Wordsworths Summer House


During our trip to the Lake District we visited Rydal Mount which was the home of William Wordsworth from 1813 until his death in 1850. It was while living at Rydal that Wordsworth penned his most loved and well known poems. So I was rather excited to find that his summer house, where he would sit and compose his poetry (whilst staring out at the beautiful gardens) was still intact and available to view.

So after a tour of the house including his attic study (sorry, no pics, you’re not allowed to) I was desperate to get out into the garden and see where the great man did most of his writing. The summer house was well hidden up a steep bank (lots of tiny twisting paths) and when we finally stumbled across it I was shocked. I’m not too sure what I was expecting to be honest, but it wasn’t this:

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Of course we sat in there and looked out at the view. You can just about see Lake Windermere in the distance, but in Wordsworths time the view probably would have been slightly better, due to less/smaller trees.

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The Wordsworth’s daughter Dora loved her fathers Daffodil poem, so when she died Mr & Mrs Wordsworth (both in their late 70′s) personally planted a whole field adjacent to Rydal with hundreds and hundreds of Daffodil bulbs. It’s now known as Dora’s Field and must look incredible during Spring.

The Daffodils

I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Published at Rydal Mount, 1815.

Did I feel inspired? No, not really. It’s definitely a gorgeous place, but I’m often shocked at the meagre surroundings of some of the great writers. The following day we went to Beatrix Potters house and saw her desk/bureau where she wrote and drew her characters. It was tiny and not what I expected at all. And then take Rudyard Kipling…I’ve been to his house several times and his office was pretty unimpressive too lol. Do well known/successful modern writers prefer their writing spaces to be simplistic do you think? I will need to Google this and see what James Pattersons office looks like, or Stephen Kings lol.

If money was no object would you have an impressive office (huge desk, opulent surroundings) or do you think there is a lot to be said for keeping it simple?

36 thoughts on “Wordsworths Summer House

  1. I’ve been to Wordsworth’s house – don’t remember visiting the summer house though, so thanks for the pic. I dream of having a wonderful big desk in the study of my as yet my uncompleted house, but secretly am happy to sit any old place with my laptop . The desk would be only for show!

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    • As soon as I found out that was where he did most of his writing Pauline I lost interest in the actual house, I just wanted to see where such a great man worked ;)

      I have a WONDERFUL desk, well, I love it, but it’s in storage at the moment as it won’t fit in this house :( I can write anywhere, but, I’m still clinging onto my dream of a study :)

      Xx

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  2. Definitely the less distractions the better though I would like my computer to be situated in a library for all my favourite authors and I’d need plenty of pads and pens to hand as I always write before I type. xxx Hugs xxx

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  3. A nice view and a small office or a nice office and no view would both work. But would it work sitting in a cell in solitary confinement? Probably, but you would have to switch off completely and just listen to your heart.

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  4. I’d like more bookshelves in my study. At the moment some are hidding in a cupboard. I have a lap top rather than computer though so I do tend to shift round teh house when I write. I think if I had a comfy chair in the office I’d actually write there more. There is a gorgeous view of trees when I take over the table in the lounge though. I like that.

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  5. When I write I’m generally sitting in the middle of my bed with the latest note book on my lap, however, I do think a desk might be nice one day lol

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  6. I’d love to go there – and as for writing space, I’ll take anything! At the moment I have the dining room table but somewhere quiet and private, as plain and simple as it comes, would be great. I like colours and things I like to look at around me, but not clutter. I think I’d always go for the simple look. Great photos, Vikki. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. Beryl Bainbridge rented a room in a nearby house and I remember going to a talk where Peter McCartney said he did the same. I think he lived in Lewes and rented a room in Brighton. So maybe it’s the separation from ordinary work-a-day-life that’s the key and the twisting paths to Wordsworth’s summer house were the real luxury. Never mind the small desk, I wouldn’t mind having what Beatrix potter had – servants! (Or at least not having to worry about pairing socks and sorting the washing!) By the way if you haven’t read McCartney’s Bar do. It truly is LOL every page and perhaps explains why despite the rain and similar landscape you might find Ireland more inspiring than the Lake District….

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  8. Oh your photos are gorgeous, and I must admit that this is precisely the view which I find inspiring, not because I choose to write about it, but rather because it ‘puts me in the mood’! :)

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  9. Looks pretty perfect to me. Some say painters should wear only grey and work in rooms with solid neutral unadorned wall so that there is nothing to distract and to free their imagination to color their work instead of the environment.
    Although there’s so much to see /examine ( and no doubt hear) in that writing spot it might be hard to concentrate on putting thoughts into words?

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    • Wow, really? I can understand that :)

      So what I basically need is a white room with a desk and chair? ;)

      Actually, perhaps there’s the answer and that’s why the simplistic approach seems far more popular.

      Xx

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  10. Awesome pictures! It is pretty awesome that you were able to go there. :) Well, I personally have found that keeping it simpler is my thing. I remember about two years ago I wanted a certain office and all this cool stuff, but I have found just moving to a new setting and writing in coffee shops or on my bed by the window are perfect for me right now. Go figure!

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  11. Aged 10, I had to learn “Daffodils” off by heart, which caused me so much stress, I hated the poem. Thanks for changing my mind. I’ve seen it in a new light today and have decided it’s quite enchanting. No headache.

    I like to write in a simple, uncluttered space. with a view of trees and flowers outside the window. If I was wealthy, it would stay the same. What I would like, would be to have enough money to pay someone else to do my housework, so I had more time for writing.

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