Shells & Bright Stones

A biography of Leo Walmsley

Edited by Nona Stead

Smith Settle (Publishing) of Otley (now Dalesman Publishing Ltd) had been associated with the Society for nearly ten years, reprinting the Bramblewick Trilogy and Sound of the Sea. This cooperation was taken a stage further when Smith Settle published the first biography of Leo Walmsley, which has been written by members of the Society.

The presentation is of an exceptionally high standard, with fine quality paper and printing, twenty-seven black-and-white photographs and four maps. It is, indeed, a book anyone would be pleased to own.

Cover picture from the book 'Shells & Bright Stones'

Leo Walmsley is best known for his tales of treacherous tides, stormy seas and ferocious feuds between Yorkshire fishing folk. However, he also wrote of his idyllic time living by the sea by a Cornish creek and of his back-to-nature experiment in Wales. Whatever the subject, he always drew heavily on personal experience; yet in many ways his own story was the strangest of them all.

Leo Walmsley (1892-1966) was born in Shipley but was brought up in Robin Hood's Bay. Awarded the Military Cross for bravery in the East African Campaign in the First World War, he then embarked on a bohemian existence in London with renowned sculptors Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and others. On moving to Cornwall he became a close friend of Daphne du Maurier before selling the film rights for his book, Three Fevers and returning to Yorkshire to live off the land.

The author of over twenty novels, travelogues and factual books, Leo Walmsley was an accomplished fisherman, naturalist, geologist and inventor. Shells & Bright Stones is the first biography of this remarkable man and contains contributions from Walmsley experts and from his widow, youngest son and daughter.

Published May 2001
244 pages with 27 black-and-white photographs and 4 maps.

Hardback 1-85825-141-9    £18.00

Softback 1-85825-142-7     £13.00 – SOLD OUT

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Book-signing queue

Part of the book-signing queue at the biography's launch, May 2001

"J B Priestley said of Walmsley's writing: 'Everything is made plain, made real, and is grandly alive.' So too is this absorbing biography."

Harry Mead, Northern Echo

Book-signing group

Society Chairman, Neville Buckley, with the biography's publisher and contributors.

"...the book is all the better for revealing Leo as he really was. I couldn't put it down. Wonderful job!!!"

Dr Sean Walmsley