Biography of Alfred Lord Tennyson

Portrait of Alfred Lord Tennyson

Alfred Tennyson was a Victorian poet and Poet Laureate.

When and Where was he Born?

6th August 1809, Somersby Rectory, Lincolnshire, England.

Family Background:

Alfred Lord Tennyson was the fourth of twelve children of George, the Rector of Somersby and Elizabeth who were a talented but unhappy couple.


Louth Grammar School, where he hated the sadistic Headmaster, the Reverend J. Waite. Trinity College, Cambridge University.

Timeline of Alfred Lord Tennyson:

1823: Poems by Alfred and his brother Charles were published by Jacksons in Louth, Lincolnshire.

1829: He wins the Chancellor’s Gold Medal at Trinity College, Cambridge with “Timbuctoo”. He becomes a member of “The Apostles” group. Spends Christmas at Somersby with his college friend Arthur Hallam.

1832: Alfred Tennyson visits the Rhineland in Germany with Hallam.

1833: His work “Poems” is slammed by the critics in “The Quarterly Review” for being “too sentimental”. Arthur Hallam dies in Vienna in September.

1835: Death of his grandfather George.

1836: He falls in love with Emily Sellwood at his brother’s wedding.

1837: His parents and the rest of the family leave Somersby and move to Beech Hill House, at High Beech, Near Epping in Essex.

1840: The family moves to Tunbridge Wells.

1841: The family moves to Boxley, near Maidstone in Kent.

1842: His sisters Emily and Cecilia marry.

1843: Collapse of the woodcarving business in which Tennyson had invested most of his inheritance. He moves to Cheltenham in Gloucestershire.

1845: He is granted a pension from the Civil List by the Government.

1848: He visited Malvern in Worcestershire.

1850: Publication of “In Memoriam” which had been inspired by the untimely death of his friend Hallam. He becomes Poet Laureate, succeeding William Wordsworth. He marries Emily Sarah Sellwood.

1851: The Tennysons move to Chapel House, Twickenham in March.

1852: Birth of son Hallam Tennyson in August.

1853: The Tennyson’s move to Farringford in the Isle of Wight during November.

1854: Birth of Son Lionel.

1855: Publication of “Maud and Other Poems”.

1858: Tennyson visits Norway alone.

1859: He visits Portugal.

1860: Julia Cameron goes to live at Farringford.

1861: Alfred Lord Tennyson visits the Pyrenees with his family.

1862: Received by Queen Victoria at Osborne House in the Isle of Wight.

1865: Death of Tennyson’s mother.

1868: He begins to build a summer residence at Aldworth in Sussex in April.

1875: Publication of “Queen Mary”.

1884: Tennyson takes his seat in the House of Lords as the First Baron Tennyson. His play “Becket” is published.

1885: “Tiresias and Other Poems” is published.

1886: Death of Lionel.

1892: Dies.

(1893): First performance of Tennyson’s play “Becket”.

When and Where Did he Die?

6th October 1892, Aldworth, Surrey, England from complications due to influenza.

Age at Death:


Written Works:

1827: ” Poems by Two Brothers” (Alfred and Charles).
1829: “Timbuctoo”
1830: “Poems Chiefly Lyrical”.
1832: “The Lady of Shallot”. “The Lotus Eaters”.
1842: “Poems”.
1847: “The Princess”.
1850: “In Memoriam”
1852: “Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington”.
1854: “The Charge of the Light Brigade”.
1855: “Maud and Other Poems”.
1859: “The Idylls of the King”.
1864: “Idylls of the Hearth”.
1865: “A Selection from the Works”.
1869: “The Holy Grail and Other Poems”.
1872: “Gareth and Lynette”.
1876: Queen Mary”.
1875: “The Lover’s Tale”.
1879: “The Falcon”.
1880: “Ballads and Other Poems”.
1881: “The Cup”.
1885: “Tiresias and Other Poems”
1892: “The Foresters”. “The Death of Oenone”. “Akbar’s Dream”.
1893: “Becket”.


1850 to Emily Sarah Sellwood.

Site of Grave:

Poet’s Corner, Westminster Abbey, Westminster , London, England.

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey, London
(copyright Anthony Blagg)

Places of Interest:


Tintagel was inspiration for the “Idylls of the King”.


Honeymooned at Tent Lodge, Coniston.


Some personal effects at the Usher Gallery, Lincoln.


Honeymooned at Clevedon House.


Visited Edward Fitzgerald at Dunwich.


Tennyson Down Cliff Walk, Farringford.
Lived at Farrington House, Freshwater.
Summer House at Maiden’s Croft Meadows, Freshwater.
Tennyson Display Room in Carrisbrooke Castle, Newport.