Loughrigg Holme, Ambleside

Loughrigg Holme, Under Loughrigg Road, Ambleside, Cumbria: Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment

Prior to proposed alterations to Loughrigg Holme, Under Loughrigg Road, Ambleside, Cumbria, Greenlane Archaeology was commissioned to carry out a heritage assessment for the property. This was intended to provide suitable information about the history of the building so that a better understanding of its development could be obtained, which could then be used to assess the impact of any proposed alterations.

The origins of Loughrigg Holme are uncertain. It is known to have belonged, from at least 1838, to John Carter, William Wordsworth’s clerk. In 1846 it became the home of Edward Quillinan, who had married Wordsworth’s daughter Dora a few years earlier. She died in 1847 but Quillinan remained at the house until his death in 1851 and retained strong links with the Wordsworth family throughout much of his life. It was subsequently occupied by Quillinan’s daughters, Jemima and Rotha, the latter of whom later became the owner and lived there until her death in 1891. It was apparently purchased at this point by the Le Flemings of nearby Rydal Hall, who let it to a number of tenants, including their own land agent, a retired bookseller, and finally Willingham Franklyn Rawnsley, an author and the brother of Canon Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley, one of the founders of the National Trust.

Details about the development of the building itself are scant. It has been stated that John Carter built it, probably in the early 19th century, but a letter written by Edward Quillinan states that he enlarged an earlier house; a cupboard dated 1689 said to be within the building indicates that it has at least 17th century origins but much of what is now present is considered to be of 18th or early 19th century date. Sales particulars from 1891 give some information about the arrangement of the rooms but there is otherwise limited information available. Given the likely date of the work by John Carter, the architectural style of the east façade of the building, and the connections with Wordsworth, it is possible that it was designed by George Webster of Kendal.

The most significant aspect of the building is its extensive connections with William Wordsworth. These important local connections continue after the death of Quillinan’s daughter through the purchase of the building by the Le Flemings and later occupation by Willingham Rawnsley. The possibility that building work at the house was carried out by the Websters only adds to its interest.

The full report will be made available on the Archaeology Data Service website.