Henley, William Ernest

BORN 23 Aug 1849, Gloucester, Gloucestershire - DIED 11 Jul 1903, Woking (near London)
GRAVE LOCATION Cockayne Hatley, Bedfordshire: St. John the Baptist Churchyard (ashes)

William Ernst Henley was the son of a bookseller. Hism other Mary Morgan descended from the poet Joseph Wharton. When he was twelve he his left a leg amputated nelow the knee. He was often in hospital because his right foot was also diseased, but he refused another amputation and in 1875 he was discharged.

He wrote articles for the Encyclopędia Brittanica and for London magazines. From 1887 onwards he was the editor of "London" and he published work by his friend R.L. Stevenson as well as his own works. Stevenson based Long John Silver in "Treasure Island" on Henley.

Henley edited several other magazines. His young daughter Margaret Emma (b.1888) called J.M. Barrie 'friendy Wendy', thus inspiring Barrie for Wendy in "Peter Pan". Sadly Margaret died in 1894 before she could read the book. When Henley died in 1903 he was buried beside his daughter and his wife was buried at the same spot in later years.


Cenotaph for William Ernest Henley at St. Paul's Cathedral, London. His ashes were buried at St. John the Baptist Churchyard, Cockayne Hatley, Bedfordshire.
Picture by Androom (26 Mar 1996)


• Daiches, David (ed.), The Penguin Companion to Literature 1, Penguin Books, 1971
The Times

Henner, Jean-Jacques

Published: 19 Oct 2008
Last update: 25 Apr 2022