Local BBC Sites

Neighbouring Sites

Page last updated at 12:07 GMT, Monday, 10 January 2011
Tennyson's Isle of Wight house reveals treasures
A book inscribed to Tennyson's son Lionel
Tennyson lived in Farringford House with his family for 40 years

Restorers at poet Tennyson's former Isle of Wight home have found some unique articles concealed in the house.

A book inscribed to his son Lionel and sea serpent carvings have been revealed in the attic at Farringford House.

Martin Beisly co-owner said: "We believe these panels were carved by Tennyson himself for the decoration of his writing hut."

The isolated house in Freshwater is being restored from a hotel back to its original Victorian glory.

Stripped back

Tennyson lived in Farringford House for 40 years with his family, wife Emily and two sons, Hallam and Lionel who was born at the house.

The attic was converted from servants' quarters to Tennyson's study when he first moved in. It is currently being stripped back from a hotel bedroom to its original state by specialist builders.

Farringford house attic
The carvings are believed to originate from a writing hut

Mr Beisly said: "We removed the plasterboard and found behind it the original book shelves built for his study.

"He would write here in the morning, go for a walk on the downs, have lunch, write here again in the afternoon and then entertain people for dinner.

"We know from his wife Emily's diaries that the two rooms opposite were turned into bedrooms for the two children, Lionel and Hallam."

Behind the plasterboard in the eaves, the builders found hidden fitted cupboards where they unearthed the remains of a book.

Writing hut

On closer inspection Mr Beisly noticed some faint writing: "We opened it and there was an inscription inside to Lionel from father and mother, dated Paris, October 1897."

The carvings found under plasterboard and paint are thought to have been cut by the poet for the writing hut he built in a field near the house.

Tennyson carving
Tennyson wrote most of his poems on the island

Here the poet penned his most popular poems; The Charge of the Light Brigade and Crossing the Bar.

He said: "In the summer months particularly he would sit and be inspired by the landscape and the views of the sea. Maud was written in this writing house."

The restoration is expected to take around 18 months, everything removed is being numbered so it can be put back like a jigsaw puzzle after repairs have been carried out.

Tennyson died in 1892 and was buried at Westminster Abbey. Emily Lady Tennyson's tomb is in the graveyard of All Saints' Church, Freshwater.

The owners hope to re-open the house and surrounding grounds as a mecca for Tennyson fans.




SEE ALSO
Audio slideshow: The mouths of poets
08 Oct 10 |  Entertainment & Arts
Isle unveiling Tennyson monument
06 Aug 09 |  Hampshire
Tennyson's 200th anniversary
28 Jul 09 |  Arts & Culture

OTHER RELATED BBC LINKS

ELSEWHERE ON THE WEB

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific