What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
Somerset, the Birthplace of Tennyson
=How to get there.=–Train from King’s Cross. Great Northern Rly. =Nearest Station.=–Horncastle (6 miles from Somersby). =Average Time.=–from 3 to 4-1/2 hours. =Distance from London.=–130 miles.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 18s. 4d. ... 10s. 10d. Return 36s. 8d. ... 21s. 8d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–No inn at Somersby. Paying guests accommodated at Baumber’s Manor House at Somersby. Hotels at Spilsby.
On August 6, 1809, Alfred Tennyson was born at the rectory at Somersby. His grandfather, Mr. George Tennyson, M.P., resided at Bayon’s Manor, where the family had for a long period been known in Lincolnshire. Alfred was the fourth of the twelve children of the Rev. George Clayton Tennyson. Although there seems little reason for not believing that the scenery which surrounded him in his youth impressed itself on his mind, yet it is now stated with authority that the localities associated with his subject poems, “which had been ingeniously identified with real brooks and granges, were wholly imaginary.” Those who visit Somersby, therefore, would be wise in avoiding what is pointed out as “Tennyson’s Brook,” merely gaining instead a general idea of the appearance of the country which impressed itself on the poet’s mind.
When he was six years old Tennyson was sent to the grammar school at Louth, a town his mother was connected with, her father having been vicar there. After five years at school at Louth, Tennyson returned to Somersby Rectory to be trained by his father. The rectory possessed a good library, and here the poet obtained his extensive knowledge of the English classics. When only twelve years old he wrote an epic of 6000 lines, and two years later a drama in blank verse. Tennyson’s early knowledge of the sea was obtained at Mablethorpe on the Lincolnshire coast, where the family spent their summer holidays. His father would not allow him to leave Somersby until he could recite from memory the whole of the odes of Horace.
In the early part of 1831 he returned to Somersby from Cambridge, and within a few days his father died. The new incumbent, however, allowed the family to continue at the rectory for some years. In 1837 they were finally obliged to leave, and for the next three years they lived at High Beach, Epping Forest.
[Illustration: SOMERSBY RECTORY.
Where Alfred Tennyson was born in 1809.]