William Wordsworth and Rydal Mount

William Wordsworth moved from Dove Cottage in Grasmere to Rydal Mount in 1813. He remained living here until his death in 1850.

The house is situated between Ambleside and Grasmere, close to Rydal Water (or Rydale Water, as it used to be termed).

Here he landscaped the garden and wrote The River Duddon, Ecclesiastical Sonnets, the 1820 Miscellaneous Poems, and revised The Prelude, which appeared after his death. In 1843, he succeeded Robert Southey as Poet Laureate.

Scottish poet James Hogg visited in 1814 and dined with Wordsworth, De Quincey and Wilson.

William Godwin visited in 1816, but left in a disgruntled mood after getting a political lecture. By this time, Wordsworth had settled into the role of a patriotic, conservative public man, abandoning the radical politics and idealism of his youth. When Keats visited in 1818, Wordsworth was out canvassing for the Tories.

The house at Rydal Mount, rented from Lady Le Fleming of Rydal Hall, was a social step up from Dove Cottage, and put him on calling terms with the local gentry.

Rydal Water

Coleridge first saw Rydal Water, with its two islands, in 1799 and wrote:

‘The Rydale Lake glittering & rippled all over / only on the Rydale side of the ovel Island of Trees that lies athwart the Lake a long round-pointed wedge of black glossy calm – Rocky Island across the narrow, like the fragment of some huge bridge, now over grown with moss & Trees –’

Dorothy Wordsworth wrote in her Journals (1896):

‘I always love to walk that way because it is the way I first came to Rydale and Grasmere, and because dear Coleridge did also’.

Dorothy’s Grasmere Journal covers the period 1800-03 and is full of local references and begins ‘because I shall give William pleasure by it’.

De Quincey lived at Nab Cottage with his wife, Margaret, from time to time between 1829 and 1833. He had courted his wife here in 1815, despite the Wordsworths' disapproval. She bore him a son in 1816 and they married in 1817.


There are numerous walks over the hills and fells surrounding the lake. Some of the best views over the lake are from the path to Grasmere, called the 'coffin trail' after medieval coffin bearers who carried the local deceased to St Oswald's Church in Grasmere.

At the western end of the lake there is a rocky outcrop with wonderful views over the Water. This is called 'Wordsworth's Seat' as it is believed to have been one of William Wordsworth's favourite viewpoints in the Lake District.

Rydal Mount

The house, pictured at top, is open to the public see www.rydalmount.co.uk for details.

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Rydal Mount by Richard Swales, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13650439

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