Businesses in Hawkshead Towns and Villages of Cumbria


(See also Ambleside , Coniston , Tarn Hows)

View over Hawkshead courtesy of Graeme DougalHawkshead is set halfway between Coniston Water and Windermere near the northern edge of Esthwaite Water. The hillsides surrounding the village are part of Grizedale Forest. There's been a village here since Viking times-Haukr was the name of the Viking who founded the village.

Sited at the junction of packhorse routes linking the ferries of Windermere with the Coniston valley, it was a natural place for a market to develop. James I first granted its market charter in 1608. Charcoal, hardwood, and wool were sold. Spinning galleries were set up to take advantage of the wool trade. As a natural development of the market, a number of inns flourished. The 15th century Red Lion was once a coaching inn.

The village square is watched over by the Market House where butchers used to sell their wares. A stream, subsequently covered over with flagstones, flowed down Flag Street and provided water for the villagers. Rag St, Putty St, and Leather St reflect the businesses that were housed along them-tailors, painters, and cobblers.

Hawkshead Grammar School courtesy of Graeme DougalWordsworth found inspiration at Hawkshead for his early poetry. From 1779 to 1787, he went to the Old Grammar School founded in 1585 by Dr. Edwin Sandsy of the Graythwaite family. A future Bishop of Worcester and Archbishop of York, Sandsy spent time in prison for his support of Lady Jane Grey for queen. The school is now a museum and library. Original desks include one on which Wordsworth carved his name. An old sundial is set into the wall above the school's door in honour of the Archbishop.

Hawkshead church By Barbara BallardSt Michael and All Angels church was founded around the time of the Norman conquest and brought up-to-date during Queen Elizabeth I's reign, with further building carried out during the time of Charles I. Described by Wordsworth as ‘snow white. . . like a throned lady’, it sits on a hillside looking over the streets below.

Hawkshead church interior By Barbara BallardFurness Abbey mentions it in their writings around 1200. Inscriptions inside are dated 1711. The church architecture is somewhat plain with a low west tower containing eight bells. The 70-foot long nave's large columns support round arches. Walls are decorated with murals from the 1860's.

Ann Tyson cottage Hawkshead courtesy of Graeme DougalWordsworth and his brother Richard boarded at Ann Tyson's cottage in Hawkshead when they attended school here after the death of their mother. The Tyson family lived both in the village and, when widowed, Mrs. Tyson lived in a cottage at Colthouse, outside Hawkshead.

Beatrix Potter gave a number of buildings in the village to the National Trust. One now houses a gallery showing her original drawings for her children's books. Her husband, William Heelis, a solicitor, used the building for his practice.

Hawkshead Old Courthouse courtesy of Graeme DougalA Quaker meeting house dated 1688 lies nearby, and a 15th century building, the Courthouse, sits at the junction of the Coniston and Ambleside roads north of the village. It was once part of a group of manorial buildings belonging to Furness Abbey.

Hawkshead puts on both a Victorian fair and an agricultural/sports show in the summer. It's a very busy tourist centre.

Hawkshead Methodist Church (converted cottage) courtesy of Graeme DougalHawkshead contains 38 buildings of architectural and historical interest. The traffic free village's narrow cobbled streets, squares, and courtyards are set off by whitewashed cottages. Overhanging eaves, grey slate roofs, leaded windows, and flights of stone steps parading up the walls are a true delight to the eye.

Photos by Barbara Ballard and courtesy of Graeme Dougal

Hawkshead 4 Miles South of Ambleside.

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