Ted Hughes' funeral service was held on 3rd November 1998 at St. Peter's Church, North Tawton, Devon.
His body was subsequently cremated in Exeter with only his close family in
attendance. (At the church service fellow poet Seamus Heaney read two of Hughes' own poems and Do Not Go Gentle
Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas.)
Ted Hughes Memorial Stone © Dartmoor
His ashes were scattered at a remote location on Dartmoor, close to
the source of the River Taw. A large granite stone bearing his name and
dates was laid to mark the spot.
Hughes first met fellow poet Sylvia Plath
in 1956 when she was studying at Newnham College Cambridge on a Fulbright
Scholarship from the USA. The couple were married the same year and after
a spell teaching in the US they returned to England - first to London and
then to Court Green, North Tawton in Devon. They separated when Sylvia
discovered that Hughes was having an affair with Assia Wevill - the wife
of a friend. She subsequently moved back to a flat in London where she
committed suicide in the cold winter of 1963.
In 1969 Hughes' relationship
with Assia Wevill also ended in tragedy when she killed herself and
their 4 year old daughter, Shura. His bleak collection Crow
(1972) is dedicated: 'In Memory of Assia and Shura'.
Hughes continued to live in Devon
following his second marriage to Carole Orchard in 1970. For
a number of years he worked as a farmer
on her father's farm - experiences which he recorded in Moortown.
Devon rivers - the Dart and the Taw also provided some of the inspiration for his
collection of poems River which was a collaboration with the photographer
Peter Keen. The words on his Westminster Abbey memorial stone were from
That Morning - one of the poems in River.