THOMAS M. M. HEMY (1852-1937) - PAGE 65

A Romance of the Cornish Cliffs.
by Silas K. Hocking

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Silas K. (Kitto) Hocking (Mar24,1850/Sep15,1935) was, I read, an English novelist & a Methodist preacher. This site lists 26 volumes that he wrote with dates of publication running from 1890 through 1913. In total he would seem to have written 50 books - see below re some biographical data including that number - but, as this page was first created, seemed to list no less than 56 works by the author. I do not know what the correct total number is.

The copy of the volume that I purchased bears no date of publication. And most copies that I have seen sold in recent years, via e-Bay, also advised no publication date. An expired e-Bay item however states the publication date of that particular volume to be 1890. And it would seem that the book was republished in 1890 & in 1891. They all would seem to have been published by Frederick Warne and Co. of London and New York. Had you an interest in the exact first publication date it might help to know that my volume indicates Hocking to be the author already of no less than 42 earlier volumes including 'Her Benny,' 'Ivy,' 'For Abigail,' etc., etc. 275 pages. Page size about 7 1/4 x 4 3/4 inches. A number of different covers, some quite decorative.

'Her Benny', a story of Liverpool street urchins, was, apparently, the very first volume in history to sell more than a million copies in the author's lifetime. Which is interesting, I think. It has relatively recently been, in fact, republished.

'Tregeagle's Head' contains six black & white full page illustrations by Thomas M. Hemy. I will provide here scans of those illustrations & provide also the captions, though the captions only have a context relative to the actual text.

I do not think that the volume is today in great demand. A copy sold in Dec. 2007 for GBP 1.50, a rather lesser sum than I paid for my own copy, when I bought it for these pages!

First three Thomas M. Hemy illustrations in Tregeagle's Head

And the last six.

Last three Thomas M. Hemy illustrations in Tregeagle's Head

And the frontispiece of my volume. Along with the certificate inside its cover which indicates the volume was awarded as an attendance prize to Joe Dobson by the Independent Methodist Sunday School in Haslingden (Haslingden is 19 miles north of Manchester), U.K. No indication of the year of the award, however. That certificate is, to me at least, of some visual interest.

The frontispiece of my Treagle's Head volume 
and the certificate in the front of the volume.

That's it, for the moment. Until I read the book!

The webmaster has now read the book. And quite enjoyed it. Of a young man charged with murder, on circumstantial evidence - & sentenced to be hanged. You might enjoy it also, so I will not spoil your enjoyment by saying any more - lest you decide to read it also. 'The Southport Visitor' said, I read, "There is much variety and fascination in the story. The plot is a remarkably ingenious one."

I had hoped that the list of 42 other Hocking books at the back of my volume might have referenced more books illustrated by Thomas M. Hemy. But not so. And 'Tregeagles's Head', when mentioned in the list, simply says it has six illustrations but does not refer to the artist by name. Which it does for most of the other 42 volumes. And the list has the subtitle of 'Tregeagle's Head' slightly different, in fact. ('A Tale of the Cornish Coast'). No problem. That is the way it is. And was.


I trust that I may be forgiven if I indicate that the purpose of this page is Thomas M. Hemy & to a much lesser extent is concerned with the author in whose volume his artworks appeared. But none-the-less ....

I have read & I quote: 'Silas Hocking was born in 1850 in St Stephen-in-Brannel near St Austell, where his father was tenant of a small farm called Broadmoor owned by the Boconnoc Estate. Silas became a Methodist minister first in Manchester and Liverpool and then in Southport, where he preached to full houses for thirteen years. Whilst he was working in the north of England, he wrote “Her Benny”, the story of Victorian Liverpool street urchins. Although Hocking sold the copyright of this novel for only £20, it was an immediate best-seller and ultimately became the first book to sell a million copies during the lifetime of the author.

In addition to novels, Hocking also produced many other works including sermons. Many of these were on the themes of such subjects as temperance and morality. A large amount of his work also reflected his concerns about the well-being of children.

In 1895, Hocking retired from the ministry to devote himself to full time writing. He also became involved in Liberal politics. In total, he wrote fifty books, including a volume of autobiography. He also became editor of several magazines. His brother, Joseph, and sister, Salome, also became best selling novelists.

Thomas M. M. Hemy datapages 01, 02 & 03 are now on site. Plus all of the other image pages, accessible through the index on page 05.

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