Audrey Tennyson

Audrey Tennyson is one of the many women with a fascinating past overshadowed by that of her husband.

Audrey Tennyson née Boyle, wife of Hallam Tennyson, is one of the many women with a fascinating past overshadowed by that of her husband.

Like many women, Audrey’s history is one that has all but vanished, unconsciously written out of history by the online bias towards recording the lives of men over and above those of women (in 2015 only 15% of the biography pages on Wikipedia were about women, noticeably Audrey Tennyson doesn’t have her own Wikipedia page).

Audrey Boyle grew up in Cape Town and Mauritius during the first part of the 19th Century, her family were international, with her brothers and family spread across the world. Her brother Lionel Boyle lived in Manitoba, Canada as well as Buenos Aires before settling in London. Her brother Mordaunt fought as part of the relief force for General Gordon in Khartoum and was eventually killed whilst in Egypt. Similarly, her brother Cecil fought in the Boer War in South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, and, like Mordaunt, was killed in action whilst abroad.

Artistic and literary, Audrey Boyle first met Alfred, Lord Tennyson at the house of the painter G.F. Watts, and was invited to visit Farringford, where she met Hallam. When Hallam was offered the position of the Governor General in Australia, it has been widely commented that Audrey encouraged him to accept. Used to an expatriate life, and clearly possessing a thirst for travel, Audrey was excited to move to Adelaide, taking her children with her, despite the risks of travelling and living abroad in that period.

Her role in the community in Australia was active, and she was most notably responsible for funding and patronising the building of a maternity hospital for women giving birth in the outback, which she named after Queen Victoria.  

When she returned to Farringford, she once more took on an energetic role, often writing for Tennyson as he was more and more frequently inflicted by gout and rheumatism. This role perhaps sums Audrey Tennyson up above all others, for her hand and help was necessary in much of the activity of the family, whilst often remaining invisible.

Recent Posts

War Poetry

When the First World War began, it was Tennyson’s register of language that people, soldiers and the government turned to.…

Read More
War PoetryPosted: 20 Oct 2021


Lionel Tennyson, grandson of Alfred, was a famous cricketer who captained Hampshire and England in the 1920s…

Read More
CricketPosted: 14 Jun 2021

Magical Realism

Magical realism as a genre title emerged in 1955, one hundred years after Tennyson was writing ...…

Read More
Magical RealismPosted: 21 May 2021

Tennyson's American Dream

Tennyson, like many of the Victorians of the time, and indeed, many Americans to come, was preoccupied with looking West ... …

Read More
Tennyson's American DreamPosted: 20 Apr 2021
© 2022 Farringford