NO biographer has ever explained why Peter George Patmore called his eldest son, Coventry. However, there is an old silver christening cup still in the possession of my family on which the inscription is: 'Presented by The Hon. Mrs. Coventry to C. K. Patmore', and this inclines me to suppose that the lady was godmother to the boy, and that Peter George Patmore gave him this unusual Christian name in her honour, when he was born at Woodford, Essex, on July 23rd, 1823.
Coventry Patmore's boyhood was very happy. His father adored him. Clarissa Patmore, his grandmother, did her best to spoil him and even make him conceited. His youth was spent between his parents' two homes. They now had a country house at Highwood Hill, several miles beyond Hendon, as well as the apartment in Southampton Street, Fitzroy Square. From his earliest years, the son became the constant companion and literary pupil of his father. He was a precocious little boy, and Peter George was quick to appreciate his unusual gifts.
Enchanted days were passed in his father's library and at his grandmother's home in the country. He loved to sit by her side and listen to her stories of the past century--stories about the Gordon Riots, of which she had been an eye-witness; tales of the agitating times when the name of Napoleon struck terror into every English home, and anecdotes perhaps of the Court of Prussia, where her uncle had worked as a painter.
At other times, they would sit quietly together and she would teach him to read and write. He used to tell his friends in later life that the first words his grandmother taught him to say were 'Coventry is a clever fellow'.
Even as a young child he was allowed to ramble freely about the countryside around his family's country home. He preferred these solitary wanderings when he could be alone with Nature. With the ecstatic: vision of childhood 'he felt the living