A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Wordsworth at Hawkshead

This is Hawkshead Grammar School in the English Lake District, founded in 1585 by Edwin Sandys, Archbishop of York. From 1778 until 1787 the Romantic poet William Wordsworth was a pupil here. He learnt Latin, Greek, Mathematics and Knife Skills.

Hawkshead Grammar School.

For boys were allowed to bring knives into school, which they used industriously to carve their names and initials into the oakwood desks. You can see Wordsworth's own initials there, and his brother John's. The schoolmasters did not consider this a problem. They also encouraged the boarders to bet on cock fighting matches. (Knives and wagers? Not things allowed in school today, I fancy.) However, woe to those students who committed such misdemeanours as arriving late for class or missing church on Sunday. For these crimes stiff beatings were administered.

The schoolroom, Hawkshead Grammar School.

The headmaster's study, Hawkshead Grammar School.

While he was at Hawkshead, the young Wordsworth lodged with Ann Tyson and her husband in this cottage — which is now a B&B. 

Ann Tyson's Cottage, Hawkshead.

The earth is all before me. With a heart / Joyous, nor scared at its own liberty, / I look about; and should the chosen guide / Be nothing better than a wandering cloud, / I cannot miss my way. I breathe again! WORDSWORTH The Prelude


Ruth said...

I imagine the school room and town have been gussied up a bit since Wordsworth's day. The room is confoundedly charming! All that light and wood, and wonderful hearth. I imagine they heated up their potatoes for lunch in that fireplace. Just splendid!

Ruth said...

(Good lord, my language has been overtaken by Samuel Richardson. I have been reading Clarissa forever it seems, and I am beginning to sound like a 1750s letter ...)


Rachel Fox said...

Lovely photos. They do still do knife skills... just in home economics! Our daughter is in the first year of high school this year and enjoying the delights of cookery in school. Couscous this week - including much chopped tomato etc. We ate it. I'm still alive!

Goat said...

Sigh...how times have changed. Nowadays, in Korean schools anyway, the noble knife has been supplanted by the workaday Sharpie pen. Still, I suppose I should be grateful, really.

Truly stunning little school and great piece of history. Love the headmaster's cane resting close at hand!


The Solitary Walker said...

The 18th century is very welcome in these parts, Ruth, I do assure you! (Though I know you do the 20th/21st centuries too, and even better, if that were possible, in your multi-talented way!)

I'm glad you survived the school cookery offering, Rachel. I remember those times well (though, with us, it was pizza rather than couscous). To be honest, couscous sounds much less problematic. I love couscous — yet the skill lies in what to flavour it with. Hope she presented with some garlic, lemon, spring onion, cucumber, mint etc. — or am I being just too finicky? 'Home economics' (do they really still call it that?) is a wonderful subject at school, for both boys and girls!

My old school was also a Grammar School, Goat, and most times I avoided the headmaster's cane. Though when I was caught smoking in the woods, instead of going on a cross-country run, I did experience the games master's slipper, which was not a nice experience, as I knew he was a sadist, and that he'd previously broken someone else's arm.

Scott said...

"Be nothing better than a wandering cloud". Good words. I hope I infused some of this in my kids.
I know some folks that don't trust people that don't own a pocket knife.

The Solitary Walker said...

When trekking I feel lost without my olive wood handle Pyrenean mountain knife, Scott.