William Wordsworth 250 – 250 Years since the birth of William Wordsworth

This wonderful six stamp collection aims to capture the essence and the appearance of the Island at the time of Wordsworth’s visit to the Island in 1833, and is presented through period paintings chosen in relation to the Manx scenes discussed.

On 7th April 2020 the Isle of Man Post Office celebrates the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Wordsworth, one of Britain’s best-known romantic poets of all time, by releasing a wonderful six stamp collection. These beautiful stamps capture the essence and the appearance of the Island at the time of Wordsworth’s visit to the Island in 1833, and are presented through period paintings chosen in relation to the Manx scenes discussed in Wordsworth’s sonnets that were inspired by the Isle of Man.

Although synonymous with The Lake District, William and Dorothy Wordsworth were strongly associated with the Isle of Man and Manx locations were featured in ‘The Itinerary Poems of 1833’.

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 being dedicated to Sir William Hillary (founder of the forerunner of the RNLI).

Each of the six stamps are designed to pictorially tell the story of Wordsworth, his works and their connections to the Island.  Adding to the exquisite detail, is an extract from a sonnet expressive of the scene or location featured, along with the reproduced signature of Wordsworth and an image relating to his life and travels.

1st: Artist unknown and  provided courtesy of the Wordsworth Trust, this stamp displays Dove Cottage, the former home of Wordsworth and the current location of the Wordsworth Trust. This stamp features a portrait of the poet imposed over the artwork. The text included is taken from  I wandered Lonely as a Cloud, one of his most famous poems. 

EU: Features the sonnet At Sea off the Isle of Man, composed during his visit to the Island in 1833. The artwork displays the perils of the sea, as discussed in the sonnet extract, in which Wordsworth discusses the search for the Island amidst a cloak of fog.

Painting 'Peel Fishing Boats' by John Holland 

Large: This stamp displays a picturesque view of Port-E-Chee, in the 1800’s, provided courtesy of the MNH archive. The artwork depicts rolling Manx fields and hills, painted atop of a vista. The artwork is matched up with text taken from Itinerary Poems of 1833, XIV, written during his time sent on the Isle of Man.

Painting 'Canto XIV' by John Holland

RoW: This stamp captures Douglas Bay and presents The Tower of Refuge during the 1800’s. Accompanying the imagery is text from Wordsworth’s sonnet, On Entering Douglas Bay, Isle of Man. It is believed that the name, Tower of Refuge, originates from this poem, as Wordsworth coins the phrase in the text extract presented upon the top of the stamp. 

Painting - 'Douglas Bay' Artist Unknown. 

£1.61: Provided by the University of St. Andrews, this stamp showcases a painting of The Monk’s Bridge at Rushen Abbey. The poem, At Bala-sala, Isle of Man, discusses Rushen Abbey in its beauty. Ballasalla was also the location of the Cookson family, whom were good friends with Wordsworth.

Painting 'Monks Bridge' Artist Unknown

£1.92: The final stamp acknowledges Tynwald, a topic written about by Wordsworth in his sonnet, Tynwald Hill. The painting displays a busy scene at Tynwald Hill, with period Manx men and women in attendance of Tynwald Day. The text upon the stamp is taken from the sonnet and pays tribute to the history of Tynwald and Manx politics. 

Painting 'The Tynwald Ceremony. St Johns' by Warwick Smith

Michael McGregor, Director of the Wordsworth Trust, says: “We are delighted to announce further plans for Reimagining 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.”

Maxine Cannon, General Manager Isle of Man Stamps & Coins, 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.”

The ‘William Wordsworth 250’ collection is available as a Set and Sheet Set. Also available is a Presentation Pack and  First Day Cover, which both include special micro-text, which when viewed through a magnifying glass unveils extracts from the featured sonnet. For further information, please visit www.iompost.com/Wordsworth.


We are very grateful to the following for their kind assistance in the production of this issue: Manx National Heritage,


Issue title:                                William Wordsworth 250

Text:                                        Valerie Caine

Design:                                    EJC Design

Printer:                                    Cartor

Process:                                  Offset Lithography 

Colours:                                   4

Paper:                                      110 gms PVA gummed 

Perforations:                            13 per 2cms

Stamp Size:                              52 x 40mm

No. of Stamps:                         6

Format:                                     Sheets of 12

Date of Issue:                            7th April 2020



- Photo embedded of Stamp Set

- Further attachments: Stamp Set, First Day Cover, Presentation Pack & Sheet Set

- Acknowledgements :We are very grateful to the following for their kind assistance in the production of this issue: Manx National Heritage,

- Every effort has been made to trace or contact all copyright holders. The Isle of Man Post Office will be pleased to make good any omissions or rectify any mistakes brought to their attention at the earliest opportunity.

- For further pictures please visit our Media Centre where you can freely download copy, latest news, copyright free and approved images http://www.iompost.com/media-centre/login/

- Please feel free to contact us if you require a PR sample of the stamps.


Your Interests: