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ROSAMOND LEHMANN (1901-1990), a best-selling novelist of the twenties and thirties
with Dusty Answer, A Note in Music and The Weather in the Streets, owned Coach House
Cottage, YOXFORD, from about 1971 to 1987. These books, and her later works, have
recently enjoyed a resurgence in popularity.
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H.W. FREEMAN (1899-1994) lived most of his life at The Mutton, OFFTON. As a young
man living in Florence he wrote a novel about a farming family living in Oakenhill Hall,
BRUISYARD with its ‘curious crow-stepped gable’. Joseph and His Brethren is the story of
five brothers working on their father’s farm and so evocative of rural life in East Anglia in
the early twentieth century it was widely acclaimed on publication in 1933 and has been a
Suffolk favourite ever since.
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The American crime writer, PATRICIA HIGHSMITH (1921-1995) lived at Bridge
Cottage, EARL SOHAM from 1964 to 1967. She completed The Glass Cell and wrote A
Suspension of Mercy there.
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JOHN MIDDLETON MURRY (1889-1957) lived for many years, until the end of his life,
at Lower Lodge, THELNETHAM, where, for some time, he had a community of like-

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minded people, but he earned his place in contemporary literature for his several critical
works, among them Dostoevsky, Keats and Shakespeare and Son of Woman, one of the
first biographies of D.H. Lawrence, which Aldous Huxley described as an ‘essay in
destructive hagiography’. Murry first married the New Zealand writer Katherine Mansfield
and, over many years, they had a tempestuous relationship with Lawrence. Murry only
found real married happiness in Suffolk with his fourth and last wife, Mary Gamble. A
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plaque in the church at Thelnetham commemorates his life there.
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SIR HENRY RIDER HAGGARD (1856-1925) who was born in Norfolk and educated at
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IPSWICH SCHOOL, bought The Grange at KESSINGLAND as a holiday home in 1900,
five years after the publication of his successful novel King Solomon’s Mines. Here he wrote
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The Poor of the Land in 1905, a survey of the plight of the agricultural worker, and here, in
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1914, his close friend RUDYARD KIPLING came to stay.
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A writer in the tradition of John Clare, Richard Jefferies and Ronald Blythe, ROGER
DEAKIN (1943-2006) wrote that he had ‘lived through the poignant closing years of what
might be called the old rural Suffolk: the northern stretch of the county broadly defined by
the valley of the River Waveney.’ Walnut Tree Farm, on the northern edge of the Green at
MELLIS near Diss, was the inspiration and start of many of the journeys recorded in his
books. The idea for Waterlog came when he was swimming in his moat, and decided to gain
a ‘frog’s eye view of the country’ by swimming across ponds, pools lakes and rivers up to
Scotland. In his last book, Wildwood, his own woodland inspired him to explore some of the
world’s oldest forests, learning a few of the traditions arising from the human love of wood.
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