Sunday, 16 October 2016

Helen Lanyon (1882 – 1979) – British poet

My thanks to Carley for asking me to research Helen Lanyon.
Helen was born Helen Redfern in Kensington in 1882.  Her father was Clement Cotterell Redfern, a barrister and her mother was Margaret A.B. Redfern.  Helen had a half-sister called Clara, who was born in 1871 and a sister called Joan, who was born in 1882.

Helen married Charles James Lanyon, great-grandson of Sir Charles Lanyon the Irish architect, on 23rd August 1902. In his obituary in 1940, Charles's wife Helen was described as the “distinguished poet” and mention was made of her poems about the Antrim Glens and her collection entitled “The Hill O’Dreams, and other poems” (published in Dublin by Sealy, Bryers and Walker in 1909).   The poem “At Easter” is included in that collection.  This was set to music by the composer Sir Herbert Hamilton Harty (1879 - 1941).  Hamilton Harty joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve during WW1 and served in the North Sea.

Helen and her husband had a daughter called Carla Lanyon Lanyon who was also a poet and writer. Carla seems to have married Edward S Hacker in 1927 and they had a son.

In this anthology, she was described as Miss Helen Lanyon :

Helen Lanyon died in 1979.

With thanks to history researchers Sue Robinson of Wenches in Trenches the Roses of No Mans Land and Kate O’Mara for their help in finding out when Helen was born, was married and died.  

All we need now is a photograph of Helen Lanyon.