Movements of William and Dorothy Wordsworth in 1798-1799

(After Reed, CEY, CMY)

In the period between June, 1798 and December, 1799 William and Dorothy moved between: the West Country, Wales, London, Hamburg, Goslar, Sockburn and the Lake District. They were "homeless" during this period, which contains within it blocks of walking, transitional periods of travel and sustained inhabitation in Goslar and in Sockburn. It is interesting to compare this document with that of "Home at Grasmere, 1800" and the different movements of the poet and his sister in each period.

Dates and Movements of William and Dorothy Wordsworth

Between Leaving Alfoxden (June 25th 1798)

and Arriving in Grasmere (Dec 20st 1799)


Place/ Movements

Long Stays/

Walking Tours

Poems Written

June 25th

Depart from Alfoxden to Nether Stowey.

July 2nd

Leave Nether Stowey.

July 8th

Stay with James Losh (prob. at Shirehampton).

July 9th

Poss. stay with Joseph Cottle (publisher).

July 10th-13th

4 day ramble in Wales. Walk to Tintern Abbey. (Walk along Wye, through Monmouth to Goodrich Castle. Night here. Return to Tintern, then to Chepstow, then back by boat to Tintern).

Walking Tour in Wales

4 days

WW and DW.

WW begins "Tintern Abbey" poss. on first departure from Tintern on 10th July.

July 13th

By boat back to Bristol.

WW claims to finish "Tintern Abbey" walking down hill from Clifton into Bristol. Writes poem down.

July 14th

Lodgings at Shirehampton (for next 5 weeks?). STC meets up with them around 3rd August.

5 weeks lodgings at Shirehampton.

August 4th -10th

William, Dorothy and STC leave Bristol for a short tour in Wales. Travel along banks of the Usk and Wye. Proceed into Brecknocksire. Visit John Thelwall at Liswyn Farm on Wye near Brecon. Return to Bristol and poss. Shirehampton 10th August.

Walking Tour in Wales

6 days


August 10th

Between 10th August and 25th August William, Dorothy and poss. STC and/ or Basil Montagu depart Bristol for London via Blenheim and Oxford.

August 27th

Arrive in London. Stay until September 14th.

Lyrical Balladsprinted by Cottle but not published, early Sept, by Sept 5th.

Sept. 14th

William, Dorothy, STC and John Chester leave London for Yarmouth.

Sept. 15th

Arrive in Yarmouth at 12.00 a.m.

Lyrical Ballads prob. published on this day.

Sept. 16th

All set sail from Yarmouth.

Departure for Germany.

Sept. 18th

10.00 a.m. arrive at the mouth of the Elbe. On to Cuxhaven and up the Elbe dropping anchor between 6-7 p.m.

Sept. 19th-Oct. 3rd

Up the Elbe to Hamburg. Stay in Hamburg 2 weeks.

Two weeks in Hamburg.

Sept. 20th

Hamburg. STC and William visit Klopstock's brother, Viktor.

Sept. 21st

STC and William with Viktor visit G. F. Klopstock at 4.00 p.m.

Sept. 23rd-24th

William goes to Harburg at 3.30 p.m. to return next day.

Sept. 26th

William visits Klopstock again.

William prob. makes the notes of his conversation in DC MS 19 around this time.

Sept. 27th

William and Dorothy walk beyond Altona.

Sept. 28th

William and STC walk to Altona.

Sept. 29th

STC and John Chester leave for Ratzeburg at 7 a.m. William and Dorothy walk to Altona along the river.

Oct. 3rd

W and DW leave Hamburg to go to Goslar. Take the coach for Braunchsweig.

Oct. 4th

Breakfast at Luneburg. Travelling.

Oct. 5th

Arrive at Braunschweig mid afternoon.

Oct. 6th- Feb 23rd 1799

Take the coach to Goslar leaving at 8 a.m. Arrive at Goslar between 5 and 8 p.m.

Goslar, Germany.

5 month stay.

Oct. 6th-Late Nov./ Early Dec.

Composition of "There was a boy" in MS JJ.

Late Nov./ Early Dec.

"There was a boy" copied and sent to STC by letter.

Oct. 6th- Dec 21st or 28th

Composition of MS JJ: The Stolen Boat (I, 372-427); lines of "Influence of Natural Objects (I, 452-489)[lines 8-14 in MS JJ?]; MS JJ Prel. 633-642; "Nutting" (Reed 258).

Dec. 14th, 21st or 28th

Letter from William and Dorothy to Coleridge including copies of poems from MS JJ and "ice-skating" passage.

Prob. Oct 6th-December

Other poems composed: "How Sweet When Crimson Colours Dart"; "One Day the Darling of My Heart"; "A Slumber did my Spirit Seal"; "She dwelt among untrodden ways"; "Strange fits of passion have I known".

Dec. 25th

Poem "Written in Germany, On One of the Coldest Days of the Century" may be written on or about Dec. 25th.


Place/ Movements

Long Stays/ Walking Tours

Poems Written


In Goslar.

Poems prob. written at Goslar/ before leaving Germany: "The Danish Boy"; "Ruth"; "To a Sexton"; "Matthew"; "The Fountain"; "The Two April Mornings"; "Could I the Priest's Consent Have Gained"; "Remembering How Thou Didst Beguile"; "Address to the Scholars . . ."; "Lucy Gray"; "Written in Germany"; "A Poet's Epitaph" (Reed CEY, 255-256 drawing on IF Notes).

[Feb 6th

STC and John Chester leave Ratzeburg for Gottingen (arriving there on 12th February).]

Feb. 23rd

Dorothy and William leave Goslar on foot. Walk into the Hartz forest. Arrive at Clausthal at dusk.

Walking Tour Through Saxony.

(2 months)

WW and DW.

Prob. between Feb. 23rd and 27th WW composes "Three Years She Grew in Sun and Shower".

Feb. 24th

Leave Clausthal. Arrive at Osterode at 4 p.m.

Feb. 25th

Leave Osterode. Pass Hertzburg. Walking in the dark but a wagon gives them a lift to Schazefeld.

Feb 26th

Leave Schazefeld. Walk until 4 p.m.

Feb 27th

Travel by postwagon to Nordhausen. Plans to stay a few days.

Feb 28th-April 20th or 21st

Movements unknown. They travel around Saxony. Possibly visit STC in Gottingen.

Reed suggests that "W and no doubt DW keep a journal which has not survived" (CEY 264).

April 20th or 21st

Visit to Gottingen. STC spends day with them. [Discuss W's desire to live near the Lakes].

Poss March 14th-21st, prob. April 20th-21st WW starts writing an rejected opening for Prelude II and drafts towards Prelude II.

April 20th/21st -April 25th

William and Dorothy travel from Gottingen to Hamburg largely by coach.

April 25th

In Hamburg.

April 26th

Boat to Cuxhaven.

Late April

William and Dorothy sail back to Yarmouth taking 2 days and 2 nights.

Late April

William and Dorothy go from Yarmouth to Sockburn-on-Tees.

Late April-Dec. 17th


Long Stay with the Hutchinsons 7 months

Late April- Dec 17th, 1799.

Sept.-Early December, 1799.

Late Nov. – Early December 1799

Between late April and Oct. WW composes "Old Cumberland Beggar".

Between late April and June 1800 "Salisbury Plain" MS 2 is written; The Borderers MS B is written.

Prelude Composition: Development of Part II in MS RV.

Fair Copies U and V by Mary Hutchinson and Dorothy Wordsworth.

[By July 29th]

[STC returns from Germany to Nether Stowey].

[August 1st]

[John WW lands in England].

Oct 27th-21

STC, WW and Cottle leave Sockburn on a walking tour.

Via Neesham Bank to Herworth. They stay the night in Piercebridge.

Walking Tour

3 weeks

WW, STC, Cottle and JW.

Oct 28th

Walk to Gainford, Egglestone Abbey. Prob. stay the night at Barnard Castle.

Prob. Oct 29th

Spend the day in the Barnard Castle/ Greta Bridge area. Prob. spend the night at Greta Bridge.

Oct 30th

Cottle leaves for London. John Wordsworth joins them.

Oct 31st

WW, JW and STC visit the Hartshorn Oak, Mayborough, Barton, walk to Bampton (prob. via Pooley Bridge) where they stay the night.

Nov. 1st

WW, JW and STC walk along Haweswater, over Long Sleddale to Kentmere where they stay the night.

Nov. 2nd

WW, JW and STC walk to Troutbeck, Rayrigg, Bowness then they cross Windermere to Hawkshead where they prob. spend the night.

Nov. 3rd

WW, JW and STC walk via Blelham Tarn at the head of Windermere, and Rydal, to Grasmere. Stay at Robert Newton's inn.

Nov. 3rd- 7th

They stay in Grasmere. At some point during this stay WW discovers Dove Cottage.

Nov. 5th

WW and STC walk with JW up to Grisedale Tarn – he leaves them.

WW and STC ascend Helvellyn.

Nov. 6th

WW and STC in Grasmere. Walk to Rydal upper waterfall.

Nov. 7th

WW and STC in Grasmere. Set out for Dungeon Ghyll but weather is too bad.

Nov. 8th- 9th

WW and STC walk from Grasmere to Keswick. Stay in Keswick.

Meet up with John again. Poss. John suggests living in Grasmere.

Nov 10th

WW and STC leave Keswick. Walk to Ouse Bridge and stay the night.

Nov 11th

WW and STC walk from Ouse Bridge to Buttermere, via Lorton and Crummock Water. Stay the night at Buttermere and see Mary Robinson (The Maid of Buttermere).

Nov. 12th

WW and STC walk from Buttermere to Ennerdale Water. They either spend the night there or at Wastdale Head.

At Ennerdale told of the death of James Bowman which leads to "The Brothers". See Dec. 24th below.

Nov 13th

WW and STC walk from Ennerdale Water prob. via Black Sail to Wastdale.

Nov. 14th

WW and STC walk from Wastdale to Borrowdale. Stay the night at Rosthwaite, Longthwaite or Seatoller.

Nov. 15th

WW and STC walk via Grange, Lodor, Derwent Water to Keswick then on to Threlkeld where they stay the night.

Nov. 16th

WW and STC walk via Matterdale and the west shore of Ullswater to Patterdale where thy stay the night.

Nov. 17th

WW and STC walk down the eastern shore of Ullswater to Eusmere Hill, near Pooley Bridge. They prob. stay with the Clarksons who live there.

Nov. 18th-25th

WW's movements are not known. At some point he and Coleridge part and STC returns to Sockburn by 20th or 21st November.

[Nov. 25th

STC leaves Sockburn for London. DW leaves Sockburn poss to visit John Hutchinson at Stockton-on-Tees]

Nov. 26th

WW returns to Sockburn. Finds MH alone. [DW and SH return shortly afterwards].

MS RV completed after WW's return.

Fair Copy MSS U and V also completed between 26th Nov and 17th Dec.

Dec. 17th

DW and WW leave Sockburn for Grasmere, accompanied by George Hutchinson. They see Hart-Leap Well. They part with George and travel up Wensleydale. Spend the night at Askrigg.

Dec. 18th

DW and WW leave Askrigg. Go via Hardraw and Garsdale Chapel to Sedbergh where they stay the night.

Dec. 19th

DW and WW walk from Sedbergh to Kendal. Stay the night in Kendal (where they buy furniture).

Dec. 20th

DW and WW travel by post chaise to Grasmere. Arrive in Grasmere. They live at Dove Cottage from this day until the end of May 1808.

At Grasmere

5 years

Dec 20th 1799-May 1808.

Dec. 24th

Composition of "The Brothers" around this date.