(1848 - 1887)
“The lover of nature has the highest art in his soul”

Richard Jefferies (christened John Richard Jefferies) had a passion for the English countryside and the richness that he saw all around him,  and is best known for his prolific and sensitive writing on natural history, rural life and agriculture in late Victorian England.  He was born on a small farm in Coate, Swindon, (his childhood there providing the background to all his major works of fiction), started writing for journals, including the  Swindon Advertiser , in 1866, and then moved to Surbiton in 1877 in order to access the London publishers.  The following few years were particularly fruitful, both in terms of novels and of essays, and his literary skill developed rapidly. During this time he wrote the Bevis books (aimed at children in which the eponymous character interacts with the natural world),  and a series of essays, including those originally published in The Standard, on the daily life and circumstances of English farmers, labourers and their wives, written with acute observation but without sentimentality, which were collected into a 2 volume work entitled Hodge and His Masters – it remains an accurate and valuable description of a now vanished way of life.

In 1881 Jefferies contracted what was probably tuberculosis and by 1886 all his savings had been used up on medical bills and he was almost entirely dependent on the charity of his friends. Aged only 38 he died on 14th August 1887.  Jefferies remains unsurpassed as a descriptive writer of the landscape and natural history of England and as a chronicler of its rural life.

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Books by this author




Wood Magic



Richard Jefferies Centenary 1848-1948



Jefferies Land



Hodge and His Masters