Unseen Sylvia Plath letters claim Mexborough poet Ted Hughes beat her two days before miscarriage

Unpublished letters written by poet Sylvia Plath claim Mexborough-based literary giant Ted Hughes beat her two days before she miscarried their second child.

Ted Hughes.
Ted Hughes.

The letters, written between February 1960 and February 1963, say that Hughes wanted her dead, according to The Guardian.

The accusations are among claims written in the aftermath of the pair's marriage, which saw American born Plath commit suicide after the couple separated.

After her death, Hughes said his wife’s journals from this time were lost, including the last volume, which he said he destroyed to protect their children, Frieda and Nicholas.

The letters, sent to Dr Ruth Barnhouse, who treated the writer in the US after her first documented attempt to kill herself in August 1953, are part of an archive amassed by feminist scholar Harriet Rosenstein seven years after the poet’s death, as research for an unfinished biography.

The archive came to light after an antiquarian bookseller put it up for sale for $875,000 (£695,000).

The most shocking passages reveal Plath’s accusation of physical abuse shortly before miscarrying their second child in 1961, in a letter dated 22 September 1962 – the same month the poets separated.

Hughes was born in Mytholmroyd, where he spent his early years and lived there until he was seven, when the family moved to Mexborough.

His parents ran a newsagent’s and tobacconist’s shop and during his time in the area, he explored Manor Farm at Old Denaby, which he said he would come to know “better than any place on earth”.

His earliest poem “The Thought Fox”, and earliest story “The Rain Horse” were recollections of the area.

After university, Hughes met, dated and married American poet Sylvia Plath.

Beset by depression, and with a history of suicide attempts, Plath took her own life in 1963. Hughes was devastated and did not write poetry again for three years after the death.

His partner after Plath, Assia Wevill, also took her own life in 1969.

Throughout the 1970s, Hughes continued to write and published several children’s books with critics lauding him as one of the best poets of his generation, leading to him being named Poet Laurerate by The Queen in 1984, a title which he held right up until his death in 1998 at the age of 68.