Furness Abbey and Wordsworth

William Wordsworth visited Furness Abbey and included a description of the Abbey in his long autobiographical poem The Prelude. He approached the Abbey from across the sands on horseback revelling in his delight in the natural world all around him "we beat with thundering hoofs the level sand".
HERE, where, of havoc tired and rash undoing,
Man left this Structure to become Time's prey
A soothing spirit follows in the way
That Nature takes, her counter-work pursuing.
See how her Ivy clasps the sacred Ruin
Fall to prevent or beautify decay;
And, on the mouldered walls, how bright, how gay,
The flowers in pearly dews their bloom renewing!
Thanks to the place, blessings upon the hour;
Even as I speak the rising Sun's first smile
Gleams on the grass-crowned top of yon tall Tower
Whose cawing occupants with joy proclaim
Prescriptive title to the shattered pile
Where, Cavendish, 'thine' seems nothing but a name!
Wordsworth's depiction of the natural world and the gentle decay of the Abbey until it becomes one with Nature is beautiful and so evocative. The Abbey is falling into disrepair whilst Nature is burgeoning.

I love linking a visit to a place of interest with a poem or a novel. I enjoyed reading the Furness Abbey parts of the Prelude whilst walking through the Abbey, imagining Wordsworth and his friends treading the same ground and seeing the same sights. There is something magical in this.

The ruined Abbey also reminded me of the setting for a Gothic novel. Did Ann Radcliffe visit the Abbey on her Tour of the Lake District? Did it provide inspiration for A Romance of the Forest where the heroine flees Paris to take refuge in a ruined abbey?

"... approached, and perceived the Gothic remains of an abbey: it stood on a kind of rude lawn, overshadowed by high and spreading trees, which seemed coeval with the building, and diffused a romantic gloom around. The greater part of the pile appeared to be sinking into ruins, and that, which had withstood the ravages of time, shewed the remaining features of the fabric more awful in decay. The lofty battlements, thickly enwreathed with ivy, were half demolished, and become the residence of birds of prey. Huge fragments of the eastern tower, which was almost demolished, lay scattered amid the high grass, that waved slowly to the breeze."