Last modified on March 9, 2017, at 15:39

James Herriot

James Herriot (1916-1995) is the pen name of James Alfred Wight, an English author and veterinary doctor who wrote about his real life experiences with the animals he treated in England.

Herriot received his veterinary degree from Glasgow Veterinary College in 1939. He married in 1941, and he and his wife had two children, a boy and a girl. His first and most famous book All Creatures Great and Small (US title) was followed by several other books about his adventures as a veterinarian in England. Many of his stories are both funny and heart-warming, and Herriot's love for animals and compassion are shown in his writings.

In 1975 a movie based on All Creatures Great and Small was made, starring Anthony Hopkins. In 1978 his adventures were also made into a popular BBC television series. A total of 90 episodes were produced and the series ran for 12 years.


  • All Creatures Great and Small - 1972
  • All Things Bright and beautiful - 1974
  • All Things Wise and Wonderful - 1977
  • The Lord God Made Them All - 1981
  • Every Living Thing - 1992

His first four book titles were inspired by a poem called "Maker of Heaven and Earth" by Cecil Frances Alexander, which was turned into a popular hymn:

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.


  • 1975: American Veterinary Medical Association's Award of Appreciation
  • 1975: Honorary member of the British Veterinary Association
  • 1979: OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) from Queen of England
  • 1979: Honorary Doctorate from Heriot Watt University Edinburgh
  • 1982: Fellowship of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
  • 1982: Honorary member of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners
  • 1983: Honorary Degree from Liverpool University
  • 1987: Humane Society of the United States of America award for kindness to animals

The town of Darrowby in his works is a fictionalised version of the market town of Thirsk in north Yorkshire; Herriot/Wight's veterinary surgery there has been preserved as a visitor attraction.