Isle of Man Post Office Celebrates William Wordsworth

The Isle of Man Post Office is currently celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Wordsworth, with the release of a delightfully nostalgic stamp collection.

Remembered as one of Britain’s best-known romantic poets, this stamp issue captures both the essence and appearance of the Island at the time of his visit in 1833; presented through the use of paintings of the period which reflect his points of destination. Extracts from his work are featured on each stamp.

Although synonymous with the Lake District, both William and Dorothy Wordsworth visited the Isle of Man, with many links to people on the Island – including some important, historical figures. (Further details available inside the stamp collection).

General Manager of Isle of Man Stamps and Coins, Maxine Cannon, said “Working alongside the Wordsworth Trust on this very special Isle of Man themed William Wordsworth stamp collection has been an honour and we are delighted with the finished product. We are also very grateful for the support of our issue text author, Valerie Caine, who has been a wealth of knowledge, and provided us with some very vital research on William Wordsworth and his time on our beautiful Island.”

William himself, only spent four days on the Island during July 1833, as part of his journey to the Scottish islands with his eldest son John and old friend Henry Crabb Robinson. He expressed an interest in ascending Snaefell and visited Ballasalla, describing it as ‘a little wood-embosomed village by the side of a stream upon which stands the ruined walls of an old Abbey’. A water-colour of Rushen Abbey, painted during the 1830s and given by William Wordsworth to Thomas Cookson, has latterly been gifted to Tynwald by his descendants.

Wordsworth also spent time in the Castletown area and King William’s College, before heading towards South Barrule. He expressed much delight with Peel Bay and confessed that on the whole he liked the Isle of Man better than he had expected, vowing unsuccessfully, to return with his wife. He produced ten sonnets about the Island, although one was written by Captain Henry Hutchinson, with one in particular dedicated to Sir William Hillary (founder of the forerunner of the RNLI).

Director of the Wordsworth Trust, Michael McGregor, said “We are delighted to announce further plans for Re-imagining Wordsworth in the lead up to the national 250th anniversary celebrations. Wordsworth the poet was a revolutionary whose work and ideas are still relevant to our lives today. By taking a fresh, new look at his work, the project will bring his story up to date, welcome old and new audiences both locally and globally, and transform Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum into a dynamic destination for creativity, inspiration and enjoyment.”

The William Wordsworth 250 collection is available as a set and sheet set, but also available as a presentation pack and first day cover, both include special micro-text, which, when viewed through a magnifying glass, unveils extracts from the featured sonnet.

For further information visit www.iompost.com/Wordsworth

Valerie Caine

© April 2020