Fringford in the 19th century is now forever associated with Flora Thompson’s ‘Lark Rise to Candleford’ trilogy. In it she recalls her childhood, as Flora Timms (Laura), in the hamlet of Juniper Hill (Lark Rise) and at school in Cottisford (Fordlow) before moving to Fringford (Candleford Green).
The fictitious town of Candleford is a combination of Banbury, Bicester and Buckingham. It is a unique and vivid picture of village life at the end of the 19th century. There is hardly a page without a memorable phrase waiting to be quoted.
She largely bases Candleford Green on her childhood memories of Fringford, where she worked in the village post office from 1891 to 1897. (The BBC series has Laura working in the post office in Candleford). In many respects, village life had changed very little in the decades before 1876 when she was born.
The old post office with the forge on the left. The postmaster and blacksmith, John Whitton is standing in front of the cart and his wife Kezia (Flora’s ‘Miss Lane’) holds the horse’s reins. Zilpha Hinks, their servant, stands in the doorway.
Flora wrote poems and short stories for many years but it was not until 1945 that the Lark Rise trilogy was published.
Today, a hundred years later, a surprising amount is left in the village and the neighbourhood to interest fans. You can take a ‘guided map’ walk around the village by downloading the pdf from the Cherwell Council site.
Flora is buried in Longcross cemetery in Dartmouth, Devon