Plaque tribute to author who inspired Harry Potter books

March 28 2018
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AN author who helped inspire the Harry Potter books has been commemorated in Wells.

J K Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, said Elizabeth Goudge’s Little White Horse was her favourite book as a child and one of the very few with direct influence on her series about the boy wizard.

Elizabeth was an English author of novels, short stories and children’s books who won the Carnegie Medal for British children’s books in 1946 for The Little White Horse.
She was a best-selling author in both the UK and the US from the 1930s into the 1970s.

Elizabeth wrote City of Bells based on Wells and Wells Cathedral in 1936, then followed with Sister of the Angels and Henrietta’s House, both set in the fictional city of Torminster, which was really Wells.

She was born in the Tower House on St Andrew Street, Wells, in April 1900.

Three years later her father was made head of the Wells Theological College and the family moved across St Andrew Street to The Rib, because that house was owned by the Church of England.

In March a Blue Plaque was unveiled in her honour on the perimeter wall of The Rib, which sits next to the east end of Wells Cathedral with views over the Bishop’s Palace gardens.

Elizabeth wrote: “No child can have lived in lovelier homes than my first two homes or in a more enchanted city.”

The Blue Plaque is the seventh in a series being installed across the city by Wells Civic Society with financial support from Wells Rotary Club.

The project is led by the civic society’s vice-chairman Philip Welch who said: “The idea is to record rarely known facts from the city’s history and create a tourist trail.”

In 1989 the Church of England sold The Rib which has just been restored by the present owners David Morgan-Hewitt and Paul Dickinson.

“The plaque will hopefully encourage more people to read this celebrated author’s books,” said Paul.

“When we bought this historic house we appreciated how special and unique it is.

“We are happy to share it with local charities and continue the tradition of people enjoying convivial company here, which has been going on for 600 years.”

• Mendip District Council has approved plans for a one metre-high plinth on Glastonbury Road, near the junction with Jocelyn Drive. 

The civic society wants to place a Blue Plaque on the plinth to commemorate the gibbet that once stood at Keward.

Picture: At the unveiling of the plaque in honour of Elizabeth Goudge (below) are, from left, Mayoress Gail North, Paul Dickinson, Mayor John North, Rotarian Geoff Haskins, Wells Civic Society chair Chris Winter, David Morgan-Hewitt, previous owner of The Rib Michael Cansdale, and Philip Welch of the civic society