship and its uniqueness.”

The Mad Mother describes a woman who sits underneath a hay stack with just her baby for company and who says:

Sweet babe! they say that I am mad,

But nay, my heart is far too glad

“It’s important that mothers don’t feel solitary, and we want to help families celebrate this occasion together,” said Peter.

Please call 015394 33002 to book the table. The cost is £15 per person.

daffs galore


Poetry winner follows in Wordsworth’s footsteps

As the deadline nears for this year’s Wordsworth award for young poets, it’s good to have news of a previous winner.

The student who won the first Rydal Mount Wordsworth poetry competition is now studying at Cambridge, at the same college that William Wordsworth attended.

Will Crisp from Windermere, and a former pupil of the Lakes School, is studying modern and medieval languages at St John’s College, Cambridge. Wordsworth graduated from St John’s in 1791 with a BA degree.

will crisp

In 2013 Will was the winner of the inaugural poetry competition for young people which has since become an annual event, and which is judged each year by members of the Wordsworth family, descendants of the poet.

His poem, Scrap of Iron, was considered by the judges to be outstanding and showed great maturity.

Christopher Wordsworth, the great great great great grandson of the poet and one of the judges each year, said: “It is always good to hear the progress of our young poets, and it is a delightful chance that Will is studying at St John’s.”

He added: “We hope others who have entered the contest in the past will keep in touch and let us know what they are doing now.”

Students at Cumbrian schools who wish to enter this year’s contest must read


Extra cash prize for poetry winner

Prize money for the best young poet in Cumbria has been doubled this year to mark the fifth anniversary of a popular competition.

The annual Rydal Mount Wordsworth prize for young poets is organised by the descendants of William Wordsworth, and is open to students at all schools in the county.

This year the author of the winning poem will receive a cash prize of £100, plus a personal trophy, and the poem will be framed and displayed alongside the work of the famous poet in the popular tourist attraction near Ambleside.

The theme for this year’s competition is “A walk on the wild side”, was chosen by the poet’s great great great grand-daughter, Susan. She and other descendants of William will judge the poems, and the winner will be announced at an award ceremony at Rydal Mount on April 27.

Peter Elkington, the curator of Rydal Mount, who is organising the contest on behalf of the Wordsworth family, said: “We decided to double the prize money this year in celebration of our fifth event. The competition has attracted some wonderful work from young people over the years, and we are looking forward to seeing what this year’s entries surprise us with.

“It’s also a chance for a young poet to see his or her work immortalised alongside the poems of Wordsworth himself in his former home, and read by thousands of visitors.”

There are book prizes for the poets judged as highly commended in the primary and secondary school categories. Each entrant also receives a certificate signed by the descendants of William Wordsworth.


Last year’s winner was a 14 year old Jacob Currie, right) a pupil at Furness Academy, who took the title with his poem The Gap in Life after members of the Wordsworth family judged more than 150 entries from Cumbrian schools. His poem has been framed and is displayed at Rydal Mount for visitors to read.

The closing date for entries is Monday March 20.

Entry forms can be found here

or via the Cumbria education department schools’ information portal.



Wordsworth descendant to read children’s classic

A descendant of England’s most famous poet is to join the marathon reading of a classic children’s story in the Lake District.

Christopher Wordsworth, the great great great great grandson of William Wordsworth, will read a chapter of Swallows and Amazons this summer at Coniston.

He joins a list of celebrities and enthusiasts who will take part in the day-long event to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of the author Arthur Ransome who created the  children’s adventure tale.


The event is being organised by Dr Chris Routledge who is head of Continuing Education, English Language and Literature, at Liverpool University, in association with the Lake District National Park and the Arthur Ransome Trust. Also supporting the reading are Stephen and Janine Sykes who live at Hill Top, Ransome’s last home in the Lake District.

It will mark the end of a summer-long exhibition at the Ruskin Museum in Coniston about Ransome, Russia and storytelling.

To be staged by the lakeshore north of the Coniston Boating Centre on Sunday September 3, the event is part of the LakesCulture calendar of happenings in the national park this year. It’s expected that the book’s 31 chapters will take around nine hours to read.

Christopher Wordsworth, whose family still own the house at Rydal Mount near Ambleside where William Wordsworth lived for most of his life, was one of the first to sign up to read. He said: “As a man fast approaching middle age I am certain to get as much pleasure from these books as I did when a child.”

He joins screenwriter Andrea Gibb who adapted Swallows and Amazons for a new film version which was released last year. Andrea writes for both screen and television, and her episode of the popular BBC 1 drama Call the Midwife, which was aired earlier this month, had the highest viewing figures of the series with over 9 million people tuning in to watch.

Organiser Chris Routledge said that he had been inundated with requests to read a chapter of the book. “It’s clearly still a favourite with many people who are well past their own childhood,” he said.

However, there will also be young readers: Dr Routledge’s 13 year old daughter Caitlin will be joined by Elizabeth Kaye, the 11 year old daughter of Jonathan and Caroline Kaye, owners of Windermere’s Cedar Manor Hotel, and 14 year old actor Hannah Jayne Thorp, who played the part of Peggy in last year’s film version of Swallows and Amazons.

Dr Routledge, a great fan of Arthur Ransome, previously organised a marathon reading of Moby Dick at the Merseyside Maritime Museum; a much longer novel, that event took three days.

See the story in the Evening Mail


The Rydal Mount Wordsworth prize for young poets: entries now open

Dear Head Teacher

The descendants of William Wordsworth invite entries from your pupils for the annual Rydal Mount Wordsworth prize for young poets.

All students at Cumbrian schools are eligible to take part. The theme this year is “A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE”, which can be interpreted as the writer wishes. The winning poem will be framed and displayed alongside the work of the great poet in his former home, for thousands of visitors to see.

Entries should be typed in 12 or 14 point font, double spaced, and no longer than one side of A4 paper. They should be saved as individual Word documents and emailed as attachments to

Entries should include the name and age of the entrant, and the contact details of the student’s school. The closing date for entries is Monday March 20.


The poems will be judged by the Wordsworth family and an award ceremony will be held at Rydal Mount, near Ambleside, on Thursday April 27. There will be signed book prizes for the entries highly commended by the judges from the primary and secondary school categories. A trophy will be awarded, along with a cash prize this year of £100, to the overall winner.  The winner’s name will be added to the plaque on the wall at Rydal Mount.

For further information please email Eileen Jones at