St Oswald's Church

The Lake District

Named after a Viking saint, Grasmere's medieval chapel is where Wordsworth and his family attended church service every Sunday for many years. It's also their final resting place – under the spreading bows of a great yew tree, the Wordsworth's family graves are tucked into a quiet corner of the churchyard. A peaceful memorial garden to fund the church's restoration has recently been established next door – planted, of course, with swathes of daffodils.

Among the tombstones are those belonging to William, his wife Mary, his sister Dorothy and his children Dora, William, Thomas and Catherine. Samuel Taylor Coleridge's son Hartley is also buried here, along with several Quillinans; Edward Quillinan became Wordsworth's son-in-law in 1841, having married his beloved daughter Dora.

The church itself is worth a look. Inside you'll find Wordsworth's own prayer book and his favourite pew, marked by a plaque. The church is one of the oldest in the Lake District, mostly dating from the 13th century, but thought to have been founded sometime in the 7th century. It was restored and re-rendered in 2017.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Lake District attractions

1. Grasmere Lake & Rydal Water

0.28 MILES

Quiet paths lead along the shores of Grasmere's twin-set lakes. Rowing boats can be hired at the northern end of Grasmere Lake from the Grasmere Tea…

2. Dove Cottage & The Wordsworth Museum

0.33 MILES

On the edge of Grasmere, this tiny, creeper-clad cottage (formerly a pub called the Dove & Olive Bough) was famously inhabited by William Wordsworth…

3. Rydal Mount

1.83 MILES

The poet William Wordsworth's most famous residence in the Lake District is undoubtedly Dove Cottage, but he actually spent a great deal more time at…

4. Elterwater


Named by Norse settlers after the colonies of whooper swans that still swoop across its surface every winter, Elterwater (literally 'swan lake') presents…

5. Skelwith Bridge

2.48 MILES

Three miles south of Grasmere, Skelwith Bridge is little more than a knot of cottages along the banks of the River Brathay. Since the 19th century it's…

6. Armitt Museum

2.91 MILES

Despite some damage incurred during the 2015 floods, Ambleside's excellent little museum is now back up and running. It hosts some intriguing seasonal…

7. Bridge House

2.95 MILES

The town's best-known landmark is Bridge House, a tiny cottage that spans the clattering brook of Stock Ghyll. Now occupied by a National Trust shop, it's…

8. Galava Roman Fort

3.39 MILES

The foundations of Ambleside's ruined roman fort, built c AD 79, can be seen just west of the Waterhead jetties. The land is now owned by the National…