Links to a Poet and They Want All to Know It; Lord Tennyson's Relationship with Brancepeth Is Celebrated

Article excerpt

Byline: Neil McKay

HE was Queen Victoria's favourite poet whose works are among the world's most popular - and now 200 years after his birth, Alfred, Lord Tennyson's links to a North East village are being celebrated.

Tennyson was born in August 1809 and to commemorate the anniversary villagers in Brancepeth, near Durham, are planning to highlight the former Poet Laureate's links to their community. It was while visiting his aunt in Brancepeth Castle that Tennyson wrote some of his epic love poem Come into the Garden Maud.

Tennyson was supported financially by his wealthy aunt Elizabeth Russell, of Brancepeth Castle.

Now his links with the village will be explored in an exhibition mounted by the Brancepeth Archives and History Group, coupled with a lecture by Dr Valerie Purton of the Tennyson Society. The lecture "Kind Hearts and Coronets" takes its name from lines in Tennyson's poetry but also relates to the kind support from the family in Brancepeth Castle, which has two "crowned" drum turrets at its entrance.

It was in the adjoining rose garden that Tennyson is said to have been inspired to pen his serious love poem. This was later used with music to become the rousing music hall song - of which he disapproved - but which became even better known than his acclaimed Charge of the Light Brigade.

Jim Merrington, of the Brancepeth Archives and History Group, said: "The links between Brancepeth and the Tennyson family began in 1796 when William Russell bought the castle, which passed to his son Mathew, who married Elizabeth Tennyson, the aunt of the poet. …


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