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William Wordsworth

In 1796 Wordsworth set up home at Alfoxden in Somerset with his sister, Dorothy Wordsworth. His friend,Coleridge , who had also renounced his early William Wordsworthrevolutionary beliefs, lived three miles away at Nether Stowey. In 1798 they published the book ,Lyrical Balladswhich achieved a revolution in literary taste and sensibility.Lyrical Ballads;included Wordsworth'sTintern Abbey and Coleridge's famous poems, theAncient Mariner and The Nightingale .









William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

William Wordsworth  (1770-1850)What possible links you may ask can William Wordsworth, the 'Lakeland' poet, possible have with the southern English county of Dorset?

Wordsworth passed most of his life in England's Lake District, but for six years (1793-98) he lived in the south of England. It was in 1793, in the shadow of Dorset's two highest hills that William and his sister Dorothy could be found at Racedown Farm, near Pilsdon. It was here that he first started to write seriously, and the Pilsdon Pen consoled his sister who pined for her Lakeland Hills.

A frequent visitor was the English poet Samuel Coleridge Taylor who lived just over the border in Somerset, and it was to Somerset that the Wordsworth's moved before returning to their native Lakeland.


The west side of Dorset, as it prepares to meet Devon, has never been as popular as the better known east, so it is unspoiled walkers' country and, from its heights, miles of rich dairy land can be viewed. Pilsdon Pen, 909 feet above the sea, has landscape of sheer beauty at its feet.

Tall Pilsdon Pen is a foretaste of the Tors of Devon, treeless and formed on decaying granite, but neighbouring Lewesdon Hill, until recently thought to be 15 feet shorter, but now measured to be taller, has all the character of a Dorset height, curvaceous and green. Both look south with Channel views. Pilsdon is crowned with an Iron Age fortification, and Lewesdon is the highest peak of Dorset and both hills stand guard on the north slopes of the lush Marshwood Vale.

The Hill fort on Pilsdon Pen was excavated in the 1960's revealing late Iron Age huts, and parts of a probably medieval rabbit warren. The rectangular mounds inside the fort are pillow mounds, constructed for rabbits to breed in, and the square earthworks in the centre is probably also part of the warren. The earthworks just outside the northern end of the fort are the remains of an earlier rampart that was subsequently abandoned. The northern entrance is probably the only original one.

The tiny village of Pilsdon has the narrowest possible approach roads between high hedges down the side of the Marshwood Vale. The village still basks in the ancient glory in that it has a house where a Royalist judge, Sir Hugh Wyndham, lived. At the battle of Worcester, the future King Charles II fled from the field and his pursuers came to this house thinking he was hiding there. They ransacked it as Sir Hugh fumed and raged in the Hall. Intelligence was at fault, the prince being at Sir Hugh's nephew's house at Trent.

The little church of St. Mary is of undistinguished Victorian origins and is a chapel to the large 17th century manor house which lies beyond. The house is constructed in such a way that the front appears to be composed entirely of windows.

Nearby is Racedown Farm where Wordsworth first started to write seriously, and the Pildson Pen consoled his sister Dorothy, who pined for her Lakeland Hills.



Lyrical Ballads

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Title page of the first edition.

Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems is a collection of poems by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, first published in 1798 and generally considered to have marked the beginning of the EnglishRomantic movement in literature.[1] The immediate effect on critics was modest, but it became and remains a landmark, changing the course of English literature andpoetry.

Most of the poems in the 1798 edition were written by Wordsworth, with Coleridge contributing only five poems to the collection, including one of his most famous works, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner".

Wordsworth and Coleridge set out to overturn what they considered the priggish, learned and highly sculpted forms of 18th century English poetry and bring poetry within the reach of the average person by writing the verses using normal, everyday language. They place an emphasis on the vitality of the living voice that the poor use to express their reality. Using this language also helps assert the universality of human emotions. Even the title of the collection recalls rustic forms of art – the word "lyrical" links the poems with the ancient rustic bards and lends an air of spontaneity, while "ballads" are an oral mode of storytelling used by the common people.




J K Rowling

born in Chipping Sodbury