The Greens of Grasmere
"The Greens of Grasmere"
An account of the tragic death of the parents of Hannah Hall (nee Green).

George and Sarah Green (nee Wilson) were my GGG Grandparents. They appear to have been an ordinary farming couple who lived on a small farm at Blintern Gill near Grasmere. They were very poor in a material sense but had the riches of a large and close family. George Green had been married twice, having lost his first wife (Jennet Mackareth) and his oldest son to an epidemic of malignant fever in 1786, leaving George a widower, with three daughters and his younger son.

After his second marriage to Sarah they had eight more children, the youngest being Hannah who was baptised 4 January 1807. In the following year on 19 March 1808 George and Sarah went to an auction sale at Langdale. The purpose of this trip appears to be that Sarah wanted to find another placement for her oldest daughter who was working in an Inn. This was hardly a suitable environment for a girl of her age. The Greens also wanted to attend an auction sale being held at Langdale, these were quite a social event on the local calendar.

Having left their departure until late and despite advice to the contrary, the Greens elected to return home across the rugged and dangerous Langdale Pikes. They became lost in the snow as a violent storm moved into the area and perished as a result of injuries received in a fall and exposure. By next morning the children raised the alarm, their parents not having returned as expected. The search for George and Sarah was conducted over six days before their bodies were finally located. This was not an unusual occurrence, residents of the area having become lost in a similar fashion previously. George and Sarah Green, however, had left behind six children in the care of the oldest daughter then living at home (Jane then aged 14 years) and this aroused the sympathies of the locals.

The Green's second daughter, Sarah, was in service with the William Wordsworth family (the poet of "Daffodils" fame). Doubtlessly, that is how the Wordsworth's became involved in this tragedy. Dorothy Wordsworth (William's sister), to whom we are indebted to for recording the details, was involved in starting and administering a fund collected for the education and placement of the orphanned children. William himself was moved to write a poem on the tragic incident. In 1936 Dorothy Wordsworths notes were published by Oxford University Press. In 1987 they were republished by Clark and Howard Books in a publication entitled "The Greens of Grasmere" edited and typed by Hilary Clark. (ISBN 0 9509555 3 1)

There have been other books written on the subject. Heroine of the Lakelands and De Quincey's Recollections of Grasmere being two such. None, however, seem to be so accurate and faithful to detail as The Greens of Grasmere . Another book that is relevant to both the Greens and the Wordsworths and includes detail of the author's ancestry is Stella Colwell's Tracing Your Family Tree published by Faber and Faber Limited in 1984. (ISBN 0-571-13246-4)

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