Emily Tennyson, Lady Tennyson

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Emily Tennyson, c. 1837

Emily Sarah Tennyson, Lady Tennyson (née Sellwood; 9 July 1813 – 10 August 1896) was the wife of the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and a creative talent in her own right.

She was born in Horncastle, Lincolnshire. Her father was a solicitor who acted for the Tennyson family many times over the years. Her mother Sarah,[1] who died aged 28 when Emily was three, was a member of the Franklin family, sister of Sir John Franklin, an explorer, and Sir Willingham Franklin. Emily first met Alfred Tennyson during childhood, but they did not become close until much later (when Tennyson's brother, Charles, married Emily's younger sister, Louisa), and did not marry until 1850. For much of the intervening time, they did not see one another at all.

They had two sons, Hallam and Lionel. During Tennyson's lifetime, Emily was his strong supporter and employed her own talents in setting some of his lyrics to music. After his death in 1892, Lady Tennyson devoted herself to helping her son write the authorised biographies.

She is buried in All Saints' Church, Freshwater, Isle of Wight.


  1. ^ Elliott, Ray (July 2001). St Mary's Horncastle - a church tour. The Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of St Mary's, Horncastle.


  • "Tennyson [née Sellwood], Emily Sarah, Lady Tennyson" in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004) 54:147-149.