William Wordsworth

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William Wordsworth

Birthplace: Cockermouth, Cumberland, England
Death: Died in Rydal Mount, England
Place of Burial: St Oswald Churchyard, Grasmere, Cumbria, England
Immediate Family:

Son of John Wordsworth and Anne Wordsworth
Husband of Mary Wordsworth
Partner of Annette Vallon
Father of Reverend John Wordsworth; Dora Wordsworth; Thomas Wordsworth; Catherine Wordsworth; William Wordsworth and 1 other
Brother of Richard Wordsworth; Dorothy Wordsworth; Christopher Wordsworth and John Wordsworth

Occupation: Poet Laureate
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) was an English poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, launched the Romantic Age in English literature with the joint publication of Lyrical Ballads in 1798. In 1802 he married Mary Hutchinson with whom he had attended infants' school. (Wordsworth had previously had an affair with Annette Vallon, while he was in France, and by whom he had a daughter.) Wordsworth’s love for nature and sympathy for the common man were major themes in his poetry. In 1843, he was named Poet Laureate. His autobiographical epic, The Prelude, was published three months after his death in 1850. Though it was not well-received at the time, it has since been recognized as a masterpiece.

Partner 1: Annette Vallon


  1. Caroline Vallon b: 15 DEC 1792

Marriage 1 Mary Hutchinson b: 1770

   Married: 03 OCT 1802 in Grasmere, Cumberland, England 


  1. John Wordsworth b: 18 JUN 1803
  2. Dorothy "Dora" Wordsworth b: 16 AUG 1804
  3. Thomas Wordsworth b: 16 JUN 1806
  4. Catherine Wordsworth b: 1808
  5. William Wordsworth b: 12 MAY 1810

Major Works

  • Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems (1798)
  • Lyrical Ballads, with Other Poems (1800)
  • Poems, in Two Volumes (1807)
  • Guide to the Lakes (1810)
  • The Excursion (1814)
  • Laodamia (1815, 1845)
  • The Prelude (1850)


Early life of William Wordsworth

The second of five children born to John Wordsworth and Ann Cookson, William Wordsworth was born on 7 April 1770 in Wordsworth House in Cockermouth, Cumberland[1]—part of the scenic region in northwest England, the Lake District. His sister, the poet and diarist Dorothy Wordsworth, to whom he was close all his life, was born the following year, and the two were baptised together. They had three other siblings: Richard, the eldest, who became a lawyer; John, born after Dorothy, who went to sea and died in 1805 when the ship of which he was Master, Earl of Abergavenny was wrecked off the south coast of England; and Christopher, the youngest, who entered the Church and rose to be Master of Trinity College, Cambridge.[2] Their father was a legal representative of James Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale and, through his connections, lived in a large mansion in the small town. Wordsworth, as with his siblings, had little involvement with their father, and they would be distant with him until his death in 1783.[3]

Wordsworth's father, although rarely present, did teach him poetry, including that of Milton, Shakespeare and Spenser, in addition to allowing his son to rely on his own father's library. Along with spending time reading in Cockermouth, Wordsworth would also stay at his mother's parents house in Penrith, Cumberland. At Penrith, Wordsworth was exposed to the moors. Wordsworth could not get along with his grandparents and his uncle, and his hostile interactions with them distressed him to the point of contemplating suicide.[4]

After the death of their mother, in 1778, John Wordsworth sent William to Hawkshead Grammar School in Lancashire and Dorothy to live with relatives in Yorkshire; she and William would not meet again for another nine years. Although Hawkshead was Wordsworth's first serious experience with education, he had been taught to read by his mother and had attended a tiny school of low quality in Cockermouth. After the Cockermouth school, he was sent to a school in Penrith for the children of upper-class families and taught by Ann Birkett, a woman who insisted on instilling in her students traditions that included pursuing both scholarly and local activities, especially the festivals around Easter, May Day, and Shrove Tuesday. Wordsworth was taught both the Bible and the Spectator, but little else. It was at the school that Wordsworth was to meet the Hutchinsons, including Mary, who would be his future wife.[5]

Wordsworth made his debut as a writer in 1787 when he published a sonnet in The European Magazine. That same year he began attending St John's College, Cambridge, and received his B.A. degree in 1791.[6] He returned to Hawkshead for his first two summer holidays, and often spent later holidays on walking tours, visiting places famous for the beauty of their landscape. In 1790, he took a walking tour of Europe, during which he toured the Alps extensively, and visited nearby areas of France, Switzerland, and Italy.

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William Wordsworth's Timeline

April 7, 1770
Cockermouth, Cumberland, England
December 15, 1792
Age 22
June 18, 1803
Age 33
Cockermouth, Cumberland, England
August 16, 1804
Age 34
Cumberland, England
June 15, 1806
Age 36
Cumberland, England
Age 38
Grasmere, Westmoreland, England
May 12, 1810
Age 40
Age 72
April 23, 1850
Age 80
Rydal Mount, England