Maurice Hewlett (Maurice Henry Hewlett) Biography
(1861–1923), (Maurice Henry Hewlett), The Forest Lovers, Richard Yea-and-Nay
English novelist, poet, and essayist, born in Kent. He was called to the Bar but never practised, and during 1897–1900 he was Keeper of Land Revenue Records. Instant success came with his first novel, The Forest Lovers (1898), a historical romance set in medieval England. He wrote numerous other historical novels and romances including Richard Yea-and-Nay (1900), about Richard the Lionheart; The Queen's Quair (1904), about Mary, Queen of Scots; Gudrid the Fair (1918), about the Viking discovery of North America; and Mainwaring (1921). His comic novels about modern life in which a wandering scholar, John Maxwell Senhouse, features prominently include Halfway House (1908), Open Country (1909), and Rest Harrow (1910). Hewlett is now particularly remembered for The Song of the Plow (1910), a long narrative poem about the plight of the agricultural labourer from the Norman Conquest onwards. Hugh Walpole observed that ‘it was as a poet that he made in his last years his passionate declarations of belief in the English peasantry as the only hope for England’. Wiltshire Essays (1921), Extempore Essays (1922), and the posthumous Last Essays (1924) display his often leisurely style to advantage. The Letters of Maurice Hewlett (1926) were edited by Laurence Binyon.