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Masefield was born in the town of Ledbury, surrounded by beautiful countryside in the region of Herefordshire, England, on June 1, 1878. This picturesque area, located near the border of Wales, was described by Masefield as his ‘Paradise’. As a young boy, Masefield was able to roam his nearby countryside, delighting in watching the ships moving up and down the local canal; wandering alone through the meadows and woods; and taking an interest in and observing the beauty of the natural flora and fauna of the area.

Although the natural surroundings were beautiful to Masefield, he encountered several tragedies early in his life. At the age of 6, his mother passed away shortly after giving birth to John’s youngest sister, Norah. Fourteen months later, both of his then living Grandparents passed away, and in 1890, his father suffered a mental breakdown, the family was required to hospitalize him. A year later, he also passed away.

In the dark womb
where I began
My mother's life
made me a man.
Through all the months
of human birth
Her beauty fed
my common earth.
I cannot see,
nor breathe, nor stir,
But through the death
of some of her.

John Masefield