The Lake District is an amazing place and although now it is probably best known for tourism, which was popularised by poets, writers and artists such as Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter, it has its roots in farming.
One of the National Trust properties that we didn’t visit last time we came is Townend, a farmhouse dating from the 1600s. The property is near Waterhead, at the top of Lake Windermere.
The Browne family who owned it didn’t change it, and didn’t throw anything away. The house stayed in the family until the early 1900s so you have an incredible collection of Lakeland heritage, including maps from when the area was known as Westmoreland.
One of the most remarkable is the collection of books, over 1,500 on all topics. It is particularly significant as these were collected by an ordinary family over many centuries, rather than being a stately home or museum collection. Thus there are many books on farm practices and cheap short story publications from the 1800s. Few pictures available as they need storing away from light but a great little display about the collection.
There was a wide variety of textile heritage though, most relating to the household furnishings and the obligatory samplers produced by young girls as part of their sewing skill development. There was also a fascinating little weaving loom, possibly belonging to a child?
The house is set in a wildflower garden in the stunning Troutbeck valley so is well worth a visit for its location alone, up more narrow winding roads!
I also visited St Martin’s Church in Windermere, which also dates from the 1600s and which has been restored to show the wall paintings that were covered up after Henry 8th broke away from the Catholic Church.
There was a very interesting curtain which was made of stencilled fabric. The information also referred to this as being taught to WW1 veterans as part of their rehabilitation and furnishings were made using this technique to provide employment for them.
It was a really unusual piece of textile heritage, for its history as well as its design.
I have some more textile heritage visits planned in a couple of weeks when I return to Derbyshire.
I hope that you have enjoyed this little glimpse of Lakeland life. It is such a gorgeous area and well worth visiting. Until next time have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.