Oxted & District History Society - Talk
Oxted & District History Society

Chris Bruce-Jones, local author, gave an illustrated lecture to the Oxted & District History Society on ‘Henry Williamson of Tarka: Naturalist, Farmer, Writer & Poet’.

Born in 1895 and educated in London, Henry Williamson served in the Great War, attending the 1914 Christmas Truce.  He was invalidated out 3 times, in 1915, in 1917, when he suffered a gas attack and in 1918.  He left the Army in 1919, met leading authors in the ‘Tomorrow Club’, which he joined in 1920 and took up full time writing in 1921.  He moved to Georgeham, North Devon, where he was fascinated by the wildlife.  During his career, he published 53 books.  ‘Tarka the Otter’ was published in 1927. Williamson was awarded a £100 literary prize and quickly became very popular.  ‘Salar the Salmon’ followed in 1935.  He married in 1925, his wife bearing him 6 children, but had many affairs, although his marriage lasted until after World War II, by which time he had purchased and ran a farm in Norfolk.

Williamson flirted with the Nazis, attending the 1935 Nuremberg Rally and joined Mosley’s Fascist Union, before becoming disillusioned with Hitler.  He continued to write books and articles until shortly before his death in 1977.


Henry Williamson of Tarka: Naturalist, Farmer, Writer & Poet