Pocklington's Island - Background

Derwent Island Chapel

 Derwent Island was known as Pocklington's Island in the 1780s. Its owner used to organise mock seiges, with cannons firing from the isle

The island, which had once belonged to Fountain Abbey, had been formerly known as Vicar's Island, Paradise Island and earleir Hestholm.  In 1778 it was bought by a Nottinghamshire gentleman and eccentric called Joseph Pocklington. He built a house there, but also a number of 'follies' including a Druid's Circle, a mock fort or castle, and a boat house shaped like a chapel. Every year, he organised an annual regatta where the residents of Keswick came out in boats to lay seige to the island, while Pockington himself defended the island with cannon.  The island and house are open to the public on a small number of days every year

A fine map of the island as it was in Pocklington's day was made in 1794 by local map dealer Peter Crosthwaite (reprinted with additions 1809).  It is reproduced in William Rollinson's "A Series of Accurate Maps of the Principal Lakes" (Frank Graham 1968)

Photo of Derwent Island Chapel,  and text by Bill Shannon