Flora Thompson

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Flora Jane Thompson
Born Flora Jane Timms
(1876-12-05)5 December 1876
Juniper Hill, Oxfordshire, England
Died 21 May 1947(1947-05-21) (aged 70)
Brixham, Devon, England
Resting place
Longcross Cemetery, Dartmouth, Devon, England
50°20′55″N 3°35′48″W / 50.348601°N 3.596723°W / 50.348601; -3.596723
Employer Post Office
Known for Author and poet
Notable work(s) Lark Rise to Candleford
Spouse(s) John William Thompson
Children 2 sons and a daughter

Flora Jane Thompson (5 December 1876 – 21 May 1947) was an English novelist and poet famous for her semi-autobiographical trilogy about the English countryside, Lark Rise to Candleford.

Early life and family[edit]

She was born in Juniper Hill in northeast Oxfordshire, the eldest child of Albert Timms and Emma Dipper, a stonemason and nursemaid respectively. Albert and Emma had twelve children, but only six survived childhood.[1] Her favourite brother, Edwin, was killed near Ypres in 1916.[2] Flora was educated at the parish school in Cottisford.

Flora worked in various post offices in southern England. The first of these was Fringford, a village about 4 miles (6.4 km) northeast of Bicester. Flora started work here in 1891, as assistant to the postmistress, Mrs. Kezia Whitton.[3][4] Among other post offices where Flora worked was that at Grayshott in Hampshire and Yateley in Hampshire, and she later moved to Bournemouth. In 1903 she married John William Thompson at Twickenham Parish Church,[5] with whom she had a daughter, Winifred Grace (1903) and two sons, Henry Basil (1909) and Peter Redmond (1918)[6] (later lost at sea in 1941[7]).

Literary output[edit]

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 about Jane Austen.[8] 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. She wrote a sequel thereto Heatherley which was published posthumously along with her other novel Still Glides the Stream in 1948.[9] All her books are a fictionalised, if autobiographical, social history of rural English life in the late 19th and early 20th century and are now considered classics.H. J. Massingham said of her in 1944 'she possesses the attributes both of sympathetic presentation and literary power to such a degree that her claims can hardly be questioned'.[10]


The death of her son during the Second World War affected her deeply and overshadowed the final years of her life.[11] Flora Thompson died in 1947 of a heart attack[5] in Brixham, Devon and is buried at Longcross Cemetery, Dartmouth, Devon. In 1948, her final work, Still Glides the Stream, was published posthumously.[11]




Nature articles[edit]


  1. ^ Census Returns of England and Wales, 1911. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK, Class: RG14; Piece: 8177; Schedule Number: 134.
  2. ^ "Casualty Details". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 1 August 2010. 
  3. ^ Lindsay, 2007, page not cited
  4. ^ United Kingdom Census 1881, parish of Fringford
  5. ^ a b "In the Footsteps of Flora Thompson". 'Dorset' magazine. 1983. Retrieved 2010-02-03. 
  6. ^ "Ennever family history & ancestry: Flora Jane Thompson (nee Timms), authoress". Retrieved 2010-02-03. 
  7. ^ CWGC
  8. ^ Winton Community Forum: Flora Thompson
  9. ^ Cover note OUP Press Paperbacks , Oxford ISBN 0192811924
  10. ^ Massingham H.J. Introduction(1944) Lark Rise to Candleford, Penguin Books,London 1973 ISBN 9780141037196
  11. ^ a b http://www.odnb.com/view/article/38059


  • Lindsay, Gillian (2007). Flora Thompson, the story of the 'Lark Rise' writer. Bordon: John Owen Smith. p. 30. ISBN 978-1-873855-53-9. 

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