John Betjeman

Lover of Essex

Sir John Betjeman

Many have loved the Essex countryside but few could thus express that love :

And as I turn the colour-plates
Edwardian Essex opens wide,
Mirrored in ponds and seen through gates,
Sweet uneventful countryside.

This is taken from his poem “Essex”, in which John Betjeman mentions just half a dozen locations.  The fact that the first mentioned is Benfleet may well indicate that he had a particular soft spot for the “Village”.

“The vagrant visitor erstwhile,”
My colour-plate book says to me,
“Could wend by hedgerow-side and stile,
From Benfleet down to Leigh-on Sea.”

This popular “people’s poet” died in May 1984.

Copyright John Betjeman by permission of the Estate of John Betjeman

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