Flora Thompson

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Flora Jane Thompson (5 December 187621 May 1947) was an English novelist and poet that was famous for her semi-autobiographical trilogy about the English countryside, Lark Rise to Candleford.

She was born in Juniper Hill, a hamlet in north-east Oxfordshire. She was the eldest of six children of the stonemason Albert and the nursemaid Emma Timms. In her books her favourite brother, Edwin, is mentioned as important companion during her childhood. He was killed near Ypres in 1916. Flora was educated in the village Cottisford and worked in various post offices in southern England. The first of these was Fringford, a village about four miles north-east of Bicester. Flora started work here in 1891, as assistant to the postmistress, Mrs. Kezia Whitton.[1][2] Among other post offices where Flora worked was that at Grayshott, in Hampshire, and she later moved to Bournemouth. In 1903 she married John William Thompson, with whom she had two sons and a daughter.

Flora benefited from good access to books when the public library opened in Winton, in 1907. Not long after, in 1911, she won an essay competition in The Ladies Companion for a 300-word essay on Jane Austen.[3] She later wrote extensively, publishing short stories and magazine and newspaper articles. She was a keen self-taught naturalist and many of her nature articles were anthologised in 1986.

Her most famous works are the Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy, which she sent as essays to Oxford University Press in 1938 and which were published soon after. The books are a, if autobiographical, but fictionalised social history of rural English life in the late 19th and early 20th century and are now considered minor classics.

Flora Thompson died in 1947 in Brixham, Devon and is buried at Longcross Cemetery, Dartmouth, Devon.

Bibliography[change | change source]

Verse[change | change source]

  • Bog Myrtle and Peat (1921)

Novels[change | change source]

  • Lark Rise (1939)
  • Over to Candleford (1941)
  • Candleford Green (1943)
  • Lark Rise to Candleford (1945, above three novels published as a trilogy)
  • Still Glides the Stream (1948, published posthumously)
  • Heatherley (sequel to Lark Rise to Candleford written c.1944 - published posthumously first in A Country Calendar 1979 along with some Peverel Papers and some poems; then as single volume 1998)
  • Gates of Eden (serialised in The Peverel Monthly edited by Flora in the late 1920s but never published as a separate volume)

Nature articles[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Flora Thompson, the story of the 'Lark Rise' writer, by Gillian Lindsay, 2007, ISBN 978-1-873855-53-9
  2. 1881 census, parish of Fringford
  3. Winton Community Forum - Flora Thompson's years in Winton

Other websites[change | change source]