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Monica Edwards Punchbowl Farm No Mistaking Corker Black Hunting Whip Punchbowl Midnight Spirit of Punchbowl Farm The Wanderer Punchbowl Harvest Frenchman's Secret The Cownappers The Outsider Fire in the Punchbowl The Wild One

Monica Le Doux Edwards (nee Newton) was born on 8 November 1912 in Belper, Derbyshire.  One of four children, her father, the Revd Harry Newton was a vicar.  In 1927 he accepted the living of Rye Harbour, in East Sussex.  Although her brothers and sister were educated (her brothers with a tutor and her sister at boarding school), Monica initially was not, and she took full advantage of her school-free state; roaming the marsh and befriending the fishermen and villagers, who later became part of her Romney Marsh series

In 1933, Monica married Bill Edwards, and in 1947 they and their two children, Shelley and Sean, moved to Pitlands Farm in Surrey, which Monica bought at an auction when her attention was perhaps more on the book she was reading at the time.  The house was neglected:  “There’s no water, no light, no drains, no bathroom, and the Other Place is at the bottom of the garden,” and the land was not a great deal better.   In The Unsought Farm Monica describes how they slowly reclaimed the land and made the house habitable.  The farm, re-named Punchbowl Farm, was to provide the inspiration for the Punchbowl Farm series.  Unlike a lot of Monica fans, I far prefer the Punchbowl Farm series, probably because they were closer to my own experience.  Like Lindsey, I wanted things to remain the same.  I was devastated when my grandparents sold off for housing the small field and stables where we had played for days on end as children; though I could see why they felt they had to.  

The books form two series:  the Punchbowl Farm series about the Thornton family and Romney Marsh, featuring Tamzin and her friends Rissa, Roger and Meryon. The books are not really pony books:  they don’t follow the usual pony book format focusing on looking after the pony, schooling it and going in for gymkhanas.  The ponies are often integral to the story:  Cascade, for example, performs an heroic role in Storm Ahead, and the ponies are used to help patrol the boundaries in No Entry, but the real interest of the stories is in how the characters react to the events going on around them.  Monica Edwards never patronised her characters or her readers; she understood the tensions that happen in a family, and between friends, and set them brilliantly in the settings she obviously loved.

The majority of Monica Edwards’ books were published by Collins.  Many of the Punchbowl Farm and Romney Marsh books were also published by Armada, who abridged some (but not all) of the stories.  Storm Ahead and The White Riders were published by Puffin.  There were also Children’s Book Club editions of some titles, and John Goodchild published (revised) editions.  On a more hopeful note for those of us who have yet to find all the books, Girls Gone By are reprinting all of Monica Edwards’ works.  I stock these, as well of course as the original books and paperbacks.

Finding the books:

Although Girls Gone By are re-publishing, even these titles go out of print, so it’s best to pounce immediately they’re published.  Once out of print, these reprints become expensive.  Collecting Monica Edwards is alas a pricey business, and it’s impossible to be precise about how hard or otherwise a title is to find.  I’ve attempted a fairly broad-brush categorisation.  

Very hard to find:  A Wind is Blowing, The Wild One, The Nightbird, Storm Ahead  (though paperbacks are cheaper). Dolphin Summer
Hard to find:  (as original hardbacks)  Fire in the Punchbowl, White Riders, The Midnight Horse, Operation Seabird, Spirit of the Punchbowl, Punchbowl Midnight, Cargo of Horses, Punchbowl Harvest, Joan Goes Farming, Strangers to the Marsh, Under the Rose, The Hoodwinkers, The Outsider, The Cownappers, No Going Back

Reasonable:  the John Goodchild hardback reprints; The Nightbird - Armada pb, Dolphin Summer - Armada pb, Summer of the Great Secret (Collins Seagull), Black Hunting Whip in its various hardback versions; Hidden in a Dream (Evergreen); The Wanderer; No Entry, Frenchman’s Secret, The Outsider (other hb versions),  Killer Dog

Easy to find:  most of the Armada paperbacks are reasonably easy to find, though they’re not now as cheap as they once were.  The GGB paperbacks are easy to find in the year or two after publication, but as soon as they go out of print, prices rise.   CP and Collins Seagull editions of Wish for a Pony.  Collins Seagull No Mistaking Corker.  Rennie Goes Riding (apart from the original hardback) .

For a really good in-depth look at Monica Edwards and her books, you cannot do better than try The Monica Edwards Website.

There is a new Monica Edwards Society (as of August 2007) - the Monica Edwards Appreciation Society (MEAS).  You can find it here:  use the Society link at the top of the page.  It will publish a twice yearly journal:  The Martello, and organise events.

From The Punchbowl was another society devoted to Monica Edwards, though I think it must have folded as the links I have no longer work.  

The Wikipedia entry on Monica Edwards has an interesting critique of her works, as does the Australian Collecting Books and Magazines site.

Girls Gone By are republishing Monica Edwards’ works.

Wish for a Pony

Collins, London, 1947, illus
Anne Bullen, 159 pp.
Children’s Press, 1956
Collins Laurel & Gold, 1957
Armada, pb, 1963
Childrlen’s Press, 1968
Collins, Pony Library, 1973
Goodchild, Wendover, 1984

Tamzin gets her pony Cascade.

No  Mistaking Corker
Collins, London, 1947, illus Anne Bullen
Collins, 1956
Collins Seagull, 1962, illus Anne Bullen
Armada pb, 1965

Reprinted 1971 in Three Great Pony Stories: Collins

The Thornton family go off on a caravan trip, drawn by
a brown carthorse mare. You would have thought that
there was only one brown carthorse mare about, but
you would be wrong.

The Midnight Horse
Collins, London, 1949, illus Anne Bullen
Collins, Crown Llbriary, 1954
In Three Great Pony Stories, Collins, 1972
Goodchild, Wendover, 1984 (Revised)

Tamzin and Rissa meet Meryon Fairbrass, and togethey they become
involved in the hunt for a stolen racehorse.  This is also the book in which
Tamzin discovers her talent for sculpture in plasticene.

Black Hunting Whip
Collins, London, 1950, illus Geoffrey Whittam
Transworld (Scottie Books), pb, 1956
Armada, pb, 1964
Collins Pony Library, 1974
Goodchild, Wendover, 1984 (Revised)

Mrs Thornton acquires Punchbowl Farm at auction and
the Thornton family move there.  The children find the

diary of a long dead boy, telling the story of a Black

Hunting Whip.  They try to find the whip to carry it to victory at Guildford Show.

The Summer of the Great Secret
Collins, London, 1948, illus Anne Bullen, 256 pp,
Collins, Laurel & Gold, 1958 (abridged)
Collins, Seagull, 1963,
Armada, pb, 1965

Tamzin and Rissa spend another summer holiday about

the Marsh, learning Jim Deck’s secrets, and earning

money so Rissa can buy her chestnut Siani.

Illustrated bibliography - children’s fiction only

Romney March Series

Reading Order

Wish for a Pony

Summer of the Great Secret

The Midnight Horse

The White Riders

Cargo of Horses

Strangers to the Marsh

Hidden in a Dream

No Entry

The Nightbird
Storm Ahead

Operation Seabird
(Storm Ahead - the end)
No Going Back

The Hoodwinkers

Dolphin Summer

A Wind is Blowing

This is the reading order worked out by Brian Parks in his book Romney Marsh Companion, GGB, 2006

Cargo of Horses
Collins, London, 1951, illus Geoffrey Whittam
Junior Fontanas, pb, 1955
Armada, pb, 1965
Collins Pony Library, 1972
Goodchild, Wendover, 1984 (Revised)

The Romney Marsh people learn that the cargo of the
white ship is horses bound for slaughter, and they are
determined to rescue them.

The Spirit of Punchbowl Farm
Collins, London, 1952, illus Joan Wanklyn, 192 pp.
Armada, pb, 1963
Goodchild, Aylesbury, 1986 (Revised)

The ancient yew tree is threatened with being cut down at Punchbowl Farm.  It is in the way,
but Lindsay loves it.  It holds, she thinks, the spirit of the farm, and she is determined to find

a way of saving it, even  if it means selling her hair to raise money to fence in the tree.

Punchbowl Midnight
Collins, London, 1951, illus Charles Tunnicliffe
Chlidren’s Book Club, 1953
Collins, 1956
Armada, pb, 1963
Goodchild, Aylesbury, 1986 (Revised)

Punchbowl Midnight is one of the first calves Dion has bred, but she
escapes. The deer threaten more than Midnight, and Lindsay, and Tamzin
who has come to stay, try to keep them away from the fields.

The White Riders

Collins, London, 1950, illus Geoffrey Whittam, 254 pp.
Puffin, pb, 1956
Goodchild, Wendover, 1984 (Revised)

Tamzin and Rissa are keeping house for the Merrows, when they learn
some city men  plan to build a holiday camp on the Marshes.  Determined
to stop them, they disguise themselves as the dreaded White Riders, and
career across the marsh at night.

Hidden in a Dream
Collins, London, 1952, illus Geoffrey Whittam

Children’s Book Club, 1953
Collins Evergreen, 1966, John Goodchild, 1986 (revised)

Girls Gone By, 2006

Meryon hits his head in an accident, and loses his memory about the
entire incident.  They are all sleeping out in the Martello Tower that

summer, but because of Meryon’s bad dreams, they are all disturbed. It

looks as if only Meryon can solve the mystery of the missing stranger.

No Entry
Collins, London, 1954,  illus Geoffrey Whittam
Children’s Book Club, 1956
Armada, pb, 1964
Collins Pony Library, 1972
Girls Gone By, 2005

Foot and mouth threatens the Marsh, and the Merrows’
farm is threatened.  After they end up staying there,
 Tamzin and Rissa et al find they have to run the farm
and patrol the boundaries.

Punchbowl Harvest
Collins, London, 1954, illus Joan Wanklyn
Armada, pb, 1966
Chivers, 1974 (right)

Harvest at the Punchbowl seems fraught with potential disaster: the
weather destroys their work, and Dion’s pet fox Toddy is suspected of
massacring the local farmer’s chickens.

Storm Ahead
Collins, London, 1953, illus Geoffrey Whittam, 190 pp.

Puffin, paperback, 1957
Girls Gone By, pb, 2005

Based on a real incident, a great storm hits the coast, and the village is flooded.  The lifeboat

is launched, but the rescue goes tragically wrong. Lindsay has an encounter with a mad dog,

and Tamzin has to embark on a dangerous night time ride to fetch the doctor.

The Wanderer

Collins, London, 1953, illus Joan Wanklyn

Children’s Book Club (middle)
Collins, London, 1957
Armada, pb, 1968

Lindsay’s colt, Chalice, proves that he is an excellent escape artist,
and then it looks as if he might have caused a serious accident.

Joan Goes Farming
Collins, London, 1954

Joan decides she wants to take up farming as a career, and  after some work experience at a Surrey
farm when she is taken complete advantage of by the farmer’s rather useless wife, goes off to college.
She just about meets romance along the way, and in the end has to decide whether to
marry or go off and start her career.

Strangers to the Marsh
Collins, London, 1957, illus Geoffrey Whittam
Children’s Book Club, 1958
John Goodchild, Aylesbury, 1986 (Revised)
Girls Gone By, pb, 2007

A rare bird, the hoopoe, nests at the castle.  Jim Decks destroys the
baker’s cakes after Tamzin distracts him, and she and her friends decide
to bail Jim out by founding a newspaper, The Westling News.  

Operation Seabird
Collins, London, 1957, illus Geoffrey Whittam

Children’s Book Club, 1958, 256 pp.

Girls Gone By, pb, 2007

Tamzin and Rissa discover many seabirds are dying, clogged with oil.  They form the
Seabirds Rescue League, and start an operation to clean the birds up.  

Frenchman’s Secret

Collins, London, 1956, illus Geoffrey Whittam
Children’s Book Club, 1958
Armada, pb, 1965

Ruth and Roy have come to live at the Mill House, and meet the Punchbowl Farm people.  

When Lindsay finds an old map, she wonders if there is treasure still buried in the dam which

keeps water back above the Mill House. Roy decides to blow a small hole in the dam to find


The Nightbird
Collins, London, 1955, illus Geoffrey Whittam
Collins, 1956
Armada, pb, 1963
Girls Gone By, Bath, pb, 2006

The fishermen of Westling find their fishing grounds are being poached
by French boats.  Tamzin and friends decide to turn Jim’s old trawler
into a ghost shop to frighten the French boats away.

Rennie Goes Riding
Bodley Head, London, 1956, cover

illus Sheila Rose

Bodley Head, 1961 (Career series)

Knight, pb, 1968, 1973,1979

Rennie only wants to work with horses,
and at last she gets the chance to
train, but then finds she has to battle
with her nerves.

The Hoodwinkers
Collins, London, 1962, illus Geoffrey Whittam
Children’s Book Club, 1962
Girls Gone By, Bath, 2008

Jim Decks is up to no good again, and the four decide to woo him away from swizzling
Americans with tales of his boat belonging to William the Conqueror by persuading him
to take  trippers out to see the ruins of the drowned village of Winklesea.  This would be
a lot easier, however, if Jim’s boat had an engine.

The Outsider

Collins, London, 1961, illus Geoffrey Whittam
Children’s Book Club, 1962
Armada, pb, 1969

The Romney Marsh people come to stay at the Punchbowl. A wild deer
has found its way in to the Punchbowl Jersey herd, and they have to try
and catch it, but it is not easy.

No Going Back
Collins, London, 1960, illus Geoffrey Whittam, 192 pp.
Collins Evergreen, 1966
Girls Gone By, 2008

This is the story in which Tamzin and Meryon’s relationship takes a step
forward. Rissa finds this hard to handle, as they are drawn into Jim

Deck’s latest misdeeds.

The Cownappers
Collins, London, 1958,  illus Geoffrey Whittam
Armada, pb, 1964

The Punchbowl Family have a paying guest called Jewel (Bijou de la Couronne) - a cow who

is almost black.  It turns out she has been cownapped from France, and the Thorntons end up
tracking down her rightful owner and returning her via Westling and Jim Deck’s fishing

smack in a strictly illegal cross channel voyage.

Killer Dog
Collins, London, 1959, illus Sheila Rose
Children’s Book Club, 1961
Portway Junior Reprints, 1971

This is set on Romney Marsh, but isn’t a Tamzin story.  A killer dog is attacking the local sheep, and
suspicion falls on two dogs:  Glen, and Lion.  The Hawkes family are determined to prove Glen is
innocent, and wait out on the Marsh to try and discover which dog is the attacker.

Under the Rose
Collins, London, 1968, illus Richard Kennedy

Children’s Book Club, 1968

Bruce is the only one who can manage a dangerous stallion, and when it looks as if Bruce will be charged with
murder, he flees, taking the stallion with him. He finds sanctuary at a deserted country house, where four

children find him. Then the mysterious boy Charles appears, with a strange story of hunting for his real mother

and father.

Fire in the Punchbowl
Collins, London, 1965,  illus Geoffrey Whittam

Collins, London, 1969, Evergreen Lib, 190 pp.
Jacket Eileen Wlaton
Children’s Book Club, 1965
Armada, pb, 1967
Collins Evergreen, 1969

Roger and Rissa are staying.  There is a heatwave and
a fire starts in the Punchbowl.  Soon the farm itself, as
well as the animals, are threatened.  The relationship between Roger and Lindsay moves on.

The Wild One
Collins, London, 1967, illus Geoffrey Whittam

Girls Gone By, 2010

Lindsay and Roger are together for the holidays in this last of the Punchbowl Farm series.  

The pug marks of a puma are found around the Punchbowl, and this seems a threat to

their livestock. Lindsay finds the puma cub after its mother has been shot and is

determined to save it.  This story confirms the relationship between Lindsay and Roger, but

she makes tremendous demands on him in her quest to look after the wild cat.

Dolphin Summer
Collins, London, 1963, illus Geoffrey Whittam
Children’s Book Club, 1963
Armada, pb, 1966

A dolphin rescues Tamzin when she gets into trouble on a midnight swim
and she is sure it is the same one who turns up on near the beach. Then
the papers get to hear of the dolphin, and that brings yet more unwelcome
interest in the shape of people who want to capture her for an aqua circus.

A Wind is Blowing

Collins, London, 1969. Cover Alex Jawdokimov

Girls Gone By, Bath, 2009, pb.

Meryon intervenes in a robbery, with catastrophic consequences, as he is blinded.  Meryon
resents his blindness bitterly, and it threatens his relationship with Tamzin.  She fights back,

and starts a tape correspondence with him, and together they train a guide dog, though at

last there is hope in the shape of an operation in Spain.

Short Stories:

Sure Magic, illus Raymond Sheppard,
Pony Club Annual no. 6
t’s sure magic, to wish where a foal has been born.  Paul finds the place where Calluna’s
foal has been born, and finds something very unexpected indeed.  

The Great Horse, illus William Stobbs
Pony Club Annual, no 11
An historical story, telling the story of a horse during the Civil War.

And also:
(summarised from John Allsupp’s website)
The Irresponsible Rescue, illus Anne Bullen
Collins Magazine, 1948, reprinted in Collins Annual

Serena Bathover’s Horses, illus Molly Wilson
Collins Magazine, 1948, reprinted Collins Magazine Annual, 1949

The Horse That Came From the Sea
in By Special Request, ed Noel Streatfeild, Collins, 1953

A Sort of Miracle, illus Sheila Rose
Collins Children’s Annual, 1952

The Champions, illus James Hunt
Wilfred Pickles Gift Book, Chambers, 1959

Bird in the Hand
Collins Children’s Annual, 1959

Such a Pony was Gipsy, illus Maurice Tulloch
Collins Children’s Annual, 1953

The Telegram, illus Sheila Rose
Collins Girls’ Annual, 1955 & Crackerjack Book for Girls

Caesar’s Fire, illus Eric Wade
Collins Children’s Annual, 1963

Non Fiction

The Unsought Farm (Michael Joseph, 1954)

The Cats of Punchbowl Farm (Michael Joseph, 1964)

The Badgers of Punchbowl Farm (Michael Joseph, 1966)

The Valley and the Farm (Michael Joseph, 1971)

Badger Valley (Michael Joseph, 1976)

Books about the author

Brian Parks: The Punchbowl Companion

Brian Parks, 2004, 209pp.

Girls Gone By, Bath, 2012, revised.

Brian Parks: The Monica Edwards Romney Marsh Companion
Girls Gone By, Bath, 2006 - revised and extended, 311 pp.

Brian Parks: Monica Edwards: the Authorised Autobiography

Girls Gone By,  Bath, 2010, 203 pp.