Hardy Tree/Tennyson Blasted/Poet’s Rectory Altered – Poetry News Roundup 28th December

In our last poetry news round-up of 2022, we look at the Hardy Tree, Lincoln University’s campus walk that saw them blasted for referring to Tennyson as “problematic” and alterations to a famous rectory linked to a poet.

London’s “Hardy Tree” Falls

The Hardy Tree in London, named after the poet Thomas Hardy, has been a prominent symbol of life since the 1860s. The Ash tree was just a young tree in the 1860s when the poet piled gravestones around its base as work was being undertaken nearby on a railway line.

The poet was at the time employed by the offices of a local architect who had been granted permission by the Bishop of London to disinter a number of graves in order to use the land for the rails of what is now the King’s Cross- St Pancras Station. Hardy was given the order to oversee a mass exhumation, with the remains being reburied elsewhere. Church records refer to the tree as a

“monument to the railway encroachments of the 19th century”.

In July, the council assessed that the tree had been weakened as a result of storm damage, and they stated that they would look at ways of preserving it and its important story. Unfortunately, the tree has moved further still in recent weeks, and the council have had to remove its crown in order to reduce the risk to visitors. It is likely that the next step will involve the complete removal of the tree.

University Blasted for Branding Tennyson “Problematic Imperialist”

Chiefs at Lincoln University have been blasted for organising a tour of the university campus during which they labelled Alfred, Lord Tennyson “problematic.” The tour, which was attended by 150 students, looked to expose what it considered “offensive views” linked to historical figures who are featured at various sites on the campus.

The poet who is responsible for penning The Charge of the Light Brigade and was Queen Victoria’s Poet laureate was, they said, a “supporter of imperialism”, and that made him problematic.

Other figures who were mentioned on the tour included the naturalist Joseph Banks, who was the founder of Kew Gardens and Sir Isaac Newton.

One of the members of staff from the university said that they believed this was the first step towards the city attempting to rename some of the university buildings away from those important figures of its past in favour of more modern individuals – although this is something that the university has strongly denied. There is a statue of Tennyson on the grounds of nearby Lincoln Cathedral and also a campus building named after him.

Agreement Given for Changes to Home of Famous Dorset Poet

A number of minor changes have been given the go-ahead to the home of William Barnes , the famous Dorset poet-parson who was a friend of Thomas Hardy.

Old Came Rectory is located on the outskirts of Dorchester and is a listed building which dates back to 1810. The current owners had applied for permission to make a number of repairs to the building, as well as adding a charging point for an electric vehicle and also adding an acoustic fence and some hedging to form a barrier between the property and the main road. It is hoped that the later changes will help to protect the building, which is of significant cultural interest.

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