The Children of Shallowford

Hardback, Faber, first edition, 1939, illustrated with photographs mostly taken by HW.

Book condition: lacking the dustwrapper, front joint loose but not broken, some staining to front free endpaper, which has an inscription in ink, but a very nice reading copy of this first edition.
Price: £5.00


There is no publisher's blurb to the first edition, but the blurb to the 1978 revised edition states: 'In the late 1920s Henry Williamson and his wife Loetitia moved with their eldest son to Shallowford, a thatched cottage on the south side of Exmoor. They lived there for seven years, during which time the family expanded to include four sons and a daughter. Henry Williamson believed that children should be brought up in the freedom of the countryside, and at Shallowford he was able to put his theories amply to the test.


'This is the story of those children, who grew up beside the two miles of clear water stream rented along with the cottage; who played in the valley of the Bray; who bathed in the river in warm summer weather; who fed the salmon and trout in the pool below Humpy Bridge; who revelled in the stories of Cold Pudding which their father told them.


'As well as being an important memoir of the period of Henry Williamson's life that gave us Salar the Salmon and A Clear Water Stream, The Children of Shallowford is also a wonderfully perceptive insight into the world of childhood. Brian Vesey-Fitzgerald has called it "a book of time, a golden time, remembered. A wonderfully happy picture of a happy family life in a beautiful countryside. A faithful portrait of young children and a truly remarkable mother."


'First published in 1939, two years after the Williamsons emigrated from Shallowford to their Norfolk farm, The Children of Shallowford was re-issued in a revised version in 1959, and has been unavailable for many years. This new edition, which has an Afterword by Richard Williamson – the youngest child of the Shallowford days, and himself a writer – is illustrated with many precious family photographs.'


(For a further consideration of the book and the background to the writing of it, see Anne Williamson's The Children of Shallowford.)