Denton Welch (1915-1948) was both a writer and painter and lived in Tonbridge for a period from 1936. The article below was kindly provided by Andrew Stanley.

A good subtitle for a biography of Denton Welch might be 'A Bike in the Hedge', so much is his leisure and his Journals taken up with picnicking in fields, looking round country churches or exploring the overgrown parks of once grand houses. The bike would not be locked, as this was Kent in the 1940s, a county (though it had seen the Battle of Britain) still sunk in rustic tranquillity and seclusion.

June 7 1943 Monday

"I am sitting in the cool in Capel Church under the medieval fresco. Against a dim salmon pink ground two figures seem to be hanging long coats and gowns out of the windows of a castle turret. Other figures seem to be banqueting."

He had been banqueting too.

"I have been eating my lunch in the fields nearby (Ryvita, cheese, apricot jam, chocolate, bar of squashed dried fruits, coffee), sitting on my coral air-cushion, given me by May, reading for the fourth or fifth time an outline of the Brontë sisters' lives."

Having just had his first book published he identified with Charlotte and the prospect of fame. Earlier, not untypically, he had been watching a loutish boy picking cherries and another mowing a field.

"...this is what goes on in nineteen-forty-three, the year of the greatest war to stop all wars, if I have the quotation right.

Now I shall leave this cool church and this medieval fresco and get on my bicycle again.

This may be read about in years to come and then people will know what I did on this June day."


Aside from the obvious Wikipedia, further information about Denton Welch can be found at https://dentonwelch.com/