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Photo: David Wilmot © St. Oswald's Church

St. Oswald's Church, Grasmere

The interior of Grasmere Church is probably unique and certainly impressive. The main features of its ‘rude and antique majesty’ have been described by Wordsworth in the 5th book of The Excursion. It stands, he says ‘Not raised in nice proportions’, but...

‘large and massy; for duration built;
With pillars crowded, and the roof upheld
By naked rafters intricately crossed…
Admonitory texts inscribed the walls
Each in its ornamental scroll enclosed
Each also crowned with winged heads - a pair
Of rudely painted Cherubim. The floor
Of nave and aisle, in unpretending guise.
Was occupied by oaken benches ranged
In seemly rows; the chancel only showed
Some vain distinctions, marks of earthly state
By immemorial privilege allowed.’

The Nave contains a Memorial dedicated to Wordsworth. The inscription is a translation of Keble's Latin dedication of his Oxford Lectures on Poetry to Wordsworth and reads: ‘To the memory of William Wordsworth, a true philosopher and poet, who, by the special gift and calling of Almighty God, whether he discoursed on man or nature failed not to lift up the heart to holy things, tired not on maintaining the cause of the poor and simple; and so, in perilous times was raised up to be a chief minister not only of noblest poesy but of high and sacred truth’.

Eight of the Yew trees in the Church yard were planted by William Wordsworth. Under the shadow of one of them, beside the river, is his grave, with the simple inscription, ‘William Wordsworth, 1850. Mary Wordsworth, 1859’.

Useful Information

St. Oswald's Church,
Church Stile,
LA22 9SW

The Priest-in-charge is the Revd. David Wilmot.
Telephone: +44(0)73057 77113

St. Oswald's is open daily during daylight hours.
We look forward to welcoming you.
Sunday Worship is held at 11.00am.

Organisation: The Church of England