Somersby

Literary Lincolnshire

Follow in the footsteps of one of the most famous poetic voices of the 19th Century on the Tennyson Trail weaving around Lincolnshire's rolling landscapes that inspired Alfred Lord Tennyson, who was born and brought up in the county.

1. St. Margaret's Church, Somersby 

This quaint 15th century church is not just any old church, this is where Tennyson was baptised, where his father was Rector, and the hamlet of Somersby is where the poet spent the first 28 years of his life.

2. Bag Enderby and Harrington

Standing at a cross roads with a bridleway Bag Enderby, a mile from Somersby, is where Alfred’s father, George Tennyson, was also rector. The greenstone church has stood since 1407. A little further along lies Harrington Hall, today a private house. Tennyson often visited this 17th-century manor house, when hopelessly infatuated with its tenant’s ward, Rosa Baring. His poem Maud was inspired by his love for her.

3. Tetford

Stroll through the countryside that inspired the young Tennyson and among the picturesque villages is Tetford, where the 16th century White Hart Inn served as the poet's local – you can even sit in the oak settle used by Tennyson himself. Visit in May and you’ll catch the Scarecrow Festival, a trail of scarecrows through the village.

4. Haunt of Ancient Peace

Discover Tennyson’s ‘haunt of ancient peace’ at red-brick Gunby Hall, a country house from around 1700 set in Victorian walled gardens at the foot of the Lincolnshire Wolds. The beautiful grounds are said to have inspired his famous line.

5. Louth

This charming market town – with quaint Georgian homes and traditional food shops – is where Louth Grammar School once counted the poet as a pupil and also home to the Tennyson brothers first publisher, Jacksons, a local printer.

6. Lincolnshire coast

Tennyson spent his childhood holidays here, although Mablethorpe was then only a hamlet. His family rented a cottage for several summer holidays and when Tennyson was first published with his brothers (Poems by Two Brothers, 1827) they hired a coach to Mablethorpe and shouted their joy at the sea!

7. Lincoln Cathedral’s Tennyson statue

Celebrating Tennyson’s Lincolnshire connections, a memorial statue to him can be found on the East Green of Lincoln Cathedral bearing the words of his poem Crossing the Bar. 

8. Tennyson archive

The Tennyson Research Centre, in the dome of Lincoln Central Library, is the most significant collection on Tennyson in the world. While visits to the Research Centre are by appointment, there is always a small exhibition in the Library.

9. Tennyson artworks

The life and works of Tennyson are celebrated with inspiring sculpture reflecting his poems dotted along the  ‘Water Rail Way’, a traffic-free cycling and walking path along the former Lincoln to Boston railway.