The Story of a Norfolk Farm

Hardback, Clive Holloway Books, new illustrated edition, 1986; with woodcuts by Christopher Wormall and introduction by Richard Williamson.

Book condition: a very nice copy, with dust wrapper.
Price: £12.50


The first edition was published in 1941, and the publisher's blurb is succinct: 'A few years ago, during the intense farming depression, Henry Williamson, foreseeing trouble, decided to become a farmer. Under-capitalized and with no experience of farming, and against all the good advice of his friends, he bought a yeoman-sized farm in East Anglia. This book is the story of the struggle.'


The publisher's blurb for the new 1986 edition states: 'This is a reprint of Henry Williamson's autobiographical account of his first two years as an amateur farmer, now superbly illustrated with original woodcut drawings.


'Drained of inspiration after writing 20 books of wildlife and countryside fantasy, Williamson invests his entire capital in a small, run-down, Norfolk farm.


'He hasn't the slightest idea of how to go about the job of farming, and the stories of his hopelessness, told with dry humour, are offset by a fascinating account of how, gradually, things actually begin to work.


'There are beautifully written passages describing the Norfolk countryside and its characters, as can be expected from the author of Tarka the Otter and Salar the Salmon.


'In the opinion of Ian Niall this down-to-earth and thoroughly entertaining account of what happened, when the dreamer came face to face with reality, is Williamson's greatest literary achievement.


'The book is not "dated". It is not the means, but the concept of going into farming when you are wholly ignorant but equally determined, that is the basic ingredient of this story.


'The reader will not come away feeling that he has learnt a great deal about how to run a farm; but equally he needs no prior experience of farming himself in order to enjoy this book to its full extent.


'Henry's son, Richard Williamson, has written the foreword to this new edition.'


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