Doreen Wallace


Author and social reformer

Doreen Wallace, author, was born in Cumberland, and educated in Malvern and Somerville College, Oxford. She was a grammar school teacher, living and working in Diss before her 1922 marriage to Rowland Rash of Wortham, Suffolk, to whom she bore three children. Her novels included Barnham Rectory (1934), Going to Sea (1936), The Time of Wild Roses (1938), Green Acres (1941), The Noble Savage (1945), Willow Farm (1948), Sons of Gentlemen (1953), Daughters (1955), Woman with a Mirror (1963), The Mill Pond (1966), An Earthly Paradise (1971) and Landscape with Figures (1976).

During the agricultural depression of the 1930s, she campaigned against the imposition of tithes, leading to the impounding of the stock on her 2 farms in 1934, followed by a siege at Wortham Manor, confrontation with local Blackshirts and bankruptcy in 1939.

Doreen’s last novel was published in 1976, and 2 years later she returned to live out her last years in Diss. She died on October 22 1989, aged 92.

Find out more: You can borrow, or view, books written by Doreen Wallace from Norfolk Library and Information Service – Tithe war (1934), In a green shade (autobiographical), East Anglia : a survey of England’s eastern counties 1939, Norfolk / Doreen Wallace and R.P. Bagnall-Oakeley (1951), How to grow food, and Outlook for farming. An biography of Doreen’s life, written by June Shepherd, is also available to borrow: Doreen Wallace 1897-1989 – writer and social campaigner.

The Norfolk Heritage Centre holds several newspaper articles relating to Doreen Wallace:

EDP 28/2/1955  “Doreen Wallace: Novelist and housewife” Photographs showing daily life

Norfolk News 28/12/1958 Article (untitled) about Doreen’s writing

Eastern Evening News 31/1/1966 “East Anglian Portrait: Doreen Wallace, author and journalist” Article about her writing to tie in with publication of her 30th novel

Eastern Evening News 18/2/1966 “Captures true feel of the village” Review of “The Millpond”

EDP 15/1/1966 “New novel by Doreen Wallace” Review of “Ashbury People”

Norfolk & Suffolk Journal 1983 “One woman’s world” Biographical article

EDP 10/2/1969 “Doreen Wallace’s new novel” Review of “The Turtle”

EDP 11/9/1975 “Born organiser retires” Article recording her final art exhibition

EDP 26/10/1989 “Boadicea of rural causes” Obituary

Eastern Evening News 26/10/1989 “Tithe tax battle heroine dies” Obituary

Independent 27/10/1989 “Doreen Wallace” Obituary

EDP 20/11/1989 “Triumphs of writer and poet recalled” Report of thanksgiving service

4 Responses to Doreen Wallace

  1. Prue Farrow says:

    Did this Doreen Wallace write Billy Potter

  2. Simon Knott says:

    Doreen Wallace was a great campaigner against the Tithe System, but it is only fair to point out the the ‘Blackshirts’ (that is, Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists) were also campaigning against the tithe system – that is to say, rather than there being a ‘confrontation with local Blackshirts’, the Blackshirts were actually on the same side as Doreen Wallace.

    Whether or not Doreen Wallace was ever a member of the British Union of Fascists I do not know, but she certainly addressed BUF meetings on the subject of the tithe controversy. The incident at Wortham occurred when BUF members surrounded the Rash farm to prevent bailiffs getting access to remove goods. There is a good account of this in her book ‘The Tithe Wars’.

  3. sekeeta crowley says:

    She was also a bit of an artist. I have a couple of her scraper board flower pictures. If they are of use please let me know. Sekeeta

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