Township in Grasmere parish, Kendal ward, Westmorland. Became Grasmere UD 1894 to 1935; then absorbed into Lakes UD.


7,319 acres [2,962 ha] the bulk of it consisting of unenclosed fell commons, totalling 5,072 acres [2,053 ha].


rising from 270 in 1801 to 445 by 1851; increase to 604 in 1861 attributed to ‘erection of Lake residences’; continued to rise, standing at 988 in 1931 (last census year for which separate figure available).


manor of Grasmere formed part of barony of Kendal (q.v.), with which it descended.


hill farming; woollen textiles (fulling mill recorded 14th century). Slate quarrying at White Moss by late 17th century; expansion in 19th century; closed 20th century. Grasmere became major tourist centre from mid-19th century, noted for its association with William and Dorothy Wordsworth; Dove Cottage (and nearby Jerwood Centre, completed 2004) and their graves in churchyard becoming popular attractions. Tourist businesses included four hotels by 1885, lodging houses, Grasmere Gingerbread Shop (established 1854 in former school on edge of churchyard), Heaton Cooper art studio (established 1938), cafes, textile shops, and garden centre.

Places of worship:

parish church of St Oswald (chapel of Kendal ancient parish until 14th century) contains late-medieval fabric; re-roofed c.1562; restored 1840. Wesleyan Methodist chapel built 1874; closed 2008. Our Lady of the Wayside Roman Catholic church built 1964-5.

Schools and other institutions:

school in corner of churchyard built by subscription c.1685. Rebuilt on new site 1854 (infant school built 1862) and enlarged 1879; now Grasmere CE Primary School. Working Men’s Reading Rooms erected 1873; remain open. Grasmere New Hall opened 1903; still in use as village hall.