Flora's Peverel - a play telling of the time when Flora Thompson won the 'fight to write'
John Owen Smith

Cover of Flora's Peverel ISBN 1-873855-23-0

The author of "Lark Rise to Candleford," lived in Liphook, Hampshire, from 1916 to 1928. A play which brings to life this period of her life.

Our Price: 4.50 (incl. UK postage) Royalties also to be paid if play is performed.

Availability: Usually despatched by return of post. Single loan copy supplied FREE for one month.

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Front cover: Bust of Flora Thompson at Liphook, Hampshire

Booklet - 68 pages
John Owen Smith; ISBN: 1-873855-23-0; May 1997

See Flora Thompson: Beyond Candleford for an alternative binding

Associated titles: Flora's Heatherley and On the Trail of Flora Thompson by John Owen Smith; Heatherley and The Peverel Papers by Flora Thompson


Introduction . Cast List . Scenes . Excerpt . Performance . Photos from Performance in 2007 . About the Author . Further information


Introduction

The Second part of 'Grayshott to Griggs Green' - Flora Thompson in Liphook 1916-1928

Flora came to Liphook in 1916 at the age of 39, when her husband John was appointed there as Postmaster. It was fifteen years since she had left the neighbouring village of Grayshott (her 'Heatherley') as a single girl, having herself worked as Assistant Postmistress there for nearly three years.

The Thompsons stayed in Liphook for twelve years, during which time their third child was born and Flora started to write more seriously than she had before.

She wrote no book like 'Heatherley' about this period of her life, but there is a large volume of her nature notes and other similar writings from which to piece together the background to her time in Liphook. Added to these notes, we have the historical records of the village and some verbatim memories from those still alive who remember the Thompson family.

True to her habit of fictionalising the names of real places and people, she gave the name 'Peverel' to Weavers Down, a favourite heath of hers which rises to the west of Liphook. She used this name in the title both of her published collection of nature notes ('The Peverel Papers') and the postal writers circle (the 'Peverel Society') which she started during this time.

For ten years the Thompsons lived in rented post office accommodation in the middle of the village, until they finally bought a home of their own - a house recently built at the very foot of Flora's beloved 'Peverel Down.' However her joy at this was to be short-lived, as her husband almost immediately applied for, and obtained, a promotion in Devonshire. She left Hampshire with a heavy heart, this time never to return.

First performed in four locations in East Hampshire during May 1997 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Flora Thompson's death

The play runs for approximately 2 hours

Cast

(Ages in brackets)

Postman, at Bournemouth
Flora Thompson (39-51 and 60 in 1937)
John Thompson (42-54 and 73 in 1947)
'Louie' Woods, a postgirl (19)
Sergeant John Mumford, a Canadian soldier (24)
Harry Envis, a postman (30s)
'Joe' Leggett (8 in 1916)
Bill Tidy, a tinker (say 60s)
Maggie Tidy, his wife (say 60s)
Dr Ronald Campbell Macfie (50)
Corporal, cockney (say 30s)
Two Canadian soldiers (say 20s)
Gypsy woman (spry late 80s)
Mrs Parkhurst, from 'Heatherley' (62)
Elsie Parkhurst, her youngest daughter (18)
Winifred ('Diana') Thompson (22)
Peter Thompson (8 in Oct 1926)
'Joe' Leggett (18 in 1926)
Eileen Leggett (16)
Mrs Leggett, their mother - Irish (51)
Capt. Byfield (60s)
Sam, a retired shepherd (70s)
Chairman of cable company (60s)
Peter Thompson (18 in March 1937)
Richard Brownlow (60, non-speaking)
Crowd at presentations (non-speaking)

Scenes

Act I - 1916-18

Prelude - Flanders, April 1916
Scene 1 - Flora's garden in Bournemouth, April 1916
Scene 2 - Canadian army camp, near Liphook, September 1916
Scene 3 - Liphook Post Office, later that morning
Scene 4 - Lynchmere Common
Scene 5 - Flora's room, Liphook Post Office
Scene 6 - On the road from Forest Mere
Scene 7 - The Postmaster's House, soon after
Scene 8 - On the Road with Maggie Tidy
Scene 9 - Liphook Post Office, summer 1917
Scene 10 - On Bramshott Common, later that day
Scene 11 - Liphook Post Office, soon after
Scene 12 - On the Road with Bill & Maggie Tidy
Scene 13 - Flora's room, Liphook Post Office, early 1918
Scene 14 - A street in Liphook, at the same time
Scene 15 - Flora's room, Liphook Post Office, at the same time
Scene 16 - Split scene - Flora and Louie

Act II - 1926-28

Scene 17 - An open space near Liphook, summer 1926
Scene 18 - Liphook Post Office, a few days later
Scene 19 - In the garden of the Postmaster's house, a few weeks later
Scene 20 - Liphook Post Office, at the same time
Scene 21 - On Weavers Down soon after
Scene 22 - The Leggett's farm, Griggs Green, a few weeks later
Scene 23 - 'Woolmer Gate', Griggs Green, soon after
Scene 24 - Liphook Post Office, early morning a few weeks later
Scene 25 - Weavers Down, early spring 1927
Scene 26 - The Telephone Exchange, Liphook Post Office
Scene 27 - 'Woolmer Gate', Griggs Green, soon after
Scene 28 - Lynchmere Common
Scene 29 - The Leggett's farm, Griggs Green, a few weeks later
Scene 30 - Hewshott House, Liphook, summer 1927
Scene 31 - 'Woolmer Gate', Griggs Green, some time later
Scene 32 - 'Woolmer Gate', Griggs Green, autumn 1928
Scene 33 - April 1937
Scene 34 - May 1947

Extract from Scene 4

Bill & Maggie Tidy arrive home on Lynchmere Common - he is a tinker and grinder.
Bill (Entering) Now then, Mrs Tidy, you'd best leave the donkey out there. There be no room for 'un in here.
Maggie (Off) I do know that, Bill Tidy - I weren't born yesterday you know.
Bill Well there's times when I do wonder. Where's me 'baccy?
Maggie (Entering) Where he always is, I 'spect.
Bill searches his clothing and finds it - starts filling his pipe.
Bill You making tea?
Maggie Soon as I gets the fire going. Don't be so fretful.
Bill I'm not being fretful.
Maggie Ever since the author'ties came round.
Bill They can't do a thing. I've no time to waste worrying about they.
Maggie Stop being fretful then.
Bill They wants to turn us out, but they'll find they can't do it. (He lights up his pipe) We've got squatters' rights. Squatters' rights - you know what that means?
Maggie You'se going to tell me - again.
Bill Nearly forty years we've been here. (Waving his pipe) The King of England hisself couldn't turn us out now.
Maggie It's not the King of England as is trying to do it.
Bill Nor lords of the manor neither. T'would take more than a lord of the manor to shift such as we.
Maggie You hopes.
Bill I knows. It's the law of the land. Your magistrates and lords of the manor can't go against the law of the land. It's in violet.
Maggie It's in what?
Bill In violet.
Maggie What's that mean?
Bill Don't you know anything? That's the colour they write laws in - in the law books. A sort of deep purple . . .
Maggie I knows what violet is. I just don't think you know what you're talking about sometimes. I'll go and make your tea.
Bill Donkey needs feeding.
Maggie So do I. The donkey can wait.
Bill He's had a hard pull today. Up to Hindhead and back.
Maggie If you got off and walked up the hills he wouldn't have to pull so hard. You and the grindstone.
Bill He'll be all right so long as he's fed. How much did us take today?
Maggie Before us stopped by at the last pub, you mean?
Bill A man needs his drink - grinding razors and scissors all day. And you were putting the gin away too.
Maggie I'm not going to sit outside in the cart a'waiting for you to come out, am I.
Bill Bit of drink does a wight no harm.
Maggie A bit of drink! The donkey stops by hisself every time he goes past a pub these days, to save you the trouble of doin' it.
Bill (Going to exit) I'll go and feed him if you're not.
Maggie Going to get rid of your beer more like. And take yerself well away from the doorpost a'fore you do it this time. (To herself) How much did us take! Some of us can't even hold what we do take.


About the Author

John Owen Smith was born in 1942 and trained as a Chemical Engineer at London University, but spent most of his working life designing commercial Information Systems for the paper-making industry. Following redundancy, he 'fell' into researching and recording the local history of east Hampshire, where he now lives. His own output of historical community plays, lectures, articles and books includes:-


See also information about Flora Thompson's life in Hampshire in On the Trail of Flora Thompson, and in Heatherley, her own book telling about this period of her life.

Visit the web site dedicated to the memory of Flora Thompson and her time in east Hampshire

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to share information on the life and works of Flora Thompson. See address details on Home Page