Life and Nature at the English Lakes (Glasgow, 1899)

The book is dedicated to ‘Mrs. Talbot whose heart is in the Lake Country’.  Fanny Talbot, a fried of Hardwicke, had gifted Dinas Oleu, in Barmouth, overlooking Cardigan Bay, to the National Trust in 1895.  It was the Trust’s first property.

One reviewer of the book wrote:

What gradations of enjoyment there are at the English Lakes, as there are in most of Nature’s chosen centres of beauty!  The scenery, alone, is enough for many, perhaps for most of the visitors, year by year; it is the one inspiration they seek and obtain.  To others there are the beautiful details of Nature—in flowers, foliage, and birds; and these in some cases engross more of attention than all the charms of outline and the changing lights of sky and lake, and the fleeting shadows.  Others delight to walk in unseen companionship with the poets and philosophers of the past, and thus enlarge and enrich their vision, as they gaze upon the scenes they have viewed in common, though in days wide apart.  Others again, want to get into fellowship with the living folk of to-day, whose homes are in these dales or on those hill-sides, and to picture them in their ploddings and pursuits and pleasures.  Canon Rawnsley is in sympathy with all these classes, and is at home in all the gradations.  Those who have revelled in his “Literary Associations of the English Lakes” will need no prompting to possess themselves of his “Life and Nature” at these Lakes.  He himself makes no attempt to sever the Literary from those other Associations which now he has gathered in his purpose of presenting the “Life” of the people, or in picturing the charms of “Nature.”  He gives us an account, in one chapter, of “An Old-Time Rushbearing at Ambleside;” in another of the keeping of “May-Day by Greta Side,” with its May-Queen Festival; for these Lakeside folk keep up some of the old English observances with a simple and faithful vigour that is becoming rare over the land generally; . . .  “A North Country Eisteddfod” is another delightful chapter of life; life quite modern—for it is only within a few years that Miss Wakefield has had the happy inspiration to quicken the love and culture of music amongst the children, and to gather these yearly in a festival of song, partly competitive and rewarded with prizes, and partly a concert and entertainment, at Kendal.  But there is that other side of life we expect to hear about, and in the various chapters “At the Grasmere Sports” and “Sheep-dog Trials at Troutbeck” we realise something of the daily pursuits of the dalesmen, shepherds, and others, and of the annual sports which are the crowning pleasures of the year, and into which they throw themselves with all manly energy.



[Page numbers refer to the 1902 second edition]

An Old-Time Rushbearing at Ambleside (pp. 1-16)

Purple and Ivory (pp. 17-23)

After the Ravens, in Skiddaw Forest (pp. 24-42)

May Day by Greta Side (pp. 43-72)

*At the Grasmere Sports (pp. 73-94)

Over Loughrigg after the Grasmere Sports (pp. 95-105)

*The Last of the Southeys (pp. 106-131)

The Sheep-Dog Trials at Troutbeck (pp. 132-145)

Kendal and a North Country Eisteddfod, 1895 (pp. 146-172)

The Rainbow Wonders of Windermere (pp. 173-177)

*The Tercentenary of the Armada on Skiddaw Top (pp. 178-185)

Skiddaw’s Gift of Youth (pp. 186-196)

*“The Fraternal Four of Borrowdale” (pp. 197-202)

St. Luke’s Summer at the Lakes (pp. 203-211)

A Sunrise Over Helvellyn (pp. 212-218)

*On Helvellyn with the Shepherds (pp. 219-249)

At Brig-End Sheep-Clipping (pp. 250-264)

Daffodil Day at Cockermouth (pp. 265-271)

(* Published previously)