Fay Inchfawn

Inchfawn cover pic 2 001Discovered at Jot HQ is this first edition of one of the ‘Homely Woman’ pocket volumes by the prolific female writer Fay Inchfawn ( aka Elizabeth Rebecca Ward, 1880 – 1978), whose work is forgotten now, but whose books, which included popular verse, religious works and children’s literature, were once, to quote the blurb from her publisher Ward, Lock & Co in 1947,  ‘to be found in countless homes, for more than half a million have been sold’.

To further quote from her publicity department:

 ‘everyone of Fay Inchfawn’s delightful little books rings with a true sincerity from cover to cover. She can extract joy from the scullery, yes, even from the wash tub…If Fay Inchfawn cannot bring some compensation to you in your humdrum daily toil—well, nobody can ! She has certainly done so for countless wives and mothers, and if you do not happen to be one of those so fortunate, it is up to you to see what she can do for you. Surely she cannot fail ! ‘


Inchfawn, who lived in Freshford, near Bath, for most of her life, also contributed to women’s magazines, and if she didn’t write for my grandmother’s favourite magazine, The People’s Friend, she should have done. The Day’s Journey, which is one of her ‘ religious works, seems perfumed with peppermint creams and Werner’s Originals.


A Day’s Journeyis a homily which takes its inspiration from The Pilgrim’s Progress. Its homely message seems to be that like Bunyan’s pilgrim, the wanderer through life will overcome all the difficulties that confront him by applying the self-reliance and common wisdom that God has conferred on him and by ignoring all the vices and distractions placed in his way by the ‘Prince of Evil’.


An unremarkable book, then, but this particular copy is rather unusual. It originates from the publisher’s archive and has a double dust wrapper. The actual book is a first edition dating from 1934 whose wrapper features a young lady of that period and typography to match. In contrast, the art work of the outer wrapper depicts an old half-timbered cottage with typography that was consistent with its date of publication, which was 1947. It seems as if Ward Lock & Co were left with a surplus of the 1934 edition and reissued the title in 1947 as a volume in the ‘ Works of Fay Inchfawn ‘with a new, more up to date dust wrapper. This was not a common practice among publishers burdened with unsold copies of a particular book, but it did occur. Similarly, when Faber and Faber bought up from Batsford the unsold copies of several Shell Guides dating from the 1930s, they retained the earlier text and art work, but cased the volume and printed a new title page with their name on it. [R.M.Healey]
Inchfawn pocket novel cover pic 001


One thought on “Fay Inchfawn

  1. maxy

    A great piece, thanks. Fay Inchfawn us very similar to Patience strong (homely homilies but also rhyming prose)
    If you get a chance can you do something on her?


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