Jeremy James 1949-2023 RIP

Posted by Lydia Unwin on

We were sad to learn that our author Jeremy James died in Shropshire on Monday 25 September 2023 after bravely enduring a long illness.

Born in Kenya in 1949, educated at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester and the University of Wales, Jeremy James spent his early life working with horses and cattle in Africa and the Middle East.

In 1987 his wrote his first book, Saddletramp, which described his journey on horseback from Turkey to his home in Wales. Three years later, he rode through the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and wrote Vagabond. Throughout the early 1990s he was Turkish correspondent for several broadsheets and magazines, and in 1992 was commissioned by the International League for the Protection of Horses to write their story in Debt of Honour. He went on to manage the Bosnian State Stud. He was a member of the Long Riders Guild.

During the late 1990s he worked a Senior Consultant for the ILPH on the campaign against the long distance transportation of live horses for slaughter, which brought him into contact with many of the disappearing horse breeds of Eurasia.

His writing career reached its zenith with his writing of a faction account, The Byerley Turk, based on the extraordinary life of chance and fate of this remarkable horse, who became the first Foundation Sire of the thoroughbred line. Jeremy’s research into this book took him to Turkey where the foal was born, to the site of the Siege of Buda in 1686 where the war horse was seized by Captain Robert Byerley and ridden back to England. And to Northern Ireland where the horse is recorded as fighting in the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, having won the King’s Plate at Down Royal races. The story ends in 1703 when the Byerley Turk, retired to a life of stud in Yorkshire, dies at the age of 25. Jeremy’s masterpiece, The Byerley Turk, has been printed in many editions and translated into Turkish, Slovakian and found fame on both sides of the Atlantic.

Flamboyant at times, but also happy in his own company, Jeremy loved people, horses and dogs, wine and old friendships. He will be missed. 

Author Jeremy James obituary


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  • I am so sorry to hear about Jeremy and send condolences to his family.
    I got in touch with him through his publishers after reading Saddletramp and Vagabond, and then The Byerley Turk to let him know how much I enjoyed his understanding of people ,horses and place, through his travels. I was looking forward to his book on Incitatus which he recommended himself in an email, and is as yet unpublished?
    In recent months he kept coming to mind,
    I would love to have met him in real life. A sad loss indeed.

    Katharine Legge on
  • I met Jérémy James when I was only 8. He stopped in our place on his trip from Turkey to Wales in 1987. My family and I are in his book Saddletramp. This man had a massive impact on my choices in life as I grew up…. I went to live in UK in 2012 and wanted to meet him again…. I searched for him, found him and contacted him again. That was 25 years after our first meeting. In July 2013 we met again and it was like we always knew each other. We enjoyed each others company. I am French and in 2022, I decided to return to France. I bought a property where he would have loved to come. But unfortunately we didn’t get the time…. I’ll miss you Jeremy. But your print on my heart is there for ever. Have a safe trip where you are now….
    Gaëtane but you loved to call me “Chouchou” better

    Gaëtane Mirol on

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