Flora Thompson Papers

Scope and Content

This small collection mainly consists of letters from Thompson to Arthur Ball, poet, and also to his wife Anna, 1931-1947. All letters are written from Devon, and contain much domestic news, with additional glimpses of Thompson at work under wartime conditions.

The collection also contains: two 'fan' letters from Winifred Thompson of Bath (daughter of Flora Thompson) to Mrs Betty Tettmar of Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, 1950-1951; photocopy of letter from Thompson to H.J. Massingham (author of introduction to the 1945 Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy), 1944; copies of The Peverel Monthly, a periodical of the Peverel Society, a postal writers' circle run by Thompson, 1928, 1930, 1931; copies of The Seasons, 1927 and 1932.

Also two letters from Arthur Ball to Gillian Lindsay, 1992, concerning her research interests in Thompson (she is the author of Flora Thompson: the story of the Lark Rise writer (1990).

Administrative / Biographical History

Flora Thompson (1876-1947), writer, was born Flora Jane Timms, the daughter of stonemason Albert and his wife Emma of Juniper Hill on the Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire border. She left school at fourteen to work in the village post office at Fringford. After marrying, she and her husband John William Thompson moved first to Bournemouth, where she won a magazine essay competition in 1911. From 1916, the couple ran the post office in Liphook, Hampshire, where she began to write in earnest (both literary essays and nature articles). In 1921, she published her first volume of verse, Bog Myrtle and Peat. From 1925 to the outbreak of the Second World War, she ran a postal writers' circle called the Peverel Society, and was also editor of The Seasons. In 1928, the family moved to Devon. Her acclaimed autobiographical trilogy, Lark Rise (1939), Over to Candleford (1941), and Candleford Green (1943) was reissued as Lark Rise to Candleford in 1945. She also contributed to The National Review, Countryman, Queen and Lady. Her last book, Still Glides the Stream was published post-humously in 1948. She died at her home in Brixham, Devon, and is buried in Longcross Cemetery, Dartmouth, Devon.

Arthur Ball was a member of the Peverel Society, and his wife Anna was also a writer. At first, the couple became correspondents of Thompson, and later became personal friends. They lived in Stroud, Gloucestershire.

Access Information

Usual EUL arrangements apply.


Biographical information compiled by Ian Mortimer, Archivist, with additions from the Dictionary of National Biography (2004 edition).

Other Finding Aids

Rough handlist available.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Charlotte Berry, Archivist, 4 November 2004, and encoded into EAD on 31 May 2005.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual EUL restrictions apply.

Custodial History

Deposited at Exeter University Library in October 1993.

Related Material

Other papers relating to Thompson are held at the following repositories: Exeter University Library (EUL MS (90); University of Texas at Austin: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center Library; and Bodleian Library (Ms.Eng.c.2724, fol.59).


It is not known whether this collection has been used as the basis for publication.

Corporate Names