10 Facts About Alfred Noyes

Here are ten facts about Alfred Noyes, the poet who wrote The Highwayman.

  • Alfred Noyes was born in Wolverhampton on 16th September 1880.
  • His father was a teacher and Alfred moved with his family to the Welsh coast when his father got a job in Aberystwyth. Alfred was inspired by the landscape of Wales.

  • He attended Exeter College, Oxford in 1898. He didn’t do very well with his studies, but he was an excellent rower.
  • His first volume of published poetry was called The Loom of Years. It came out in 1902.
  • The Highwayman, Alfred Noyes’ most well-known and best-loved poem, was published in a volume called Forty Singing Seamen and Other Poems.
  • Noyes moved to the United States and became Professor of Modern English Literature at Princeton University.
  • During World War 1 he was attached to the Foreign Office and worked on creating propaganda.
  • He produced lots of other epic works of poetry, including: The Torch-Bearers, Beyond the Desert and Drake.
  • Noyes became a Roman Catholic in 1927 and completed a book of theological essays called The Unknown God.
  • Alfred Noyes died on 25th June 1958. He is buried on the Isle of Wight where he lived with his wife and children.

Extra Alfred Noyes Facts

  • During World War 2, Alfred Noyes lived in Canada and the United States.
  • He wrote an autobiography called Two Worlds for Memory, focusing on his life spent on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Noyes started to lose his eyesight towards the end of his life, and his later works were all dictated.

Alfred Noyes and The Highwayman

  • The poem was written by Alfred Noyes when he was 24 years old. He wrote it when he was staying in a cottage in Bagshot Heath in West Sussex.
  • It took him about two days to complete it.
  • The Highwayman is a narrative poem – it tells a story.
  • The poem has been set to music on several occasions, and it has been turned into a novel by Deborah Ballou. The children’s book, The Highway Rat by Julia Donaldson is also thought to be partly inspired by the poem, as are the children’s books by Nicola Morgan.

Fleetwood Mac, the English pop group, created a video version of The Highwayman poem to use as the music video for their song Everywhere. Check it out below.

What next? Discover some facts about Dick Turpin, a real-life 18th century highwayman.