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John Gilman

John Gilman from Blue Anchor


















John Gilman was born in 1935, and grew up in West Somerset, living first in Williton before moving to Minehead in 1939. He was educated, first at Minehead Boy's School before going on to Minehead Grammar School. At eighteen, in company with all young men of the day he was 'called up' for National Service and served in the Royal Navy. Following this, he went to sea with the Merchant Navy out of Avonmouth for a while before going up to University in Bristol. Deciding on teaching as a career, John subsequently taught in Bristol, Exeter, Gloucester and Stratford on Avon before retiring as Headmaster from St Edward's School in Leek, Staffordshire.
Always interested in writing and poetry, John wrote for many magazines and journals from the sixties before the success of his best seller, The Girl on the Beach which was serialised in the Western Daily Press. Several historical novels followed and many poems soon followed in contemporary magazines and periodicals. He is also the author of Exmoor's Maritime Heritage, a study of West Somerset ports. 
The poems of the last few years were all written at Blue Anchor where John has a caravan. Blue Anchor and the surrounding countryside was always an inspiration as his parents ended their days living there and are buried in nearby Carhampton churchyard across Eastbury Hill.
All his latter poems take the theme of the countryside and villages of this part of West Somerset he loved best and were penned on walks across fields and along the beach. His last two books, Bells and Dragons and Moons and Mermaids have proved to be very popular whilst his little pocket book Shingle is a must for a romantic view of those towns and villages that still resonate with the magic of bygone days.     
John  is also an artist and  photographer enjoying all that West Somerset offers to those who seek the simple delights of natural light and vistas.

Selected Bibliography

John Gilman, Girl on the Beach, Marine Arts Publications, Published 1997

John Gilman, Exmoor's Maritime Heritage, 1860-1960, Exmoor Books, Published 1999

John Gilman, Legacy of Smoke: A Story of the Bristol Channel. Marine Arts Publications, 2000

Girl on the BeachLegacy of Smoke


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