Biography Henry Treece

Henry Treece

photo of Henry Treece
  • Time Period1911 - 1966
  • Place
  • CountryEngland

Poet Biography

Henry Treece was born at Wednesbury in Staffordshire, England in December 1911. He studied English, History and Spanish at Birmingham Univerity from where he graduated in 1933. During this time he began writing verse and also appeared in University productions.

Following his graduation he became a teacher. Whilst teaching at The College, Cleobury Mortimer, he met Mary Woodman who became his wife in 1939. That year, of course, also saw the outbreak of war and Treece gave up teaching to serve as an intelligence officer with the Royal Air Force Bomber Command. After the war he became Senior English Master Barton-on-Humber Grammar School and he remained there until ill health led to his retirement in December 1959.

As a writer he is remembered as a poet and historical novelist. In the 1930s he and J.F. Hendry founded the Apocalyptic movement in poetry - a reaction to the rationalist approach of W.H. Auden and his contemporaries. During this time four volumes of his poems were published. Contact with George Orwell then helped him to enter the world of radio broadcasting.

With regard to his historical novels, his first was The Dark Island in 1952 and a number of other Celtic and Greek tales followed. His last work for adults was The Green Man in 1966. He also produced some historical books for children, including Legions of the Eagle (set in Roman times) and a trilogy of books set in the time of the Vikings.

In the later years of his life Treece suffered from coronary thrombosis. He died in June 1966.