Edward Solomon Hyams 1910-1975

Edward Hyams lived in Molash at Nut Tree Cottages from 1946 to 1960 (?).
He was a writer, broadcaster, journalist, novelist, poet, translator, wine expert and gardener. He died in Besançon, France, in 1975.

He was the gardening correspondent of the Illustrated London News and The Spectator.

Following the end of the war in 1946 Edward Hyams lived self sufficiently in three acres of land at Molash in Kent. As well as growing fruit and vegetables he planted a small vineyard. It was written about by a colleague in The Spectator and generated a considerable amount of public interest. He was commissioned to write a book on the subject (The Grape Vine in England - see below) after which he produced other articles and publications. He found that many grape varieties were unsuitable and collaborated with scientist Ray Barrington Brock to find more successful varieties. Of the varieties planted the most successful were two vinifera crosses (Muller Thurgau and Madeleine Sylvaner and three hybrids, Seyval Blanc, Baco No1 and Tere Dore). He wrote about his life in Molash in his book "From the Waste Land", where he descibes in detail how he transformed an almost derelict house and garden (Nut Tree Cottages) into a garden providing food and income. It is difficult today to see the remains of that garden (If anyone wants to borrow this book I have a copy to lend - Paul Brewin)

Gardener and Wine Grower

This is the "Edward Hyams" rose.

Colin Ward (editor and publisher of Anarchy) wrote of Hyams:

Gardening writers tend not to be supporters of the political left. One exception was the celebrated Dr. Harry Roberts, famous as a 'penny doctor' in the East End of London early in this century, who wrote a long series of gardening books, and in his Keep Fit in Wartime of 1940 argued that '"we must apply the old communist formula: to each according to his need, from each according to his ability".

Another was Edward Hyams, a pioneer vine-grower in England known to anarchists for his excellent, but posthumous, biography of Proudhon (Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Revolutionary Mind and Works, John Murray, 1979). His long series of garden books included A History of Gardens and Gardening (Dent, 1971) and English Cottage Gardens (Nelson, 1970; Penguin, 1987) in which he described how between 1760 and 1867 the English ruling class stole seven million acres of common land, the property and livelihood of the common people of England", which he called a "gigantic crime, by far the grandest larceny in England's history".

A garden designed by Edward Hyams:
Hill House Nursery and Garden Landscove, near Ashburton, Devon. Edward Hyams, bought the house when it ceased to be a vicarage in 1960.

Built in 1850 adjacent to the village church, the house now stands in the centre of Hill House Nursery and Garden. Owned and run by Raymond Hubbard and his family, this exceptional garden was established by Edward Hyams, the gardening correspondent of the Illustrated London News and The Spectator. Now beautifully restored by the Hubbards (helped by Hyams' book and original paintings) , the garden, along with the nursery, are both open to the public and are a must for any budding horticulturalists.

Select Bibliography

Edward Hyams wrote, translated or edited over 120 books; two are directly relevant to Molash: "From the Waste Land" and "The grape vine in England".
  • Animals in the service of man: 10,000 years of domestication. London: Dent, 1972. xiv, 209 pp; plates; 23 cm. ISBN 0 460 03916 4

  • The Astrologer: a satirical novel. Longmans, Green & Co. London :1950. 244pp.

  • The changing face of England. St Albans. Paladin. 1977. 256p. ill. maps, plans, ports. 20cm. pbk. Originally published: as 'The changing face of England'. Harmondsworth : Kestrel Books, 1974

  • A Dictionary of Modern Revolution. London: Allen Lane, 1973. 322pp. 22 cm. ISBN 0 7139 0476 3

    In the last course of the last century the economic, political and social systems of a large part of the world have been transformed by more or less violent revolution. The absolutist Russian, Austrian, German, French, Ottoman and Chinese empires have vanished; but so has satisfaction with the potential for liberty and social justice once thought to be inherent in the parliamentary monarchies and republics.

  • Dionysus. A social history of the wine vine, etc. London : Thames & Hudson, 1965. 381pp. 128 illustrations, maps.

  • English cottage gardens; with photographs by Edwin Smith. London : Nelson, 1970. pp. 234; plates; illus. 29 cm. ISBN 17143 0212

  • An Englishman's garden. London : Thames & Hudson, [1967]. 160pp; plates. 23 cm.

  • From the Waste Land [an autobiography]. London: Turnstile Press, 1950. 247pp.

    The life, and local characters, of the author's Kentish village (Molash) is the background for this entertaining story of his experiences in turning three acres of wilderness into a market garden and English vineyard.

  • The grape vine in England. the history and practice of the cultivation of vines in England, an account of their origin and introduction, a guide to the plantation and care of vineyards today, a refutation of the notion that English weatheris hostile to the vine, a description of the way to make wine. London : Bodley Head, 1949. 208pp; photos; illus.

  • Great botanical gardens of the world; photography by William MacQuitty. London : Nelson, 1969. 288pp. 34 cm. ISBN 17 143004 2.

  • A history of gardens and gardening. London: Dent, 1971. ix, 345pp.: 33 plates; illus., plans. 29 cm. ISBN 460 03808 7.

  • Irish gardens; photographs by William MacQuitty. London : Macdonald & Co., 1967. 160pp.; plates; illus. 31 cm.

  • Killing no murder. A study of assassination as a political means. (Panther Modern society.) London : Panther Books, 1970. 251pp. 18 cm. ISBN 586 03251 7.

    Though most journalists and publicists have condemned political assassination, a few literary and political writers have actually advocated it, including the sixteenth-century English writer Edward Sexby and his twentieth-century ideological successor Edward Hyams. A year before the death of Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), his former officer Edward Sexby published a book entitled Killing No Murder which justified tyrannicide in general and called for Cromwell’s assassination in particular. “Killing No Murder” became a revolutionary political concept. Three centuries later Edward Hyams published a book of the same title; like Sexby, Hyams believed that political assassination was justified when the lives of many people could only be saved by assassinating their leader (Sexby, 1657; Hyams, 1969).

  • Odhams Fruit Growers' Encyclopaedia. Odhams Press : London, 1960. 253pp.

  • Ornamental Shrubs for Temperate Zone Gardens. London : Macdonald, 1965-67. 6 vols. 8o.

  • Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: his revolutionary life, mind and works. London : J. Murray, 1979. vii,304p. 23cm

  • Soil and Civilization. London : Thames and Hudson, 1952. vii, 312pp; b/w illus.; maps.

  • The story of England's flora. illustrated by Josephine Ranken Harmondsworth : Kestrel Books, 1979. 128pp. illus. 28cm.

  • Survival gardening. how to grow vegetables, herbs, fruit, nuts, wine and tobacco in garden or allotment. London. J. Murray. 1975. [8],197pp. illus. maps, plans. 23cm ISBN: 0719534097.

  • Terrorists and terrorism. London: Dent, 1975. 200pp. 23 cm. ISBN 0 460 07863 1

  • Vineyards in England. A practical handbook for the restoration of vine cultivation and wine making to southern Britain. Written by a number of British and French authorities and edited by E. Hyams. London : Faber & Faber, 229pp. illus.