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Charles Causley, the man: a life, and a legacy

Before I was made Poet Laureate, I was asked to name my choice of the best poet for the job. Without hesitation I named Charles Causley … a poet for whom the title might have been invented afresh.”  Ted Hughes, Poet Laureate 1994-1998

Charles Causley
Charles Causley (photo reproduced with kind permission of University of Exeter, Library Special Collections)

Charles Causley was born in Launceston, Cornwall in 1917 and is acknowledged as one of the very finest poets of the twentieth century. He lived in Launceston all his life, apart from six years in the Royal Navy.

After World War II Charles Causley worked as a teacher in Launceston. He was a popular and admired figure and this admiration is evident in the great affection in which his memory is held today.

His poetic and wider literary reputation was worldwide. It brought him many awards, including the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry and the Ingersoll/TS Eliot Award. He was made a CBE in 1986 and one of the Royal Society of Literature’s Companions of Literature in 2000. He received an Hon. D.Litt from the University of Exeter, where his archive is now held.

Cuasley and his mother
Charles Causley and his mother (photo reproduced with kind permission of University of Exeter, Library Special Collections)

Charles Causley died in 2003 and is buried next to his mother in St. Thomas Churchyard, barely 100 yards from where he was born.

Cyprus Well, Causley’s home which is now managed by The Charles Causley Trust

The Charles Causley Trust  exists to keep alive the memory of the late Charles Causley and to promote writing in the community and the region in which he lived. A central focus of the work of the Trust is the continued development of Charles Causley’s house, No.2 Cyprus Well, in Launceston, and its preservation and interpretation for future generations.

We hope that the Charles Causley Festival will further enhance his reputation and bring his work to the attention of new audiences. We also want to offer the opportunity for audiences, both local and visiting, to hear and meet contemporary poets, writers and artists in intimate surroundings, enabling people of all ages to enjoy words and music in this historic town, the ancient capital of Cornwall.