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Derwent Water

Keswick, (the name means cheese farm), dates back to Neolithic times as evidenced by Castlerigg Stone Circle and early stone tools found at the nearby village of Portinscale. Little is known of the history of the town until in the 'Dark Ages' the church of St. Kentigern just outside the town was founded in 553. Later Keswick established a trade in wool and in 1276 King Edward I granted a market charter to the town. The market continues to this day.

In 1564 the Company of Mines Royal was created, an Anglo-German concern which obtained permission from Elizabeth I to mine in the area. They initially sought gold but soon began to extract copper:later with the discovery of graphite the first pencil industry was founded, and the graphite was also used for medicinal purposes. Although the graphite deposits have long been exhausted the Cumberland Pencil Company still operates in the town and has a good museum worth visiting.

In the late C18 Keswick caught the collective eye of the group now known as the "Lake Poets"; Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Robert Southey and William Wordsworth. For some thirty years Coleridge and Southey shared Greta Hall which still stands in the town.




Copyright EDGE 1997