Hawkshead Grammar School

Hawkshead Grammar School

Hawkshead Grammar School:

The Grammar School Museum gives an insight into school life since its founding over 400 years ago.

Hawkshead Grammar School was a  free school, built-in 1585 by Edwin Sandys, Archbishop of York, who lived nearby Esthwaite Hall.

Boys aged eight to seventeen were taught here in such subjects as Latin, Greek, and Maths. Many pupils went on to Cambridge University.

With more than a hundred borders, it was a good  sized school with a fine reputation.

The school’s high standard, especially in mathematic’s, meant that many scholars from Hawkshead became Senior Wranglers at Cambridge.

Notable students included Dr William Pearson – co-founder of the Royal Astronomical Society, Lord Brougham – Lord Chancellor of England, Dr Joshua King –  President of Queen’s College, Cambridge and Edward Baines – politician and newspaper proprietor.

The Lake District’s most famous poet, William Wordsworth, attended the school from 1779 until 1787 where he, and his brother, Richard, were sent after the death of their mother.

While a pupil at the school, he lodged with a lady by the name of Anne Tyson at Green End Cottage  (below) for many years. 

Hawkshead Grammar School

Anne is reputed to have had a great influence on him. She was a gifted storyteller and may have sparked an interest in tales of the countryside in the young poet’s mind.

Wordsworth considered himself fortunate, firstly to be born in Cockermouth, and, equally fortunate to go to school in Hawkshead.

It was during his school days that Wordsworth developed his passion for the Lakeland hills that fuelled so much of his poetry in later life.

William’s time at the school is well documented and visitors can still see where the budding poet, clearly bored during one of his lessons, carved his initials into his desk.

The habit of carving names on the surface of the school’s wooden desks was, at the time,  poplular among the school’s pupils.

The schoolroom though, is largely unchanged.

Hawkshead Grammar School

The museum has a fascinating collection of artifacts relating to the old school, some dating back to the 16th century.

The school closed in 1909.

The photos below show that things haven’t changed too much down the years apart from the sandstone windows and doorway.

Hawkshead Grammar School

In his old age, Wordsworth told a Hawkshead lady, Miss Mary Hodgson of Green End, that during his early years at Hawkshead School, he often went up to the churchyard on summer evenings, and that sometimes old men sitting there would talk to him to share their seat against the church wall.

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June 3rd
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