Today the school is open to the public as a museum. The curator runs tours on the hour. Visitors can see the main school room on the ground floor, which still contains the wooden benches the boys sat on (and carved with their pocket knives). William Wordsworth and his brothers attended the Grammar School and boarded with Ann Tyson, first in Hawkshead and later in Colthouse, about half a mile away along the shore of Esthwaite Water. Wordsworth liked to walk around the lake and roam the fields before and after school, and it is easy to imagine that today as both the school and the village look much as they did in Wordsworth's day.

The Museum

The curator runs a guided tour which brings the school to life. You can feel the atmosphere and almost believe you are in a working schoolroom of 200 years ago. Admission is £4.00 - go here for more information on opening times and tours.

  • Discover how a grammar school worked in the 1600’s
  • See the original desks in the school room
  • See the Charter signed by Queen Elizabeth I and the silver seal
  • Find out why the boys drank beer and smoked at school
  • Understand why the masters allowed them to carve their names on the desks
  • See William Wordsworth’s own carvings amongst those of other pupils
  • Learn about Wordsworth’s time at the school

The Library

The grammar school library contains some 1600 historic books. A small number date from the early days of the school in the 16th century, roughly two -thirds date from the 17th and 18th centuries and the last third from the 19th century. The library has been described as "an extraordinary survival of a grammar school library that remains in the building in which it was used for over three centuries." Although a few other grammar school libraries still exist, these are largely now held in university special collections.

Unfortunately the library is currently closed to the public, but the Governors are working towards making the collection available for public viewing and academic research.  Occasionally, a few books may be on display, such as the volume of Posselius' "Familiarium Colloquiorum", London, 1671, which is signed by Wordsworth and his brother, Richard.

The original charter, signed by Elizabeth I, can be seen in the museum.



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