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Adrian Bell (1901-1980) was born in Lancashire and grew up in London but wished for a life in the open air. In 1920 he apprenticed himself to a West Suffolk farmer, an experience that would inspire him to farm on his own. His celebrated trilogy Corduroy (1930), Silver Ley (1931) and The Cherry Tree (1932) grew out of that same raw material.
Silver Ley takes up at the conclusion of Bell’s apprenticeship, whereupon he persuaded his parents to acquire a nearby farm of 50 acres where he could into practice what he had learned of farming. However Bell was living through straitened post-war times that presented a challenge to even the most seasoned agricultural hands, and he had to endure seven lean years, though his commitment to the task he set himself never dimmed.


Adrian Bell (1901-1980) was born in Lancashire, grew up in London, and was educated at Uppingham School which he hated. His father, news editor of the Observer, was a republican and a socialist and had no truck with university education. His son was to do something useful; in 1920 he went to East Anglia to work as a farm apprentice.…

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