Flora Thompson (1876–1947)
author of
'Lark Rise to Candleford,' 'Heatherley,'
'Still Glides the Stream' and 'The Peverel Papers'

Flora Thompson - bust in Liphook (8K)
Sculpture of Flora Thompson at Liphook by Philip Jackson

John Owen Smith Return to Flora Thompson Home Page

— HISTORY TIMELINE — relating particularly to Flora Thompson's time in Hampshire and after—

Apr 4: John William Thompson born in Ryde, Isle of Wight
Dec 5: Flora Jane Timms born in Juniper Hill, Oxfordshire [Lark Rise]
Sep 29: Sarah Annie Symonds [Alma Stedman in 'Heatherley'] born in Liscard, Cheshire
Sep 12: Flora’s brother Edwin Timms [Edmund in her books] born in Juniper Hill (Canadian Army documents give this birth date), baptised 2 Nov 1879
Flora starts attending school at Cottisford, Oxfordshire
Professor John Tyndall builds a house at Hindhead, encouraging other ‘eminent men’ to follow
Apr: John Thompson begins training in Bournemouth as sorting clerk & telegraphist
Flora begins work at Fringford [Candleford Green] post-office, aged 14
Walter Chapman [Mr Hertford in 'Heatherley'] takes Grayshott post office
Nov: Annie Symonds moves from Cheshire to Hindhead, aged 13
Arthur Conan Doyle moves to Hindhead for his wife’s health
Flora leaves Fringford, (after the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, June 22) to take temporary jobs elsewhere, possibly Twyford, Bucks, and then Essex
October: Arthur Conan Doyle moves into Undershaw at Hindhead
Flora sees her first moving film in Halstead, Essex
June: George Bernard Shaw (GBS) spends his honeymoon at Pitfold House, Hindhead
Jul: Foundation stone laid of St Luke’s church, Grayshott
Sept: Flora arrives in Grayshott, aged 21, to train Annie Symonds in the use of the new telegraph machine and lodges with the Chapmans (Walter & Emily) – photo of post office
Nov: Dr Lyndon notes Walter Chapman made accusations of his wife’s immorality at this time
Nov: GBS rents Blen Cathra (now St Edmund’s School) close to Grayshott village
Jan 28: GBS delivers a ‘vigorous oration’ at a Peace Meeting in Hindhead Congregational Hall – Conan Doyle in the chair also spoke. Flora mentions attending meetings here
Doyle, Shaw and other eminent writers of the day living in Hindhead use Grayshott post office regularly
Mar 1: Thomas Gillman Chapman born to Walter & Emily
Mar?: Flora moves lodgings from Grayshott post office to 'The Ferns' in The Avenue, Grayshott with the Levett family (see them in the 1901 census of Grayshott)
August: GBS leaves the district
Aug 23: Fox & Pelican opens in Grayshott—Flora orders her ‘immense ninepenny dinners’ from it
Flora starts seeing ‘Mr Foreshaw’ about this time?
Oct 10: Boer War begins
Edwin enlists for Boer War—meets Flora on Aldershot railway station
Jan 6: Boers attack Ladysmith
May 17: Mafeking relieved
May: Dr Coleclough fined for poisoning dogs at Grayshott, mentioned in Heatherley
June 6: Ethel Chapman born to Walter & Emily
July 31: ‘Mrs Parkhurst’ gives birth to ‘Elsie’? – actually Alice Levett gives birth to a son, Aubrey
Aug 10: John Volckman [Mr Foreshaw in 'Heatherley'?] dies at Grayshott, aged 63—buried in Headley churchyard
Flora starts seeing ‘The Jeromes’ about this time?
Sep 1: Hindhead telegraph facility opens – first wire sent off from Hindhead this week. – "the number of telegrams sent and received at Heatherley went down 80 per cent." Earliest date for Flora leaving Grayshott
Sep 15: "Initial telegraph work at Hindhead was 60 telegrams per day, and it has considerably relieved the strain which hitherto existed at the Grayshott post office."
Oct 17: St Luke’s church, Grayshott, consecrated
Jan 22: Queen Victoria dies
Mar?: Latest date for Flora leaving Grayshott
Mar 31: Census – Flora at Yateley, Hampshire, working in the Post Office – her occupation given as 'Post Office Clerk' – living with the sub postmaster William Bettesworth and his wife and their servant. John Thompson working as a Post Office Clerk in Aldershot, Hampshire—just 8 miles away.
Jun 16: Ernest James Chapman born to Walter & Emily
Jul 29: Walter Chapman murders his wife Emily at Grayshott and is committed to Broadmoor (see Sept 1921) – Emily buried in All Saints' churchyard, Headley
Flora goes to work at Twickenham in about 1902 and for a while lived as a lodger in Heathfield (Road) North
Jan 7: Flora marries John Thompson at St Mary’s, Twickenham
Thompsons make home in Winton, a new suburb of Bournemouth – rented 4 Sedgley Road (later moved next-door to No.6)
Oct 24: Winifred Grace (‘Diana’) Thompson born in Winton, baptised 7 Aug 1904 in St John's, Moordown
Mar 15: All five of Walter Chapman’s children re-baptised at St Luke’s, Grayshott
See photo of Flora in Bournemouth with Winifred
Edwin returns from India to work on local farm in Oxfordshire
Winton Library opened – Flora 'slipped in like a duck slipping into water and read almost everything'
May: Flora recalls (in her Peverel Paper of May 1926) being on the Isle of Wight when she read of the death of one of her favourite authors, George Meredith (d. 18 May 1909)
Early autumn: Flora visits Juniper Hill with Winifred to see Edwin before he emigrates to Canada
Oct 6: Henry Basil Thompson born in Winton
The Thompsons move a couple of streets to rent a bigger house at 2 Edgehill Road, Winton – they call this house 'Grayshott Cottage'
Jan 12: Annie Symonds marries Harold Oliver Chapman (nephew of Walter) at St Luke’s, Grayshott
Flora acquires a typewriter, to type minutes of her husband's Postal Clerks Association meetings
Feb: Flora wins competition in The Ladies Companion for essay on Jane Austen – Flora’s first published work
Apr 2: Census shows Flora's brothers Edwin (31) and Frank (22) as Farm Labs living with their parents at Juniper Hill – soon afterwards the brothers emigrate: Edwin to Canada and Frank to Queensland
Apr: Flora has her essay on Emily Brontë published in The Ladies Companion
July: Flora wins again in The Ladies Companion for an essay on Shakespeare’s heroines – she chose Juliet
See photo of Flora in Bournemouth with Basil
Jan: Short story (‘The Toft Cup’) published in The Ladies Companion – Flora’s first payment
Flora wins prize for writing a crit. on Dr Ronald Macfie’s ode on the sinking of the Titanic
Macfie visits Flora, and starts a literary correspondence
Flora writes ‘The Leper’, set on the Isle of Wight, and sells it to The Literary Monthly
Spring: The Thompson family visits John's widowed father on the Isle of Wight – Flora mentions seeing a rainbow over Ryde in April (in her Peverel Paper for April 1924)
Dec 12: Edwin Timms (No. 81889) joins the 32nd Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force in Winnipeg (in Canadian Army documents he is referred to as Edward Timms!)see acknowledgement
The Ladies Companion ceases publication
Feb 23: Edwin's battalion sails for England
May 5: Edwin sent to join the 2nd 'Eastern Ontario' Battalion in France (the regiment had been there since Feb)
The Thompsons move locally again to rent 42 Frederica Road, Winton – they also call this house 'Grayshott Cottage'
Nov 20: Edwin hospitalised with rheumatic fever for eight days
Mar 20: Edwin granted 8-days leave in England – Flora cannot see him due to her children's illness
Apr 26: Edwin killed in action in Belgium (after the battle for the St Eloi craters) – buried in Plot II.F.3 in Woods Cemetery, Zillebeke, Ieper, Belgium – see also plaque in Cottisford church
Photo of Flora, possibly around this time
May 30: Vacancy for sub-postmastership at Liphook advertised in the Post Office Circular – salary £125 per annum
Aug: Thompson family moves from Bournemouth to Liphook – photo of post office
Flora joins the Haslemere Natural History Society (also 1918 & 1922–27) as ‘Miss F Thompson’
Jan: John Mumford arrives in Bramshott—becomes friendly with one of Flora's post girls, 'Louie' Woods—he is posted to France in October (and survives the War)
Oct 19: Peter Redmond Thompson born in Liphook
Nov 11: Armistice day—end of First World War
Dec: Albert Timms (Flora’s father) dies, aged 64
Flora takes a correspondence course in the Daily News
Flora writes six stories for ‘The Catholic Fireside’, including a rewritten version of 'The Leper'
May: Emma Timms was sent Edwin's three service medals and the Canadian Memorial Cross by the Canadian Army; Edwin's 'Death Plaque' sent to his father (although he had died in 1918)
June: Flora's literary essay on Robert Louis Stevenson's home Skerryvore appeared in 'The Catholic Fireside'
? Sep: Flora revisits Grayshott
Flora writes monthly ‘Out of Doors’ nature articles (set in the New Forest) for 'The Catholic Fireside'
March: Book of Flora’s poems published: Bog-Myrtle & Peat—her first publicity—pictured at her typewriter and reported in the national press – see photos
May 14: Article on 'Flora Thompson: Poet and Nature Lover' in The Civilian, the Civil Service magazine
Country bus services start in Liphook
? Flora visited by ‘Mrs Parkhurst’ and 'Elsie' from Grayshott
Sep 15: Walter Chapman dies in custody, possibly Exminster Asylum
Flora begins writing her monthly ‘Peverel Papers’ nature notes (set mainly around Liphook) for 'The Catholic Fireside'
Flora writes in a Peverel Paper (Sep 1922) about 'the necessity every week or so to take a short train journey'
Sept: Basil Thompson (aged 12) starts at Churchers College
Aug: Flora visits Northamptonshire (‘Peverel Paper’ for Sep 1923)
Peter (aged 5) starts at school
Flora writes a ‘Fireside Reading Circle’ article and a ‘Peverel Paper’ each month, plus setting and judging competitions and dealing with volumes of correspondence
Flora meets Mildred (‘Myldrede’) Humble-Smith
Flora helps to write the Guide to Liphook
Flora ends the ‘Fireside Reading Circle’ and starts a postal writers group ‘The Peverel Society’ with Mildred, issuing ‘The Peverel Monthly’. The Society publishes a small book of verse.
Feb: Basil Thompson (aged 16) and Cecil Cluer (aged 20, engaged to Diana) go out to Queensland, Australia
– Cecil never comes back
Jul 2: Thompsons buy new house Woolmer Gate at Griggs Green, near Liphook – the first house of their own (previously they had lived in rented accommodation)
Jul 6: Vacancy for postmaster at Dartmouth advertised in the Post Office Circular – salary £215 per annum
Aug 3: Appointment of John Thompson to Dartmouth recorded in Post Office Circular
Sep 9: Woolmer Gate put on the market at an asking price of £750
Nov 10: Presentation to John Thompson, who moves to Dartmouth—Flora, Diana & Peter stay in Griggs Green
Dec: Last ‘Peverel Paper’ appears
Flora’s novel ‘Gates of Eden’ appears in serialised form in copies of ‘The Peverel Monthly’
Autumn: Flora, Diana & Peter move to Dartmouth
Ronald Macfie dies aged 66 in a London nursing home – Flora writes: "The bright day is done and we are for dark"
Flora rewrote ‘The Great Draught in Central Africa’ for ‘an old big-game hunter who trained under Selous’ – the article appeared in Chambers’ Journal
Emma Timms (Flora’s mother) dies, aged 80
Apr 12: John Thompson retires from the Post Office
Mar 30: William Elwes [Richard Brownlow?] retires from Cable & Wireless – Flora sees it reported in an engineering magazine of Peter's
Dec: ‘The Lady’ magazine publishes Flora’s short story ‘The Tail-less Fox’ (Flora aged 60)
Apr: ‘Old Queenie’ published in ‘The Lady’
Aug: ‘An Oxfordshire Hamlet in the Eighties’ published in ‘The National Review’—becomes the start of ‘Lark Rise’
Aug: Basil Thompson marries Dora in America
May: ‘May Day in the Eighties’ published in ‘The National Review’
Summer: ‘Lark Rise’ accepted by the Oxford University Press
Sep: Lynton Lamb goes to Brackley to do sketches to illustrate ‘Lark Rise’
Mar: ‘Lark Rise’ published
Flora starts writing ‘Over to Candleford’
Sep 3: War declared
Oct: Flora offered ‘same terms’ from OUP for ‘Over to Candleford’ as they had given for ‘Lark Rise’
Jan: Flora offers to pay OUP back the advance for ‘Over to Candleford’ as she was struggling to complete it
Mar: Thompsons move to Lauriston in Brixham
Feb: Proofs of ‘Over to Candleford’ ready
Flora starts to write ‘Dashpers,’ but only completes four chapters
Sep 16: Peter Thompson lost at sea, aged 22, when his merchant ship Jedmoor (carrying wheat) was torpedoedsee plaque
‘Peverel Society’ disbanded; Flora developed pneumonia over the winter and was ill in bed for some weeks
Flora writes ‘Candleford Green’
Jan: ‘Candleford Green’ published, to magnificant reviews
Geoffery Cumberlege of OUP writes to Flora: 'One day we must talk about the trilogy'
Mar: Flora talks to OUP of publishing ‘The Peverel Papers’ as a book
Mar: Flora receives proofs of Julie Neild’s engravings for the ‘Lark Rise to Candleford’ trilogy
Jul: HJ Massingham agrees to write the Introduction to the trilogy
Flora invited to speak about her books to a group of Oxfordshire librarians but she could not go
Flora completes ‘Heatherley,’ but does not submit it for publication
Apr: Trilogy ‘Lark Rise to Candleford’ published
Flora starts writing ‘Still Glides the Stream’
Jan 10: Date on Flora’s last Will and Testament, in which she states: ‘if any headstone should be erected to my memory I wish that the name of our beloved son Peter Redmond Thompson shall appear thereon.’
Aug: Flora completes ‘Still Glides the Stream’
Dec 25: John cooked Chrismas dinner, as Flora was ill in bed
Flora writes an article ‘A Country Child Taking Notes’ on her life and work for ‘Readers News’ – see photo
May 21: Flora dies in bed in the evening, aged 70 – memorial to her and Peter placed in Longcross Cemetery, Dartmouth
Aug 16: Probate of Flora's Will granted at Exeter
Jul 13: John Thompson dies, aged 74
‘Still Glides the Stream’ published—Diana is literary executor
Tribute to Flora broadcast on radio by Margaret Lane
Margaret Lane’s essay published in ‘The Cornhill’ magazine
Winifred (‘Diana’) Thompson dies, aged 63
Flora’s papers sent to the University of Texas
Margaret Lane publishes Purely for Pleasure, a collection of articles written by her including the one on Flora Thompson which had previously been published in 'The Cornhill' magazine
Jun 29: Annie Symonds (Annie Chapman) dies, aged 90
Anne Mallinson of Selborne discovers the East Hampshire connection with Flora
May: Centenary of Flora’s birth—literary lunch held at ‘The Royal Anchor,’ Liphook
Winter: Article by Simon Appleyard – 'In the footsteps of Flora Thompson' published in This England
March: Play 'Lark Rise' written by Keith Dewhurst performed 'in promenade' at the Cottesloe Theatre in London
May: Plaque to Flora unveiled on the old post office at Liphook
Oct 25: ‘A Country Calendar’, an extended biographical essay by Margaret Lane, published including ‘Heatherley’ and selections from ‘Peverel Papers’ – see article in the Observer Magazine of 21 October 1979
Nov: Play ‘Candleford’ written by Keith Dewhurst performed 'in promenade' at the Cottesloe Theatre in London
May 21: Sculptured bust of Flora by Philip Jackson unveiled at Liphook, outside the then current post office (now the sorting office) in Portsmouth Road (re-cast and moved inside the Library in 1995)
Apr 21: 'Lark Rise to Candleford' republished by Century;
July: Article in Devon Life
More selections from ‘Peverel Papers’ published
Building which had housed Grayshott post office in Flora’s time demolished – now Pendarvis House.
Mar: Article by Gillian Lindsay – 'Fifty Years at Lark Rise' in The Lady
Apr: Article by Gillian Lindsay – 'Author Remembered' in Home and Country
Biography of Flora Thompson by Gillian Lindsay published by Robert Hale
Anne Mallinson starts the Selborne Circle of Rural Writers, which includes Flora among other local writers
Oct: Article by Gillian Lindsay – 'Flora Thompson's Hampshire' in Hampshire; Article by Gillian Lindsay – 'From Kingswear to Lark Rise' in Devon Life
Aug: Article by Gillian Lindsay – 'Step Back in Time' in Country Walking
Spring: Article by Gillian Lindsay – 'Letters from Laura' in The Countryman
June: Article by Gillian Lindsay – 'How Flora Thompson found her Voice' in Home and Country
July: Sculpture of Flora re-cast and moved into the village library at Liphook
Feb: Article by Gillian Lindsay – 'Flora Thompson' in Antiquarian Book Monthly
Spring: Article by Gillian Lindsay – 'The Lark Ascending' in The Countryman
May 10: Article by Christopher Somerville – 'Flora's landscape lives on' in The Times
May 20: Article by Gillian Lindsay – 'The Lady from Lark Rise' in The Lady
May 21: 50th anniversary of Flora’s death commemorated
 'On the Trail of Flora Thompson' by John Owen Smith published, including Flora's Walk
 Play ‘Flora’s Peverel’ performed in East Hampshire. See video.
Summer: Article by Gillian Lindsay – 'The Texas Paper Mountain' in The Author
'The World of Flora Thompson' by Christine Bloxham published
September: Centenary of Flora's arrival in Grayshott
 'Heatherley' republished, with new Introduction, Chapter Illustrations and Historical Notes
 Play 'Flora's Heatherley' performed in Surrey and East Hampshire. See video.
Aug: One of four local 'Rural Writers Remembered' at the Rural Life Museum, Tilford, Surrey
Jul/Aug: Keith Dewhurst's 'Lark Rise' performed by the New Farnham Repertory Company in their first season
Blue plaque mounted on the house in Above Town, Dartmouth where the Thompsons moved in 1928
Spring: New adaptation of 'Lark Rise' by Theatre Roundabout (Sylvia Read & William Fry) on tour
Release of 1901 census information tells us of Flora and John Thompson's whereabouts in March 1901
November: Article in 'Dorset' magazine
Permanent Flora Thompson exhibition opens at The Old Gaol Museum of Buckingham
May: Play 'Flora's Heatherley' performed again in Surrey and East Hampshire
April: Blue plaque to Flora mounted on The Ferns, Grayshott where she lodged 1899–1900
May: Revised edition of Biography of Flora Thompson by Gillian Lindsay published
May: Official opening of the Flora Thompson exhibition at The Old Gaol Museum of Buckingham
May: Keith Dewhurst's 'Lark Rise' performed at Juniper Hill by the Wheatley and Garsington Barnstormers
July: Revised edition of 'The World of Flora Thompson' by Christine Bloxham published
July: Play 'Flora's Peverel' performed again in Surrey and East Hampshire
July: BBC begins filming a 10-part TV series based on Lark Rise to Candleford, starring Dawn French and Julia Sawalha
Jan 13: First episode of BBC TV series Lark Rise to Candleford is screened
Planning application submitted to demolish Woolmer Gate, the Thompsons' house in Griggs Green near Liphook – retracted in 2009 and the house then put up for sale as an entity
May: The Peverel Papers published in their entirety as a single volume
Blue plaques put up on houses associated with Flora in Bournemouth and Brixham
Jan–March: Second series of BBC TV series Lark Rise to Candleford is screened
May 2: Blue plaque put on building in Crossways Road, Grayshott where the post office had stood when Flora was there
BBC website on Flora Thompson inaugurated
Jan–March: Third series of BBC TV series Lark Rise to Candleford is screened
July 4: Unveiling of a plaque in Fringford ('Candleford Green') church by Linda Bassett ('Queenie' of TV) – see photo & details
Jan–Feb: Fourth series of BBC TV series Lark Rise to Candleford is screened
Thanks to Gordon Crossley, Archivist of the Fort Garry Horse Regiment, Winnipeg, for information on Edwin Timms' service record in the Canadian Army
— This web site maintained by John Owen Smith

Top of PageHome Page