Fern's Hollow by Hesba Stretton.


"Fern's Hollow" is a simple narrative of humble life among the Welsh coal-mines. It relates the history of an orphan boy, awakened by kindly sympathy to an interest in the Bible and its truths, exposed to a fierce ordeal of temptation and suffering, but coming out of it with his character thoroughly strengthened and purified. The incidents are well contrived to bring out the points it is designed to illustrate; some of the characters are drawn with great skill; there is much freshness in the whole narrative, and frequent touches of pathos and beauty which irresistibly win their way to the heart. Altogether, it is the most charming book of its kind which we have met for some time.-The British Quarterly Review, Volume 41 (1865).

The Fern family lived peaceably in their hollow for two generations. Stephen was a hardworking coal miner and cared for his family. When a miserly landowner told them they must move out, he stood upon his vow to his father. Love for his enemies proved difficult to accomplish. This wonderful story is filled with many Bible verses and spiritual discussions.—Curiosmith (2011).


"Sir," he said, looking up to him, "I'm afraid I can't explain myself. You know it was for my sake that the Lord Jesus was killed, yet his Father has forgiven me all my sins; and when I think of that, I can forgive the master even for little Nan's death with all my heart. But I don't always remember it; and then I feel a little glad at the fire. I haven't got much religion yet. I don't know everything that's in the Bible."


  • Chapter 1 — The Hut in the Hollow
  • Chapter 2 — The Dying Father
  • Chapter 3 — Stephen's First Victory
  • Chapter 4 — Threatening Clouds
  • Chapter 5 — Miss Anne
  • Chapter 6 — The Red Gravel Pit
  • Chapter 7 — Poor Snip
  • Chapter 8 — Stephen and the Gamekeeper
  • Chapter 9 — Homeless
  • Chapter 10 — The Cabin on the Cinder-Hill
  • Chapter 11 — Stephen and the Rector
  • Chapter 12 — Visit of Black Bess
  • Chapter 13 — The Old Shaft
  • Chapter 14 — A Brother's Grief
  • Chapter 15 — Renewed Conflict
  • Chapter 16 — Softening Thoughts
  • Chapter 17 — A New Calling
  • Chapter 18 — The Pantry Window
  • Chapter 19 — Fire! Fire!
  • Chapter 20 — Stephen's Testimony
  • Chapter 21 — Forgiveness
  • Chapter 22 — The Master's Deathbed
  • Chapter 23 — The Home Restored


  • Stephen Fern — the son.
  • James Fern – the father who is dying.
  • Nan Fern – small boy of the family.
  • Martha Fern – daughter of James (sister of Stephen).
  • Grandfather – had been in jail twenty-one years.
  • Grandmother– built the original hut, died a month before James was married.
  • Bess Thompson – nicknamed Black Bess, a rough coal miner.
  • Tim Cole — A chief collier who loves mischief and fighting.
  • Black Thompson — a bully in the coal pits.
  • James Wyley — Owner of Botfield Works.
  • Thomas Wyley — Officer in the Botfield union.
  • Miss Anne — a spiritual teacher to the village.
  • Snip — James' dog.
  • Mr. Lockwood — the clergyman in Danesford.

Important Scriptures:

  • Matthew 6:14—For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
  • Hebrews 8:12—For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
  • Matthew 5:48—Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

A note on the connection between Fern's Hollow and The Children of Cloverley:

  Fern’s Hollow The Children of Coverley
Stephen Fern Moves into Fern’s Hollow. Still living at Fern’s Hollow.
Mary Fern Nothing about her. Stephen’s wife.
Bess Thompson Bess Thompson. Bess Cole – she married Tim Cole.
Miss Anne Miss Anne Mrs. Ludlow – she married Mr. Ludlow.
Mr. Wyley Dies. Just a memory.
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