A Spot of Hardwicke Rawnsley

On a beautiful Autumn day in September we decided to visit some of Canon Rawnsley's haunts in the Lake District. There are so many places in the Lakes which have connections with Rawnsley, so it's lovely to plan a short "tour".

Our first stop was Wray Castle and then onto St Margaret's Church at Wray. Hardwicke Rawnsley moved to the Lake District in 1877 when he was offered the living by his cousin, Edward Preston, who had inherited Wray Castle in 1875.
Wray Castle

View from Wray Castle towards Windermere

St Margaret's Church, like Wray Castle, is a Neo-Gothic edifice. Rawnsley composed one of his many sonnets to Wray Castle:

Who planned thy strength of towers was out of date;
No leaguer now can storm thee but the wind,
Nor fiercer foe unbidden entrance find
Than April Shower beneath a crazy slate:
And there thous sittest in thy solemn state,
Waiting for Time about they brows to bind
The grace that immemorial days, and kind
Long years forgetful of thy birth, create.
Uplifted pale above thy circling groves,
Or moving with the traveller as he moves
In rushing boat or by the further shore,
Thou canst still wake the gift that comes from Heaven
Sweet Fancy, and from Brathay to the Leven
Breathe o'er the lake a quaint romantic lore.
St Margaret's Church

At Wray Castle in 1882 Rawnsley met the 16 year old Beatrix Potter and they began a lifelong friendship, with far-reaching consequences for the preservation of the countryside.

In 1878 Rawnsley married Edith Fletcher at Holy Trinity Church, Brathay, which was the next stop on our Rawnsley tour. Holy Trinity Church is situated on the banks of the River Brathay and was built in 1836 in the Italianate style. It looks both oddly out of place in the Lake District and beautifully serene. The hilltop site for the church was recommended by William Wordsworth who, when describing it in a letter in 1836, said "there is no situation out of the Alps, nor among them, more beautiful than that where this building is placed".
Holy Trinity, Brathay

Holy Trinity's hilltop site on an autumn day