Elizabeth GOUDGE (1900–1984)
Rose Cottage, Peppard Common, near Henley-on-Thames
Elizabeth Goudge was born in 1900 in Wells where her father Revd Henry Leighton Goudge rose to be Principal of Wells Theological College. Her mother was Ida Collenette who came from an old Guernsey family. In 1911 her father was appointed Principal of the Theological College at Ely and a canon of the cathedral. In 1923 he became Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford and the family lived in Tom Quad, the setting for her novel Towers in the Mist (1938) until Canon Goudge’s death in 1939. She moved with her mother to Devon but her connection with Oxfordshire was renewed after her mother’s death when she took up residence at Rose Cottage in 1951 and remained there until her death in 1984.
Her first novel Island Magic (1934), based on childhood memories of Guernsey where her mother’s family lived, won instant acclaim in England and America. Green Dolphin Country (1944) was submitted as an entry in an American M.G.M. competition, won a prize of £30,000 and was made into a very successful film. She received the Carnegie medal for her children’s story The Little White Horse (1946) which has remained in print ever since. Altogether she wrote 16 novels, 6 books for children, short stories, some non-fiction and an autobiography The Joy of the Snow (1974). She was made FRSL in 1945.
Her work reflects her strong belief in goodness, beauty and the power of faith. She continues to provide inspiration to a devoted readership and to other writers: J. K. Rowling is numbered among the admirers of her work.
- Sources: Elizabeth Goudge, The Joy of the Snow (autobiography;
Sylvia Gower, The World of Elizabeth Goudge
- Picture: Elizabeth Goudge’s former house
The plaque was unveiled at Rose Cottage, Dog Lane, Rotherfield Peppard on 19 April 2008 by the Very Revd Nicholas Coulton, Sub-Dean of Christ Church. The occasion was attended by Mrs Gower and a good number of Elizabeth Goudge’s devotees who sponsored the plaque.
Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board