Whether you plan to spend your time striding out on the high fells, pottering gently, or just relaxing in a deckchair or in front of the log fire, we trust that you will have a most relaxing and enjoyable time here.
The core of the house itself is reputed to have originally been the site office for the construction of the Thirlmere pipe, supplying fresh water to Manchester, which passes through the fellside and which can be seen crossing the stream, Dunney Beck, above the house. It seems that the Chief Engineer loved the place so much that he bought it and turned it into a little “villa” which was subsequently extended and improved.
He, and subsequently his family, owned “Dunnabeck” from 1907 to 1947. He also bought “Allan Bank”, Grasmere, where he lived from 1917 to his death when it was bequeathed to the National Trust.
Dunnabeck continued to be used as a holiday home by Hardwicke Rawnsley’s family until it was sold in 1947 by his granddaughter Una, who had moved to the USA. Her elder daughter Diana Hanbury had such fond memories of Dunnabeck that when she opened a summer study camp for children in Pennsylvania, USA, it was named “Dunnabeck” after her great grandfather’s cottage. In 1980 the school had grown and move to Amenia, N.Y. You may have found “Camp Dunnabeck – The Kildonan School” on the Internet.
While researching the history of Dunnabeck we came across a book titled ‘Poems at Home and Abroad’ by Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley, and you may enjoy reading the following three which relate to Dunnabeck.
HARD is the road that Duty takes!
I in London – you in the Lakes.
I in London’s riot and roar –
You by the peaceful Rydal shore.
I in London’s smother and smell –
You in a fragrant Loughrigg dell.
I where no birds flutter and sing –
You where the delicate flycatcher’s wing
Poises and dips, while the nestlings call
For mother and food from the garden wall,
Till the sun goes down, and the lilac shale
Of Nab Scar darkens above the dale.
But still I can dream of a cottage blest
With Earth’s best happiness – home and rest;
Can see in the fern the moving fleece
Of the Herdwick mother who feeds in peace;
And well can remember how white at morn
Against blue distances shone the throne;
Can hear the patter of horses’ feet
Below us, that made our silence sweet:
And so, though the city is thronged and loud,
I can still each day be alone in the crowd;
Can still go the road that Duty takes,
Though I am in London, you at the Lakes.
The Birthday of the Singers
The cuckoo cries across the Rydal mere,
The little warbler made the birch-tree thrill
With passionate words of greeting and goodwill;
Afar from ruddy Loughrigg lambs call clear,
On the near knoll the comfortable steer
Lowed, and the shepherd whistled up the hill;
Then thought I, Lord, what joy these sound instil,
What sense of fullest peace and rest is here!
But sudden in the pauses of the stream
That all night long its lullaby had made,
I heard such notes of wild triumphant mirth
Above a nest wherein five eggs were laid,
As made all other joy but sadness seem –
It was the song of life new-born to each.
Dunnabeck, 21st May, 1908
But since the Rydal bard was sent
To show us Nature’s plan,
This bar is broke the veil is rent
‘Twixt God and Godlike man.
Now whoso from the lawn would look
On hill, or lake, or grove,
May read the Spiritual book
Of universal love.
Oh ! British holders of you ‘Dun’,
To think you passed away
Beyond the sunset ere the sun
Had brought this blessed day!
Ye could have given a simpler heart
And ears less deaf than mine,
To feel what Nature could impart
Of mystery divine.
Come back, come back from out your dust,
And let this scene declare,
Its revelation held in trust
For every age to share.
NOTE:- It is believed that the early Britons held a fort upon the ridge above White Moss, and that Dunnabeck – the beck or water of the Dun – preserves the name of the place of their encampment.