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Coventry Kersey Dighton Patmore

(1823 –1896) - an English poet and literary critic.



He is best known for his book of poetry The Angel in the House, a narrative poem about the Victorian ideal of a happy marriage.


Patmore was born in Woodford in Essex and died in Lymington Hampshire. He is considered to be one of the least-known but best-regarded of Victorian poets.


After the publication of his first book of poems in 1844, Patmore became associated with members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.


For 19 years from 1846, he worked for the British Museum


and gradually achieved success as a published poet. In 1865, for health reasons and as he no longer needed to earn a living, Patmore resigned his job at the Museum and he and his large family moved to Sussex. He bought a 400 acre estate with an expansive but rundown house, naming it ‘Heron’s Ghyll’ after the herons in the garden.


During the next three years Patmore rebuilt the dilapidated house in the Gothic style and converted its adjacent farmland into an elegant garden. He also indulged his passion for animals and birds by building a large aviary and kennels. Patmore was so pleased with his achievements as a landowner that he published a pamphlet entitled On How I Managed and Improved My Estate.


But by 1874 Heron’s Ghyll had become too expensive to maintain and Patmore sold the entire property to the Duke of Norfolk for £27,000, making a net profit of £9,000 on his original investment.


Heron’s Ghyll later became the property of Temple Grove School before being sold again and divided into elegant residential apartments.


In later life Patmore moved to Hastings and spent his last years in Lymington.


Major works:

  • Tamerton Church Tower (1844)

  • The Angel in the House (1863)

  • Principle in Art (1879)

  • On How I Managed and Improved my Estate (1886)


Research undertaken by Ian Brown, John Manthorpe and Jan Kemsley

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