Alfred Tennyson was born on August 6, 1809, in Somersby, a village in Lincolnshire, England; one of eight sons - there were four daughters as well – of George Clayton Tennyson, a country clergyman, occupying the position of the rector at Somersby, Benniworth and Bag Enderby, and Elizabeth nee Fytche, the daughter of a vicar. Alfred’s second and third elder brothers, Frederick Tennyson and Charles Tennyson Turner, were also poets.
Alfred’s father, George Clayton Tennyson, was the elder of the two sons of a prosperous businessman who favored his younger son and thus left Dr. Tennyson embittered and relatively impoverished. He was an educated man, a country clergyman, and Alfred read widely in his father's library. As Dr. Tennyson grew older, he grew more passionate and melancholy: he took to drink, he suffered from lapses of memory, and he once even tried to kill his eldest son. Misfortune and madness, not surprisingly, haunted the whole Tennyson family. The year he died, Dr. Tennyson said of his children, "They are all strangely brought up."