Joseph Pocklington

Joseph Pocklington, one of the Lake District’s famous eccentrics, was the son of a wealthy Nottinghamshire banker. When he first came to the Lakes he was impressed by the round house on Belle Isle on Lake Windermere. He later bought Derwent Island on Derwent Water and built his first of several unique mansions. Outside the mansion he built a druid’s temple, an obelisk, a boathouse which looked like a chapel and a gun battery. He then renamed the island to Fort Joseph.

He then went on to build Barrow House in Borrowdale, which is now a youth hostel, to overlook a waterfall which he diverted and enlarged. He also created a space beneath a hugh rock, known as Bowder Stone, so that in return for a small fee, tourists could reach through the hole and shake hands with someone on the other side.

Pocklington organised mock battles and regattas on Bassenthwaite and Derwentwater with fellows eccentrics such as the Duke of Norfolk and Peter Crosthwaite.

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