Heatherley – the Sequel to "Lark Rise to Candleford"
Flora Thompson, Anne Mallinson, Hester Whittle, John Owen Smith

Cover of Heatherley ISBN 1-873855-29-X

From her original typescript

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Front cover: Sandy tracks through heather and birch on Weavers Down, near Liphook - this was Flora's 'Peverel Down,' and typical of the scenery in east Hampshire with which she fell in love

Paperback - 176 pages, with map, notes and chapter illustrations
John Owen Smith; ISBN: 1-873855-29-X; November 1998 (updated 2005)

Associated titles: On the Trail of Flora Thompson by John Owen Smith; Grayshott by JH Smith; The Hilltop Writers by WR Trotter; Flora Thompson, the story of the Lark Rise Writer by Gillian Lindsay; 1925 Guide to Liphook by Flora Thompson; The Peverel Papers by Flora Thompson; Without Education or Encouragement by Ruth Collette Hoffman

Plays: Flora's Heatherley and Flora's Peverel by John Owen Smith


Reviews . Description . Publisher's Notes . Inside Flap . Back Cover . Contents . Introduction . Excerpt . Illustrations . Index . Comments . About the Author . About the Publisher . Further information

Flora's own 'lost' sequel to 'Lark Rise to Candleford'


Reviews

Kathy Lemaire - School Librarian - Vol 47, Number 2, Summer 1999
"Unlike the well-known 'Lark Rise to Candleford' trilogy, this later semi-autobiographical work was never published in Flora Thompson's lifetime. What makes this edition of 'Heatherley' particularly interesting is the footnotes and additional material, giving information about the people on whom she based her fictional characters. The publishers have taken great pains to consult Flora Thompson's original typescript for this edition, as well as earlier drafts which include an extra chapter, and thus have produced a fascinating document which could be read both for the story and for the background that it gives to the life of this village at the turn of the last century."

Roy Kersley - Bordon/Petersfield Post - 17th March 1999 - Flora fans to welcome new volume
"This is a book in which to enjoy a variety of keenly-observed situations and topics. There is also a wide review of many nostalgic memories of the age. Flora Thompson returned to Heatherley as Laura in the last chapter, some 20 years after she left, and found the village "little changed in appearance." She walked among the old familiar scenes like a ghost of the past. Very few people were in the streets of the village and of those few, none recognised her. 'Heatherley', which is published by John Owen Smith and illustrated by Hester Whittle, is a book to which I will certainly return."

Alton Herald - 5th March 1999 - Author's 'lost' sequel reprinted by enthusiasts
"The centenary of the arrival in Grayshott of the late author, Flora Thompson, was celebrated recently with the reprint, by a trio of local enthusiasts, of 'Heatherley'. Described as Flora's own 'lost' sequel to 'Lark Rise to Candleford', this new edition comprises a review of the original typescript with added illustrations and historical notes, as well as some fresh material found in her archives, now in the University of Texas. Published by Headley author and historian, John Owen Smith, with delightful pen and ink illustrations by Hester Whittle of Headley Down, the foreword has been written by Anne Mallinson, who for years has sought to promote the work of Flora Thompson from her former bookshop at Selborne and via local literary societies. Mrs Mallinson, whose own research was helped considerably by the late eminent biographer, Margaret Lane, offers a remarkable insight into the work of Flora Thompson which will add to the reader's enjoyment and understanding of this and other works."

Peter Barrington - Bicester Advertiser - 14th January 1999
"If your bookshelf already contains Flora Thompson's 'Lark Rise to Candleford' and one or both of the biographies on the author, you doubtless will want to buy 'Heatherley'. This is described as the lost sequel to the 'Lark Rise' trilogy and has just been re-published. In 'Heatherley', Flora again demonstrates her acute eye for people with a number of telling thumbnail portraits - though in the light of their continued status it was a pity she did not make more of her sketches of George Bernard Shaw and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Flora's innate modesty even prevented her from naming them and she described Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories as the invention of 'a new fiction.' We must be grateful for publisher's footnotes identifying the authors. 'Heatherley' is a gentle discourse on the life and times of one part of Hampshire that Flora was to return to later in life when her husband became postmaster at nearby Liphook. Anyone fond of Lark Rise will want to explore this follow-up volume."

Book Description

Flora's own 'lost' sequel to 'Lark Rise to Candleford'
When the young Flora Thompson took up her duties at Grayshott post-office in 1898, she found to her amazement that her customers included Arthur Conan Doyle and George Bernard Shaw. The neighbouring settlement of Hindhead had attracted many eminent Victorians to take up residence, and the telegraph machine at Grayshott which Flora was employed to operate was their prime means of communication to the outside world.

In 'Heatherley', she tells us that as a result of meeting these famous authors she 'destroyed her own scraps of writing, saying to herself as they smouldered to tinder that that was the end of a foolish idea.'

Fortunately it did not stop her altogether, and from the perspective of some forty-five years after the events described, Flora Thompson remembers with her usual clarity back to a time when bicycles and Kodak cameras were just becoming popular, and she herself was guilty of crossing the strict conventions of propriety at the end of the nineteenth century.

With this book, Flora picks up the story of her life a year after she left 'Candleford Green' and her native Oxfordshire to arrive in 'heathery' Hampshire. Here she was to stay, off and on, for the next 30 years of her life.

But although she completed the typescript of this sequel to 'Lark Rise to Candleford', Flora never published it. Instead, many years later, it was included in a posthumous collection of her writings by Margaret Lane entitled 'A Country Calendar and other works' - which has been out of print now for some years.

In this new edition, celebrating the centenary of her arrival in Grayshott, we have reviewed Flora's original typescript and added illustrations and historical notes as well as some fresh material found in her archives, now in the University of Texas.

Introduction by Anne Mallinson of Selborne; chapter illustrations by Hester Whittle; historical notes by John Owen Smith.

Publisher's Notes

In producing this new edition of Heatherley to mark the centenary of Flora's arrival in Hampshire, we have reviewed her original typescript alongside the version edited by Margaret Lane and previously published by Oxford University Press.

This has enabled us to correct a small number of errors which had occurred in that transcription, and occasionally to revert to Flora's phraseology and punctuation where we felt this was better than in the amended version.

We have also looked at a number of her earlier typescript drafts, some of which (including the 'new' chapter) were discovered in the last few years by Flora's biographer Gillian Lindsay, and this has allowed us to add information which the previous version did not contain-and the publisher's own historical research has provided notes into the people and places Flora would have known while she was in 'Heatherley' during the years 1898-1901.

Thanks are due to Anne Mallinson for the Introduction; to Hester Whittle for the illustrations at the start of chapters; to The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at The University of Texas, Austin, for loan of original material; to Oxford University Press for permission to republish; and to Elizabeth Swaffield, Flora's granddaughter, for copyright permission.

From the Inside Flap

When the young Flora Thompson took up her duties at Grayshott post-office in 1898, she found to her amazement that her customers included Arthur Conan Doyle and George Bernard Shaw. The neighbouring settlement of Hindhead had attracted many eminent Victorians to take up residence, and the telegraph machine at Grayshott which Flora was employed to operate was their prime means of communication to the outside world.

In 'Heatherley', she tells us that as a result of meeting these famous authors she 'destroyed her own scraps of writing, saying to herself as they smouldered to tinder that that was the end of a foolish idea.'

Fortunately it did not stop her altogether, and from the perspective of some forty-five years after the events described, Flora Thompson remembers with her usual clarity back to a time when bicycles and Kodak cameras were just becoming popular, and she herself was guilty of crossing the strict conventions of propriety at the end of the nineteenth century.

(Introduction by Anne Mallinson; Illustrations by Hester Whittle; Historical notes by John Owen Smith)

On the Back Cover

FLORA THOMPSON was born in 1876 at Juniper Hill on the Oxfordshire/Northamptonshire border. She is best known as the author of Lark Rise to Candleford, that classic and evocative observation of her rural childhood which has been a best-seller since its publication in 1945.

That story ends with her leaving her native Oxfordshire in 1897 for pastures new. In Heatherley she picks up the story again when she takes her first permanent post in Grayshott, a village on the Hampshire/Surrey border.

Here she describes her surprise at entering a different world - a new settlement placed amid wild heather-clad hilltops compared with the old-established village set in the heavy, flat, agricultural landscape of her childhood.

For those who have been enchanted by her earlier work, the continuing story as 'Laura goes farther' will be compulsive reading.

Cover illustration: Sandy tracks through heather and birch on Weavers Down, near Liphook - this was Flora's 'Peverel Down,' and typical of the scenery in East Hampshire with which she fell in love. (Photo: John Owen Smith)

Table of Contents

Introduction

Anniversaries often provide happy—and relevant—occasions for celebrations, and the publication of a new edition of Heatherley by Flora Thompson supplies the perfect opportunity to mark the centenary of the writer’s arrival in Hampshire in the year 1898.

Flora Thompson, later to become the author of the captivating trilogy Lark Rise to Candleford, was twenty-one when she, in her own words, "walked without knowing it over the border into Hampshire …", arriving in the village of Grayshott situated on the Surrey/Hampshire border—and the fictitious place name of ‘Heatherley’ was born.

Anyone who knows this Hampshire village which developed out of local heathlands in the 1860s will recognise the location at once. For, although Flora was a past-master at disguising the identities of both people and places in her prose, her descriptions were always accurate and clearly defined—to such an intriguing degree that the publisher of this book has already been sufficiently enthused to write his own journey On the Trail of Flora Thompson (1997) in which he sets out to discover their true identities.

I first became aware of Flora Thompson’s Heatherley almost thirty years ago. And I owe a debt of gratitude to the late eminent biographer, Margaret Lane (1907–1994) for introducing me to this piece of writing—and for providing me with a pleasurable ongoing ‘pursuit with a purpose.’

As Flora’s first biographer—in the form of an original memoir published in the Spring number of The Cornhill Magazine in 1957, ten years after Flora’s death—Margaret Lane’s biographical essay was to open an unexpected literary ‘door’ into the Hampshire world of Flora Thompson. It was a tantalising account of her search into Flora’s somewhat secretive life. Later the essay was included in Purely for Pleasure, a volume of Margaret Lane’s literary and biographical essays. In 1976 it was republished, again by John Murray, to celebrate the centenary of Flora Thompson’s birth.

In 1979 an extended version of the original memoir was published, with John Murray’s approval, by Oxford University Press (OUP) as the Introduction to A Country Calendar and other writings. This was a volume of Flora Thompson’s previously uncollected or unpublished papers which Margaret Lane had selected from material deposited at the University of Texas. And so Heatherley—which was included in the volume—was published … at last!

* * *

By then, my own researches into the world of Flora Thompson had been under way for close on ten years.

In the autumn of 1970, after a busy year in Selborne com-memorating the 250th anniversary of the birth of our famous naturalist and writer, Gilbert White, I had decided to take a break from my small, specialist, country bookshop—which I had founded two years previously and where the small companion volumes of White’s Natural History of Selborne and Flora Thompson’s Lark Rise to Candleford, in the ‘World’s Classics’ edition, had already proved to be two of the most sought after books on my shelves.

Already familiar, of course, with White and his village of Selborne, I had a desire to find out more about the life of the author of Lark Rise, born in the hamlet amid the flat wheatfields of north east Oxfordshire almost a century before, in 1876.

There was no doubt that Juniper Hill was ‘Lark Rise’ of the books, and when I arrived there the larks were still singing above the stubble fields of another harvest gone—and ‘The Fox’ was there too, the village inn described by Flora as the ‘Wagon and Horses’.

Over a sandwich and a sherry in this evocative place (alas, now closed as I write) the landlord, on hearing of my pilgrimage, passed a worn and well-thumbed typescript across the bar—it was Margaret Lane’s biographical essay on Flora Thompson published in The Cornhill in 1957. I sat reading, fascinated—and sufficiently carried away with emotion, and excitement at my discovery of so much previously unknown information, that I ordered "the same again please" and read on.

The word ‘Hampshire’ and the names of Grayshott and Liphook sprang from the pages. Here, indeed, was a key to be turned … and the Hampshire world of Flora Thompson to be discovered.

Early in 1973 I decided to bring Flora Thompson into a special display in my bookshop, and I wrote to Margaret Lane seeking her help with display material and information. "Alas," she wrote, "I have nothing of Flora Thompson’s, not even an envelope. All the material, or nearly all of it, I got from her daughter, who is now dead [she died in 1966]. I have no idea where relics of Flora, if any, went"—and she referred me to a Mr A C Ward (a Reader at OUP) and suggested too that Miss Joan Hassall might just be able to help (Miss Hassall had illustrated Margaret Lane’s essay in The Cornhill, and was herself a Flora Thompson devotee).

Sadly, Mr Ward in his reply had to admit that he too "did not keep the personal letters I had from her in the late 1940s", but mentioned the acquisition of her literary remains by the University of Texas, adding: "These included an unpublished typescript of a novel based largely on her post office experience, but alas! it hadn’t anything of the immortal strain of the Lark Rise trilogy and I had to advise against publication."

However, Mr Ward kindly suggested that I wrote to Geoffrey Cumberlege, "sometime Publisher to the University of Oxford" — and from there on, my luck was in. Over a period of six years, until his death in 1979, Geoffrey Cumberlege encouraged and contributed towards my efforts to establish recognition of Flora Thompson in east Hampshire.

But to return to the story of Heatherley and the course of its journey towards publication. I wrote to Joan Hassall, whose name I knew well as an outstanding wood engraver and illustrator. She kindly replied by return of post, offering me photocopies of one or two of her items—a letter from Flora and extracts from a few letters from Winifred [Flora’s daughter]—then going on to say: "The most interesting thing, if its whereabouts could be traced, would be the typescript which her daughter Winifred allowed me to read, of a fourth book of Laura’s recollections founded on Flora’s life at Grayshott. Vivian Ridler of OUP might know to whom Winifred left her mother’s papers. OUP did not think the fourth book worth adding to the three, but to those who love Flora Thompson’s work it was keenly interesting."

A further admirer of Flora, Miss Gertrude Oppenheimer, was also of the same opinion, and in 1976 she wrote to OUP suggesting an omnibus edition of Flora’s selected unpublished writings.

OUP then wrote to Margaret Lane for her opinion as to "the feasibility, or indeed desirability of putting together such a volume," stating that "as well as the essays and stories there is Heatherley and Bog Myrtle & Peat", and a few days later I had a letter from her enclosing a copy of this and asking me to let her know what I thought. "I don’t myself think," she wrote, "there would be any point in including much of the early unpublished work … but Heatherley and Bog Myrtle, or extracts from them, might be a very good idea. Do you know where the material is at present?"

I replied with encouragement, and the proverbial ball began to roll. Numerous letters then passed between Margaret Lane and myself as I filled her in with the information she required and told her of the increasing interest I encountered in Flora’s life and work. Further correspondence travelled between OUP and Margaret Lane’s home in Beaulieu, and the project was set in motion.

In September 1976, she wrote to me: "We now hope to go ahead with a kind of omnibus-selection volume." The University of Texas provided photocopies of the material, and once again Heatherley crossed the Atlantic, home again for publication, and in the autumn of 1979, A Country Calendar and other writings—including Heatherley—was launched at The Selborne Bookshop.

I look back over the years of my involvement with Flora in east Hampshire: to the celebrations of the centenary of her birth in 1976 with the literary luncheon in Liphook; the unveiling in 1981 of the sculptured bust by Philip Jackson, now in Liphook library; and to the first Grayshott Literary Festival in 1995 when, on the opening evening, I spoke of Flora’s link with the area, and actor David Wynn, well known in the locality, read passages from Heatherley and The Peverel Papers—Grayshott and Liphook in disguise.

Now it is a September again, and we await publication of this new edition of Heatherley, with its charming pen & ink illustrations and this introduction which it has given me much pleasure to record.

May it take its own place in the story of Flora’s immortality—in the world which gave us her unique gifts, where her memory is now commemorated and cared for, and will not be forgotten.

Anne Mallinson
Selborne, September 1998

Illustrations

Example of a chapter heading illustration by Hester Whittle

Excerpt

From Heatherley by Flora Thompson, Hester Whittle, Anne Mallinson, John Owen Smith. Copyright © 1998. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

One hot September afternoon near the end of the last century a girl of about twenty walked without knowing it over the border into Hampshire from one of its neighbouring counties. She was dressed in a brown woollen frock with a waist-length cape of the same material and a brown beaver hat decorated with two small ostrich tips, set upright in front, back to back, like a couple of notes of interrogation. This outfit, which would no doubt appear hideous to modern eyes, had given her great moral support on her train journey. The skirt, cut short just to escape contact with the ground and so needing no holding up except in wet weather, was, her dressmaker had assured her, the latest idea for country wear. The hat she had bought on her way through London that morning. It had cost nine and eleven-pence three farthings of the pound she had saved to meet her expenses until her first month's salary was due in her new post, but she did not regret the extravagance for it became her brown eyes and hair and would help her, she hoped, to make a good impression at her journey's end. "A good first impression is half the battle", she had been told as a child, and she had special reasons for wishing to make a good impression today, for she had lately been somewhat unsettled through taking short holiday-relief engagements at the post offices where she had worked and this new position, she hoped, would prove a permanency.

* * *

Pale purple as the bloom on a ripe plum, veined with the gold of late flowering gorse, set with small slender birches just turning yellow, with red-berried rowans and thickets of bracken, the heath lay steeped in sunshine. The dusty white road by which she had come was deserted by all but herself, and the only sounds to be heard were the murmuring of bees in the heathbells and the low, plaintive cries of a flock of linnets as they flitted from bush to bush. From where she stood she could see, far away on the horizon, a long wavy line of dim blue hills which to her, used as she was to a land of flat fields, appeared to be mountains. The air, charged with the scent of heather and pine, had the sharp sweetness of wine and was strangely exhilarating to one accustomed from birth to the moist, heavy, pollen-laden air of the agricultural counties. She stood as long as she dared upon the edge of the heath, breathing long breaths and gazing upon the scene with the delight of a discoverer; then with a buoyant floating-upon-air feeling, passed on uphill towards the knot of red roofs which soon appeared among pine trees.


Index

Allen, Grant, 30
Apsley, Mrs, 165
Bicycles, 42
Binks family, Laura with briefly, 89
Boer War
 Laura's thoughts, 23
 Sunday morning bulletins, 68
Broom-squires
 barking dog poisoned, 68
 ricks of brooms, 29
Brownlow, Mavis
  illness, 133
  initial appearance, 121
Brownlow, Richard (William Elwes)
 'can never marry', 135
 father's sudden death, 125
 initial appearance, 119
 relation in Heatherley, 127
 retirement from cable company, 137
Camden, Mrs (Mrs Bulley), 23
Cappers, The, entertainers, 96
Clothes
 bicyclists, 42
 changes after First World War, 164
 Laura's, 94
 mourning for Queen Victoria, 154
 village girls, 41
Dodder, 123
Doddington, Mr (Alexander Ingham Whitaker), 28
Doyle, Arthur Conan, 30
Dreyfus, Captain, 145
Edmund (Edwin Timms)
 adventures in Boer War, 147
 dies in First World War, 150
 off to Boer War, 146
 to India with regiment, 148
Education of village girls, 43
Foreshaw, Clara
 Mr Foreshaw's sister, 62
Foreshaw, Mr Charles
 his death, 64
 initial appearance, 55
 Laura's weekly visits, 61
Fox & Pelican
 ninepenny dinners, 93
Garbitt, Mrs, 110
Haslemere, 14
Heath
 absence of man's works, 72
 description of, 14
Heatherley (Grayshott)
 description of, 15
 development of, 160
Hertford children
 Cecil, 17
 initial appearance, 16
 known to Laura, 87
Hertford, brother (Ernest Chapman)
 pro-Boer, 141
 religious debates, 20
Hertford, Mr (Walter Chapman)
 anti-Boer, 141
 committed to Broadmoor, 88
 his love for Letty, 84
 initial appearance, 19
 murder of wife, 165
 prowling in house, 87
 religious debates, 20
 start of illness, 86
Hertford, Mrs (Emily Chapman)
 attitude to husband, 82
 goes to concert, 21
 initial appearance, 16
 murdered by husband, 165
Hindhead
 Congregational Hall, 95
 development of, 160
 distant view of hotel, 73
Gibbet Hill, 122
 'Lesser Parnassus', 15
Jerome, Mr Wilmot
 contact with writing men, 113
 escorts Laura home, 111
 initial appearance, 109
Jerome, Mrs Alicia
 initial appearance, 109
 married schoolmistress, 118
Kipling, Rudyard
 Mr Foreshaw admires, 62
 reputation, 35
Laura (Flora)
 'heart of the wood', 122
 birth plant, Sagittarius, 73
 Central Telegraph Office, 131
 Civil Service examination, 127, 132
 clothing, 94
 destroyed her writing, 48
 Essex saltmarsh, 67
 father's weakness for drink, 83
 hears of Edmund's death, 150
 Henry James, 128
 holiday entitlement, 83
 knitting for Boer War, 142
 leaving Heatherley, 106, 137, 161
 marriage to John Thompson, 161
 meets 'Edmund' at Aldershot, 146
 misfit in Heatherley, 99
 new ways of shopping, 159
 pen turned into darning needle, 168
 position in Hertford household, 81
 removes from the Hertfords, 88
 returns to Heatherley district, 162
 salary and expenses, 93
 sees 'Edmund' for last time, 148
 sees first film at Halstead, Essex, 156
 services no longer needed at Heatherley, 161
 shown adder by Bob Pikesley, 75
 Sinister Street, 24
 two and a half years in Heatherley, 94
 untrained in ways of world, 73
 visit to Bedfordshire, 144
 visit to London with Brownlows, 128
 walks at Heatherley, 68
Le Gallienne, Richard, 31
Lillywhite, Madam (Madame Fanny Warr), 34
Macdonald, George, 31
Maclaren, Ian, 96
Marriage
 Alma, 165
 Hertfords, 84
 Laura, 161
 village girls' preoccupation, 50
Meredith, George, 33, 111
Parkhurst family
 description of situation, 92
 obscure dissenting sect, 100
Parkhurst, Elsie, 106
Parkhurst, Mr, 100
Parkhurst, Mrs (Alice Levett)
 calls on Laura in Liphook, 106
 connection with Selborne, 103
 hop picking, 103
 initial appearance, 98
 pregnant again, 105
Patmore, Coventry, 22
Pikesley, Bob
 death of himself and Jeanette, 79
 initial appearance, 73
 location of his home, 74
 water supply, 77
Pikesley, Jeanette, sister of Bob, 78
Pope, Alexander, 104
Post office
 new telegraph office at Hindhead, 161
 size of telegrams, 109
 telegram messengers, 35
 telegraph instrument, 18
 use of telegrams, 37
Rossetti, Christina, 22
Selborne, 103
Shaw, George Bernard
 initial appearance, 30
 lectures on socialism, 95
Sillick, William Austen, 164
Stedman, Alma (Annie Symonds)
 attitude to Mr Foreshaw, 59
 initial appearance, 18
 marriage, 165
Tennyson, Alfred, 31
Tyndall, John, 15
Waggoners Wells, 69
White, Gilbert, 103
Wishing well, Waggoners Wells, 70


Comments

Surrey Advertiser – 11th Dec 1998 – 'Long-overdue sequel to Lark Rise to Candleford'

'Heatherley' by Flora Thompson. Published by John Owen Smith, 19 Kay Crescent, Headley Down, Hants GU35 8AH. Price £7.95

It was 100 years ago that Flora Thompson arrived in Grayshott, on the Surrey and Hampshire border, to work as the assistant postmistress.
So what better time for a new publication of her so-called lost sequel to Lark Rise to Candleford?
Flora was 21 when she came to the heatherey countryside just off the Portsmouth Road and quickly realised that neighbouring Hindhead had attracted eminent Victorians because of the perceived healthy climate 800ft above sea level.
She met the likes of George Bernard Shaw and Arthur Conan Doyle when they came to her place of work to send their messages via the telegraph machine which she operated.
Meeting such literary giants rather changed Flora's views on her own writing ability, at least for the time being, and Lark Rise to Candleford was not published until 1945.
The best-seller traced her life to the point where she moved from her native Oxfordshire and began a new chapter in East Hampshire which lasted, off and on, for 30 years.
Heatherley, then, is about that second phase of her life, but although she wrote it as a sequel to Lark Rise it was not published until it was included in a posthumous collection of writings entitled A Country Calendar and other works and long since out of print.
Now, with the addition of fresh material discovered in her archives, somewhat incongruously in the University of Texas, together with an introduction by Anne Mallinson, once of the much-missed bookshop in Selborne, illustrations by Hester Whittle and historical notes by the publisher, comes the long overdue sequel in its own right.

Graham Collyer


Bicester Advertiser – 23rd Dec 1998 – What came after the Lark Rise trilogy?

What happened after Lark Rise to Candleford? Did Flora Thompson's fictional autobiography end there?
The answer to these two questions comes with a new publication of Heatherley, described as being the "lost" sequel to the Lark Rise trilogy.
After Flora Thompson typed up Heatherley it was never published in her lifetime and only surfaced when a collection of her prose and poetry was published by the Oxford University Press in 1979.
This was A Country Calendar and other writings that was edited by Margaret Lane, who had published the first biographical sketch on Flora much earlier for the Cornhill magazine.
While Lark Rise to Candleford was mainly Flora's recollection of life at Juniper Hill, Cottisford and Fringford and neighbouring towns at the turn of the century, Heatherley was centred on life at Grayshott in Hampshire where she worked in the post office. And like the trilogy the sequel fictionalised the locations and people.
The new edition of Heatherley has been published by John Owen Smith, an historian and author of Headley Down, Hampshire, following the success of his book On the Trail of Flora Thompson. This told much of the story of her time in Grayshott.
John told me that much of his book was drawn from Heatherley in A Country Calendar, and his own local research.
Since his own On the Trail was published, several readers asked about Heatherley but have found that A Country Calendar was out of print.
John contacted the OUP – original publishers of Lark Rise – who said they had no intention of reprinting A Country Calendar, although it did go into paperback.
However, the OUP were happy for John to republish Heatherley.
In preparing the new edition, John obtained copyright clearance from Flora's estate and retrieved a copy of her original typescript from the University of Texas, which holds her archives.
A new introduction was written by Anne Mallinson, of Selborne, which is in the Grayshott region, and new chapter head illustrations were commissioned from artist Hester Whittle.
John, too, has corrected some mistakes he found in the OUP version and historical notes were added.
"As Heatherley is the fourth part of Lark Rise to Candleford, I believe it deserves a better fate than OUP were prepared to give it," said John.
So what's next?
John told me that he was considering publishing a new and fuller edition of The Peverel Papers. Flora and a friend ran a self-help group for prospective authors and poets called The Peverel Society.
In addition, Flora wrote articles for the magazine Catholic Fireside between 1922 and 1927. Articles that covered the countryside year were published as The Peverel Papers by Century in 1986, which is also out of print. Julian Shuckburgh edited this book and illustrations were drawn from the works of the eminent country artist C F Tunnicliffe.
John Smith believes there is scope for publishing more of Flora's Peverel works.
Incidentally, Peverel Down was the name Flora gave to Weaver's Down at Liphook, Hampshire, in the same region as Grayshott [and where she was living at the time she wrote her Peverel Papers – JOS]

Heatherley by Flora Thompson, at £7.95 paperback, is available from Cole's Book and Music Store, Crown Walk, Bicester

Peter Barrington


Bicester Advertiser – 14th January 1999 – Flora fans to welcome new volume

If your bookshelf already contains Flora Thompson's Lark Rise to Candleford and one or both of the biographies on the author, you doubtless will want to buy Heatherley.
This is described as the lost sequel to the Lark Rise trilogy and as already mentioned in this column has just been re-published.
Heatherley was originally published in 1979 by the Oxford University Press as part of A Country Calendar and other writings, edited by Margaret Lane.
As this has gone out of print and OUP has no plans for a reprint, the idea of re-publishing Heatherley to coincide with the centenary of Flora's arrival in Grayshott, Hampshire, was appropriate. For it brings back into circulation more of Flora's work.
Heatherley in the new edition contains an extra chapter that was not included in A Country Calendar and has useful footnotes by the publisher John Owen Smith.
In Heatherley, Flora again demonstrates her acute eye for people with a number of telling thumbnail portraits. – though in the light of their continued status it was a pity she did not make more of her sketches of George Bernard Shaw and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Flora's innate modesty even prevented her from naming them and she described Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories as the invention of "a new fiction." We must be grateful for footnotes identifying the authors.
Her descriptions and appreciations of the countryside that formed such a valuable part of Lark Rise is also a major part of Heatherley.
Heatherley is a gentle discourse on the life and times of one part of Hampshire that Flora was to return to later in life when her husband became postmaster at nearby Liphook.
Anyone fond of Lark Rise will want to explore this follow-up volume.
Heatherley by Flora Thompson is published in paperback by John Owen Smith at £7.95 paperback, is available from Cole's Book and Music Store, Crown Walk, Bicester.

Peter Barrington


Alton Herald – 5th March 1999 – Author's 'lost' sequel reprinted by enthusiasts

The centenary of the arrival in Grayshott of the late author, Flora Thompson, was celebrated recently with the reprint, by a trio of local enthusiasts, of Heatherley.
Described as Flora's own 'lost' sequel to Lark Rise to Candleford, this new edition comprises a review of the original typescript with added illustrations and historical notes, as well as some fresh material found in her archives, now in the University of Texas.
Published by Headley author and historian, John Owen Smith, with delightful pen and ink illustrations by Hester Whittle of Headley Down, the foreword has been written by Anne Mallinson, who for years has sought to promote the work of Flora Thompson from her former bookshop at Selborne and via local literary societies.
Mrs Mallinson, whose own research was helped considerably by the late eminent biographer, Margaret Lane, offers a remarkable insight into the work of Flora Thompson which will add to the reader's enjoyment and understanding of this and other works.
. . .
A delightful reminder, Heatherley may be obtained from most local bookshops. The story is also being serialised on BBC Radio 4. [Actually it was Lark Rise to Candleford which was being serialised! – JOS]


Bordon/Petersfield Post – 17th March 1999 – A new flavour to Flora's work

It was 100 years ago that the young unmarried Flora Thompson moved from her native Oxfordshire to take up employment as assistant to the postmaster at Grayshott.
Here she encountered a far different world from her ancestral rural background, referring rather disparagingly, I felt, to "settlements" as distinct from "villages", as she detected the comparative newness of the place, where most people were not indigenous and where the church had only just been built.
The next three years of her life, in her same rather transparent guise of Laura as in her more familiar work Lark Rise to Candleford, are skillfully portrayed in this new edition of Heatherley.
Originally, this work was published in 1979 by OUP as part of A Country Calendar and other writings, selected by Margaret Lane. This new edition, marking the centenary of Flora's arrival in Hampshire, has been prepared using the original typescript and earlier drafts, alongside the 1979 version.
In addition, the publisher has undertaken historical research into the people and places Flora knew during her three years in Grayshott.
To all intents and purposes, this volume is the continuation of Flora's life story, but she prefers mostly to rename places and people, so Grayshott becomes 'Heatherley' and the daily life and gossip in the emerging village is recorded with her characteristic perception.
In this age of e-mail and telephone, it is difficult to comprehend the work of the Post Office Telegraph with which Laura was concerned. In places to which the telephone was not yet connected, people of those times used telegrams.
Heatherley is a book in which to get lost in vivid descriptions and it is a mine of information about the manners of the day.
Famous people who called at the post office are easily recognised, such as the redoubtable red-bearded George Bernard Shaw, the popular Arthur Conan Doyle and one or two lesser literary figures. Mentions are also made of of Rudyard Kipling and Tennyson.
In the dying years of the Victorian age, modern youth was being spoken of as fin de siecle, pronounced in varying ways, but always with an inflection of disapproval.
Youth also applied to itself the term fin de siecle, as it did to most other things, for it was a favourite catchword of the day.
New ideas and new ideals were in the air and what to their elders appeared as license, they gloried in as emancipation.
Such ideas had not yet penetrated Heatherley and the young women Laura knew "were fin de siecle only so far as having been born towards the end of the century."
This is a book in which to enjoy a variety of keenly-observed situations and topics. There is also a wide review of many nostalgic memories of the age.
Flora Thompson returned to Heatherley as Laura in the last chapter, some 20 years after she left, and found the village "little changed in appearance." She walked among the old familiar scenes like a ghost of the past. Very few people were in the streets of the village and of those few, none recognised her.
Heatherley, which is published by John Owen Smith and illustrated by Hester Whittle, is a book to which I will certainly return.

Roy Kersley


School Librarian – Vol 47, Number 2, Summer 1999 – THOMPSON, FLORA Heatherley

Unlike the well-known Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy, this later semi-autobiographical work was never published in Flora Thompson's lifetime. She was 21 when, in 1898, she arrived in Hampshire to work at the post office in Grayshott, the Heatherley of the title. Unlike the more remote and rural atmosphere of her earlier works, this book, covering the four years she remained in Grayshott, not only gives the feel of a village closer to other centres of population, but also seems much closer in time to the present day. She gives a vivid account of the people she meets, as well as their daily lives, which are far from mundane in many cases and extraordinary in some. What makes this edition of Heatherley particularly interesting is the footnotes and additional material, giving information about the people on whom she based her fictional characters. The publishers have taken great pains to consult Flora Thompson's original typescript for this edition, as well as earlier drafts which include an extra chapter, and thus have produced a fascinating document which could be read both for the story and for the background that it gives to the life of this village at the turn of the last century.

Kathy Lemaire


Graham Irwin, 25 June, 1999
A great find - and a great read
What a wonderful find this book has been - Flora Thompson's "lost" sequel to her classic trilogy "Lark Rise to Candleford". In Heatherley, Flora continues to share her life experiences, which give us a glimpse of rural life almost a hundred years ago. Written in her natural and compelling style, this book, too, will surely become a classic. Jo Smith's historical notes help to identify the characters and places giving the book even greater value for social historians and those who enjoy a great read.


About the Publisher

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 on two new plays about Flora Thompson's life in Hampshire
and
On the Trail of Flora Thompson, also 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