Horace Annesley Vachell

Horace Annesley Vachell (30 October 1861 – 10 January 1955) was a prolific English writer of novels, plays, short stories, essays and autobiographical works.


Born in Sydenham, Kent on 30 October 1861, he was educated at Harrow and Sandhurst. After a short period in the Rifle Brigade, he went to California where he became partner in a land company and married Lydie Phillips, his partner's daughter. His wife died in 1895 after the birth of their second child. He is said to have introduced the game of polo to Southern California.

After 17 years abroad, by 1900 Vachell was back in England and went on to write over 50 volumes of fiction including a popular school story, The Hill (1905), which gives an idealised view of life at Harrow and of the friendship between two boys. He also wrote 22 plays, the most successful of which in his lifetime was Quinneys (1914), made into a film in 1919 and again in 1927. 'Quinneys' was first published as a book by John Murray, London in 1914. It was "a book of friends; of quaint human characters against the background of a shop for faked antiques and genuine love."[1] Another play, The Case of Lady Camber (1915), was the basis for the film Lord Camber's Ladies (1932), produced by Alfred Hitchcock but not directed by him. It was later adapted again as The Story of Shirley Yorke. Vachell's last autobiographical book, More from Methuselah (1951), was published in the year of his 90th birthday.

Although some fiction, like the stories in Bunch Grass (1912), is set in American ranching country, much of his writing concerns a comfortably prosperous English way of life which was echoed in Widcombe Manor, his beautiful old house near Bath, and his old-fashioned, distinguished appearance and manner. He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

He died on 10 January 1955 in Somerset.


  • The Procession Of Life, (1899)
  • John Charity: A Romance Of Yesterday, (1900)
  • The Pinch Of Prosperity: A Study Of Some Twisted Lives, (1903)
  • The Hill: A Romance Of Friendship, (1905)
  • The Face Of Clay: An Interpretation, (1906)
  • The Waters Of Jordan, (1908)
  • The Impending Sword: An Adventure By The Sea, (1909)
  • Bunch Grass: A Chronicle Of Life On A Cattle Ranch, (1912)
  • Blinds Down: A Chronicle Of Charminster, (1912)
  • Humpty Dumpty (date unknown)
  • Searchlights (1915)
  • The Case of Lady Camber (1915)
  • Who is he? (1915)
  • Pen (1916)
  • Quinneys, (1916)
  • Mrs Pomeroy's Reputation (1916)
  • Mr Jubilee Drax (1916)
  • The Mirror (1917)
  • Fishpingle: A Romance Of The Countryside, (1917)
  • Whitewash, (1920)
  • Change Partners, (1923)
  • Quinney's Adventures, (1924)
  • Arising Out Of That, (1935)
  • Joe Quinney's Jodie, (1936)
  • A Drama In Sunshine



  1. "Books that demand notice". The Independent. 14 December 1914. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  2. "Author - Horace Annesley VACHELL". Author and Book Info.
  3. "Horace Annesley Vachell". Great War Theatre. Retrieved 17 August 2019.

Further reading

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