William Wordsworth Takes Direct Action

The poet William Wordsworth took direct action to break open a blocked right of way on the land of Sir John Wallace, when journeying to Lowther Castle for a dinner held in the poet’s honour.Beamish Winter 034.JPG

During the meal an apoplectic Sir John complained that his wall had been broken down and, if he ever found out who was responsible, he would get out his horsewhip.

At which point Wordsworth got to his feet, saying “I broke down your wall, Sir John. It was obstructing an ancient right of way, and I will do it again. I am a Tory, but scratch me on the back deep enough and you will find the Whig in me yet”. A witness to Wordsworth’s action stated that the poet attacked the obstructing wall “as if it were a living enemy”.

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