Furness has often held an interest for literary and artistic folk and holds links to several well known characters. One rather notable poet and writer who visited, and wrote about Furness, quite regularly is William Wordsworth.
At the age of 28 Wordsworth started work on a volume of poems that would not be released until 1850 following his death. The Prelude was a much more personal, autobiographical work that was originally intended as an introduction to a poem The Recluse, a poem he would never complete.
Following his death The Prelude was instead published as it's own work and in one of the poems he wrote of a visit to the ruins of the Abbey of St. Mary's in Furness.
Of the day’s journey was too distant far For any cautious man, a Structure famed Beyond its neighbourhood, the antique Walls Of that large Abbey which within the vale Of Nightshade, to St. Mary’s honour built, Stands yet, a mouldering Pile, with fractured Arch, Belfry, and Images, and living Trees, A holy Scene!
Throughout his life Wordsworth was a great advocate for Cumbria (then Lancashire, Cumberland and Westmorland) and especially the Lakes. In 1810 he wrote the 'Guide to the Lakes', which became extremely popular following the release of its extended version in 1835. With in this book he makes mention of Ulverston, Dalton, Furness Abbey, Gleaston Castle, Urswick and Conishead Priory.
Extracts From (in order of appearance):
- Elegiac Stanzas Suggested by a Picture of Peele Castle in a Storm, Painted by Sir George Beaumont, 1807.
- The Prelude, 1805.
- A Guide Through the District of the Lakes, 1835.