H B Marriot Watson

(Henry Brereton Marriott Watson)


“H.B. Marriott Watson was a prolific author and journalist, writing more than forty books including seventeen short story collections and a collection of essays.  He specialised in adventures and historical romances, but he also wrote mystery, fantasy and supernatural fiction.  For the first nine years of his life, Marriott Watson lived in various localities in Victoria, as his father, an Anglican priest took up ministries.  Early in 1873 Marriott Watson left Australia for good.” (Source:  AustLit)


H.B’s grandfather was Brereton R.P.P.R. Watson (see Watson family tree website).  His father was HENRY CROCKER WATSON (1835-1901) and was born in Tasmania where he was educated. He completed his theological studies at Moore College, Liverpool, New South Wales.   He married Annie McDonald Wright of Hobart, at St Andrews Perth, Tasmania, 7th March 1863.  Father Henry was a C of E Minister and also an author.


H.B. (Henry Brereton) Marriott Watson was born in Caufield, Melbourne, December 20th 1863.  He married Rosamund Ball in England.  The book, “Graham R’ – the story of Rosamund Marriott Watson, Woman of Letters by Linda K. Hughes (Ohio University Press 2005) shows that they circulated in the literary world of Victorian England, associating with J.M. Barrie, Henry James, H.G. Wells, Thomas Hardy and others. Wife, Rosamund died in 1911, H.B. dying in 1921 in England.

Henry turned out novels and short stories, which won him a reputation as one of the better and best-known writers of his time.   Well known for his swashbuckling adventures and historical romances, he occasionally turned his hand to the weird, the supernatural and the horrific. He has been desscribed as The Literary Gothic.He also wrote a play with Peter Pan fame playwright, J.M. Barrie. Their joint effort was called Richard Savage (1891), a story of the English poet 1697-1743.


Rosamund was a gifted poet and authoress of sonnets and ballads.  Together they participated in aestheticism and decadence.  The affair was controversial, in that Rosamund was a twice-divorced woman before marrying H.B.  She associated with the Wildes (Oscar) and other 1890s notables. A number of her works are under the pseudonym, Graham R. Thomson.  She has been described as a “daring beauty whose life illuminates fin-de-siecle.” (book Graham R).


They had but one son, Richard Brereton Marriott Watson, who was a poet.  Sadly, like so many other young men and sons of literature giants, Richard Brereton lost his life during World War I, serving with the 1st Royal Irish Rifle.


THE DEVIL OF THE MARSH and Other Stories by H.B. Marriott Watson has been republished in May 2004.  Inquiries to ashtree@ask-tree.bc.ca

The most famous of H.B’s work is his supernatural story, “The Stone Chamber”, (cover displayed) a traditional vampire tale and one of the first and best such stories to appear in the immediate wake of Dracula.

A more detailed account of the life of H. B. Marriott Watson written by Reg A Watson can be found here.


Any description of HB’s life describes him as “a prolific writer”. Years later, the great great grand nephew of H.B. Marriott Watson, Reginald Andrew Wentworth Watson (Reg. A. Watson)  is also described as “a prolific writer” (Tasmania Online). “Writer on Tasmanian history and issues”.


For more information:

Reg A Watson
Reg. A. Watson