Phyllis Bentley

Phyllis Bentley

Author (1894 - 1977)

Phyllis Eleanor Bentley, OBE (November 19, 1894 – June 27, 1977), was an English novelist.

The youngest child of a mill owner, she grew up in Halifax in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and was educated at Halifax High School for Girls and Cheltenham Ladies’ College. During World War I she worked in the munitions industry. After the war, she returned to her native Halifax where she taught English and Latin.

In 1918 she published her first work, a collection of short stories entitled The World’s Bane, after which she published several poor-selling novels until the publication in March 1932 of her best-known work, Inheritance, set against the background of the development of the textile industry in the West Riding, which received widespread critical acclaim and ran through twenty-three impressions by 1946, making her the first successful English regional novelist since Thomas Hardy and his Wessex. Two further novels followed in 1946 and 1966, forming a trilogy, and in 1967 Inheritance was filmed by Granada TV, with John Thaw and James Bolam in leading roles. In 1968 she wrote the children’s novel Gold Pieces, which is a fictionalised account, seen through the eyes of a twelve-year-old boy, of the Cragg Coiners, who defrauded the government by clipping the edges of gold coins to melt down and make into new coins.

In 1949 she was awarded an honorary DLitt from Leeds University; in 1958 she became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature; and in 1970 was awarded an OBE.



The World’s Bane (1918)
Environment (1922)
Cat in the Manger (1923)
The Spinner of the Years (1928)
The Partnership (1928)
Carr (1929)
Trio (1930)
Inheritance (1932)
A Modern Tragedy (1934)
The Whole of the Story (1935)
Freedom Farewell (1936)
Manhold (1941)
The English Regional Novel (1942)
The Rise of Henry Morcar (1946) (part two of the Inheritance Trilogy)
The Brontës (1947)
The House of Moreys (1953)
Noble in Reason (1955)
Crescendo (1958)
The Young Brontës (1960)
O Dreams O Destinations (1962)
A Man Of His Time (1966) (part three of the Inheritance Trilogy)
Gold Pieces (1968)
The Brontës and Their World (1969)
Sheep May Safely Graze (1972)
Tales of West Riding (1974)