If you are looking to get under the skin of the Lake District, it’s churches are a great place to start… they are brim full of history and in many cases, are linked to famous poets or indeed famous pioneers of the Arts & Crafts artistic movement. St Oswald’s, Grasmere, is one such place, inextricably linked to poetry in the form of William Wordsworth. Founded by Oswald of King of Northumbria in 642 this tiny church is packed with history, as well as being the final resting place for the great poet Wordsworth and his family. The churchyard is also home to a former Mayor of Salford and respected solicitor Stephen Heelis and his family, the same Heelis who built Forest Side in 1853.
As well as being a significant cultural landmark, it’s an educational day out in amongst the stunning landscape of Grasmere.
As a Grade I listed building, the church itself is a magnificent piece of architecture, especially internally, which has been well-preserved and maintained, with two tiers of arches holding the slate roof. Despite being quite modern in appearance, the church still contains many historically important artefacts, including a medieval font and glass windows, a poor box from 1648, a balustrade altar rail from 1725 and glorious stained-glass windows created by Arts & Crafts artisans Shrigley and Hunt and Henry Holiday, as well as several monuments dedicated to Wordsworth, with one by poet and sculptor Thomas Woolner.
Visitors can also pay a visit to Wordsworth’s grave, which also holds his closest family. The perfect place for quiet contemplation on a clear day and should the weather take a turn for the worse, visitors can easily make for the sanctuary of the church and spend time discovering its delights.