The death of Canon Rawnsley is an event that will leave the great majority of his fellow countrymen unmoved. But to those who had fallen directly or indirectly under his magical influence, his departure from this life creates a blank that cannot be filled. There is no one left who in his own particular district breathes the spirit of the beautiful in the same way that Canon Rawnsley did in the land of the English Lakes. The famous Rector of Crosthwaite may almost be said to have been made for the Lake District. When one thought of its physical beauties, of its place in art and song, and of its own rich folk-lore, one quite naturally had visions of the man who in the Twentieth Century, embodied above all the rest the spirit of its genius. It is the ill-fate of every great school, whether in art, literature, or song, to produce a race of feeble imitators. It was given to Canon Rawnsley, in a life of singular beauty amidst congenial surroundings, to worthily hold aloft the Sacred Lamp that had been borne by Wordsworth, by Southey, by Christopher North, and the giants of a past era. Look where we will, we can see no one to fill his place. For the time being at all events the succession to a great tradition must be regarded as broken.
(Derby Daily Telegraph, 1920, 29 May, p. 2.)