History

Ted Hughes

History

A memorial to Ted [Edward James] Hughes O.M., O.B.E. was unveiled in Poets' Corner Westminster Abbey on 6 December 2011 by Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney. The stone is at the foot of the memorial to T.S.Eliot and opposite the monument to Geoffrey Chaucer. It was designed and carved by Ronald Parsons in Kirkstone green slate. The centre inscription reads:

TED

HUGHES

OM

1930-1998 

Around this in a circle is an extract from 'That Morning' from his collection of River poems:

"So we found the end of our journey So we stood alive in the river of light Among the creatures of light, creatures of light"

Hughes was born in Mytholmroyd in Yorkshire on 17 August 1930, a son of William Henry Hughes and his wife Edith (Farrar). He was educated at Mexborough school and Pembroke College, Cambridge. In 1956 he married the American poet Sylvia Plath and they had two children, Frieda and Nicholas. His second wife was Carol Orchard. His first book Hawk in the rain was published in 1957 and many others followed including Season Songs, Tales of Ovid and Birthday letters. He paid homage in his prose to earlier poets he admired including Coleridge, Eliot and Emily Dickinson, and of course Shakespeare. He also wrote children's books and plays and had a great interest in the theatre and the natural world. In 1984 he was made Poet Laureate. In 1990 he founded the Sacred Earth Drama Trust. Just before his death he was elected to the Order of Merit. He died on 28 October 1998 and his Funeral took place at St Peter' s church, North Tawton in Devon near his home. A memorial service was held in the Abbey on 13 May 1999. His Thomas the Rhymer's Song was sung and several readings from his works were given. Seamus Heaney read Anniversary and That Morning.

A photo of the memorial can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

Further reading:

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004