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Poet Laureate

The title of Poet Laureate originated in the United Kingdom.

There is no authentic record of the origins of the office of Poet Laureate of England.

Richard Coeur de Lion paid a Gulielmus Peregrinus.

  • Geoffrey Chaucer (1340-1400) assumed the title of Poet Laureate, and in 1389 got a royal grant of a yearly allowance of wine.

After Spenser's death, the office was awarded on a more regular basis. Once chosen, poet laureates serve for life. They receive an annual pension, and are expected to write poetry for formal occasions.

Poet Laureate Appointed

1599 Samuel Daniel

1619 Ben Jonson

1637 Sir William Davenant (a godson of William Shakespeare)

1670 John Dryden

1689 Thomas Shadwell[?]

1692 Nahum Tate[?]

1715 Nicholas Rowe[?]

1718 Rev. Laurence Eusden[?]

1730 Colley Cibber

1757 William Whitehead[?], on the refusal of Thomas Gray

1785 Rev. Thomas Warton, on the refusal of Mason

1790 Henry J. Pye[?]

1813 Robert Southey, on the refusal of Sir Walter Scott

1843 William Wordsworth

1850 Lord Alfred Tennyson

1896 Alfred Austin[?]

1913 Robert Bridges

1930 John Masefield

1967 Cecil Day-Lewis

1972 Sir John Betjeman

1984 Ted Hughes (married to Sylvia Plath)

1999 Andrew Motion

See also: Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for the United States equivalent.

Further reading: Walter Hamilton Reference Books Published 1873



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