Lake District

This page is one of those to enable the Friends to share activities and opinions from different places where Coleridge lived and worked. Do please email us (tsackett@btinternet.com) with information about forthcoming events and articles which you might wish to share. As time goes on we will build a picture of the impact and influences these special places had on Coleridge’s life and thought. So do please send us material to start the ball rolling.

1800 Works as a successful journalist on the 'Morning Post' (January-April); moves into Greta Hall, Keswick (July); Derwent born (September); Part Two of Christabel written but not finished, and the poem is dropped from the next edition of Lyrical Ballads.

1802 Returns north hearing Sara Hutchinson is ill; writes Letter to Sara Hutchinson; Dejection: An Ode (a version of ‘Letter’) published in the 'Morning Post' on his wedding anniversary (and Wordsworth's wedding day); Sara Coleridge born (23 December). In August Coleridge performs his famous and pioneering nine-day Scafell fell-walking excursion. He has been called the first British mountaineer!

1810 Travels to London with Basil Montagu, who passes on Wordsworth's disparaging remarks.

1812 Last brief visit to the Lakes, returning to London in March; reissues The Friend, lectures on Shakespeare and Milton again (November 1812-January 1813).

Coleridge on Greta Hall

Greta Hall 01

STC letter to To Josiah Wedgwood, Greta Hall, Thursday, July 24, 1800

'This is the first day of my arrival at Keswick – my house is roomy, situated on an eminence a furlong from the Town – before it an enormous Garden more than two thirds of which is rented as a Garden for sale articles, but the walks &c are our's most completely. Behind the house are shrubberies, & a declivity planted with flourishing trees of 15 years' growth or so, at the bottom of which is a most delightful shaded walk by the River Greta, a quarter of a mile in length. The room in which I sit, commands from one window the Basenthwaite Lake, Woods, & Mountains, from the opposite the Derwentwater & fantastic mountains of Borrowdale – straight before me is a wilderness of mountains, catching & streaming lights or shadows at all times -behind the house & entering into all our views is Skiddaw. – My acquaintance here are pleasant – & at some distance is Sir Guilfrid Lawson's 1 Seat with a very large & expensive Library to which I have every reason to hope that I shall have free access. – But when I have been settled here a few days longer, I will write you a minute account of my situation. – Wordsworth lives 12 miles distant – in about a year's time he will probably settle at Keswick likewise. – It is no small advantage here that for two thirds of the year we are in complete retirement – the other third is alive & swarms with Tourists of all shapes & sizes, & characters – it is the very place I would recommend to a novellist or farce writer. -Besides, at that time of the year there is always hope that a friend may be among the number, & miscellaneous crowd, whom this place attracts. So much for Keswick at present.'

STC letter to Thomas Poole, Greta Hall, 14 August, 1800

'Our house is a delightful residence, something less than half a mile from the Lake of Keswick, & something more than a furlong from the town. It commands both that Lake, & the Lake Bassenthwaite – Skiddaw is behind us – to the left, the right, & in front, Mountains of all shapes & sizes – the waterfall of Lodore is distinctly visible –. In gardens, etc we are uncommonly well off, & our Landlord who resides next door in this twofold House, is already much attached to us – he is a quiet sensible man, with as large a Library as your's – & perhaps rather larger – well stored with Encyclopaedias, Dictionaries, & Histories &c – all modern. – The gentry of the Country, titled & untitled, have all called or are about to call on me – & I shall have free access to the magnificent Library of Sir Gilfred Lawson, a weak but good natured Man –. I wish, you could come here in October, after your harvesting –& stand Godfather at the christening of my child. Sara expects to lie in in the first week of September. In October the country is in all it's blaze of Beauty. -- Skiddaw is behind us – to the left, the right, & in front, Mountains of all shapes & sizes – the waterfall of Lodore is distinctly visible –. In gardens, etc we are uncommonly well off, & our Landlord who resides next door in this twofold House, is already much attached to us – he is a quiet sensible man, with as large a Library as your's – & perhaps rather larger – well stored with Encyclopaedias, Dictionaries, & Histories &c – all modern. – The gentry of the Country, titled & untitled, have all called or are about to call on me – & I shall have free access to the magnificent Library of Sir Gilfred Lawson, a weak but good natured Man –. I wish, you could come here in October, after your harvesting –& stand Godfather at the christening of my child. Sara expects to lie in in the first week of September. In October the country is in all it's blaze of Beauty.'

Literary Associations of the English Lakes, by the Rev H D Rawnsley (1906 edition)
An account of Coleridge at Greta Hall

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Coleridge's nine-day Lake District tour - the text from his notebooks

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Scafell Pike

Scafell Pike, Lake District

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