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Ellen Thorneycroft Felkin
(April 9, 1860 - June 22, 1929) U.K.

Ellen Felkin

Novelist, poet


Ellen Thorneycroft Fowler was born at 7 Summerfield Road, Chapel Ash, Wolverhampton. Her father was Henry Hartley Fowler, a solicitor, councillor and Mayor of Wolverhampton. He later became a Liberal Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton East from 1880 until 1908, when he was created the first Viscount Wolverhampton. Her mother, Ellen, was a daughter of George Thorneycroft, successful ironmaster and first Mayor of Wolverhampton.

They had a large house built for the family at Wergs Road, Tettenhall, called Woodthorne, to which they moved in1867. The house was eventually demolished by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in the 1970s.

Ellen FelkinEllen was educated first at home with her sister Edith and then at a private school in London. She began writing at the age of seven. Initially she wrote a series of poems based upon current events. After 1888 she had several volumes of poetry published. In 1891 she published Verses Grave and Gay and 1895 Verses Wise and Otherwise. Her sonnet Wulfruna's Hampton, for the 900th anniversary of St Peter's first Charter, still appears in the church guide book.

Her first novel, Cupid's Garden, was published in 1897 followed by Concerning Isabel Carnaby (1898) a novel that won wide public acclaim; by 1899 the book was on its fifteenth edition and 40,000 copies had been sold. The novel was translated into French and German and a Braille version was also produced. A Double Thread (1899) called by the Daily Graphic "The Novel of the Year" and The Farringdons (1900) followed. These books have settings instantly recognisable to the local people of Wolverhampton, Tettenhall and Sedgley.

Ellen still wrote poetry and short stories in between the novels, which appeared regularly over the next few years. Fuel of Fire (1902) and Place and Power (1903) used Tettenhall and Wolverhampton for scenes.

On 16th April 1903 Ellen married Alfred Felkin, a senior teacher at the Royal Naval School at Mottingham near Eltham. They moved to London, but still visited the family locally, and Ellen continued to use scenes she knew in her novels Miss Fallowfield's fortune (1908), and The wisdom of folly (1910).

Then the couple moved to Wayside, Eltham, where they continued to live until 1916 when they moved to Bournemouth, partly for the sake of her health, and from thereon she did not write so frequently. However she did write Beauty and bands (1920).

From the time of her marriage until the time of her death Ellen continued to publish her books and poems, the last being Signs and Wonders (1926). She passed away in 1929 and is buried with her husband at All Saints, Branksome Park, in Dorset.


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