a descriptive bibliography of the writings of Henry Williamson


prepared by Anne Williamson



Please note: This 'descriptive bibliography' is now complete. It creates an unrivalled online resource on the life and writings of Henry Williamson. The Henry Williamson Society Journal is abbreviated to HWSJ throughout.






















This annotated list of Henry Williamson’s writings is not meant to be an academic definitive bibliography, with exhaustive technical notes of every edition, which tends to be of interest purely to collectors and researchers. Such information can be found in the excellent volume:


Hugoe Matthews, Henry Williamson: A Bibliography (Halsgrove, 2004)


Rather it is offered in the spirit of an overview of the writings, with descriptive notes which will give an idea of the content and flavour of the various books and their critical reception; provide a useful background to Henry Williamson’s life’s work; and provide a companion to my biographical volumes (for details see elsewhere in this site).


It is therefore, perforce, of a general nature: readers wanting or needing detailed criticism or analyses should consult the various critical writings and particularly the many and varied articles within the Henry Williamson Society Journals (all listed within this website).


I would like to point out here that the reviews quoted have had to be gathered together from all over the place. They used to arrive folded up very small in tiny Durrant's envelopes. To begin with HW (or a.n. other) carefully pasted them into scrapbooks, but by the mid nineteen-thirties this practice had ceased. It seems that then they were just thrown into any box that was handy, often still in their envelopes (especially in later years). It has been quite a lengthy task just finding and sorting and filing them. Thus it is inevitable that many are still missing.


The range of Henry Williamson’s total life’s work is extensive: over fifty books and many articles and short stories in newspapers and magazines, of which the major number have been gathered together and published by the Henry Williamson Society.


Henry Williamson’s writing falls into fairly clear main groups. The most obvious group contains his nature writings, of which Tarka the Otter and Salar the Salmon are the most well-known examples; but also includes The Peregrine’s Saga, The Old Stag, and The Phasian Bird. Secondly, there are those books which are concerned with the First World War: The Wet Flanders Plain and The Patriot’s Progress, and several volumes of A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight. A further grouping concerns the social history aspect of his work, as in The Village Book and The Labouring Life, and, although fictional novels, much of The Flax of Dream series and the various volumes of the Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight. Farming is a theme throughout. But all these various aspects can be found cross-hatched in any one book.


Although inevitably some readers are interested only in one particular aspect, to truly comprehend Henry Williamson’s achievement it is necessary to take account of all his writing, for it is only then that one can grasp the full extent of this complex and contradictory man. He was a man of difficult temperament, but he had a depth of talent that he used to the full. The whole of life (including that of the animal and plant world, and indeed much that is unseen but of the soul and mind) can be found within his writings, particularly the social history of the first half of the twentieth century.


Henry Williamson presented a selection of his manuscripts concerned with his ‘West Country’ writings to the University of Exeter in 1965. Some idea of the importance of Henry Williamson within the writing hierarchy can be seen in the fact that after his death the main bulk of his manuscripts and typescripts were accepted by the Nation under the National Heritage Scheme. He was the first author to be accorded that honour. These were all also deposited at Exeter University. The remainder of his extensive and important personal archive (letters, diaries, photographs, etc.) are being presented to Exeter University by courtesy of his Literary Estate (his family). The Henry Williamson Society's own archive is also kept at Exeter. Copyright of all his writings, whether published or unpublished, belongs to the Henry Williamson Literary Estate and remains until seventy years after his death, i.e. August 2047. Copyright enquiries should be directed here.



1920–1921 The Weekly Dispatch articles
1921–1936   The Flax of Dream: a novel in four volumes with a pendant celestial fantasy
1921      The Beautiful Years
1922      Dandelion Days
1924      The Dream of Fair Women
1928      The Pathway
1933      The Star-born
1936      The Flax of Dream (one-volume edition)
1922  The Lone Swallows
1923  The Peregrine's Saga
1926 The Old Stag
1927 Tarka the Otter
1929 The Ackymals (limited edition)
1929 The Linhay on the Downs (limited edition)
1929 The Wet Flanders Plain
1930 The Patriot's Progress
1930 The Village Book
1931 The Wild Red Deer of Exmoor
1932 The Labouring Life
1933 The Gold Falcon
1933 On Foot in Devon
1934 The Linhay on the Downs
1935 Devon Holiday
1935 Salar the Salmon

'Fergaunt the Fox' (The book that never was)

1937 Goodbye West Country
1939 The Children of Shallowford
1940–1948 New editions
1941 The Story of a Norfolk Farm 
1941 As the Sun Shines
1941 Genius of Friendship: T. E. Lawrence
1945 The Sun in the Sands
1945 Tales of a Devon Village and Life in a Devon Village
1948 The Phasian Bird 
1949 Scribbling Lark
1953 Tales of Moorland and Estuary  
1958 A Clear Water Stream 
1960 In the Woods  (together with HW and the St Alberts Press, with the Aylesford Review)
1960 The Henry Williamson Animal Saga
1970 Collected Nature Stories
1972  The Scandaroon
1951–1969 A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight
1951      The Dark Lantern
1952      Donkey Boy
1953      Young Phillip Maddison
     How Dear Is Life
1955      A Fox Under My Cloak
1957      The Golden Virgin
1958      Love and the Loveless
1960      A Test to Destruction
1961      The Innocent Moon
1962      It Was The Nightingale
1963      The Power of the Dead
1965      The Phoenix Generation 
1966      A Solitary War
1967      Lucifer before Sunrise
1969      The Gale of the World
1926 & 1934 'Reality in War Literature' in The London Mercury; and in The Linhay on the Downs
1954 'Threnos for T. E. Lawrence' in The European
1958 'Out of the Prisoning Tower' in The Spectator
1958 'Some Nature Writers and Civilisation' (Wedmore Memorial Lecture given by HW to the Royal Society for Literature)
19661967 Francis Thompson: 'A First Adventure with Francis Thompson' and 'In Darkest England' (Two essays; also includes a look at the life and work of Thompson; his influence on HW; and HW and the Francis Thomson Society)
1971 'Reflections on the Death of a Field Marshal' in Contemporary Review
1971 The Twelfth Man (Essay, 'Genesis of Tarka', in an anthology published for Prince Philip's 50th birthday)
1935–1971 Radio broadcasts for the BBC, a checklist (See Spring Days in Devon and Pen and Plough for surviving transcripts)
1940 'Immortal Corn' (Synopses for a proposed film)
1966 The Survivor: A Sunday Night Feature on the author of Tarka the Otter (BBC1, broadcast on 8 May 1968)
1968 No Man's Land (BBC1, broadcast on 10 November 1968)

Desert Island Discs (BBC link), with Roy Plomley (BBC Radio 4, broadcast on Saturday, 11 October 1969)

1972 The Vanishing Hedgerows (BBC2, broadcast on 20 August 1971)
1929 A Soldier's Diary of the Great War [Anon.; by Douglas Bell] (Introduction by HW)

Miscellanea of the early 1930s:

     The Book of Fleet Street (‘Confessions of a Fake Merchant’)

     The Children’s Playhour Book (‘Timbo’s Dream’; ‘Educating the Cuckoo’)

     Decent Fellows by John Heygate (Introduction)

     Little Peter the Great by H. A. Manhood (Foreword)

     Daily Express (‘What I am Teaching My Children About God’)

     The Compleat Angler by Izaak Walton (Introduction)

1934 Winged Victory by V. M. Yeates (Tribute)
19341966 Richard Jefferies (Introductions to; and other 'Nature' miscellanea)
1950 The Unreturning Spring by James Farrar (Edited and Introduction by HW)
1952 A Fight against Tithes by George J. Gill (Epilogue by HW)
1960 Letters from a Soldier by Walter Robson (Edited and Introduction by HW)
1966 My Favourite Country Stories (Edited and Introduction by HW)
1973 The Wipers Times (Foreword by HW) 

Book reviews (by HW; all known reviews or notices, covering 103 books)


A Bibliography and a Critical Survey of the Works of Henry Williamson

by I. Waveney Girvan; together with authentic bibliographical annotations by another hand (i.e. HW)

1932 The Dreamer of Devon by Herbert Faulkner West
1943 Norfolk Life by Lilias Rider Haggard and Henry Williamson
1943–50 The Adelphi (HW's contributions to and involvement with this literary magazine)

HW’s attendance at, and involvement in, The World Wildlife Fund Second International Congress, held in London on 16, 17 and 18 November 1970

[1971] 'New Forest Child' by Phyllis Dorothy Compton (with help from HW) [unpublished]
1937–1971 Letters to The Times
1987–2007 Posthumous collections
1987      Days of Wonder
1988      From a Country Hilltop
1990/91      A Breath of Country Air
1992      Spring Days in Devon, and Other Broadcasts
1993      Pen and Plough: Further Broadcasts (with a checklist of all HW's known BBC radio broadcasts)
1994      Threnos for T. E. Lawrence, and Other Writings
1995      Green Fields and Pavements: A Norfolk Farmer in Wartime
1996      The Notebook of a Nature-lover
2000      Words on the West Wind: Selected Essays from The Adelphi, 1924–1950

     Henry Williamson: A brief look at his Life and Writings in North Devon in the 1920 and '30s

2001      Indian Summer Notebook
2003      Heart of England: Contributions to the Evening Standard, 19391941

     Chronicles of a Norfolk Farmer: Contributions to the Daily Express, 1937–1939

2005      Stumberleap, and Other Devon Writings: Contributions to the Daily Express, 19151935
2007      Atlantic Tales: Contributions to The Atlantic Monthly, 19271947