Flora Thompson – “Lark Rise to Candleford”. Her connections to Twyford
Flora Jane Timms was born was born in Juniper Hill in North East Oxfordshire on 5th December 1876 to parents Albert and Emma Timms.
Her parents had 12 children but only 6 survived into childhood.
Flora’s mother, whose maiden name was Lambourne, had distant family connections to the Wenman and Giffard families of Twyford through the marriage of William Lambourne to Jane Giffard in the early 16th C. One of her relations, another William Lambourne, who died in 1840, was a shopkeeper in Twyford.
Another resident of Juniper Hill was Thomas Whiting, a family friend who was a witness at the marriage of Albert and Emma. He then married Emma’s sister Ann in Buckingham on 17th April 1876 and they moved to Chilton Place in Twyford in 1877.
Flora started working in 1891 at a post office in Fringford and then lodged in Twyford with her Aunt Ann and Uncle Tom when she worked in the post office in Twyford for a short time.
In 1903, Flora married John William Thompson who was a post office clerk and a telegraphist from the Isle of Wight. They moved to Bournemouth and had three children, Grace, born in 1903, Henry, born in 1909 and Peter born in 1918.
Flora started writing in 1911 when she won an essay competition about Jane Austen. She later wrote extensively publishing short stories and she was also a self-taught naturalist.
In 1938, Flora sent some essays on her country childhood to the Oxford University Press and they were published in three volumes between 1939 and 1943, Lark Rise, Over to Candleford and Candleford Green. In 1945, the widely acclaimed essays were published as a trilogy called Lark Rise to Candleford describing her life in a hamlet, a village and a country town in the 1880’s.
Flora’s favourite brother, Edwin, was killed in the battle Ypres in 1916 during the first World War. His death affected her deeply and overshadowed her final years. She died in 1947 of a heart attack in Brixham and is buried in Longcross cemetery in Dartmouth.