Recent criticism has shown the poetic power that came from Wordsworth’s attachment to his local environment. By examining his interest in the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria, this article expands the parameters of that ‘local’ area across the Pennines. The 1830s saw a revival of interest in St Cuthbert, patron saint of the North, and renewed pride in northern medieval history, which was catalysed by antiquarian societies and focused around Durham Cathedral. By tracing Wordsworth’s reading of Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, which he pursued in preparation for Ecclesiastical Sketches (1822), this essay will also explain Wordsworth’s participation in what became Victorian medievalism.
Bibliographical noteFinal draft accepted for publication 8/10/2015
- Ecclesiastical History