Hawkshead, Cumbria

David Davies

Weymouth, Canada

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Artist's Description

(Wikipedia) Hawkshead is a village and civil parish in the Cumbria, England. It is one of the main tourist honeypots in the South Lakeland area, and is dependent on the local tourist trade. The parish includes the hamlets of Hawkshead Hill, 1.2 miles (1.9 km) to the north west, and Outgate, a similar distance north.

The township of Hawkshead was originally owned by the monks of Furness Abbey; nearby Colthouse derives its name from the stables owned by the Abbey. Hawkshead grew to be an important wool market in medieval times and later as a market town after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1532. It was granted its first market charter by King James I in 1608. In 1585 Hawkshead Grammar School was established by Archbishop Edwin Sandys of York after he successfully petitioned Queen Elizabeth I for a charter to establish a governing body.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, Hawkshead became a village (or town at the time) of important local stature. Poet William Wordsworth was educated in its grammar school, whilst Beatrix Potter lived nearby, marrying William Heelis, a local solicitor in the early 20th century.

Upon the formation of the Lake District National Park in 1951, tourism grew in importance, though traditional farming still goes on around the village. Hawkshead has a timeless atmosphere and consists of a characterful warren of alleys, overhanging gables and a series of medieval squares. It is eloquently described in William Wordsworth’s poem, ‘The Prelude’.

Much of the land in and around the village is now owned by the National Trust. The National Trust property is called Hawkshead and Claife.

Olympus OM-10, 50mm 1.8

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