Alfoxton House

Alfoxton House, also known as Alfoxton Park, was built as an 18th-century country house in Holford, Somerset, England, within the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The present house was rebuilt in 1710 after the previous building was destroyed in a fire.[1]

Alfoxton House
Alfoxton House is located in Somerset
Alfoxton House
Location within Somerset
General information
Town or cityHolford
Coordinates51°09′50″N 3°12′31″W / 51.1638°N 3.2085°WCoordinates: 51°09′50″N 3°12′31″W / 51.1638°N 3.2085°W
ClientJohn St Albyn


The poet William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy lived at Alfoxton House between July 1797 and June 1798, during the time of their friendship with Samuel Taylor Coleridge.[2] Dorothy began her journals here in January 1798 but discontinued them 2 months later to recommence when the couple moved to the Lake District.[3] These were posthumously published as The Alfoxden Journal, 1798 and The Grasmere Journals, 1800-1803.

The building was refenestrated and re-roofed in the 19th century. It has been changed and extended significantly since the time of the Wordsworths to turn it into a country hotel. It has been designated by English Heritage as a grade II listed building.[3] During World War II it housed evacuees from Wellington House School Westgate on Sea in Kent.[4]


Alfoxton House was built in the 18th century of rendered rubble stone, the main block being on a double-pile plan, i.e. two main rooms on each side of a central corridor. The house is two storeys high, with an attic that includes dormer windows. The frontage includes a central porch with columns, frieze and cornice in a Doric style. There is an extension to the left, originally an orangery, with a steep roof over a verandah. The wall includes the coat of arms of the St. Albyn family who owed the house for many years.[3]


  1. ^ "Alfoxton Park Hotel". Information Britain. Archived from the original on 1 May 2005. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Stringston". British History Online. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "Alfoxton Park Hotel". Images of England. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  4. ^ Waite, Vincent (1964). Portrait of the Quantocks. London: Robert Hale. ISBN 0-7091-1158-4.
Early life of William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth (7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850) was an English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped launch the Romantic Age in English literature with their 1798 joint publication, Lyrical Ballads. His early years were dominated by his experience of the countryside around the Lake District and the English moors. Dorothy Wordsworth, his sister, served as his early companion until their mother's death and their separation when he was sent to school.


Holford is a village and civil parish in West Somerset within the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and about 10 miles (16 km) west of Bridgwater and 6 miles (10 km) east of Williton. The village has a population of 392. The village is on the Quantock Greenway and Coleridge Way footpaths. The parish includes the village of Dodington.

The River Holford which runs through the village flows to the sea at Kilve.

James Losh

James Losh (1763–1833) was an English lawyer, reformer and Unitarian in Newcastle upon Tyne. In politics, he was a significant contact in the North East for the national Whig leadership. William Wordsworth the poet called Losh in a letter of 1821 "my candid and enlightened friend".

John King (official)

John King (1759–1830) was an English official of the Home Office, and in other posts, who was briefly a Member of Parliament for Enniskillen in 1806.


Kilve is a village in West Somerset, England, within the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the first AONB to be established, in 1957.

It lies on the A39 almost exactly equidistant from Bridgwater to the east and Minehead to the west. The village includes a 17th-century coaching inn, and a post office and stores. This part of the village, formerly known as Putsham, also contains the village hall, which was extended to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

List of country houses in the United Kingdom

This is intended to be as full a list as possible of country houses, castles, palaces, other stately homes, and manor houses in the United Kingdom and the Channel Islands; any architecturally notable building which has served as a residence for a significant family or a notable figure in history. The list includes smaller castles, abbeys and priories that were converted into a private residence, and also buildings now within urban areas which retain some of their original character, whether now with or without extensive gardens.


Minehead is a coastal town and civil parish in Somerset, England. It lies on the south bank of the Bristol Channel, 21 miles (34 km) north-west of the county town of Taunton, 12 miles (19 km) from the border with the county of Devon and in proximity of the Exmoor National Park. The parish of Minehead has a population of approximately 11,981 making it the most populous town in the West Somerset local government district, which in turn, is the worst area in the country for social mobility. This figure includes Alcombe and Woodcombe, suburban villages which have been subsumed into Minehead.

There is evidence of human occupation in the area since the Bronze and Iron Ages. Before the Norman conquest it was held by Ælfgar, Earl of Mercia and after it by William de Moyon and his descendants, who administered the area from Dunster Castle, which was later sold to Sir George Luttrell and his family. There was a small port at Minehead by 1380, which grew into a major trading centre during the medieval period. Most trade transferred to larger ports during the 20th century, but pleasure steamers did call at the port. Major rebuilding took place in the Lower or Middle town area following a fire in 1791 and the fortunes of the town revived with the growth in sea bathing, and by 1851 was becoming a retirement centre. There was a marked increase in building during the early years of the 20th century, which resulted in the wide main shopping avenue and adjacent roads with Edwardian style architecture. The town's flood defences were improved after a storm in 1990 caused flooding.

Minehead is governed by a town council, which was created in 1983 and has been part of the West Somerset local government district since 1974. In addition to the parish church of St. Michael on the Hill in Minehead, the separate parish church of St Michael the Archangel is situated in Church Street, Alcombe. Alcombe is also home to the Spiritualist Church in Grove Place. Since 1991, Minehead has been twinned with Saint-Berthevin, a small town close to the regional centre of Laval in the Mayenne département of France. Blenheim Gardens, which is Minehead’s largest park, was opened in 1925. The town is also the home of a Butlins Holiday Park which increases Minehead's seasonal tourist population by several thousand.

There is a variety of schools and religious, cultural and sporting facilities including sailing and wind surfing and golf. One popular ancient local tradition involves the Hobby Horse, or Obby Oss, which takes to the streets for four days on the eve of the first of May each year, with accompanying musicians and rival horses. The town is the starting point of the South West Coast Path National Trail, the nation's longest long-distance countryside walking trail. The Minehead Railway was opened in 1874 and closed in 1971 but has since been reopened as the West Somerset Railway.

Quantock Hills

The Quantock Hills is a range of hills west of Bridgwater in Somerset, England. The Quantock Hills were England's first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, being designated in 1956, and consist of heathland, oak woodlands, ancient parklands and agricultural land.

Natural England have designated the Quantock Hills as national character area 144. They are entirely surrounded by NCA 146: the Vale of Taunton and Quantock Fringes.The hills run from the Vale of Taunton Deane in the south, for about 15 miles (24 km) to the north-west, ending at Kilve and West Quantoxhead on the coast of the Bristol Channel. They form the western border of Sedgemoor and the Somerset Levels. From the top of the hills on a clear day, it is possible to see Glastonbury Tor and the Mendips to the east, Wales as far as the Gower Peninsula to the north, the Brendon Hills and Exmoor to the west, and the Blackdown Hills to the south. The highest point on the Quantocks is Wills Neck, at 1,261 feet (384 m). Soil types and weather combine to support the hills' plants and animals. In 1970 an area of 6,194.5 acres (2,506.8 ha) was designated as a Biological Site of Special Scientific Interest.Archaeological landscape features include Bronze Age round barrows, extensive ancient field systems and Iron Age hill forts. Evidence from Roman times includes silver coins discovered in West Bagborough. The hills are now a peaceful area popular with walkers, mountain bikers, horse riders and tourists. They explore paths such as the Coleridge Way (the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge lived in Nether Stowey from 1797 to 1799) or visit places of interest in the surrounding villages.

The Lucy poems

The Lucy poems are a series of five poems composed by the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth (1770–1850) between 1798 and 1801. All but one were first published during 1800 in the second edition of Lyrical Ballads, a collaboration between Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge that was both Wordsworth's first major publication and a milestone in the early English Romantic movement. In the series, Wordsworth sought to write unaffected English verse infused with abstract ideals of beauty, nature, love, longing and death.

The poem was written during a short period while the poet lived in Germany. Although they individually deal with a variety of themes, as a series they focus on the poet's longing for the company of his friend Coleridge, who had travelled with him to Germany but took up residence separately in the university town of Göttingen, and on his increasing impatience with his sister Dorothy, who had travelled with him abroad. Wordsworth examines the poet's unrequited love for the idealised character of Lucy, an English girl who has died young. The idea of her death weighs heavily on the poet throughout the series, imbuing it with a melancholic, elegiac tone. Whether Lucy was based on a real woman or was a figment of the poet's imagination has long been a matter of debate among scholars. Generally reticent about the poems, Wordsworth never revealed the details of her origin or identity. Some scholars speculate that Lucy is based on his sister Dorothy, while others see her as a fictitious or hybrid character. Most critics agree that she is essentially a literary device upon whom he could project, meditate and reflect.

The "Lucy poems" consist of "Strange fits of passion have I known", "She dwelt among the untrodden ways", "I travelled among unknown men", "Three years she grew in sun and shower", and "A slumber did my spirit seal". Although they are presented as a series in modern anthologies, Wordsworth did not conceive of them as a group, nor did he seek to publish the poems in sequence. He described the works as "experimental" in the prefaces to both the 1798 and 1800 editions of Lyrical Ballads, and revised the poems significantly—shifting their thematic emphasis—between 1798 and 1799. Only after his death in 1850 did publishers and critics begin to treat the poems as a fixed group.

Thomas Poole (tanner)

Thomas Poole (14 November 1766 – 8 September 1837) was a Somerset tanner, Radical philanthropist, and essayist, who used his wealth to improve the lives of the poor of Nether Stowey, his native village. He was a friend of several writers in the British Romantic movement, a benefactor of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his family, and an influence on the poems of Wordsworth.

William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth (7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850) was a major English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with their joint publication Lyrical Ballads (1798).

Wordsworth's magnum opus is generally considered to be The Prelude, a semi-autobiographical poem of his early years that he revised and expanded a number of times. It was posthumously titled and published, before which it was generally known as "the poem to Coleridge". Wordsworth was Britain's poet laureate from 1843 until his death from pleurisy on 23 April 1850.

Lyrical Ballads
Later poetry
The Recluse

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