Tag Archive | Grasmere Church

Grasmere Gingerbread Shop.

Mention Grasmere anywhere in the World and the first thing people usually say is “Oh that’s where the gingerbread comes from” followed by “and didn’t Wordsworth use to live there”.

Happy at work, Grasmere Gingerbread Shop.

Situated in a little shop in the corner of Grasmere Churchyard, both the gingerbread and the building have an interesting history. I collect old postcards of Grasmere and have one of the Gingerbread Shop as it used to be in about 1860.

Old Postcard, Grasmere Gingerbread Shop.

The building was originally known as Gate Cottage built about 1630, and served as the village school. This was at a time when education wasn’t compulsory and locals paid a penny a day for their boys to attend. William Wordsworth actually taught at the school and his children attended it.

The old school clock

Many of the fixtures and fittings in the gingerbread shop come from the  school. This clock originally cost two shillings and sixpence.

Old School Slate

When Education did become compulsory a new school was built and the Nelson family took over the tenancy, in about 1854. Sarah Nelson had previously worked for Lady Farquhar who lived in Dale Lodge at the time and she was encouraged by Lady Farquhar’s chef to set up her little business.

The Original Grasmere Gingerbread.

Sarah used to sell Helvellyn cake, aerated water and of course her special recipe of Gingerbread. Almost from the start she wrapped the gingerbread in pure vegetable parchment printed “None genuine without trademark”. The Gingerbread is still wrapped in parchment and sealed with a rubber band. The packaging really appeals to the Japanese and other lovers of our history and heritage.

Eager customers, Grasmere Gingerbread Shop.

There is always a queue from morning till closing time at the Gingerbread shop. Because of the size of the building it quite often snakes outside and along the street. While Andrew and his team do their best, baking it fresh every morning, it can run out, so an early visit is recommended. And if you enjoy it, you still have time to go back for more!.

Grasmere Gingerbread shop window.

I wonder how many hungry faces have peeped in this window over the years. Many famous visitors have graced it’s steps.

Royal approval

TV chef Phil Vickery actually used to work as a trainee chef in Grasmere years ago and has always had a soft spot for Grasmere Gingerbread and includes it in his list of “Best of British Produce”. Another chef to praise it is Jamie Oliver who said “Grasmere Gingerbread is the best i’ve eaten” . Grasmere attracts many famous folk, Tom Cruise, Nicole KIdman and Alan Whicker have all visited at some time.

Wrapping and Packing.

Grasmere Gingerbread is posted all over the world and it really is a full time job wrapping and packing it.

Grasmere Gingerbread Shop.

This little shop is the only place where you can buy the genuine article. And no matter how hard you try to recreate it, it never tastes the same. The recipe is a secret and is stored in the bank vaults at the NatWest Bank in Ambleside.

Every one has there own way of enjoying it. My favourite is to make a lemon cheesecake base with it, delicious!. Enjoy with a cup of tea or a whisky or of course enjoy it just on it’s own. I’ve managed to eat a whole packet while writing this, thanks to Andrew, the “Gingerbread Man”. But my excuse is, ginger is good for you. A last personal tip. Anytime I am travelling by boat I always take a bit to nibble. We were once the only ones not seasick on a trip across the North Sea. Thank you Grasmere Gingerbread!.

Grasmere Church and Cherry Blossom

Grasmere Church, dedicated to St. Oswald the Northumbrian King, stands on the bank of the River Rothay.

St Oswalds Church Grasmere.

The oldest part of the present church is thought to have dated from the twelfth or thirteenth century. Wordsworth who used to live in the Rectory at Grasmere at one time describes the church in his poem “The Excursion”:

“Not raised in nice proportions, was the Pile,

But large and massy, for duration built,

With pillars crowded and the roof upheld,

By naked rafters intricately crossed”

Grasmere Churchyard.

To commemorate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953 a flowering cherry tree was planted in the churchyard by the two oldest Grasmere born residents, Robert Peel of Lancrigg Lodge and his brother Penny Peel of Field Side. It is a beautiful sight and of course we have many Japanese visitors who enjoy the Sakura blossom.

Cherry Blossom, Grasmere Churchyard.

Just beside Grasmere Church is Grasmere Daffodil Garden which can be seen from the graveyard.

Looking towards Grasmere Daffodil Garden.

And from the garden you can see the bridge over the River Rothay with the tea gardens to the side. A nice place to sit and admire the cherry tree and the local ducks.

River Rothay Grasmere.

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