Hawkshead – Postcard #3

This is a postcard of St. Michael and All Angels church at Hawkshead in Lancashire.  The postcard has been used and is postmarked 20 July 1955.  It was sent from Windemere to a Miss I Jones in Ossett, West Yorkshire.

The publisher is Chadwick Studio Productions, 491 Oakwood Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire.

Hawkshead is the birth place of my early maternal Musgrove (Musgreave / Musgrave) ancestors, especially my 6th and 5th great grandfathers – both called Joseph.  And some of my early ancestors were baptised at St. Michael and All Angels church.

The village is located in the ancient county of Lancashire but in the administrative county of Cumbria.  It is just north of Esthwaite Water, in a valley to the west of Windemere and east of Coniston Water – right in the heart of the Lake District National Park.

The township was originally owned by the monks of Furness Abbey.  The nearby village of Colthouse derives its name from the stables owned by the Abbey.  Hawkshead grew to be an important wool market in medieval times and later as a market town after the Dissolution of the Monastries in 1532.  It was granted its first market charter by King James I in 1608.  The poet William Wordsworth was educated at Hawkshead grammar school.

The church was built around 1300 on the site of a Norse Chapel.  The bulk of the building, as it exists today, is 16th and 17th century.  It occupies a lofty position, overlooking the village with a good view of the surrounding fells.

The church website (link above) has an excellent family history resource page with a plan of the graveyard including plot numbers and names and a list of memorial inscriptions.  They have also included a link to the Lancashire OnLine Parish Clerk Project where you can find a full list of all baptism, marriage and death records for the church (including surname index) from 1568 to 1864.


I saw the snow-white church upon her hill

Sit like a throned lady sending out

A gracious look all over her domain


The Prelude (William Wordsworth)




This refers to Wordsworth’s return to Hawkshead in 1788, following his first year in Cambridge.  The church was painted white at the time but the view is still the same.


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