William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth, who was the second of five children born to John Wordsworth and Ann Cookson, was born in 1770 in Cockermouth in the Lake District. As a small boy his time was divided between here and Penrith before he was sent to school at Hawkshead. He also spent some time in Dorset and Somerset after Cambridge and his tours of the continent.

William and his sister Dorothy, who was born a year after him, became close friends of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his brother-in-law, Robert Southey. They all eventually settled in the Lake District with William and Dorothy moving into Dove Cottage at Grasmere and Coleridge who lived at Greta Hall in Keswick.

William married Mary Hutchinson, who he had known since his childhood, in 1802. It was at Dove Cottage that much of his greatest work was written. In all his work he was greatly assisted by his sister, who continued to live with him after his marriage. Dorothy’s journal is itself an example of fine descriptive writing. The family then moved in 1808 to Allan Bank in Grasmere and then to the Parsonage, where unfortunately two of his children died.

William made his final move in 1813 to Rydal Mount, near Ambleside where he spent his remaining thirty seven years, still writing, although his outlook and output changed as he aged. In 1843, at the age of seventy three, he succeeded Southey as Poet Laureate. At his death in 1850, he was buried at Grasmere, where his and other family graves may be seen.

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